Chapter 11 Mind and Body
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1.The Ideal Body What is an idealized body, or the “perfect” body? Look at the examples in the text: Torso from India, Yakshi from India , Polykleitos’ Doryphorus , Male Torso from Africa, the Hellenistic Laocoön , Medieval The Last Judgment , Michelangelo’s David , and Muybridge’s Handspring. What cultures are represented? What was important to each culture in representing the body? What is important to us today?
2.Self-Portrait For centuries, artists have drawn, painted, sculpted, and photographed their own likenesses, expressing their characteristics and interests. How is the digital age of myspace and facepage changing ideas of self-portraiture. Are they more “real” than artistic paintings? How do these websites build on the tradition of portraiture and self-portraiture and in what ways do they change the way we construct our individual and collective identities?
3.Staged Poses In Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #35, Sherman invented a scene in a black and white film. In the Untitled Film Still series, Sherman explores the idea of gender roles and female stereotypes by placing herself in the scene and dressing the part. Rembrandt also dressed himself occasionally in costumes, playing a more regal or religious role depending on the costumes he wore. In many ways, Sherman’s work speaks to the way we all dress up for our lives. What are some common items that identify a role we are playing or fulfilling?
4.East Meets West When the ports of Japan were opened in the mid to late 1800s, Japan influenced a new generation of painters in Europe, and European conventions influenced a new generation of Japanese artists. How is Shimomura Kanzan’s Study for the Portrait of Okakura Tenshin combining Western conventions of art with Japanese traditions? How is Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet combining Japanese conventions of art with Western traditions?
5.Portraits and Photography Prior to the invention of photography, portrait painting was reserved for royalty, the wealthy, or important members of society because it was expensive and required a lot of time. Photography opened up the possibilities for the average person to capture their likeness in a portrait. Portraits both painted and photographed capture not only the likeness of the sitter, but may also reveal something of the sitter’s personality. Examine both the paintings and photographs from the chapter. What do these images say about each of the subjects? How did portraits change during the 20th century?
6.Portrait Story Choose one of the portraits from chapter 13. Write a story about your selected person. It could be from their point of view, or it could be a narrative written about them.
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