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History of Art History: classification of the arts, Visual Arts

S. Rajalakshmi
Written by S. Rajalakshmi. Posted in General Reference on 14 September 2009.
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History of Art History


Broadly, the history of art as it has designed the Renaissance - from Giorgio Vasari and his Lives of Famous Artists (The Fast), from the eighteenth century of Johann Joachim Winckelmann until XIX century Hegel - is the story of the progress of art.

Art is supposed to move from stage to stage archaic and classical decay.

The Greek and Roman art are presented as examples of this curve development.

In Greek art, the notion of art was different from that found in Western civilization. Indeed, in Greek, the word "art" is said Tekhne the technique. The Greeks did and no difference between the craftsman and the artist, only the "how" seemed to be important.
The Archaic period is the art Minoan, Mycenaean and Cycladic, the classical period to the pinnacle of creation penthouse (the Parthenon in Athens contemporary sculptures by Phidias Theater of Aristophanes, and philosophers Plato, Socrates ...) , follows the decline of the Athenian Republic and the concomitant of Hellenistic art to the Roman invasion.

In Roman art, the Archaic period is that of the crude and austere art of the Republic of classical art is the height of the Empire, the art of the Lower Empire (especially paleo-Christian) simplified forms will be perceived as a decline in the battering of the barbarian invasions.

The turning point of this perception takes place with the publication in 1901, in Vienna, the work of Alois Riegl, The Art of the Late Roman Empire shows that the creative talent that accompanies the fall of the Roman Empire should not be interpreted as a decline but as a change of standard and birth of a new paradigm. Note the correlation between the publication of this theoretical work and artistic practice of the Viennese Secession, which then frees the guns of Fine Arts, a few years later Kandinsky and Kupka created the first abstract works and Picasso and Braque's Cubism; as to give reason to Riegl ...

From there, the history of art (so far prisoner of the paradigm of the Renaissance to "revive" the height of ancient art and explain what are the aesthetic - but also political, economic - of the creation 'art "classical") recognizes the plurality of simultaneous stylistic standards (hence also, given the collapse of a dogmatic and legislative effort, the proliferation of artistic movements) and seeks to observe, identify, compare, explain the art rather than art.



Art History and classification of the arts

As a result of differences on the definition of art the difficulties to be addressed in its entirety and ignorance of the specifics of the history of art ( which is an observer of historical phenomena, and is a reflection of its assumptions), the disputes over the classification of the arts (or (in)) and art classes are a "figure imposed" of history of art and the aesthetic (as the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns in literature).


From what

The terms selected then inform us at least as much on those who utter them (when, where, in what context? Background?) On the works they are supposed to consolidate or describe. In addition to proposing a new grid genealogy of art, they commonly define "cons" (another movement, a school, etc..) Or exclusion (beyond the field of art, practice) . It is remarkable that their meanings are extremely variable in time and went from negative to positive many times (Baroque, Impressionism, etc..).


Visual Arts

In recent years some reduce the history of the art history of the visual arts especially to distinguish it from the musicology, the study of performing arts (drama, dance, circus, etc..) Or literature (or even the architecture), although other parallel associate with wide field of heritage culture. Indeed, in some scientific contexts (history and language in particular), it is usual to isolate the visual culture of the written or oral culture to study the specifics (the sources and the unwritten language nonverbal). Thus we may prefer the term image (referring to the relationship metaphor between reason and imagination) to avoid the ambiguity of words or art work, regarded as qualitative. But do not confuse the image perceived by the eye with the representation that it is a work, highlighted by the subtle mental pittura รจ cosa (The painting is "mental thing", a sign An intimate experience?) attributed to Leonardo da Vinci Finally, the aesthetic experience involves several senses simultaneously are rare and artistic practices that develop without interaction with others.


Visual Arts


In the Francophone world, it is the same with the classic triad (frozen at the end of the nineteenth century) Fine Arts / Decorative Arts / industrial arts, which is reformulated from the 1960s in art (and graphics) / architecture and interior design / applied art, fashion and design This categorization is the result of institutional traditions commercial or industrial, a border (which would be due to the experience of the artist, his status as an author, the functions of the work at its technology or its audience) between producing art and craft. Several movements we point out the arbitrariness of these boundaries, as, for example, the movement Arts & Crafts UK, the Art Nouveau French or Bauhaus German, as well as pop art, the kitsch, etc..

Regarding the historical foundation of the word plastic, some noticed that the Italian Renaissance, l 'arte del designo (the arts of design) grouped the arts volume (modeling, sculpture, architecture) and those surface (drawing, painting, printmaking). We find today that opposition respectively in the terms "art" and "graphics". The common point of these practices manual, but without exclusivity, would be action on the matter, their evocative character.

Finally, the expression matches, especially since Joseph Beuys and the success of the word artist, a "how to be an artist" and appropriately "to avoid assignment to categories of artistic activities exceeded by doing" as Nathalie Heinich.

S. Rajalakshmi

Author: S. Rajalakshmi

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