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Art and the Human Faculties

1. Discuss Art and the Human faculties

The primary definitions of humanity in the Oxford English Dictionary include "The
quality or condition of being human, manhood; the human faculties or attributes
collectively; human nature; man in the abstract." As a plural, humanities,
the OED continues, "Human attributes; traits or touches of human nature or feeling;
points that concern mankind, or appeal to human sensibilities." Further, in connection
with the word humane, humanity is defined as "The character or quality of being humane;
behaviour or disposition towards others such as befits a human being." This examination
of the idea of humanity through the sculpted image incorporates these three
characteristics of being human in representational, figural, or abstract forms; in the
expression of sensibilities and sensitivities; and in depictions of modes of behavior and
interactions with others. The duality within the phrase "humanity in the arts" is
exemplified by the artistic recognition of the existence in nature of the human body, and
further of the potential symbolic and evocative patterns of human forms, gestures, and
2. Select a work of art according to four levels:

Starry Night by Van Gogh

 Perceptual elements
The imagination of clouds painted in a swirling gesture make a brilliant affect and
brings out the beauty of the dark which can merely be seen from the eyes of a true
lover of dark clip. The alone usage of colors is peculiarly impressive. Which most
people’s perceptual experience of the color of stars would be white, Van Gogh has
painted them a bright yellow, and yet they appear to be a beautiful polishing sight.
 Representations

“This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before
sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” wrote van
Gogh to his brother Theo, describing his inspiration for one of his best-known
paintings, The Starry Night (1889). The window to which he refers was in the
Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy, in southern France, where he sought respite
from his emotional suffering while continuing to make art.

This mid-scale, oil-on-canvas painting is dominated by a moon- and star-

filled night sky. It takes up three-quarters of the picture plane and appears
turbulent, even agitated, with intensely swirling patterns that seem to roll across
its surface like waves. It is pocked with bright orbs—including the crescent
moon to the far right, and Venus, the morning star, to the left of center—
surrounded by concentric circles of radiant white and yellow light.

Beneath this expressive sky sits a hushed village of humble houses

surrounding a church, whose steeple rises sharply above the undulating blue -
black mountains in the background. A cypress tree sits at the foreground of this
night scene. Flame-like, it reaches almost to the top edge of the canvas, serving
as a visual link between land and sky. Considered symbolically, the cypress
could be seen as a bridge between life, as represented by the earth, and death, as
represented by the sky, commonly associated with heaven. Cypresses were also
regarded as trees of the graveyard and mourning. “But the sight of the stars
always makes me dream,” van Gogh once wrote. “Why, I say to myself, should
the spots of light in the firmament be less accessible to us than the black spots
on the map of France? Just as we take the train to go to Tarascon or Rouen, we
take death to go to a star.

 Motional suggestions
The painter was travelling through a serious medical status at the clip he painted
Starry Nights. This might be one of the grounds why his coppice shots are really thick
and outstanding in the picture, which give a sever sense of play in the picture. His
coppice shots have a grim beat, which creates the semblance of the image being in
gesture. Furthermore, there is a certain consistence in the process that adds excess
deepness to the work.

The most outstanding forms in the picture are of the round gesture in which the
stars and the clouds are portrayed. Normally, clouds are never given the form of
circles in a painting, but in Starry Nights Van Gogh has shown them as twirling
clouds organized as perfect circles and look to be in gesture. The stars are besides
painted in a round signifier, instead in the typical pointing leading signifier. This
consequences looking consistent as the stars and the clouds are both round forms.

 Intellectual meaning
The Starry Night is based on van Gogh’s direct observations as well as his
imagination, memories, and emotions. The steeple of the church, for example,
resembles those common in his native Holland, not in France. The
whirling forms in the sky, on the other hand, match published astronomical
observations of clouds of dust and gas known as nebulae. At once balanced and
expressive, the composition is structured by his ordered placement of the
cypress, steeple, and central nebulae, while his countless short brushstrokes and
thickly applied paint set its surface in roiling motion. Such a combin ation of
visual contrasts was generated by an artist who found beauty and interest in the
night, which, for him, was “much more alive and richly colored than the day.”
3. What is art and the perception of reality?

