Category Archives: Art

New Perception in Art, Through Neural Sciences Research

THE PERCEPTION OF ART

If we go to an art gallery, we react to the artwork in many ways. We may feel mildly interested, quite interested, entranced, inspired. Or we might feel bored, disinterested, mildly disturbed, upset, aggravated or even, enraged. Without knowing about how to look at art, its history, or what is behind the meaning of what we are looking at, our reactions are subject to our own personal feelings. If we had taken an art appreciation class or studied about art history, we would have a different perception; a knowledge of how the art developed and where we could place it in the timeline of art development today.

Art education– knowing art movements, timelines, developments, what motivated artists of the past personally and sociologically, will alter our perspectives and change the way we see art. For example, if we know nothing of Picasso, looking at one of his Cubist paintings may cause us shake our heads and walk away, perplexed. How could that chopped up vision of a human being be attractive and meaningful? But if we had read about Picasso during his Cubist period and knew that the colors he used were monochromatic and architectural for a reason, that Picasso was dealing with translating natural rounded forms to geometrical, flattened forms and that these images would inspire a new era of contemporary painting-then would we see Picasso’s Cubist paintings differently?

Yes. For many of my Art Appreciation students, a paradigm shift and expansion of their skills of perception occurred. And in most cases, they learned how to enjoy art within a new context of understanding: a broader visual and historical, information-rich understanding.

But now, there is additional knowledge in neuroscience that has shaken the foundation of these studies of Art Appreciation and Art History.

A NEW ART APPRECIATION

Very recently, within the last decade, the perception of art has been studied by scientists and, especially, neuroscientists, that look at how neurons in our brains respond to various stimuli, including the visual, and especially, art.

These studies are just surfacing to the public through various publications, and altering our ideas of how we perceive art. Those of use who were linked to their own personal perceptions of art, as well as those (like me) who have studied and taught the subjects of Art History and Art Appreciation, have been altered indelibly by these new neuroscience studies.

Is this research making Art Appreciation and Art History so very different? Yes. From a neuroscientist’s point of view, we are, indeed, hard wired in our brains for seeing things in a certain way and the art we have manufactured for thousands of years, has been gauged to our neural response to the images we have created.

The ultimate realization of this new neuroscience research is that the global art market has its roots in this understanding-not that anyone selling art since the Jurassic has gauged their sales on neuroscience, but has been inadvertently in line with the knowledge that some visual images appeal more than others. How many other global markets can begin to equate and calculate their sales according to this new technology?

WHAT IS NEUROAESTHETICS?

A new and interesting science is developing in the perception of art why we like what we see, and how the art market responds to our visual desires. Neuroaesthetics, is a new definition of perception which V.S. Ramachandran, a noted neuroscientist, writes about in his recent book, “The Tell-Tale Brain,” As a scientist researching many areas of neuroscience, he says, “Science tells us we are merely beasts, but we don’t feel like that. We feel like angels trapped inside the bodies of beasts, forever craving transcendence.” And he adds, this is the human predicament in a nutshell. He responds to our need for a higher being and sees that our ancient profile as human beings gives evidence to this.

Ramachandran offers a new perception on what makes art, why we like what we see and what the art market uses to develop the value of artistic work. He establishes a premise that looks at how we see art in a new way. Through his research in brain-response situations, he has developed a profile of how and why art is attractive to us.

WHAT ARE MIRROR NEURONS?

Mirror neurons in our human brains are unique in that we can empathsize (feel the way they do) with our fellow humans in a way that animals or any other species can’t. In the development of our brains over thousands of years, we have become aware of not only ourselves as an image we keep in our brains (the knowledge and image of self) but also how we can manufacture a trail of history, make our own personal data album and autobiography that we can play back for our reference to relive tender memories, anxious moments, challenging situations, and terrible, sad events. Because we are knowing our own selves, we can record our personal histories in great detail in our brains and use these historical memories as resources for our development (or demise, if we get depressed or chronically affected by our negative past.)

A NEW PERCEPTION OF ART

V.S. Ramachandran’s research and creation of neuroaesthetics has entered the world of Art History and Art Appreciation and is changing the perspective of art history.. Prior to his studies, art historical research, which became the study and research of Art History, was established in the early 19th century. A profile and timeline of art development was developed which gave credible history to the development of painting, and sculpture basically in the Western world.

These studies gave a picture to the academic community of the development of art from the cave paintings to contemporary art in Europe and America. In the American academic world, Art History 101, the child of Art History development and has been the prime educational subject on the history of art until the present.

THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY

This Art History outline presently taught in most academic environments, rich with documentation, often has a narrow view of historical creative endeavor in that it is not global and so to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding world, the study of Art History has to be updated to include many the creative cultures of many other civilizations including Africa, Indonesia, Asia, China, Russia and beyond.

The view from the science community echoes an interest and need for many areas of study to go ahead into the future. What studies in neuroscience define for us is our global link as humans hard wired to see our creative development in a new and different way. For all of our accumulated wealth in the sciences, the link to other cultural resources has been a detriment to our development as a nation and a global linking with other cultures. Science has always had its strengths in objectivity, observation and empirical judgment. Within an ever-expanding world of knowledge, it is necessary for every source of research to spread unrestricted into other sources so that the total spectrum of knowledge will be enriched and therefore, benefit the global community.

