Thursday, September 10, 2015

OPEN Ealing - History of Art in the Western World (1 of 13)

On Tuesday evening John (the man behind these) and I attended the start of a new course of lectures led by OPEN Ealing's Nick Pearson, it's called History of Art in the Western World and the idea behind it  sounds  quite ambitious - the course of lectures is due to last 13 weeks.

Thankfully although the goals are high the delivery and materials are accessible and the audience there were (and it might sound a little over the top) spellbound and keen to learn.
Home of the lectures OPEN in Singapore Road W13 

Attendance is pretty much on a Pay-As-Yo-Go basis top whack being £10 (concessions are available) for the two hour session and with an inclusive refreshment break along with an electronic copy of the notes included that does seem incredibly good value.

The main insights from session one for me were that in the Middle Ages

Art was at the service of God. - The Monasteries and institutions around religion were the repository of Knowledge, Wisdom and Learning but they also exercised near control over their output.
The Church was for example able to provide the resources to create beautiful illuminated manuscripts.
Most of those who worshipped at Christian churches were illiterate and symbolism along with there familiarity with key texts (by the delivery of sermons)  were essential parts of the continuing influence of the Church.

Technological and societal were instrumental in changes that came about.- Cities and Towns became the centres of advancement and periods of peace along with improved communications and ample food  meant that developments in material well being were made. Along with paintings and illustrations buildings were erected for the glory of god carrying detailed illustrative sculpted figures.
Artistic techniques that were part of the vernacular in Ancient Rome and  Greece began to emerge, foreshortening of figures and spatial placement were used to help works become more representational.
The course leader Nick is an artist too

Art was an avenue to discover 'meaning' -As the populace became 'richer' they were able to spare time and resources for education and enlightenment - the nobility valued being part of  a civilised class.

The study of the development of Art throws light on historical evolution as a whole and if you're interested in Art it opens up other aspects to historical progress   (as someone interested in Football can learn of the sports' development  or can find out more about mathematical statistics).

The Renaissance period saw the emergence of Celebrity artists, prior to this the creators were considered Artisans and would be valued for their skills and services (perhaps more like a plumber of today we might say - he/she is a tidy reliable worker who conceals their working).

The Artists we celebrate now from this period  that  were introduced to those attending on Tuesday included Giotto (active in Florence), as well as the father of Sienese painting Duccio and the 'Fresco King' Pisanello.

Really looking forward to attending further lectures and finding out more about how we've got to where we are!

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