Art 126, Past Quizzes, Spring 2014
- What is a commentary (explanation exposing origins, connections & results of material examined)?
- What is an axiom (unquestionable assumption)?
- What is a concept (collection of different kinds of data & thought forming overall idea)?
- What is an issue (2 or more concepts in conflict, dissatisfaction)?
- What is the purpose of Classicism (reveal divine truth and hence benefit soul)?
Note: The ideas of "goal" and "purpose" are similar enough to cause confusion, but they really are different. For example, if you think about high-school sports, their purpose is to encourage physical fitness and social teamwork. Their goal is for one team to get a ball into a basket, net or over a bar more frequently than the other team. A purpose, then, is more general than a goal. You could see a goal as something that individuals are trying to achieve within the main purpose.
- What are the two Classical axioms about truth (no conflict, age & prestige)?
- What is the goal of Classical thinkers (achieve greatness)?
See the notes under question 5, above. This goal, by the way, is why we tend to look for "great" works of art. Remember that it is limited to Classicism and other paradigms have different goals.
- How do you recognize Classical Beauty (completeness/good condition, bright colour/light, geometric qualities)?
This question often throws up problems when students think impressionistically. Remember to focus your thoughts. Recognizing Classical Beauty (as in this question) is different from saying what it was supposed to be able to do, and different again from explaining how it was supposed to do it. Recognizing Classical Beauty is also different from recognizing the Idealization, which is a special set of features by which to recognize an Ideal human figure. Anything can be Classically Beautiful if it has the right characteristics. Only a Human figure can be Idealized.
- Spell contrapposto.
- Give any three signals of Idealization (nudity/near nudity, face and body at rest, contrapposto, smooth skin/little detail, geometric qualities)
Review of Quiz
Questions this time were asked in direct form, mimicking the language and order of the site. This lets you parrot. Another time, I will ask questions differently. For example, for question 6, I might ask:
How do Classical thinkers recognize truth (age & prestige)?
Learn to think flexibly - to recognize ideas under different guises & to apply the information you already know.
Did Classical thinkers believe that truth had to be proved (no)?
What assumption did Classical thinkers make about the variety of truths (cannot conflict/must harmonize)?
If two truths cannot conflict, what must they do (harmonize)?
Quiz no 2
- Do you have to prove Classical Truth (no)?
Some contention about this as people felt that the process of comparing the primacy of each claim (its age and prestige) constituted proof. It doesn't really. Better to say that Classical Truth must be "established" or "evaluated" or "determined". Proof really demands evidence.
- What 2 things was Classical Beauty supposed to be able to do (manifest God, ennoble soul)?
I accepted answers that suggested it could put people into a state of grace, which is effectively similar to ennobling the soul
- What does Idealization tell you about a figure (divine, perfect, favoured/grace)?
- What is the universe and everything in it made of, according to Plato (dross)?
- Why did Giotto make his figures so large (so they could be easily seen, narrative clarity)?
It was also suggested that there was hierarchical scale, and I accepted this
- Why did Giotto make landscapes and buildings so small (required to be complete for Classical Beauty, if he made them to scale, they would be cut up by the frame & incomplete)?
The hierarchical scale came in again, and also the idea that the smaller less detailed landscape and buildings would not distract from the figures. I accepted this too
- Why would artists and architects want to make perfectly geometrical space (create Classical Beauty with no dross, only experience of perfection possible under Classicism)?
Remember that linear perspective is also perfect geometrical space, so the artists and the architects were both working towards the same idea.
- What is foreshortening (compacting objects so they project towards viewer)?
This one caused a lot of confusion. Remember that linear perspective is about the recession of space as it converges towards a vanishing point on the horizon - everything in that space therefore gets smaller towards the horizon. In contrast foreshortening is about solid objects or figures coming towards the viewer. Keep these two ideas separate in your mind. Of course they work together but they are different things.
Many of you also mentioned the idea that the foreshortened object of figure projects into our physical space. It can do so but doesn't always. When it does so, that is when the artist has used the false picture plane in addition to the foreshortening.
The questions below were double-point bonuses, as I had forgotten to get you to prepare for them. Still they are very useful terms and you will need them.
- What is the Italian word for "blurry" (sfumato)?
- What is the Italian word for modelling in light and shade, or modelling in light and dark (chiaroscuro)?
- What is the word for deep pools of black shadow (tenebrism)?
- Give three ways Classical thinkers recognized greatness (innovation, achievement, exhaustion).
- Why was is essential for a church to be Classically Beautiful (CB manifests God & ennobles soul as a church should do)
- Alberti set architects a difficult problem with the design of a church fašade. Did he solve it himself (no)?
- How was the problem solved in the end (colossal corbels, by Giacomo della Porta on Il Gesu)?
(name of architect & church = 1 bonus point each)
- What is exhaustion (perfection, no improvement considered possible)?
- At St Peter's, did Bramante put the geometry in the masonry or the space (space)?
- Was Bramante's design for St Peter's Classically Beautiful (yes)?
- Was Bramante's design for St Peter's structurally safe (no)?
- What is an axiom (unquestionable assumption)?
- What is the result for Classical thought if two truths come into conflict (it collapses, fails)?
Quiz no 4
- Give three signals for a STATIC composition (horizontals, verticals, wide base, simplicity, complete forms)
- Name two human experiences of the static (e.g. mountains, architecture, doors, walls, locks, sleep, death, etc)
- Give three signals for a LYRICAL composition (curves, sfumato or soft/blurry finish, use of blue)
- Name three human experiences of lyrical forms (e.g. sea/water, hills, clouds, infants, eroticism, etc)
- Which compositional type do diagonal forms belong to (dynamic)?
- Which compositional type is most likely to be used for solemn purposes (static - remember, our experience of the static tends to be absolute. There's no arguing with the eternity and immovability of mountains, the finality of death, the exclusion of locks etc)
- Spell "corbel"
- What is "foreshortening" (compacting an object so it appears to project towards the viewer remember, foreshortening is different from linear perspective. It is about objects, not space, and about projection not recession)
- Did Classical thought place any restrictions on women artists (yes, only painting/engraving)?
- Pliny set women artists at the end of his chronology of art - why (the later developments were more prestigious, he understood women artists as the proof that humanity and art had reached their highest perfection)?