Clip Art Includes Royalty Background

Clip Art has been used in various forms since the middle of the last century. “Spot Illustrators” were hired by print publications, ad agencies, and so forth in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s and into the 1980’s to create quick, black and white visuals to accompany advertisements, articles, forums, short stories and other literary works that needed a graphic element to help draw the reader in.

The earliest and most popular medium used to create clip art was pen and ink. Pen and ink or “Line Art” drawings, were created just as the name implies, with a dip or “nib” pen and an inkwell filled with black ink. The Artist, let’s call him “Art Guy”, would dip his pen into the inkwell, tap the surplus of ink on the rim of the bottle and using a steady hand, begin to draw his or her illustration. A high quality stock paper with a smooth finish, which included sometimes vellum, was and still is the choice of most artists. Some artists preferred to draw their subject matter with a pencil first to create a “template” in which to apply the ink on top of.

Once the illustration was complete, it was left to dry on its own. To dry the ink more quickly, some artists used “Pounce” which is a fine powder sprinkled sparingly over the wet illustration. Pounce powder can be created using a variety of materials including sand, soapstone, talc and even finely ground salt. Pounce is also used by calligraphers.

Once the illustration was dry, it was given to the Stat Camera operator and photographed in a darkroom to create film from the camera-ready artwork. Shaded or “half tone” black and white images could be created from the all-black art using various dot pattern filters and then transferred to paper. Using this process, endless copies of the original artwork could be created, much like the electronic copy machines invented many decades later. The paper copies were then trimmed and “cut to size” in preparation for the publication process and then “Art Guy” headed to the production room to do his cool “layout” thing!

“Layouts” were created by combining text and images in a pleasing manner and adhering the various objects to ruled paper. The rules helped the production artist align the images both horizontally and vertically. Printed using blue ink, the rules could not be photographed, thereby rendering the rules invisible in the final printed publication. Adhering the text and images to the ruled paper was accomplished by using a variety of methods. Household glues were a common choice, but in the 1940’s bees wax became popular. Electronic wax machines were plugged in to an outlet and allowed to warm up. Blocks of bees wax were inserted into a warming tank inside the machine and the heat of the tank melted the wax into liquid. A mechanism on top of the machine allowed the user to feed the paper clip art into one end “dry” and then retrieve the art from the other end “waxed”. The machine only waxed one side of the paper, allowing the user to fix the image onto the layout paper using a burnishing tool and rubber roller. Text was applied using the same process. The completed layout was then taken to the darkroom where it was shot with a camera and a film negative created. A short process later and the film negative became a plate “positive” ready for offset printing.

As the publication industry progressed, Graphic Artists and Graphic Designers were finding that it was easier to reuse the preexisting images they had already shot and prepped for the previous week’s publication. So, rather than drawing the same illustrations over and over again, they recycled the old Line Art… and voila! Production Clip Art was born and sadly “Art Guy” was out of a job!

Quickly, Publication House libraries became overflowing with thousands and thousands of clipped images. Over the next few decades, stockpiles of images began to overrun art departments everywhere. Then, thankfully in the early 1980’s, personal computers and the “digital age” saved the industry. Now, using a futuristic invention called a “scanner”, a printed clip image could be placed on a scanning tray and converted to digital X’s and O’s and stored on a computer’s hard drive for easy reference! To someone who isn’t familiar with the industry, this doesn’t sound like an exciting historical advancement, but speaking personally from both the dark room Camera Operator side and as a seasoned illustrator or “Art Guy” who cut his teeth in the advertising industry in the early 80’s, scanners were a gift from God! Scanning images actually became a full time job at some companies, and pow! Just like that, “Art Guy” became “Scanner Man!”

Soon everyone was using clip art and unfortunately Spot Illustrators and Freelance Artists (like myself), who previously enjoyed a huge niche market, became obsolete. Hundreds of publication houses and digital service companies jumped on the digital (and printed) clip art bandwagons. With luck, many of those unemployed spot illustrators that I just referred to, found a new niche, provided they took the new computer medium under their wing. If you were willing to give up your pen and inkwell and trade them in for a personal computer, you had a good chance of saving your livelihood. Otherwise, you went the way of the dinosaurs.

As years progressed, the entire process became less “hands on” and more production-oriented. Let me explain. The first stage of creating digital art would go something like this. An Artist would draw an image using black ink only. He (or she) would then take the image and lay it face down on a scanner. Using scanning software, the artist would choose specific settings including Resolution, Scale and so forth and then “scan” the image, thereby creating a digitally formatted file. The Artist could choose which file format best met their needs to produce the end product. The most common file formats for Line Art at the time were.bmp (bitmap), or.pic (short for PICtor format). As scanned photos became more popular as clip art, file formats such as.tiff (Tagged Image File Format) and.jpg (or.jpeg) became more popular. Soon the world wide web came into being thereby creating a huge need for smaller resolution files that downloaded more quickly and hence the.gif (Graphics Interface Format) and.jpg files became the norm for that medium. Both file formats were considered raster files, or rather files based on a dot matrix data structure, and the resolution could be reduced to 72 dpi (Dots Per Inch) and still appear clean and crisp by the web user. And yes, now “Scanner Man” is given a new job title and now becomes “Production Guy!”

As the years progressed, Vector files (or files based on mathematical expressions) of which the popular file format.eps (short for Encapsulated PostScript) became the most widely used format by Printers and Publication Houses due to the fact that.eps files could be enlarged or decreased in scale without losing resolution or the “crispness” of the image. The entire industry took a left turn. To this day,.eps files are still the industry-standard clip art format.