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the
truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to
convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” Pablo Picasso

A large amount of people hold the view that art must skillfully reflect reality, that art
has to copy real life in its absolute detail. But this cannot be the case since art is never
equal to life –it always abstracts and simplifies. The artist is allowed to transform reality
and to give new meaning and form to life’s details. He creates things while referring to
reality, hence we call him “creator”. If the opposite was true he would be lowered to the
level of a simple copyist.

As is rightly put by Ernst Gombrich in his “Art and Illusion”, an artist doesn’t simply
create an illusion of reality, he teaches us to see the visible world afresh, looking in the
invisible realms of the mind. The purpose of art is to unite the imagination with reality
and not to just present reality.

4. Compare a Filipino musical artist with foreign musical group

Pentatonix is an American a cappella group from Arlington, Texas, consisting

of vocalists Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Matt
Sallee. Characterized by their pop-style arrangements with vocal
harmonies, basslines, riffing, percussion, and beatboxing, they produce cover versions of
modern pop works or Christmas songs, sometimes in the form of medleys, along with
original material.

Sitti Katrina Baiddin Navarro-Ramirez, known professionally as Sitti, is a Filipino

bossa nova singer. After releasing her first album, Café Bossa, in 2006, other bossa nova
acts in the Philippines followed. Navarro is also featured in the segment "A.S.A.P.
Sessionistas" of the variety show ASAP.

These outstanding musical artists have great differences, from the genre, variety of
careers to the level of fame. Sitti, a local musical artist is a professional in bossa nova and
pinoy pop. She rose to fame primarily through her musical career wherein she released
seven albums and trained under notable Filipino musicians. She also underwent television
work, stage acting and filmography. On the other hand, Pentatonix is an internationally
famous group. They specialize in pop-style arrangements and mostly release cover
versions of popular modern songs. The group was formed through a competition and rose
into fame when they won. They have done world tours and is famous all around the
world. Nevertheless, both contribute in producing quality music for all listeners.
5. Example of mondrian artworks, amorsolo, munch and stynweck (w/ description)
 Mondrian
Piet Mondrian is a Dutch painter who has carved a unique niche for himself on
the global platform matching the likes of other celebrity painters. He is possibly best
known for being one of the founders of the De Stijl, which incorporated an art
movement that worked around abstract works, and the new art forms that were being
introduced to the world in the early 20th century. The movement was also based on
the reductive theory; which took a
larger scale image, and brought it to life
on the canvas, in architectural works,
and in sculpture forms, and in the form
of graphic arts as well.
Broadway Boogie-Woogie is the
last painting Mondrian completed. In
the early phases of its genesis, the two
1942 drawings in the Newman
Collection, it still shows many points of
coincidence with the painting preceded
it, New York City I. In the preliminary studies mythm of the painting is determined
by the long lines of the grid, while other accents indicate the insertion of little bands
of unbounded color, characteristic of the enlivening alterations that Mondrian made in
New York on the paintings of his last years in Europe.
The Gray Tree is one of the
first paintings in which Mondrian
applied to a natural subject the
principles of cubist composition
that he was in the process of
assimilating and working out in his
own way. At the same time, it is a
continuation of the series on the
Tree theme, which began with the
studies for the Red Tree of 1908. Although four years elapsed between the Red
Tree and the The Gray Tree, it would be a mistake not to see them as two links in a
single chain of development
 Amorsolo
The painter Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972) was a dominant figure in the visual
arts of the Philippines during the decades before the Second World War and into the
post-war period. His oeuvre is characterized by
scenes of the Filipino countryside, harmoniously
composed and richly coloured, saturated with
bright sunlight and populated by beautiful, happy
people: it is an art of beauty, contentment, peace
and plenty – which perhaps explains its
enduring popularity in the Philippines to this day.

Dalagang Bukid

The banga or clay jar that the young lady

carries, a vessel for carrying water, is seen as a
symbol of fragility and innocence, and is a reference to the song made famous by
National Artist Atang de la Rama in the 1919 sarswela Dalagang Bukid:

"May isang dalagang nagsalok ng tubig

Kinis ng ganda nya'y hubog sa nilatik..."

