Week 1: Values, Methodologies, and Analysis (Hannah)

As I was reading about the different values of art, the one that resonated with me most was the religious value of art. I recently got back from a trip to Israel and Jordan and almost all of the art there has some sort of religious meaning. There are thousands of years old mosaics that depict creation and temple architecture built for Roman and Greek gods. One thing that stood out to me the most was the Basilica of Annunciation and all of the different portrayals of Mary. All along the outside walls are pictures of Mary from different cultures. Religion and faith give value to art. I had never really thought about this before.

I thought all of the methodologies of approaching art were very interesting. I saw a lot of Iconology approaches when I was in Israel. The method I found most interesting was psychoanalysis. It is quite amazing that we can analyze art to understand humanity better. I think people use many different ways to express themselves, and if art is one of those ways, then of course it would be telling us something.

Lucas Cranach the Elder: Crucifixion

Lucas Cranach, Crucifixion Chapter 18 p. 331

The painting that I chose to analyze is Lucas Cranach’s, Crucifixion. Cranach is depicting the crucifixion of Jesus among the two other thieves. He uses lines and planes that are vertical to depict height and I believe Jesus’ eventual ascension. This also gives the view of looking from above. Cranach uses movement by the wind shifting Jesus’ cloth and the clouds. The clouds above Jesus are dark and use hues of black. This symbolizes Jesus’ fateful death. Overall, the hues are dark, but there are lighter colors around the bodies of the crucified men and around John’s red cloak. There is a lot of texture in this painting from the ominous clouds to the green trees. The shapes and lines contrast with each other from the hard lines of the crosses with the soft circles of the clouds and cloths. Overall, this painting depicts Jesus’ death and humanity.

6 thoughts on “Week 1: Values, Methodologies, and Analysis (Hannah)”

  1. I agree with you in that a lot of the art pieces in Israel/Jordan hold a lot of religious value. I love how you mentioned the various portrayals of Mary (I’ve also been there!), and how she is depicted in the different cultures. The religious aspect of it is the same, however the different style of clothing, skin tone, and styles vary from the various regions/culture. It was very interesting to see!

    I think you bring up a great point on how psychoanalysis can be used to learn more about a person. Do you think that it could be used in all circumstances/all artworks?

    In your piece of art, I like how you bring up the contrasting dark clouds above Jesus’ head. I think the dark clouds contrast the lighter clouds above the two thieves. In terms of symbolism, I agree with you that the dark clouds foreshadow His death. I think the lighter colors of the thieves symbolize them accepting Christ and going to Paradise.

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    1. That’s awesome that you have been there too! It was one of my favorite places of art. I’m not sure if psychoanalysis could be used in all pieces of art. I know when I doodle or draw, it doesn’t usually have significance. But maybe it does and I just don’t know it!

      I think that is a great analysis of the contrast of the clouds! I had not thought about the thief going to paradise! Interesting!

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      1. I agree that psychoanalysis can’t be used in all works of art, such as doodling. I know when I doodle, I like to draw random lines, or generic shapes. I feel like sometimes we can learn more about someone based on how they interpret a piece of work more so than what they create.

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  2. I have never been to Israel/Jordan, but I can imagine that there would be numerous amounts of religious pieces of art. The pictures of Mary’s life sound amazing. The main essence of her being remains the same while her appearance varies based on the culture she is representing. Seeing how different cultures differ in any way like clothing is always so moving. I agree with you that art can act as an outlet for people to express themselves in someway. I thought your analysis of the piece of art you picked was great! I liked how you mentioned the darkness and hues of black represent Jesus’ death. I also liked how you talked about small details, such as the movement the artist used with the cloth and clouds. Great job!

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    1. I love seeing how culture influences everyday life. I’m glad I am not the only one! Thank you for the compliments!

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  3. I took the HUMA 290 course last semester where we learned about Renaissance art which has a lot of religious inspiration and what you said about religion in art reminded me of that. When an artist who is passionate about both art and his/her religion blends the two together, a masterpiece is made, which is really cool. I think it’s really awesome that you have seen first-hand some of the values/methodologies that we are learning about. I bet it makes it easier wince you have some personal experience 🙂

    I liked what you said about the textures and colors used in the painting you chose. If I could choose one word to describe this painting, it would be “ominous”, like you said. The clouds are indeed very dark and give a sense of foreshadowing to Jesus’ death, but I like how there is a lighter/whiter shade around the curve of Jesus’ head/crown of thorns to show his divinity. Your idea about the wind’s impact on the clouds and fabric was great and made me realize that the artist enhanced the naturalism of the piece by creating the sense that a strong breeze was blowing across the scene. Super cool!

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