4470Lecture_1

4470Lecture_1 - Professor: Darius A. Spieth Art History...

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Unformatted text preview: Professor: Darius A. Spieth Art History Program LSU School of Art Formal requirements (Syllabus) “A History of Louisiana Photography” exhibition at Hill Memorial Library The Invention of Photography from the Heliograph to the Daguerreotype It is difficult to overestimate the impact of the invention of photography on art since the second half of the 19 th century In the longer run, this invention brought about something like an identity crisis for painting and the visual arts, since it threatened to take away the monopoly in representing physical reality Photography in the mid-19 th century was a complex chemical and physical process, mostly reserved for “initiates” and insiders, which was more reminiscent of alchemy than of science: there were numerous competing photographic processes available, every one of them requiring a different set of secret chemicals, glass plates, and photosensitive paper Technological innovations were shared in photographic societies and through various short- lived publications These circumstances make the history of photography a difficult story to tell: it was driven primarily by technological innovations and only secondarily by the history of aesthetic ideas During the 19 th century, photography was a contested issue in artistic circles: it was frequently perceived as a link between art and industry, which fascinated some and repulsed others The poet Charles Baudelaire was one of the most adamant critics of photography; in this writing the “Salon of 1859” he made the following case against photography: “Thus an industry that could give us as a result the identical to Nature would be the absolute of art. A revengeful God has given ear to prayers of the multitude. Daguerre was his Messiah. And now the faithful says to himself: ‘Since photography gives us every guarantee of exactitude that we could desire (they really believe that, the mad fools!), then photography and art are the same thing?’ From that moment on, our squalid society rushed, Narcissus to a man, to gaze at its trivial image on a scrap of metal. A madness, an extraordinary fanaticism took possession of all these sun- worshippers. Strange abominations took form.” Camera obscura types, ca. 1820 The camera obscura had been known and used by artists for centuries before the invention of photography Antecedents of the camera obscura go back to Battista Alberti, who in 1437 devised a mechanism to project perspective views through a small hole in a box Invention of the camera obscura is owed to Giambattista della Porta who first introduced the invention to a wider audience through his book Magiae Naturalis , published in 1558 Problem: no possibility to fix images projected on the ground plate permanently; methods to do so were only invented in the early 19 th century > birth of photography Jan Vermeer, The Letter , 1666, oil o/canvas Master painter (“spet”) of Dutch domestic life; inn keeper...
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ART 4470 taught by Professor Dariusa.spieth during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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4470Lecture_1 - Professor: Darius A. Spieth Art History...

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