Planting Rice with Mayon Volcano

Amorsolo was committed to

two fundamental ideas in his art:
first, a classical notion of idealism, in
which artistic truth was found
through harmony, balance and
beauty, and second a conservative
concept of Filipino national character
as rooted in rural communities and
the cycles of village life. The two come together in pastoral scenes such as ‘Planting
Rice with Mayon Volcano’, painted in 1949. Here, happy Filipino villagers in their
bright clothes and straw hats work together amid a green and sunlit landscape of
plenty. Behind them, releasing a peaceful plume of steam, rises the beautifully
symmetrical cone of Mayon stratovolcano. It is the ash erupted by the volcano over
its highly-active history that has made the surrounding landscape fertile, and the
tranquil cone appears here to be a beneficial spirit of the earth standing guardian over
the villagers and their crops. Mayon’s eruptions can be very destructive (as in the
violent eruption of 1947, not long before this picture was painted, when pyroclastic
flows and lahars brought widespread destruction and fatalities) but here the
relationship between the volcano and the surrounding landscape is depicted as a
positive, fruitful and harmonious one. Mayon is a celebrated symbol of the
Philippines, and its presence in Amorsolo’s painting emphasizes his wish to represent
the spirit of the nation on canvas

 Munch
Edvard Munch is best known as being a Norwegian born, expressionist painter, and
printer. In the late 20th century, he played a great role in German expressionism, and
the art form that later followed; namely because of the strong mental anguish that was
displayed in many of the pieces that he created.
The Sick Child
The Sick Child is one of Munch's
earliest works, considered by the artist
"a breakthrough" for setting the tone for
his early career in which death, loss,
anxiety, madness, and the
preoccupations of a troubled soul were
his chief subject matter. Devoted to his
deceased sister, Johanne Sophie, the
painting depicts the bedridden fifteen-
year-old with a grieving woman beside
her, the latter probably a representation of Munch's mother who had preceded Sophie
in death, also from tuberculosis, eleven years prior. The rough brushstrokes, scratched
surface and melancholic tones of this painting all reveal a highly personal memorial.
The work was highly criticized for its "unfinished appearance" when first exhibited,
but nonetheless championed by Munch's spiritual mentor, Hans Jæger, as a masterful
Night in St. Cloud
If the Sick Child is a loving tribute to Munch's
favorite sister, Johanne Sophie, Night in St.
Cloud is a far more complex and darker
memorial to the artist's father who had died
the previous year. Created not long after
Munch's arrival in Paris, Night in St.
Cloud reveals the immediate influence of
Post-Impressionists Van Gogh and Toulouse-
Lautrec, whose many portraits of solitary
figures or empty rooms inform this canvas. Munch's tribute to his father is composed
of a darkened, seemingly hallowed room bathed in crepuscular light, indeed a space
occupied only by shadows and stillness. The rendition is befitting of their tense
relationship. In other paintings that focus on death, Munch made the subject
physically present; however, in this instance, Munch's father's passing evokes only a
sense of cool abandon. Notably, this work presages Pablo Picasso's Blue period.
 Steenwyck
Among the leading Dutch Realist artists of the Delft/Leiden school, Harmen
Steenwyck became one of the best still life painters of his time, specializing in the
genre of vanitas still life painting, during the early years of Dutch Realism (c.1600-
80) in Protestant Holland. In the field of still life pictures he ranks alongside his uncle
David Bailly (1584-1657), as well as other exceptional painters like Jan Davidsz de
Heem (1606-83), Pieter Claesz (1597-1660), Willem Kalf (1622-93) and Willem
Claesz Heda (1594-1681). He is best known for his masterpiece "An Allegory of the
Vanities of Human Life" (1640, National Gallery, London). Other exceptional
paintings by Harmen Steenwyck include: "Still Life with Skull, Books, Flute and
Whistle" (1646, Kunstmuseum Basel); "Still Life with Earthen Jar, Fish and Fruit"
(1652, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam); "Still Life with Fish in a Colander, Peaches, a
Bucket, Berries and a Cucumber" (1652, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
Still Life: An Allegory of the
Vanities of Human Life' by Harmen
Steenwyck is a classic example of a
Dutch 'Vanitas' painting. It is
essentially a religious works in the
guise of a still life. 'Vanitas' paintings
caution the viewer to be careful about
placing too much importance in the
wealth and pleasures of this life, as
they could become an obstacle on the path to salvation. The title 'Vanitas' comes from
a quotation from the Book of Ecclesiastes 1:2, 'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.'

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