Let’s discuss for a moment how an.eps file is created. Much like creating a.jpg or.tiff file as described previously, the “hard copy” line art is scanned using scanning software, but instead of creating a file with “medium” resolution of perhaps 150 dpi, the artist chooses the most optimum resolution possible. The trick is to create a high resolution raster file that doesn’t take up all of the remaining space on your hard drive! The larger the file, the more data information, the better the quality. Here’s why more information is key. Once the raster file is created, the artist then imports that raster (dot matrix) file, created with dots, and imports it into a vector file conversion program that turns that file into clean, crisp vectors. Bam! Another “not so creative” job given to “Production Guy!” Soon at the larger Ad Agencies and Publications Houses, artists who were once hired to draw original images, spent the bulk of their day converting hard copy, printed clip art catalogs into digital vector files for the computer geeks in the art department! In the beginning, the process to convert a few scanned images into vectors could take up to several hours. Now, most industry-standard graphic software programs have vector conversion tools “built in” and the entire process can be executed in minutes or even seconds. So much for “Production Guy’s” job. With the advent of new Graphic Design software, his position became obsolete as well.

But, don’t feel bad for “Production Guy”, over the past few years those in creative fields have become tired of seeing the “same old, same old” and “Production Guy” has come full circle. Having played all of the roles we’ve discussed previously, old “Art Guy” (me) and other Freelance Artists are enjoying a Renaissance of sort and larger companies looking for hip and trendy, cutting edge spot illustrations are putting us back to work! But don’t worry, the old “tried and true” clip art images have their place secured in the “royalty free” clip art market. Let’s discuss the term “royalty free” next.

As stock clip art companies and font houses grew and grew, they found that some images and fonts consistently sold better than others. Of course the first thought that comes to any true businessman or entrepreneur is, “How do I make money on these “premium” images?” The answer of course, charge a “premium” price for those images that sell better than others. The rest of the “stock clip art” images became stepping boards to up-sell the premium gallery files. Premiums were placed on clip art images that had more detail, consisted of a more interesting subject matter or were just more unique and stood out from the rest of the pack. Large Background, Frame or Border files with more detail were priced higher than the smaller spot illustrations. Holiday-specific stock illustrations with themes such as Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Easter along with illustrations generating a higher demand or interest, were priced above more common everyday images. In a nutshell, stock illustration companies created their own “market demand” for literally any image or image set they chose. For a time, this “scheme” worked, and to this day on a smaller level, it still does. Those with money will always be able to afford to pay a premium. But, what about the “little guy” who couldn’t afford the premiums? The smell of “revolution” was in the air!

With the crash of the U.S. economy soon after 9/11, large clip art houses who relied on the costly premiums that had taken advantage of their loyal customer base for years previously, took a beating in the market and as a result, smaller clip art companies started to sprout up. Old Spot Illustrators like myself, who had saved their galleries upon galleries of dusty old clip art images got the idea of giving the larger clip art companies some competition by offering “Royalty Free” images, or images with NO PREMIUMS! Guess what? It worked! Royalty Free images and collections became the norm (again). Art Directors and Graphic Designers who once bowed down before the huge stock clip art agencies woke up and smelled the coffee a brewin’! It was time for a change in the industry and the change had come. No longer were you tied to using the same “boiler plate” images offered by perhaps five or six giant stock art companies.

Virtual Tour of the World’s Great Art Museum

Would you like to take a tour of the major art museums of the world for free (except for the cost of your internet service)? To discover, in the words of art historian Andre Malraux, a “museum without walls,” from New York to Seoul, Paris to Moscow, Amsterdam to Buenos Aires, where you can explore countless paintings, sculptures, photography, decorative arts, and other media guided by art experts?

For today art museums, from the oldest institutions to 21st century art collections, are increasingly investing their time and creativity in developing websites for virtual visitors like you.

Here is a summary of the variety of art museum websites available to you.

THE GOOGLE ART PROJECT. Since February 2011, the Google Art Project has been providing access online to art museums across the globe, expanding from 17 to more than 180 (and counting) sites. The Art Gallery of South Australia, Istanbul Museum of Art, and the Phillips Collection are just a few of the recent additions.

SUPER MUSEUMS. The Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Prado and the State Hermitage Museum represent just a few of the “mega” museums. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds thousands of works of art in a variety of media, spanning centuries of art history, from ancient Egypt to the modern period. Its galleries display European, American, African, Asian, and Oceanic art. In addition, the museum exhibits special collections of costumes, furniture, armor, and musical instruments.

Super museum websites often offer extensive online collections with colorful images and detailed descriptions. Current exhibitions are also highlighted with information on past and upcoming shows. In addition, educational and interactive opportunities are available with special features such as videos, podcasts, blogs, social media, and virtual tours.

Google “list of most visited art museums in the world” to find more super museums.

A MUSEUM OF ONE’S OWN. Are you a fan of Van Gogh? The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of his works in the world. Its website is an excellent resource for Van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters as well as providing a chronicle of the major periods of his career. Or you might check out the websites of other museums dedicated to one artist such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Edvard Munch, Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, and Norman Rockwell.

SPECIALTY MUSEUMS. Some museums focus mainly on one style or period of art. You might investigate the websites of the three unique museums below.

