Archive for the ‘Art Appreciation’ Category

Painting Interpretation Through the Years

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Jan Van Eyk - Portrait of Mr. Arnolfini and his WifeImages have had different meanings throughout time.  In any culture images have a certain meaning and they produce certain feelings such as peace, tranquility, and even hope. Throughout history these images have changed and the meaning or feelings those images inspire has also changed.

Let’s take for example the painting of “The Marriage Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami” by Jan van Eyck, which was painted in 1434.  This visual image was well understood in the 15th century, but it is not interpreted similarly today.

At the time, this painting was a type of “wedding certificate.” Their grave faces indicate the responsibility of marriage. The green dress that the bride is wearing indicates fertility, and was the traditional wedding dress color of the time.  She is not pregnant as may be thought in this day and age, but the swelling of her abdomen suggests great female beauty for the 15th century.

The lack of shoes was a religious symbol that indicated the standing on holy ground, and the burning candle symbolizes the presence of Christ. Now unless we knew about these images and what they presented in the 15th century, people would have no idea of what this painting represented in today’s time. The same is probably true, if we took a painting of Andy Warhol’s “Soup can” back to the 15th century. Do you think they would understand that it is a representation of Modern day life.

Many Artists are very Self Conscious

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Most artists are very self conscious about their art work. Artists sometimes judge their own work more harshly than others, that’s why they seem to glow with praise of their work and most even throughout history have become severely depressed when they are critiqued harshly. They have already found their own work to be wanting, and feel that somehow what they have created falls just a tad short of what their inner eye visualized.

For many of today’s truly gifted artist this lack of confidence is what causes their downfall as artists. The art world is a business just as any other business, but because artists are so emotional and very self conscious about their art work, even more so than the uncomfortable feeling you get when you are in a gallery. For them, their work is their very soul, so when they receive a lot of negative criticism regarding their work, many fall to pieces, and decide that the art world is just not for them, even though they may be fabulous artists. So the next time you go to an art show and meet the self confident artist, remember he may be quaking in his shoes.

Photo Courtesy of: Phantom Galleries LA

Art Appreciation and the Meme Factor

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

When people have a weak sense of what they like or dislike in as far as art, and these people tend to go with fads, styles, popularity or color schemes, this is known as the meme factor. The meme effect can take away an individuals’ true taste and can be so powerful that even true art connoisseurs decide that any art piece and loves anything and everything.  This is the inability to decide between a piece of work that is appealing and one that is not. This is where the fads, fashions, and symbols begin and true art appreciation ends.

This creates the subjectivity of art, where the greatness and liking of art have nothing to do with whether the piece is actually good, but with popularity, consensus, and the market, all facets that are moldable in our society.

The truth is that famous artists, musicians, novelists, painters who have created a large quantity of art work , will in all likelihood create a great deal of work that is not up to par, after all it is illogical to think that all of their work will be masterpieces.

The meme factor explains why artists such as Van Gogh, were not appreciated at all at certain times. Today they are considered among the best artists of humankind.  It is interesting to see that during his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, while today, his painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1905) has sold by as much as 82,5 million dollars.

Collecting Art

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Today Art collecting has become very popular, but do people know what they are doing when they are collecting art? Most people have no idea how to start collecting art, and usually start by buying something someone recommended, whether they like it or not. Some art critics and artists have started teaching others the Art of collecting. The objective of these classes is to really have people understand what art is, but to “THEM” and not what art they should collect because society tells them to collect that particular style, Artist, or type of art.

As many critics and artists will tell you, the most frequent question they get is “How to become a collector?” the truth is, that you can’t just start buying paintings from famous painters and consider yourself a collector. People begin collecting art for many different reasons, and some do it without even realizing that they are collecting, but the first thing you should do is just “Relax” stand back, and let yourself observe art, when you have observed it enough you will understand, “how to become a collector?” No one expresses this idea better than Edward Goldman who makes his way among the art and artists.

The Art Critic

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Abstract Expressionism - Shimmering Substance by Jackson PollockWhat is an art critic? An art critic is a person, who with certain art education discusses and evaluates visual arts, and decides on whether it is unique and good or whether it is terrible.

Who decides on whether an art work is good or not? This is usually the job of the visual art critic and art critics will evaluate a piece according to the aesthetical theory of beauty, but because the arts have become so vast there has also been a need to divide art criticism into several different disciplines, each with its own set of rules. Most art criticism can be divided into two categories, that of historical criticism and contemporary criticism which is the critiquing of work done by living artists.

