• This course covers the study of Visual Arts,
Performing Arts, Cinema, and Literature.
• It will expose students to Classical and
contemporary artists, their works, and the
environment in which they lived, which
inspired them to create.
• The lectures will be supplemented by visits to
galleries, museums, studios, and the cinema
and other areas relevant to the subject.
• To understand the meaning and importance
of the art
• To identify and appreciate the different forms
and aspects of art through a study of various
elements, mediums, and techniques used in
the creation of art
• To enhance enjoyment of the arts particularly
local artists and those from the students’ own
HUMANITIES: What is it?
• The term Humanities comes from
the Latin word, “humanitas”
• It generally refers to art, literature,
music, architecture, dance and the
theatre—in which human
subjectivity is emphasized and
individual expressiveness is
How important is Humanities?
• The fields of knowledge and study falling
under humanities are dedicated to the
pursuit of discovering and understanding the
nature of man.
• The humanities deal with man as a being of
purpose, of values, loves, hates, ideas and
sometimes as a seer, or prophet with divine
• The humanities aim at educating.
Major Areas of Humanities
Can you identify the following?
Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889. Oil on
canvas. Museum of Modern Art, New York.
The great Russian
novelist Leo N. Tolstoy
(1828-1910), author of
War and Peace and
developed his own
original philosophy of
art. He argues that art
is important even
Salient Points in Tolstoy’s
Definition of Art
• In order correctly to define art, it is necessary,
first of all, to cease to consider it as a means
to pleasure and to consider it as one of the
conditions of human life.
• Every work of art causes the receiver to enter
into a certain kind of relationship both with
him who produced, or is producing the art,
and with all those who, simultaneously,
previously, or subsequently, receive the same
• Speech, transmitting the thoughts and
experiences of men, serves as a means of
union among them, and art acts in a similar
• The activity of art is based on the fact that a
man, receiving through his sense of hearing or
sight another man's expression of feeling, is
capable of experiencing the emotion which
moved the man who expressed it.
• Art begins when one person, with the object
of joining another or others to himself in one
and the same a feeling, expresses that feeling
by certain external indications.
• To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once
experienced, and having evoked it in oneself,
then, by means of movements, lines, colors,
sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to
transmit that feeling that others may
experience the same feeling - this is the
activity of art.
• Art is a human activity consisting in this, that
one man consciously, by means of certain
external signs, hands on to others feelings he
has lived through, and that other people are
infected by these feelings and also experience
• All human life is filled with works of art of
every kind - from cradlesong, jest, mimicry,
the ornamentation of houses, dress, and
utensils, up to church services, buildings,
monuments, and triumphal processions. It is
all artistic activity.
Why Do We Make ART?
• Art is a vital and persistent aspect of human
• To impose order on disorder and to create
form from formlessness.
• The wish to leave behind after death
something of value by which to be
• The wish to preserve one’s likeness after
THE VALUE OF ART
• Works of art are valued not only by
artists and patrons, but also by entire
cultures. In fact, the periods of history
that we tend to identify as the high
points of human achievement are
those in which art was most highly
valued and encouraged.
• Works of art may be valued because they are
made of a precious material.
• During the Middle Ages in Europe, ancient
Greek bronze statues were not valued for their
aesthetic character, nor for what they might
have revealed about Greek culture. Instead
their value lay in the fact that they could be
melted down and reformed into weapons.
• A work of art may contain valuable material,
but that is not the primary basis on which its
quality is judged.
• Intrinsic value is not always apparent, and in
fact varies in different times and places.
• “Is it art?” is a familiar question, which
expresses the dificulty of defining “art” and of
recognizing the aesthetic value of an object.
• One important way of communicating Bible
stories and legends of the saints to a largely
illiterate population was through the
sculptures, paintings, mosaics, wall hangings,
and stained-glass windows in churches.
• Beyond its didactic function, the religious
significance of a work of art may be so great
that entire groups of people identify with the
• Our reactions to art span virtually the entire
range of human emotion. They include
pleasure, fright, amusement, avoidance, and
• One of the psychological aspects of art is its
ability to attract and repel us, and this is not
necessarily a function of whether or not we
find a particular image aesthetically pleasing.