Impressionist Treasures. The Musee d’Orsay, located in a remodeled Beaux Arts train station in Paris, is THE museum for Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, unrivaled in the number and quality of its works. Its unique website showcases more than 800 masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rodin, and a long list of other leading artists of this period.

The Genius of Italy. Florence was one of the birthplaces of the Renaissance and its Uffizi Gallery holds the most comprehensive collection of that artistic movement (including Botticelli’s famed Birth of Venus and Primavera). And you can browse through almost every gallery on the Google Art Project.

Inside the Acropolis. The new Acropolis Museum (just opened in 2009) displays probably the most beautiful sculptures in Western art; experience them in virtual reality through both the museum website and the Google Art Project.

MASTER COLLECTORS. Discover the best of the great collectors and their visions of art on the websites of the following art museums: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a palace of art built by American heiress Gardner in her hometown of Boston; the J. Paul Getty Museum that introduces you to the priceless collections of the oil billionaire at two sites, the Los Angeles center and the Getty Villa decorated with ancient Greek and Roman art in Malibu; and The Frick Collection, the elegant Fifth Avenue mansion of 19th century mogul, Henry Clay Frick, with galleries of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other famed European artists.

MUSEUMS, MUSEUMS, AND MORE MUSEUMS. When the first Guggenheim Museum, designed by architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright, finally opened in New York City in 1959, its founder Solomon R. Guggenheim had been dead a decade. Could he have envisioned that four more art museums with his family name would someday be in Venice (1980), Berlin (1997), Bilbao, Spain (1997), and Abu Dhabi (planned completion 2017)? Take a look at the New York, Venice and Bilbao Guggenheim museum websites; each one provides an overview of its collection plus images of the distinctive architecture of its building.

Make Art By Loving It

I have been recently thinking about the idea of art as being defined by the conveyance of strong or specific emotion as opposed to being created with simple “loving care.” Are these ideas in opposition or in agreement?

There has been the argument that true art should convey or inspire emotion. After all, it was Cezanne, the father of Modern art, who once famously stated, “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” Tolstoy took up this refrain with his book “What is Art.” In it he states, “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.”1 Tolstoy attempted to broaden the idea of what art is. He felt that the concept of art covered a range of human experiences that directly transmits an emotion from the artist to the audience. Tolstoy’s example was the story of a boy who has a frightening experience with a wolf and then relates the story to an audience, filling the audience with the same fear that he felt. For Tolstoy, this is the essence of art. The message is clear and expresses a specific emotion. This would then seem to imply that art which does not evoke feelings/emotions is not art. Can this be true?

I am thinking of the Greeks who chose to imitate nature with their sculptures. If you look at early Greek sculpture from the Archaic era, you notice the works are not full of emotion. The expressions are flat and the stances are stiff. Is this then not art? Is it simply to be categorized as craft or artifact? What of a well constructed hand thrown burl bowl? Is it so hard to imagine and describe this work as a piece of art? The same could be said of a fine handmade chair or a blown glass vase or even a pleasant landscape painting. None of these things seem to convey or express great emotion, but neither are they simply pretty objects. There is more to them than that. When done well, they call to us and beckon us towards a greater beauty that resides within them. I may not feel passion or rage, jealousy, love, or any other definable emotion when viewing such works, but my eyes do linger on the curves, textures, and other visual elements in order to experience their beauty. Often, in doing so, I am able to connect with the creator of the work and experience a sense of humanity in a way that I don’t when viewing other, more mundane things. Despite a certain lack of emotion within the work, I feel certain I am nonetheless experiencing art.

I submit that for an object or thing to be called art, it need not express a specific strong emotion, as Tolstoy would have us believe. Rather, objects or things that are to be considered art may exhibit two qualities to earn that title. That is, the quality of conveying a sense of being done “with loving care” and the quality of having been completed with the intent to create art. If the work follows such criteria, a more subtle form of emotion is transmitted to the work.

We are all familiar with the term, “done with loving care.” It conveys a sense of having completed an action with deliberation or concentration beyond the ordinary. It denotes a level of presence, concern and craftsmanship by the person performing the operation that is beyond simply that of attempting to finish a task. A parent may prepare a soup for the family dinner. A gardener may tend to a bed, or a sculptor may carve a piece of stone, all with loving care. In doing so, the human spirit is transmitted through the action and into the thing being acted upon. The fact of that transmission is that it can be witnessed and experienced by those who come upon the finished work. The soup contains a flavorful quality and beauty that is savored by the family. The garden acquires a peaceful aspect to it, and the vegetables grow well. The sculpture holds within it a sense of form, texture, and line that the gaze lingers upon and calls to the viewer to engage it.

Of course, cooking a soup or gardening is not the same as creating a piece of art. One may say the soup tastes wonderful or the garden is very pretty, but one would not, generally, say that either are works of art (although I do not rule out that either could be considered art under the proper circumstances). This is where intent comes into play. Intent is the desire and purpose in making a work of art, or rather to make something that can stand alone as a beautiful creation. It is the deliberate actions taken to make art. For example, a wood carver when creating a bowl intends to create a beautiful bowl and to create it with as much beauty as he is able. The carver shapes the bowl and decorates it with loving care along with the intent of creating a work that can stand alone as a beautiful object. Thus, when we see the finished work, our eyes linger on it, and we feel a sense of wellbeing in doing so. We relate to the bowl beyond its utilitarian purpose and see it as art. We are able to sense the artist’s loving care and his intent.

