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Understanding the Artistic Movement

Understanding the Artistic Movement

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will explain what makes an art movement and how to understand differences between movements.

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

Today's objectives, or the things we're going to learn today are listed below. By the end the lesson today, you will be able to identify and define today's key terms, identify attributes art historians use to place works of art into specific movements, and decide how art historians can use comparison and contrast to evaluate works of art.

Today's key terms, as always, are listed in the yellow throughout the lesson. First key term is artistic movement-- a tendency or style in art involving the pursuit of a shared philosophy or goal for a finite period of time. Formal analysis is understanding works of art by consideration of their physical or formal qualities. Formal analysis often involves comparison and contrast.

Comparison and contrast-- looking at two works of art at the same time and thinking about how they're different and how they're similar. And context-- the historical, social, political, religious, or geographical situation that informs the creation of works of art.

The big idea is the common theme or thread that runs throughout the lesson. And today's big idea is that an artistic movement is a finite period of time in which works of art share stylistic characteristics and are similarly influenced by the context the artists experienced.

So what is an artistic movement? Well, in short, it is a category of art in which the works of art share similar stylistic, conceptual, and/or philosophical concerns. So why do we care?

Well, the movements help to separate the history of art into cultural and artistic trends, which, if nothing else, helps historians with organizing historical data. It also is important in associating artwork with social and cultural movements outside of art. In that, similar artistic expressions may suggest similar cultural experiences.

Now, how do art historians identify artistic movements? Well, it is a consensus among scholars or widely accepted idea based on similar influences the artists experienced, as well as broader social context, like national or regional style, the ethnicity of the artist producing the work, their language, and important historical events.

| why we care? Well, because this is where new art history blends with traditional art history, which emphasize formal analysis in connoisseurship, as well as compare and contrast. The result is a very complete method of categorising and evaluating works of art. ,

Now speaking of comparison and contrast, it's often used, or frequently used method, when evaluating works of art. In order to get a better appreciation of what makes a piece of artwork special, it helps to place it relative to another work of art, which helps to more clearly illustrate aspects of a piece of artwork by comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences.

So these two works of are by Leonardo da Vinci. The first one on the left is the Last Supper, started in 1495 and finished in 1498. And the picture on the right, or painting on the right is the Last Supper by Tintoretto, which was finished in 1594.

Now, both are from the Italian Renaissance and share the same subject matter. However, they were produced almost exactly 100 years apart. And the method by which the artists convey that subject matter is very different.

So the first work of art by Leonardo da Vinci is a great example from the middle of Renaissance. The first thing you may notice is that all the figures are facing the viewer. The mural is evenly divided down the center with six disciples on one side and six on the other. And this provides visual symmetry and helps to support the central figure of Christ.

The user's eye is also drawn to the central figure of Christ by a clever use of linear perspective. Notice how the vanishing points of the arrows converge on its head. Now, the figures are placed within a classical piece of architecture, which was a common theme at the time, regardless of the fact that the actual Jesus would have had his last supper in a much humbler setting. A few classical examples of architecture stand out, but I think the most noticeable is the coffered ceiling, similar to what you would see in ancient Roman architecture like the Pantheon.

Now, this painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto shows the same subject matter, but portrays it in a vastly different way. Notice, the setting is not in a classically-designed building, but in what looks like an Italian inn, similar to the way genre artist in Northern Europe used local settings in their paintings. He also uses a different type of linear perspective with a vanishing point, rather than dead center. And instead of using linear perspective to draw the user's eye to Christ, Tintoretto uses sharp contrast and light and dark to highlight it.

The scene is also much more active, versus the composure of da Vinci's mural. This type of dynamic painting became more and more common in the Baroque period, which followed the Renaissance in Italy.

Now, Venn diagram is when two or more circles overlap. And it's a useful tool when comparing and contrasting works of art. Each circle represents a work of art. Areas of overlap are where the artwork share.

Da Vinci's mural, we have the center vanishing point, disciples facing the viewer, the classical architecture, and the precision in composure are real evident in that piece. In Tintoretto's painting, we have an off-center vanishing point, the contrast in lighting, the regional setting-- the Italian inn where it looked like the last supper was taking place-- and there's more of a sense of action.

OK, so now that you've seen this lesson, let's take another look at our objectives to see if we met our goals for today. Are you able to identify and define today's key terms, identify attributes art historians use to place works of art into specific movements, and describe how art historians can use comparison and contrast to evaluate works of art? Once again, the big idea is the common thread or theme that runs throughout today's lesson. And today's big idea is that an artistic movement is a finite period of time in which works of art share stylistic characteristics and are similarly influenced by the context the artists experienced.

Well, it's the end the lesson today. I'd like to thank you for joining me. And I'll see you next time. Bye-bye.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Artistic Movement

    A tendency or style in art involving the pursuit of a shared philosophy or goal, for a finite period of time.

  • Formal Analysis

    Understanding works of art by consideration of their physical, or formal qualities. Formal analysis often involves comparison and contrast.

  • Comparison and Contrast

    Looking at two works of art at the same time and thinking about how they are different and how they are similar.

  • Context

    The historical, social, political, religious, or geographical situation that informs the creation of works of art.