Free “Interpreting Art”: Chapter Two Literature Review Example
Manet - What do you now know about Manet that you didn't prior to reading this chapter?
Prior to reading chapter two of “Interpreting Art”, I was not aware that Manet’s painting of "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere" was his last piece of work. I also did not know of the depth of meaning and interpretations formidable to Manet’s style of painting. I also learned that Manet was one of the few flaneurs of his time to fit into the category or ‘flaneur.’a) What is a "flaneur"?
A flaneur, according to the context of the era of Manet, was generally a man who wandered and observed society and people, taking in the assumed ‘story’ of what they believed was true about the people and situations they saw.
2) "Luncheon in the Grass" a) - Discuss what you discovered about Manet's work, "Luncheon on the Grass" with respect to its controversy.
I discovered that Manet’s work, “Luncheon on the Grass” was very controversial for its time, not because of the display of naked women because painting nudes was a common theme among artists. However, the fully dressed men implied an inappropriate message about the scene. This was also a bold move for Manet to shift in his stance of Modern Art to a new phase.
b) What was it, specifically, that was considered objectionable during the time Manet exhibited this work?
The aspect of the painting that was objectionable during the time of Manet’s exhibition of the work was the implications of a scene where a naked woman was displayed among fully dressed men. The message it delivered was of the women representing prostitutes who were there to entertain the men. Painting such as scene clearly was inappropriate as a subject for a painting.
"Olympia" a) Talk about some of the specific elements of this work that were thought to be "vulgar" and/or "pornographic".
Some specific elements of the “Olympia” painting were the way that the naked woman was clearly a prostitute proudly displaying herself without shame as her negro servant brought flowers to her. The boldness of the scene appeared offensive to observers of the time because it was a taboo topic not to be discussed.
b) - What does Zola have to say about Manet and his works?
Zola defended Manet’s work because of the realism of his pieces. As a person who preferred reality and science Zola appreciated the way that Manet portrayed truth in his art.c) - What specifically did Manet do artistically to challenge his audience with respect to sex and race?
Manet specifically pulled away from the old system of painting noble and fantasy based pieces that were acceptable to be viewed and moved towards reality. He began to paint of social topics such as slavery and prostitution instead of morally pleasing images of fantasy depictions.
"A Bar at the Folies-Bergere" a) Address the context of the culture of Paris that influenced Manet's work, "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere".
The culture of Paris during Manet’s era responsible for influencing his work of, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere was the popularity of this night club with the important members of society like royalty. Going to this nightclub was the trendy thing to do for the people of Paris at that time, so naturally he chose it as a topic for his work.
b) - Tell me about the controversial nature of the barmaid facing us, the viewers, in this work - Be specific.
The barmaid facing us was rumored to have not only been selling the drinks to the gentleman sitting in front of her, but also herself, her body to the man. The implication of her as a prostitute was controversial considering the topic plus the occurrence of prostitution in a place that important members of society frequented.
c) How is "sex" depicted according to the audience and critics in this work?
According to the audience and critics, “sex” is depicted in this work by the rumored story of the barmaid actually serving as a high class prostitute who is there to sell herself and her company to the gentlemen.
d) - Talk about the issues of the mirror. Be specific.
The issues of the mirror become a topic of discussion because of the in congruency of the reflection. The reflection in the mirror is not showing the direct picture displaying according to what should be seen if the mirror were properly portraying the woman. Instead the image of the male is seen in the mirror next to the barmaid.
e) - "Manet's depiction of the bar itself also elicited comments and objections from those who first saw it, and recent historians continue to pose questions and offer their answers for these questions." What specifically are the comments, objections, and questions about the bar?
The historians make note of some of the inaccuracies in the spacing of the people and mirror in the painting. Although many have also used the painting to get an idea of what life and culture during that era was like.
Description and Interpretation a) - What does Terry Barrett say about the difference between a description and an interpretation?
Terry Barrett says that the difference between a description and an interpretation is the way a description just tells of the item being viewed, whereas interpretation feels and shares about the observation.
b) - Discuss Description as a part of the interpretive process. Why is it important?
Description is an important part of the interpretative process because as the observer looks carefully upon the art in order to describe it, that is when he or she begins to notice aspects of the painting that can then be interpreted by the viewer.
c) - Discuss Interpretation as a process and tell us why Description and Interpretation are interdependent.
Interpretation and Description are interdependent because first one must carefully observe the piece of art to describe it, as that happens the feelings, thoughts and personalization of what the observer sees is the interpretation. After the interpretation, the viewer will once again use description to tell another individual not only of the factual elements of the artwork, but also his or her interpretation of it as well.
d) - Discuss the difference between - Formalism - and - Contextualism. Why is this important to you as interpreters of art?
It is important to understand the difference between Formalism and Contextualism as an interpreter of art because I would need the ability to understand the form used by the artists in the paintings I observe, as well as the era or context in which the work was done. To fully appreciate and interpret art through both the technical and historical backdrop is important for an art interpreter.
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