This leads back to Cezanne’s statement, “A work of art that does not begin in emotion is not art.” What does it mean to both create a work with loving care as well as with the intent to create art? Is that not the expression of emotion? The term, “with loving care,” assumes that love is part of the activity, and love, after all, is certainly an emotion among other things. An artist may have love for his materials or his subject. He may find that, in working with his hands, he becomes more aware of himself or his humanity. This type of emotion, however, is subtle, and the word “love” in this sense is not so easily classified. Love in this instance is not the same as the love we have for a spouse, nor is it the love we have for a child. Neither is it the all-fulfilling love one feels from a religious perspective. This love is a quieter emotion. Perhaps the best way to describe it is as the quiet joy of creating. The making of art often requires repetitive movements and is an absorbing experience. It generally requires a calm and thoughtful mind. I myself feel at peace when making art. It becomes a quiet and meditative moment in an otherwise busy day. That quiet joy, however, is emotion, and, as stated above, the act of creating with this sense of loving care transmits itself into the thing being created. One could then say that the Greek Kouros, the wooden bowl, the handmade chair, the vase, and the painting did all begin with emotion. In being present while working and investing the work with loving care, one is working with emotion, and perhaps, after all, it is that aspect which we are responding to when a work calls to us as art.

All About Fine Arts

The artists later formed their own group, the Society for Traveling and Exhibiting Art. In the late 1800’s, conflict became evident between three art styles, idealism, classicism and Ideological realism. Realism then took center stage up until the late 1900’s. This group would later dedicate their energies to populist themes set in realism.

Realism is a painting style that encompasses nature in its natural form. Nature is painted as it is with no objectivity to the stroke of the brush. It is a somewhat conservative art style. The first art paintings depicted in realism were dominated in themes based on the Russian Clergy, landscape and Russian peasantry.

18th Century Art: Ideological Realism

The Society for Traveling and Exhibiting Art Organization was known as Peredvizhniki in Russian language. It translates to itinerants or travelers in English. Peredvizhniki was the movement that caused the Russian art to follow realism from the mid eighteen century up to early 1900. Their goal was to enhance social reform and promote national consciousness.

Other famous artists that enhanced realism include Isaak Levitan, Mikhail Vrubel, Ivan Aivazovsky, Samuel Adlivankin, Abram Arkhipov, Alexey Venetsianov amongst many other artists. These artists would paint portraits and nature in its true form. The kind of art produced was inspired by everyday life and its occurrences. Some famous paintings of the1800’s include “A Kolkhoz Celebration”, “The Blue Expanse”, “The Year of 1918 in Petrograd” and “Stalin and Voroshirov in the Kremlin” amongst other paintings.

19th Century Art: Romanticism and Neoclassicism Art Styles

One artist in particular had a massive impact on Western European influenced art styles restrictions. He helped overturn realism styles and allow appreciation for romanticism and neoclassic styles. He did the famous painting “The Last Day of Pompeii”. His name was Karl Briullov, a master painter of fine art. The painting was done in a neoclassical and Romanticism style.

19th Century Art: The Slavic Revival

The Slavic revival period lasted throughout the late 19th Century. This was a period of revival in Russian national heritage with art acquiring a medieval nature that best represented the Russian culture and way of life. It reintroduced Ideological realism with more symbolism and beauty in the paintings. One noteworthy painter during this period was Victor Vasnetsov. Vasnetsov painted Russia in the Kievan History.

21st Century Art: A glimpse into Russian Contemporary Art

Contemporary art embraces all things objective. It is not subject to natural rules and goes beyond imagination. It may use abstract objects to portray life and use living things to depict modernization. Contemporary art is modern in all sense of the word. It was born in Russia out of personalizing art and moving away from Stalin’s norms and the soviet culture. During the reign of Stalin, contemporary art was seen as an act of defiance.

When Mikhail Gorbachev came into power, the rules changed and contemporary art could be publicly exhibited. He granted artists their freedom and removed all limitations placed by Stalin’s government. The aesthetic gap that had previously divided non-conformists and conformists of art disappeared and both worlds merged their art to create a combined theme of modern art.

Contemporary art embraces iconography. This is iconic painting, which has long been in historic art but has been modified to include portraiture fused with spiritual life and mystic tendencies. It ultimately brings art to a completely new level of pluralistic styles that have fused into one major style, the contemporary art style. One example of contemporary art is George Skripnichenko’s painting titled “A Man is the Eyes Good” displayed in the Museum of Contemporary Russian Art.

Mogul School Always Have a Great Influence With Indian Art

The fact that India has always been well connected to the outside world has also meant that Indian fine art has been influenced by the cultures of other lands, and this has simply served to enrich the art even further.

Indian Paintings a Fusion of Different Cultures

The art of India depicts their ancient heritage, medieval times, British rule, Mughal rule, progressive art as well as contemporary art, and in fact the very earliest recorded art of India originated from a religious Hindu background, to be replaced later by Buddhist art. Indian paintings can be anything from early civilizations to the present day; and today the art form is a fusion of different cultures and traditions. Art in India has also been inspired by spiritualism and mystical relationships between man and god, and the artists of India have relied on religious scriptures to draw inspiration, making use of water colors, charcoal as well as vegetable dyes.

Mogul Painters Make Use of Native Materials

In 1550 the Indian subcontinent was divided between Muslim and Hindu kingdoms and the Moguls established a new dynasty, coming from the mountains, north of the Indus River valley. One of the purposes of their art was to draw attention to the king and glorify his deeds, and they made good use of native materials in their works of art. Good art symbolized the prosperity of many an empire in ancient India. Art was an extension of their tribute and respect to the king, and the artwork of Hindu kings depicts scenes from Ramayan and Mahabharat.

