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3 Tutorials that teach Architecture
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Architecture

Architecture

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will briefly explore the role of architecture within art history.

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Tutorial

Architecture!

Discussing the symbolism and purpose of architecture.

Video Transcription

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello. I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History with Ian. My name is Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about architecture.

As you're watching the video, feel free to pause, move forward, or rewind as many times as you feel is necessary. And as soon as you're ready, we can begin.

Today's objectives, or the things you are going to learn today are listed below. I just need to catch up. By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to identify today's key terms, explain how architecture is a form of symbolism, and explain why some works of architecture cannot be recreated or moved to a different location, also known as site specificity.

Key terms, as always, are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. There are two key terms today. The first one is architecture-- the art or practice of designing buildings. And site specificity-- when the relationship between a work of art or architecture is so strong that it would be impossible to move or reconstruct that object in another location.

The big idea for today is that architecture has a symbolic meaning and has inspired and been inspired by other visual arts. And I have a star next to that because architecture and maybe the contemporary idea of architecture really could apply to any kind of house, and not every house in your neighborhood has a symbolic meaning. But the type of architecture that we're going to be looking at typically does.

So architecture as symbolism. And why do we care? Well, just like other forms of art, architecture can represent more than just its physical features. Architecture of the type we'll be learning about often have a symbolic meaning.

Important questions to ask yourself when looking at an example of architecture would be what does it represent? And why was it made?

Now, we'll be learning about these in greater detail later on, but here are a few examples to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. And the first are the Great Pyramids of Giza, which were built as funerary tombs for the pharaohs or the kings of ancient Egypt.

Next example is the Parthenon. This was built during the time of ancient Greece. And it was built to honor the Greek god Athena. Temples like this were thought to be the physical home of the gods on earth.

Cathedrals were commissioned by the Church to be more than just a place of worship, but also to house the relics of important people associated with the Church and to exist as a physical manifestation of heaven on earth. And more modern architecture, like the Chrysler Building in New York, symbolize corporate power, prestige, and wealth.

Now art and architecture weren't always looked at as different disciplines, but were actually considered the same thing. And many artists were going to learn about were both artists in the traditional sense and architects. Two Renaissance artists in particular that crossed over into architecture were artists Michelangelo and Brunelleschi. They're both Italian Renaissance artists.

Michelangelo was one of many artists contracted to supervise construction of parts of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which is pictured on the right. Brunelleschi was a very famous Renaissance artist who designed this magnificent dome on the Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy.

Ornamentation of architecture often represents a theme and contributes to the overall symbolism the architecture represents. Common forms of external ornamentation include gargoyles, statues, pilasters, reliefs, and pediments. And we'll learn more about all of these in greater detail later on. And I'll show you some examples in just a moment.

Internal spaces carefully considered in order to create a cohesive space that supports and enhances aesthetics of the building. A more modern examples of this would be Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, which I'll show you in a moment. And Frank Lloyd Wright designed not just the building, but the interior design of the building in order to create a harmonious piece of functional art.

So we'll start with external ornamentation on the right. There's a picture of gargoyles, statues-- great statue-- pilasters, which look like columns, but they're just simply ornamentation, they don't provide any kind of functional support, reliefs, and pediments, which were reliefs or statues, artwork that was situated within that triangular shape at the top of classical architecture in ancient Greece and Rome.

Last two examples are of internal space and its design. And the first example is from Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. So where the Pope lives. And Falling Water, the house that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We're about to talk more about Falling Water on the next slide.

Site specificity refers to how some architecture can only really be appreciated in the surrounding environment where it was built. In other words, to move it or recreate it elsewhere would diminish the effect. And again, Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water is a perfect example, because the intention was to create a piece of architecture where the building appears to emerge from its environment, rather than simply being plopped into the environment. And so to remove it from that environment would really be to diminish or defeat the purpose of building it in the first place.

So that brings us to the end of this lesson. Let's take a look at our objectives to see how we did. Now that you've seen the lesson, are you able to identify today's key terms?

Can you explain how architecture is a form of symbolism? And can you explain why some works of architecture cannot be recreated or moved to a different location, also known as site specificity? And once again, the big idea for today is that architecture of the type that we're learning about has a symbolic meaning and has inspired and been inspired by other visual arts.

Well, that's the end of the lesson today. I'd like to thank you for joining me. And I'll see you next time.

Citations

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Site Specificity

    When the relationship between a work of art or architecture is so strong that it would be impossible to move or reconstruct that object in another location.

  • Architecture

    The art or practice of designing buildings.