Blog Prompt Wk 1: Value and Analysis (Jacqueline)

Psychological value is the value that resonates most with how I value art myself. I see the approach the creative process as a tool to process and decipher topics that are hard to put into words. Long term I would like to incorporate the analysis, curation, and creating of art in my counseling work. I think that these three tools all help us ease into a greater psychology of self-reflection. Different works can evoke various emotions that either draws us closer or repulse us further. Using art in this way can reveal a lot of implicit biases towards ideas, or uncovers parts of our stories that were maybe blinded even to our own eyes.

The methodology most interesting to me was iconography and iconology. This approach seems to be most rooted in symbolism, or choosing a subject–icon–to represent with a deeper meaning. The text uses the example of Bruegel’s Tower of Babel as an example. This piece in particular can be aesthetically appraised. Not only is a detail oriented piece on a large platform, but it is also remarkably vibrant and textured for tempera paint. The piece can be admired for that alone, but with context of the text in Genesis, the piece now has an added value for the heavy symbolism of God’s disapproval of the tower ordered by believed Nebuchadnezzar.


Peter Paul Rubens | Raising of the Cross | Chapter 19 | Image Source

Rubens’ Raising of the Cross heavily utilizes line, composition, and color to bring the viewer to his desired focal point. There is distinct repetition in the lines the viewer’s eye is able to draw drawing attention to Christ in the center. The angles drawn from each man’s arms in attempt to raise the cross directly point center. The way the bystanders are composed tallest to shortest draws in more centralized lines. All of these lines would be considered more expressive and gestural, as they follow along the human form. I would also go to say that all of the people replicated here are idealized in form–created to be far more muscular. The composition of the triptych is also an effective way to centralize the focal point. Smaller pieces surrounding the larger one furthers balance and symmetry in size to the piece, making it easier to stay in the center. Use of light, in creating Christ to be stark white amongst a dark setting creates a contrast that is hard to ignore. This also could be symbolic in Christ’s purity amongst a dark world.


5 thoughts on “Blog Prompt Wk 1: Value and Analysis (Jacqueline)”

  1. I was actually going to do this painting until I saw that you had already done it! I love Peter Paul Rubens and I find it breathtaking that he creates these massive works of art. I loved your analysis of this painting. As I was looking at it, I couldn’t help thinking that the weight of Jesus’ body is symbolic of the weight that he carried for us. Rubens is a genius artist in my opinion.

    I also enjoyed reading your interest in the psychological value of art. It’s fun to see what you want to do in the future become applicable in this class. You may not know the answer to this, but, how exactly is art used for psychological analysis? If there is a troubled child, do you have them draw a picture and then have them describe what they do? I know there is a non-profit based in Uganda that works with child soldiers. Art therapy is a huge part of what they do. I’m curious on how it all works!

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    1. Great question! I feel like psychological analysis is really well paired with what the textbook has to say on impulsive creation. I think we can analyze art. We all clearly did that this week. I also think that what the maker creates can have a lot of introspection as to what is goingon in their head. I know for me personally, I was drawn to pyrography (art from burning things) last fall. I had no idea why at first, I just really wanted to. As the year went on and I reached out ot counseling for other reasons, we linked this impulse to create through destruction was my subconcious trying to scream that I was burning out myself, and slowly picking away at myself. What I would like to do is train myself to identify these patterns in other people.


      1. Wow that is so interesting and I really appreciate your vulnerability to share that! I hope you were able to find peace and rest in that time. I think it is crazy how our sub-conscience can tell us so much without us even realizing it. Thanks for sharing!


  2. I think that the psychological value is something that would come in handy with the counseling work. In addition to creating the work, interpreting other’s work also uses self-reflection – especially the Rorschach inkblot tests. It really does provide perspective and a deeper understanding of the viewer/artist. What we surround ourselves with often time changes our perspectives of a specific art piece.

    I think it’s great that a specific piece of art can have a different impact on different people! Like you said, the Tower of Babel can be viewed as an artistic piece to someone who is unfamiliar to the Biblical story, or it can be seen as a piece that reflects the text from Genesis.

    I really like the last part of your analysis of the Raising of the Cross I definitely do see elements of symbolism in which Christ’s purity has a stark contrast against the dark surroundings. The contrast also places the focal point on Christ.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your post. I thought it was great how you plan on incorporate art into your counseling. In order to analyze or create art, it requires people to be very in touch with their emotions, which is why I agree with you that art is such a great transition tool to guide someone into self-reflection. I would love to hear about your plans on using art in your counseling in more detail. It is so interesting! When I read the section about iconography and iconology, I had very similar ideas as you. I agree that the root of it seemed to be based on symbolism. I thought the example they used in the book was great as well. The piece of art you chose to analyze is a good one. I like you mentioned how the angle of the arms caused the cross to be the center. The repetition of the lines do totally bring the eye towards Jesus. Good job!

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