in 18th & 19th century nonconformity

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this blog is my notes and other scraps from and inspired by my current humanities adventure at UVU: Origins of the Avant-garde in 18th/19th century nonconformity taught by Alex Caldiero.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Renaissance Trajectory


notes for 9/31/09

~Mannerism - expression with hands
trajectory from stylized to more and more expression/expressive & more consciousness of the body that is doing the expressing.

~Media - between x and y, internal and external - through certain material methods.
the body is the ultimate media between the inner world and the outer world.
starting with Giotto
- eyes are expressive rather than placid, the body is in movement, hands extended into the viewer's space, the recognition of the world (as opposed to the otherworldy focus on the divine)

Before, everything was platonic and one dimensional. Eyes focused forward as in thought, focus was on the inner world, was more linear and emphasized a purely mental state.
This new impulse is to reach into the material realm, to look at something closer.


Leonardo da Vinci's hands - the Mona Lisa & Lady with an Ermine.
oil paints technically allowed for more 3 dimensional looking images - Chiaroscuro -
Blurring of outlines, atmospheric blending of color, less cartoonish. Rendering as much as possible realistically.
After 1443, the attempt to reproduce the real world began to take hold.

Lady with an Ermine - hand has a level of expressiveness that is all its own. Slightly distorted/elongated - the beginnings of Mannerism.

Went from symbolic gestures to expressive ones.


Everything is off. Expressive. The increase of expressive power through deformities and distortions of one form or another. i.e. The Deposition of Christ, Madonna with the Long Neck

This is done not even necessarily on purpose but due to the energy behind the incarceration, distortions and anomalies overwhelm the composition.
Before, the composition comes first, but Mannerism begins to say that you can distort.

Michaelangelo's David vs. Bernini's David.
Laoco├Ân and His Sons - passage in the Aeneid that describes the statue vs. poetry

The boundaries between form & formless, abstract & concrete, form & content - shifting with no apparent reason, exchanging information with one another. A whole new kind of consciousness.


Parallels with science
Galileo & Kepler - ellipses, anomalies, imperfections in what they observed. These were perceived as threats. Their assertions that there are other levels of organization besides the one that was known and pushed by those in the establishment.
Kepler, Galileo, Bach, Robert Flood, - all pivotal figures.

Anyone who is pursuing truth and creativity is in this realm and part of this trajectory.

Ideas of multiplicity, simultaneity, experimentation...all catchwords for this new consciousness.
The idea of measurabilily - without it we feel threatened. The immeasurable is frightening, even that which is measured in non traditional ways is threatening and subversive to the hierarchical, and/or theological order or things and structure of the system that is established.


In music we begin to see dissonance undermining the careful and measurable compositions and rules by which music is approached and executed. Experiments such as the glass harmonica.
Bach - "some of it is pure jazz"

20th century had the most destruction and most creation in all time.
The way to get through is to stay pivotal.

"as a species we're like 16 years old and our life span is like 1000 years old"


*side note: I think science fiction is important in its attitude that we have a long way to go and should be constantly thinking about the future, about where we will be, imagining the impossible, thinking of ourselves as young

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Student at Utah Valley University studying Humanities, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology.