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.