Critics do not always know what they are doing and much of their critiques are changed, or opinions of them are formed over time. For instance, art that was once venerated by the critic, were later found to be ridiculous, or found to be lacking in creativity, theory, and style. And the same holds true for pieces that were once derided, later to be venerated (as in the work of the impressionists).

Do People Collect Art for all the Wrong Reasons?

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Picasso’s Painting Garçon a la pipe.  Sold by 104 Million USD in an Auction at Sothebys New York.Many people who suddenly find themselves among society’s elite, the ones that have acquired large amounts of money, find themselves wanting to collect art. But they decide to collect art for the wrong reasons.  They decide to collect art to be noticed, to be a part of the art collector crowd, and to be among the wealthy art collectors. 

Many of these collectors don’t know much about art; in fact their collecting is based more on a need to be noticed by others, rather than any real love or knowledge of art. The only problem with this type of art collecting is that you need to continually buy artwork to be noticed.

Modern art has truly been affected by the patronage of these collectors. Painters who attract the attention of any of these collectors achieve instant recognition they look for.  These patrons buy contemporary art from new styles and movements, but the truth is the quality of the work itself becomes irrelevant, and it becomes an issue of “who’s buying what?” It seems Hollywood has also hit the art market of today.

Art Criticism

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Jackson Pollock, The Moon WomanThe problem with art critics is that they are often unable to adjust to new artistic movements and let their opinions win over their objectivity and this later results in biased critique instead of an unbiased critique.

Many artists do not like critics much. Artists love to be encouraged, and need positive influences around them, and critics are often not encouraging or even nice. Art criticism is a systematic analysis of art that is performed by professional artists and this criticism is based on art theory and the elements of art.

Because it is difficult to take art and not express a personal opinion, but to take art theory principles and analyze a certain work, it is often difficult for an art critic to distance himself enough from a piece to make a truly unbiased critique. An art critics examination of a piece is often influenced by his or her personal taste in art.

Art is a personal matter

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Boating Party LunchArt appreciation may result from different art influences, popularity, and exposure to different types of art, the need to follow a fad or a style, cultural decisions and many other factors. But for a few the appreciation of art is because of a need to discover, see, and admire a certain quality of an art form. Some have a strong sense of like and dislike which guides them in choosing the right art form for them, and don’t worry about what others think.

This need or like for a certain art form does not have anything to do with the educational knowledge of a certain art form. These likes and dislikes then are not defined by any certain style or category. These likes are defined more by certain characteristics of an art form. They may like certain things from a certain style and other things from another.

In truth most art collectors appreciate art in this way, so the theory of greatness or liking in art is very subjective and not at all exact. The criteria that defines what an individual likes or dislikes in art is varied, and unique to that individual.

True the market usually decides on what is great or the greatest art, and public opinion is molded accordingly, but each individuals taste is much more intrinsic and what might be considered great art by one collector, will not necessarily be seen the same way by another. That is why art experts always recommend that people that want to start collecting should collect works they admire and like, and not those governed by market values.

Learn Art to Appreciate Art

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Salvador Dali - The Temptation of St. AnthonyArt appreciation is not a difficult concept in fact it is fairly simple. It only means that you should have your own opinions about any work, whether that be in literature, music, visual, theatre, or whatever art form you are considering.

When appreciating any type of art you need to ask yourself if you like it. After all can you say that you like every piece of music that you listen to, or every book you pick up? Art is like this, it is experienced differently by every person.

Although you don’t need anyone to tell you how to react to art, there is also a bit of truth in the saying, knowledge is power. When you read more about art and what the different art movements were and how they affect art and artists today, you will know more about why an artist presented his work in a certain way, and you will be better able to appreciate the art for what it really is, whether you like it personally or not. The more you learn about art the less distant and strange it will be to you.

Educate Taste to Appreciate Art

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Vincent Van Gogh - Portrait of an old PeasantAlthough art is measured by the above elements, it also depends on societies and an individual’s taste. Many times appreciation of something takes time and being exposed to the element. After all, you did not immediately like the taste of wine, classical music, or certain liquors, you acquired the taste, and the same goes with art. So in art a movement or an artist that you might not have liked, with the knowledge of the art elements, you might now be able to understand what he was doing and then over a period of time you might find that you begin to like his work.

Not everything is Likeable

Even the most famous artist had his difficult period. Every one of this artist has a time when they worked in areas where they were not proficient.

As you continue to look at work and when you begin to see the whole body of an artists work, your eye for art will begin to develop, and you will soon be able to distinguish what the good works are, which are the lesser works of a certain period and which works of art are extraordinary.

Soon you will realize that many of the works of art that you did not like in the beginning, were actually “really bad” and you were right in disliking it, but now you will know why you disliked the piece.


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