ART 102: History Of Western Art II

ART 102: History Of Western Art II

Text Books: History of Art, Vol. II. by Janson & Janson. (6th, 7th, or 8th Edition) Required.


Explain the major features of Duccio’s image of Mary and the Christ child. You are to try to explain why do the look they way they do?

Items to include in your discussions:

· The traditions of the Church in dictating the style of the paintings of these subjects.

· The appearance of Mary and that of the “Christ child” as reflections of the Church traditions.

· Why is the Christ child presented in the manner he is? What’s he doing with his hand?

· How do these depictions of Mary and Christ differ from the renditions by Giotto?

· You may add any other comments to expand your response.


What makes Michelangelo’s “David” an example of the Hight Renaissance and Bernini’s “David” an example of the Baroque periods of Art History?

Include the following topics in your response:

· What characteristics of Michelangelo’s David are associated with the Humanist principles that infused the High Renaissance art world?

· In what ways does Michelangelo incorporate concepts of Ancient Greek art in the depiction of his statue of “David”, in particular the choice of a male nude statue in the posture it is presented?

· Bernini’s “David” is obviously different from Michelangelo’s “David”. What characteristics of Bernini’s “David” identify with the art styles of the Baroque period in Italy at the time?

· Unlike Donatello’s “David” which depicted David as a teenager in better alignment with the original Bible story, Michelangelo and Bernini decided to depict their David as young adult males. What non-religious factors or ideas do you think might have influenced Michelangelo and Bernini not to follow the Bible story description of David?

· You may add any other comments to expand your response.


Caravaggio was perhaps the most influential innovator in painting in the Italian Baroque. His style influenced a whole generation of artist that followed. Caravaggio’s art was one of the most powerful examples of the counter-reformation efforts of the Catholic Church. How was this type of painting supposed to convince people to return to or stay with the Catholic Church?

Topics to include in your response:

· What were the Reformation and Counter-Reformation movements? What was being “reformed”?

· What were the key ideas used by Caravaggio that made these effective propaganda images for the Catholic Church? That is, what was so significant and innovative about how Caravaggio depicted religious narratives?

· What painting techniques, specifically composition, lighting and colors, did Caravaggio use in his works that became the major characteristics of Baroque painting?

· In terms of overall effect, how did Caravaggio’s paintings differ from those of the High Renaissance? (Discuss things like “mood”, viewer reactions, etc.)

· Caravaggio used oil paints that became very popular with the Renaissance painters. In what ways did Caravaggio’s painting style differ from the way van Eyck or Raphael painted?

· You may add any other comments to expand upon your response.


These painting by Claude Monet demonstrated lighting and not the object itself was what determined the color of an object most. How do these painting support this idea?

Please include the following topics in your response:

· Why were Monet and others that adopted his styles of painting called “Impressionist” by art critics and art historians?

· Compared with Renaissance painting styles, Monet’s style was crude and imprecise. The reasons often given is that he needed to paint quickly to “capture the light”. Explain the phrase “capture the light” in reference to “plain air” painting styles.

· Why would Monet paint the same subject to demonstrate his observations of light and color?

· Why are these paintings by Monet abstractions of reality when you can clearly identify what are the subjects?

· In terms of subject matter chosen by Monet and most other Modernist artist, the subjects are often not seen in works from earlier periods of European Art. What ideas or attitudes of the Modernist artist was so different from those of previous periods like the Renaissance and Baroque periods? (Hint: what defined “to be Modern”?)

· In the Renaissance, artists worked for patrons. These were usually the aristocracy and wealthy classes of people who paid the artist for something they wanted, like a design of a new building or a portrait painting of themselves. For whom were Monet and other Modernist artist making their art?

· You may add any additional comments to expand upon your responses.


Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Wheat Fields with Crows” was cited by Simon Sharma in his video “The Power of Art” as the first true work of Modern Art. Identity at least five (5) defining ideas or characteristics that demonstrate that this is a Modernist work.

Characteristic 1.

Characteristic 2.

Characteristic 3.

Characteristic 4.

Characteristic 5.

· You may add any additional comments to expand upon your responses.


Smithson’s “Spiral Jetty” was constructed on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. (If you want, you can find it on Google satellite maps, depending on the water level.) This Post-Modern work challenged on of the most fundamental questions in art. Who validates art? For many, the validation of “good” artworks was if it was displayed in a gallery or museum. But what if the work could not be presented in a gallery/museum? Who, then, decides if the work is a valid work of art?

[If you are wondering how the jetty was constructed, it needed only a dump truck. The jetty began at the shore line. The dump truck would deposit a load of gravel and rocks into the lake. As the jetty “road” was created, the truck could then travel backwards a little further out and deposit another load of gravel and rocks. Thus, the jetty was just wide enough for the truck to travel on.]

You are to argue who does decides what is a valid work of art in our culture today. “Valid” in this case refers to the idea that some one or organization has given it’s approval that the work is worthy of being called art, instead of a pile of junk or a piece of shit.

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