The founder of the Moguls was Babur. Persian painting had become academic, it excelled in skill of brush work and mastery of color, but it lacked spiritual energy and vitality and it had lost touch with life. India has a tradition of vital painting, especially in the Rajput states and in the Deccan, and the king, Abkar, changed the course of development of art with the founding of his new religion which had many foreign elements.

The Origins of Mogul Art

Mogul art had its real beginnings during the reign of Akbar (1556) and he wanted to accurately record the events of his reign. He appreciated the realism in Europe engravings and paintings, steering his painters towards greater naturalism and encouraging the use of modeling and of European perspective in landscape.

Realism and strong colors are the characteristics of the Mogul school of miniature painters. Mogul painters excelled in portraiture of animals and people and leaned towards an excessive idealization and to an interest in lighting. Glass work and ceramics also flourished under the Moguls, and carpets were also made. The Mogul invaders attracted some of the best 16th century painters in India to their courts.

Rajasthani Art

A striking feature of Rajasthani art is an intensity of feelings and emotions with architecture usually in the background to create some perspective. The Rajput school takes pride of place among the local styles, as the Rajput princes were more closely linked than any others with the Mogul court. Many of their artists worked for the court, and the subjects illustrated by the Rajput painters were never taken from Moslem court life but depicted a number of themes, events, Krishna’s life, humans and landscapes, and humans.

An Increasing Interest in the Art of Indians

Today many Indian artists are producing excellent works of art and exhibiting them overseas. Of course the uniqueness of this art is its rich cultural heritage, and today you keep hearing of how art by Indians is fetching a fortune. Today there has also been an increasing interest in art magazines like Art India and Indian Contemporary Art Journal among others. Excavations of art in India has shown that the art is highly sophisticated, and artists of the 21st century use both ancient, historical styles as well as modern ideas in their art.

Interview with Art Critic

In June, 2010, Bob Pincus found himself in the center of a firestorm when the newly established editor of the San Diego Union Tribune, Jeff Light, laid off 35 jobs – including his job as Art Critic and Books Editor. Immediately after learning of this event, the San Diego art community rallied to Pincus’s side with Facebook campaigns “We Want Bob’, to community forums at the Warwick Bookstore in La Jolla where a few hundred folks gathered with arts leaders, to blogs on the Huffington Post, articles in the LA Times and more – everyone calling to reinstate Bob Pincus to his art critic position. As Pincus put it “Its’ like I died, but didn’t”. Feeling overwhelmed at the outpouring of emotion and support from the San Diego community for his plight, Pincus put the past behind him. The San Diego Union Tribune would not budge from their decision. Hugh Davies, MCASD Director, commented:

“For over 20 years, Robert Pincus has been a first-rate critic — fair, intelligent and well-informed — and he deserves great credit for the maturation of the art and museum world in San Diego. His departure from the paper is a huge loss to the visual arts community here. Support from our city’s newspaper in the form of information but, more importantly, informed criticism is vital to San Diego’s future growth and improvements as a vibrant cultural destination.”

Budget cuts continue to plague the San Diego arts community as it does in many other cities around the U.S. In fact, for the past year and a half, Pincus has been the Senior Grants and Art Writer for MCASD – and in spite of the fact that he was able to win significant grants for the museum from the NEA and the Andy Warhol Foundation, and in spite of the comments Hugh Davies made(above),he was recently laid off from his position. It is difficult to separate the career of Robert Pincus from the ever evolving changes of the art world, its institutions and challenges, and the decision makers within it. It is enlightening, however, to complete the story – and look to the trajectory of Pincus’s life and how his life-story evolved in San Diego.

To begin at the beginning, Robert Pincus was born in Connecticut and moved with his parents and sister to southern California when he was seven years old. His father, who was in the womens’ fashion and merchandising industry moved the family from San Diego to the Westwood area of Los Angeles when Pincus was 11, and that is where he spent the balance of his childhood. He commented that while his family frequented arts and cultural events, he was not initially interested in visual art – his passion was literature. A self described ‘counter culture teenager’, who loved the poetry of Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot and the music of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, he began writing poetry. At Cal State Northridge where he spent his first two years of college, an English instructor, Mrs Connelly recruited him to write for the school’s literary magazine and this began his writing career. Another English teacher introduced the idea of ‘voice’ in literature by reading stories out loud to the students. This added the dimension of the spoken word, further capturing Pincus’s imagination.

Pincus began as an English major, but was soon drawn to interdisciplinary studies and when he transferred to the University of California Irvine for his last two years of college, he changed his major to Comparative Cultures. Pincus found himself fascinated by the Avant Garde as a cultural phenomena and noted he was influenced by Professor Dickran Tashjian, who was a scholar of Dada and Surrealism and he gravitated to both English and American literature as well. He took classes about Conceptual Art and Duchamp and instructors sent the students to galleries in Los Angeles to write exhibition reviews. It was at this point that Pincus began writing for the university newspaper. He also did book reviews and for two semesters, and was the fine arts editor – later becoming the editor of the entire paper. He commented that he never intended on going into journalism. He went on to receive a BA in Comparative Cultures with a focus on literature and art history.