Art is FORM
• Form means (1) elements of art (2)
the principles of design (3) medium
of the artist.
• Form, in this context, is concrete and
fairly easily described - no matter
which piece of art is under scrutiny.
Art is CONTENT
• Content is idea-based and means (1) what
the artist meant to portray, (2) what the artist
actually did portray and (3) how we react, as
individuals, to both the intended and actual
• It includes ways in which a work was
influenced - by religion, or politics, or society
in general, or even the artist's use of
hallucinogenic substances - at the time it was
• Subject is the term used for whatever is
represented in a work of art.
• The subject of the work of art answers the
question:What is it about?”
• Not all arts have subjects. Those arts are
• Painting, sculpture, the graphic arts,
literature, and the theater arts are
generally classified as representational
• Music, architecture, and many of the
functional arts are non-representational.
• The non-objective arts do not present
descriptions, stories or references to
identifiable objects or symbols.
Sources of Art Subject
–Next to animals and people and
their activities, nature as landscape
has been the common subject of
–Has been the most common
inspiration and subject matter for
Sources of Art Subject
–All art is conditioned by the historical
period in which it is created.
–Rulers like to have themselves and the
great deeds of their time perpetuated
consequently, statues and paintings of
the great are found in each civilization.
Sources of Art Subject
• GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY
–Greek and Roman mythology has been a
very important source for subjects in the
–Those arts are so well-known that they
count as a definite part of our inheritance.
–During the Renaissance period, poets,
painters, and sculptors drew largely from
Greek and Roman sources for subjects.
Sources of Art Subject
–Religion has played an enormous role in
inspiring works of visual arts, music,
architecture, and literature through ages.
–It was during the Renaissance that the
European artisans became “artists” and
conscious of their role in a way that had
never been true before.
• When objects are depicted in the way
they would normally appear in nature,
the presentation is said to be realistic.
• It attempts to present the world as it
appears to the everyday senses, and
sought to depict ordinary lives of
ordinary people without exaggeration or
• When an artist becomes so interested and
engrossed in one phase of a scene that he
does not show the subject at all as an
object reality, but only his idea of it, or his
feeling about it, this referred to as
• This is a technique of simplifying and
reorganizing objects and elements
according to the artist’s creative expression.
• In the arts, the use of symbols to concentrate
or intensify meaning, making the work more
subjective than objective.
• Symbolist painters rejected realism and
impressionism. They felt that art should not
simply depict, but should suggest ideas,
moods, and psychological states through
colour, line, and form.
• The artist’s task is not to see things but to see
through them to a significance and reality far
deeper that what is given in superficial
• The subject matter of the Symbolists becomes
increasingly esoteric and exotic, weird,
mysterious, visionary, dream-like, fantastic.
Edvard Much gives us
quite disturbing vision of
neurotic panic breaking
forth in a dreadful but
silent scream – the
scream heard within the
mind under prolonged
anxiety. He also presents
pictures of the tensions
and psychic anguish that
beset modern men and
the ultimate loneliness
that is the inescapable lot
of us all.
EDVARD MUCH, The Scream, 1893
Bright colors, mosaic-like or
enamel-like, stud the surfaces that
enwrap the voluptously somnolent
figures in the Life group, in which
intertwined images of infancy,
youth, maturity, and old age
celebrate life as boaund up with
love. The tableau of defenseless
sleep is set off against the specter
of Death, the nocturnal assassin,
who advances threateningly upon
it. The shroud of the fleshless
Death is appropriately dark as
night, only dimly decked with
funereal black crosses and
chiromantric symbols. While Life,
sated with love, sleeps, its enemy,
Death, wakes. GUSTAV KLIMT, Death And Life, 1908 and 1911
• Fauvism (fauves. “wild beasts”) is
characterised by paintings that used intensely
vivid, non-naturalistic and exuberant colours.
