Monday, June 27, 2011

More theory work

The following quotes are from Meaning in the visual Arts by Erwin Panofsky. On the whole this book describes ways to shift from considering images iconographically to iconologicaly and realy taking a closer look into finding the meaning in images. Some of the highlights from the book are as follows

“To perceive the relation of signification is to separate the idea of the concept to be expressed from the means of expression”
Pg. 5 Meaning in the visual arts
“But a work of art always has aesthetic value,: whether or not is serves some practical purpose, and whether it is good or bad, it demands to be experienced aesthetically…only he who simply and wholly abandon himself to the object of his perception will experience it aesthetically…Those man-made objects which do not demand to be experienced aesthetically, are commonly called “practical,” and may be divided into two classes: vehicles of communication, and tools or apparatuses. A vehicle of communication is “intended” to transmit a concept. A tool or apparatus is “intended” to fulfill a function (which function, in turn, may be the production or transmission of communications”
Pgs.11-12 Meaning in the visual arts
“However, the element of “form” is present in every object without exception, for every object consists of matter and form, and there is no way of determining with scientific precision to what extent, in a given case, this element of form bears the emphasis. Therefore one cannot, and should not, attempt to define the precise moment at which a vehicle of communication or an apparatus begins to be a work of art…Where the sphere of practical objects ends, and that of “art” begins, depends, then, on the “intention” of the creators. This “intention” cannot be absolutely determined in the first place, “intentions” are, per se, incapable of being defined with scientific precision. In the second place, the intentions” of those who produce objects are conditioned by the standards of their period and environment. Classical taste demanded that private letters, legal speeches and the shields of heroes should be “artistic” ( with the possible result of what might be called fake beauty), while modern taste demands that architecture and ash trays should be “ functional” with the possible result of what might be called fake efficiency). Finally our estimate of those “intentions” is inevitably influenced by our own attitude, which in turn depends on our individual experiences as well as on our historical situation.”
Pgs.12-13 Meaning in the visual arts
“…the more the proportion of emphasis on “idea” and “form” approaches a state of equilibrium, the more eloquently will the work reveal what is called “content”. Content, as opposed to subject matter, may be described in the words of Peirce as that which a work betrays but does not parade. It is the basic attitude of a nation, a period, a class, a religious or philosophical persuasion—all this unconsciously qualified by one personality, and condensed into one work. It is obvious that such an involuntary revelation will be obscured in proportion as either one of the two elements, idea or form, is voluntarily emphasized or suppressed…”
Pgs.13-14 Meaning in the visual arts
“ For it is obvious that historians of philosophy or sculpture are concerned with books and statues not in so far as these books and sculptures exist materially, but in so far as they have a meaning. And it is equally obvious that this meaning can only be apprehended by re-producing, and thereby, quite literally, “realizing,” the thoughts that are expressed in the books and the artistic conceptions that manifest themselves in the statues. Thus the art historian subjects his “material” to a rational archaeological analysis at times as meticulously exact, comprehensive and involved as any physical or astronomical research. But he constitutes his “ material” by means of an intuitive aesthetic re-creation, including the perception and appraisal of “ quality,” just as any “ordinary” person does when he or she looks at a picture or listens to a symphony…Intuitive aesthetic recreation and archaeological research are interconnected so as to form, again, what we have called “organic situation”…Anyone confronted with a work of art, whether aesthetically re-creating or rationally investigating it, is affected by its three constituents: materialized from, idea ( that is, in the plastic arts, subject matter) and content…it is the unity of those three elements which is realized in the aesthetic experience, and all of them enter into what is called aesthetic enjoyment of art.”
Pg. 16 Meaning in the visual arts
“The re-creative experience of a work of art depends, therefore, not only on the natural sensitivity and the visual training of the spectator, but also on his cultural equipment. There is no such thing as an entirely “na├»ve” beholder.”
Pg.16 Meaning in the visual arts.

This quote may prove helpful in finding a way to blend in my humanities emphasis into the research

“A subtle difference exists in Latin between scientia and erudition, and in English between knowledge and learning. Scientia and knowledge, denoting a mental possession rather than a mental process, can be identified with the natural sciences, erudition and learning, denoting a process rather than a possession, with the humanities. The ideal aim of science would seem to be something like mastery, that of the humanities something like wisdom”

Pgf.25 Meaning in the visual arts.
“ Iconography is that branch of the history of art which concerns itself with the subject matter or meaning of works of art, as opposed to their form.”
Pg.26 Meaning in the visual arts
“ factual meaning; it is apprehended by simply identifying certain visible forms with certain objects known to me from practical experience, and by identifying the chang in their relations with certain actions or events”
Pg.26 Meaning in the visual arts

Thoughts about the next quote :
Art has meaning that each works attempts to convey to the viewer but it is up to us to decide or consider what the meaning is and it will be different, unique to each person who engages in deriving or interpreting this meaning found in our explainations of the experience we have in viewing art and it is all wrapped up in our human experience, whether or not we wish to find this meaning is irrelevant--it exists for the trained or untrained eye. Art is all around us what then do we make of it, and how carefully do we look or stop to consider the art?

“Both the factual and the expressional meaning may be classified together: they constitute the class of primary or natural meanings. When I interpret the lifting of a hat as a polite greeting, I recognize in it a meaning which may be called secondary or conventional, it differs from the primary or natural one in that it is intelligible instead of being sensible, and in that it has been consciously imparted to the practical action by which it is conveyed.”
Pg.27Meaning in the visual arts

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