Before continuing on to graduate school, Pincus took one year ‘off’ and worked for a friend’s family who were in the ‘seminar’ business. He helped organize seminars, wrote brochures, and was a ‘jack of all trades’. He then attended the University of Southern California, studying for a masters degree in American Studies. He was offered a full scholarship and he taught freshman writing. He focused his masters thesis on Los Angeles and Art History and was particularly interested in artist Ed Kienholz – When he was a teenager a family friend had taken him to see a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where he was originally introduced to Kienholz’s work. After completing his masters thesis Pincus went on at USC to study for a PhD in Philosophy with a concentration in Art History and English. He commented that he had no plans to become a professional art critic – however, one of his advisors Susan Larson, suggested he write for Art Week and later for the LA Times where he became a freelance writer. He found his voice as an art writer and wrote the review for artist Mike Kelly’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. There he developed a style of writing for newspapers, focusing on the general reading audience. He continued to focus his studies on Nancy and Ed Kienholz and interviewed them many times over the years of his study for a PhD. Looking towards the end of his program at USC, Pincus was thinking about future job prospects and his friend Christopher Knight told him about an open position at the San Diego Union Tribune.

Pincus was offered the job as art critic for the Tribune and he moved to San Diego. There, he worked days at the paper and spent nights and weekends completing his dissertation. Eventually, his dissertation took the form of a book On A Scale That Competes With The World: The Art of Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990). During his twenty-five years at the Union Tribune, Pincus worked as Art Critic and Books Editor as well as simultaneously writing for Art in America and Art News magazines. He has also completed books and written dozens of art catalogues.

Now that he is no longer working for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Pincus plans to continue teaching courses at the University of San Diego and do freelance art writing. The course he teaches “Art Now: How to Think Critically About Art ” speaks to his continuing commitment and perspective about the importance that people seek to understand art and make it part of their daily lives. When asked about his thoughts on art reviewing, Pincus explained that in reviewing, the reviewer goes through an academic process, informing themselves about the kind of art it is, with the goal of “staking out a new point of view rather than just adding another small bit of information to an already received body of knowledge.” He went on to say that the reviewer can make negative comments, but that they must be constructive – and critical but respectful.

In his closing comments, Pincus expressed his belief that though there are signs of growth in the San Diego art scene of artists and galleries, that San Diego has essentially gone backwards in the amount of critical writing, reviews, and commentary. He believes that the more conversation and critical writing there is about contemporary art, there will be more interest generated about art in general. And, that this writing will encourage more people to go and see exhibitions.

Art Collector Wingmen, 5 Experts That Will Be Needed on Your Team

Anyone with a passion for art and some discretionary funds can buy a few collectables for their home. It’s a lovely idea and we hope everyone enjoys art as an integral part of life. But collecting is much more than hanging a painting over your sofa. It’s a leap into the heart of the art world, a strange and wonderful junction where love, taste and commerce meet. When you are ready to get serious about collecting, it’s smart to consult professionals who will help you navigate the complex process of creating and nurturing your collection.

Here are the seven experts you should tap when you get serious about art: Art Title Provider, Art Consultant, Art Conservator, Art Insurance Expert, Art Attorney, Art Logistics Professional and a Collection Manager.

Provenance, Pedigree and a Paper Trail

You wouldn’t think of buying a home without a thorough title check. Smart art collectors check the provenance (history) of any work prior to purchase. Buying and selling art “in good faith” is not enough as laws regarding legitimate ownership vary around the world. The stories about recovered Nazi plunder, the repatriation of looted relics and long missing works stolen from museums are fascinating, but you will not want to be a featured player in any of these dramas.

Serious collectors protect themselves from buying works with a suspect history by employing the help of an Art Title Provider. In addition to the history of ownership, you may discover facts that enhance the value of your new acquisition, from inclusion in museum retrospectives to use in the set decoration of a film. A good provenance is a pedigree that appreciates with time. After you fall in love with a painting (sculpture, print, mixed media work, etc.) check the provenance to make sure the love will endure.

The Vision Thing and Collecting

When it’s time to move from casual art buying to serious collecting, you’ll want to develop a coherent vision for your collection and a strategy to get you there. An Art Consultant will advise you about when, where and what to buy in order to make your dream a reality, with knowledge about current pricing and a big picture perspective on when it’s best to sell as well as what to buy as your collection matures. An experienced art consultant knows his or her way around the art auction houses, galleries, private sales, online art sites and art fairs. These critical advisors help collectors see which objects are mere infatuations and what you’ll want in you collection long-term.

Healthcare for Your Art Collection

A professional Art Conservator is a key member of any art collector’s team. They provide preventive care -suggesting how to avoid damage from light, mold and other hazards -and they may restore or preserve a treasured work that has been damaged due to an accident or neglect. Museums rely on art conservators to protect their investments and so should you.

Natural and Unnatural Disasters

Everyone in the New York art scene took note when Hurricane Sandy sent floodwaters into galleries and art storage warehouses in 2012, making Art Insurance a serious consideration for all collectors. An expert in Art Insurance will ensure that you have the appropriate kind and amount of insurance to protect your investment. Smoke damage, fire, a leak from a neighbor’s loft and other less theatrical disasters are more likely than Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown lifting a painting from your wall, but theft and fraud are disturbing realities. Smart collectors carry insurance against disasters.

Legal Protection

An Art Attorney should be consulted on all your transactions to safeguard your best interests -both when you are buying art and when you are selling, too. A serious art collection may also figure in estate planning. An experienced art attorney will have recommendations that suit your personal and family needs.

