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3 Tutorials that teach The Importance of Vision and Visual Culture
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The Importance of Vision and Visual Culture

The Importance of Vision and Visual Culture

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explore the importance of vision and visual culture as a way of understanding the importance of studying art history.

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Tutorial

Vision and Visual Culture

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hello, I'd like to welcome you this episode of Exploring Art History With Ian. My name is Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about the importance of vision and visual culture. As you're watching the video feel free to pause and move forward or rewind as many times as you feel is necessary. As soon as you're ready we can begin.

Today's objectives-- or the things you are going to learn today-- are listed below. By the end of the lesson today you will be able to identify and define today's key terms, explain how visual communication is nonverbal and the influence it can have on an individual who isn't consciously aware of their thinking, and explain how artistry aids in the development of critical thinking skills.

The key terms, as always, are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. The first key term is visual culture, a field of academic study that emphasizes the cultural meaning of a work of art rather than its aesthetic value. Critical thinking, purposeful reflective judgment that involves an investigation of assumptions and hidden values and the careful evaluation of evidence. Advertising is the act, or profession, of calling attention to one's products and services through paid announcements in print and other communications media. And mass culture, the set of ideas and values developed through exposure to the same broadcast print and internet media outlets.

The big idea is the common theme or thread that runs throughout the lesson. And today's big ideas is that visual communication is nonverbal. And critical thinking skills allow an individual to probe deeper into the meaning associated with works of art.

So why do we care about visual communication? Well to begin with it's a form of nonverbal communication, which can also be a form of nonverbal persuasion whether it's intended or not. And because it functions on a subconscious level the effects can sometimes be quite persuasive, in fact, super persuasive. And advertisers, marketers, and propagandists know this. Now visual propaganda is not a key term today. But, just to let you know what it is, it's a way people trying to influence others by projecting their belief systems on others through pictures or film. And the Nazis were notorious for this, or well known for their use of political and ideological propaganda.

So these advertisers, marketers, and propagandists rely on snap judgments. Because pictures can be very persuasive simply because visual images tend to stick in people's minds. And people are quick to make judgments on what they see. Without thinking through it these judgments can become ingrained as facts without people even realizing it. For example, what is your first thought of when you see a person wearing a turban? Well think about that. Because we'll come back to that question in a moment.

Now here's some examples of propaganda. This type of visual persuasion has existed throughout time because it's very effective. And once the image takes hold it's very difficult to disassociate it with the idea that it's connected to. Now this first example is from World War I. It's a piece of war propaganda showing the Kaiser of Germany devouring the planet. Kind of odd.

And here's another piece of Nazi propaganda showing the dangers of the Bolshevik Revolution, or the revolution that was occurring in Russia.

And this is a piece of fine art propaganda, I guess you could call it. And this is of King Louis the Sun King, as he was known King Louis of France. And its a painting of him as the god Jupiter.

And this is another piece of propaganda from 15th century Europe showing the Ottomans, or the Ottoman Turks, in a very negative light. I don't think you can get much more negative than that, slaughtering children.

So you can see these are examples of propaganda. Propaganda has existed as long as there's been politics and art work to go along with it. Visual propaganda has existed in many different forms.

So how can you fight the power of persuasion? Well remember the question about the turban I asked you before. Here's an example of the power that visual images hold. After the attacks of 9/11 images of the Taliban-- and in particular Osama Bin Laden-- were everywhere. And attacks on male members of the Sikh religion whose adherents are required to wear a turban skyrocketed following 9/11. It was very sad. And yet Sikhs are a religion centered in India, not in the Middle East, and have no known group affiliation with the Taliban or terrorism at all. Yet people associated the turban with the Taliban and in turn terrorism in general.

So the image of the gentleman on the right is of a Sikh. So why do we care? Well, other than the fact that we're good human beings, this is an example of how powerful images can be and how strong the associations with information can be whether that information is true or false. Art history teaches people how to engage critically with images we encounter on a daily basis and makes a person more consciously aware of the visual information that's being interpreted.

So now that we've seen the lesson let's take another look at our objectives to see if we met our goals for today. Now that you've seen the lesson are you able to identify and define today's key terms, explain how visual communication is nonverbal and the influence it have on an individual who isn't consciously aware of their thinking, and explain how art history aids in the development of critical thinking skills?

And once again, the big idea, or common thread throughout this lesson, is that visual communication is nonverbal. And critical thinking skills allow an individual to probe deeper into the meaning associated with works of art.

So that's it for this lesson. I'd like to thank you for joining me. And I'll see you next time.

Vision and Visual Culture

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Visual Culture

    A field of academic study that emphasizes the cultural meaning of a work of art rather than its aesthetic value.

  • Critical Thinking

    Purposeful reflective judgment that involves an investigation of assumptions and hidden values, and the careful evaluation of evidence.

  • Advertising

    The act or profession of calling attention to one’s products and services through paid announcements in print and other communications media.

  • Mass Culture

    The set of ideas and values developed through exposure to the same broadcast, print, and internet media outlets.