• The Fauves brought color to a new intensity
with startling discords of vermilion and
emerald green, cerulean blue and vivid orange
held together by sweeping brush strokes and
Derain entirely rejects the subtle
harmonies of Impressionism, so
expressive of atmospheric and
climatic conditions, if favor of a
distorted perspective emphasized
by clashing yellows, blues, greens,
and reds against the black accents
of the arches. In this way, the
Fauves freed color from its
traditional role as the description
of the local tone of an object and
helped to prepare both artists and
public for the use of color as an
expressive end in itself. In a sense,
the color became the “subject” of
The composition is an essay in the
contrast of warm and cool colors and
curving and straight lines. Although
the planes of the picture seem to
resolve into a single, flat spread,
directional lines and the variation in
the strength of color suggest a front
and back, but in the kind of contrived
spatial ambiguity. According to
Matisse: “What I am after, above all, is
expression...I am unable to distingusih
between the feeling I have for life and
the way of expressing it...The whole
arrangement of my picture is
expressive. ..everything plays a part.
Composition is the art of arranging in
a decorative manner the various
elements at the painter’s disposal for
the expression of his feelings...”
• In 1916 and 1917 – a number of artists
independently stated their disgust with the
war and life in general by making works of
nonart. This movement was early christened
Dada, a nonsense or babytalk term indicative
of the conviction that European culture had
lost any real meaning at all.
• Dada ignored aesthetics. If art was to appeal
to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend.
Hannah Hoch. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar
Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919, collage of pasted papers,
90x144 cm, Staatliche Museum, Berlin
• It emphasized and glorified themes
associated with contemporary concepts of the
future, including speed, technology, youth and
violence, and objects such as the car, the
airplane and the industrial city.
An example of Futurist architecture by Antonio
'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space', bronze sculpture
by Umberto Boccioni.1913, Museum of Modern Art (New York
• Surrealist works feature the element of
surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non
sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and
writers regard their work as an expression of
the philosophical movement first and
foremost, with the works being an artifact.
• It is based on the belief in the superior reality
of certain forms of previously neglected
associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in
the disinterested play of thought.
Dali creates his most haunting allegory of
the empty space in which time is at an
end. The barren landscape, without
horizon, drifts to infinity, lit by some
eerie, never setting sun. An amorphous
creature sleeps in the foreground,
draped with a limp watch. Another such
watch hangs from the branch of a dead
tree; yet another hangs half over the
edge of a rectangular form. The watches
are visible by ants and a fly, as if they
were decaying, orgnic life, soft and
viscous. The watch- a metallic, intricate,
and precise instrument – is
metamorphosed into an object
devourable by busy ants. We recognize
the impossible landscape and its
impossibe contents as perfectly possible
in the dream world.
SALVADOR DALI, The Peristence of Memory, 1931
The terrors of wars and pogroms is
suggested by the pitiful little figures
and the village in the background,
while resignation and hope are
expressed in the flyng angel, the
Torah scroll, and the rabbi-Christ
figure on the cross. The work is a
moving portrayal of the artist’s
feeling that faith is important in a
world of war and brutality. Although
the very free, floating in
composition- with unexpected
juxtapositions of the actual and teh
unearthly – is Surrealist in the sense
that it perpetuates the fantastic
content of a dream, the individual
symbols refer to much more than
Chagall’s personal psychic life.
MARC CHAGALL, Crucifixion, 1943
• It is an artistic style in which the artist
attempts to depict not objective reality but
rather the subjective emotions and responses
that objects and events arouse in him.
• He accomplishes his aim through distortion,
exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and
through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic
application of formal elements.
• The Impressionists sought to create the
illusion of forms bathed in light and
atmosphere. This required an intensive study
of outdoor light as the source of our
experience of color, which revealed that local
color – the actual color of the object – is
usually modified by the quality of the light in
which it is seen, by reflections from the other
objects, and by the effects produced by
• The Impressionists achieved remarkably
brilliant effects with their characteristically
short, choppy brush strokes, which so
accurately caught the vibrating quality of light.