Artful Logistics

Whether you are moving, reframing and rehanging, rotating what you display in your home, redoing lighting, loaning works to a show or simply putting art into storage, you’ll want to consult an expert in Art Logistics. The right professional input can make the difference between a smooth transition and unnecessary and expensive missteps.

5 Easy Ways to Extend Your Knowledge of Art

1 – Read, read, read

There is a ton of literature about pretty much everything to do with art out there. Head to your local library and you’ll find plenty of books on art. But where do you begin? You don’t want to start by reading up on a very specific branch of art. Instead, find a book for beginners that’s very broad and offers more of a general overview of art without going into too much detail. You want a book that explains things clearly but is still informative and interesting. Look online as well for books on art. If you’re keen on practising art, you’ll find plenty of useful books and guides for beginners, as well as plenty for more advanced artists.

2 – Visit galleries

A great way to expand your knowledge of art is to visit art galleries. Most galleries display works of art with a short overview of the work. Many galleries offer audio commentaries that are available via headsets or some other device that you can borrow. Listening to the commentaries is a lot more useful and informative because they delve into more detail about the works and different genres and periods of art that are represented in the gallery. Visiting galleries offers the chance to view all sorts of art works – you never know what you might come across.

3 – Join an art club

Joining an art club can be great fun. It can also be really useful because you’re spending time with likeminded people who have something in common with you: a love of art. Even if you’re a complete beginner, art clubs can be a great way to expand your art knowledge because you’ve got a group of people right there. Everyone’s different – get speaking to people about art and you’ll find yourself picking up lots of tips and hints. Don’t worry about going if you don’t know anything about art – unless the club specifically states it’s for professionals, you’ll be made to feel welcome. People do love it when newbies come along because they’re interested in art!

4 – Do an art course

Doing an art course offers a more academic approach to art. Whilst art clubs tend to be more relaxed and less formal, art courses tend to be more focused and educational. You’re likely to have lots of information thrown at you, no matter what sort of art course you take, whether it’s art history or practising art, for example. The great thing about art courses is that the emphasis is on learning. Man courses will also offer you the chance to study more in-depth branches of art.

5 – Learn by practising

You can appreciate works of art by looking at them. However, you can only understand the creative process once you’ve created art works of your own. The only way to understand everything about a painting is for you yourself to have some painting experience, for example. Practising art gives you experience that you can’t get from reading. It gives you a much better understanding of what goes into creating a work of art.

Correct Definition Accepted for Art and Its Classification

Art is an area of study that is very broad. Generally, art is defined as a means of self-expression. There is not just one definition widely accepted for Art. Art lends itself to several definitions. Some of these definitions are:

• It is a means of expressing one’s ideas through painting, drawing, sculpting etc.
• It is any activity in which a person gives order and form to organized ideas to bring out a new creation.
• It is a way of life and forms an integral part of life.
• It is the production of items with visual tools such as lines, colour, textures, etc. guided by design principles to satisfy both the aesthetic and functional needs of the individual and the society.
• It refers to the products of human creativity.
•It is a means of self-expression.

Art is broadly divided into two. These are I) Liberal Arts and ii) Creative Arts

i) Liberal Arts refer to the studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills such as law, literature, government, etc. It is usually referred to as humanities since it is a humanistic discipline that addresses concerns of social living.

ii) Creative Arts refer to the arts that employ creative abilities in the production of artefacts that are useful in carrying out our day to day activities. Unlike the liberal arts, creative arts offer self-occupational or practical skills which are manual in nature to its learners. It is the focus as far as the study of Visual art is concerned.

It should be noted that when the term ‘art’ is mentioned in the realms of visual art education, we are in effect talking about the creative arts. It is divided into two main branches namely a) Visual arts and b) Performing Arts.

Visual Arts

This refers to all creative or artistic products that are perceived with the sense of sight (optical sense-eye), sense of touch (skin) and can arouse emotions. Therefore, any creative product you can see, touch and can arouse in you an emotional feeling can be said to be a visual art form. Let’s take a drawing done on a sheet of paper as an example. Since one can see the drawing with the eye and can touch it while this same drawing also arouses an emotional feeling in the person seeing it, we can say with conviction that drawing is a visual art form.

Visual arts is sometimes referred to as Plastic or solid arts because of their tangible nature. It is divided into two groups. These are Fine arts and Industrial arts.

• Fine Arts are produced to serve as a form of decoration in the interiors and exteriors of homes, offices etc. They are purposely produced to satisfy the aesthetic drive of the viewer. Owing to this, the aesthetic qualities of the works in this area is stressed or given much emphasis in their creation. Though these arts may play other roles, it should be noted that their main function is for decoration. Examples include Painting, Graphic design, Picture making and Sculpture.

• Industrial arts also known as applied arts are those that focus more on the functions or uses of the artistic product, not its aesthetic value. They are created to satisfy the utilitarian needs of the individual while carrying out duties in our everyday life. They are purely usable art forms. Examples include Textiles, Leatherwork, Ceramics, Pottery, and Jewellery.

Performing Arts

These are perceived by the sense of sight and sense of movement (kinesthetic sense). They are performed or played. They are seen in a stream of time. Examples include music, dance and drama. An aspect of performing arts is Verbal arts which are performances communicated with words and body gestures. They include poetry, incantations, recitations etc.