ARTS 1303 syllabus

ARTS 1303 syllabus - What is art? This is a very difficult...

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What is art? This is a very difficult question to answer. Volumes and volumes have been written on the subject, yet it seems that each generation struggles with the question of what exactly is art. Perhaps there is not a definitive answer, but it seems to include things that result from that uniquely human urge to create. There are two general categories of art: temporal and plastic. The temporal arts include literature, drama, music and dance. They involve time on the part of the viewer and are somewhat intangible. Once the book is read or the performance is over, all that is left are the impressions and feelings in the viewer’s mind. The plastic arts, on the other hand, are tangible and include drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture. It is the plastic arts that are the main concern of this course. Although art is difficult to define, most would agree that one of the things that art does is communicate. The plastic arts speak to us from the depths of time and the far reaches of the globe in a language, not of words, but images. Perhaps the best way to explain how images communicate is by a favorite example- the circle. Throughout history there have been a few simple images that seem to have transcended time and space to become universal symbols. One of these images is the circle. We see the circle at Stonehenge in England. The Aztec calendar stone is circular, as are many Buddhist temples in India. In fact, wherever there is evidence of human civilization, the circular motif almost always turns up. And when it does, it is usually associated with spiritual things. The reason for this is that the circle has no beginning and no end; therefore, it symbolizes eternity. Each point on the circumference is the same distance from the center; therefore, it also symbolizes equality. And so we see how the simple circular shape has the power to communicate ideas that resonate with the human spirit. It communicates these ideas, not in the language of words, but as an image- the language of art. In our own immensely complex times it seems that the more we advance the technology of communication, the less we
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ARTS 1303 syllabus - What is art? This is a very difficult...

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