Art serves as a visual language, communicating meaning beyond words. Historically, it was intertwined with religion, often avoiding direct depictions of the divine to prevent idolatry. Today, art's public appreciation has shifted, with museums offering a new context. This change allows us to see art as a continuous conversation reflecting our evolving world.
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- At1:14, we see an image of a man looking at an egg, while painting a bird. I thought it was brilliant, and I have never seen this particular painting before. What is it called and who is the artist?(72 votes)
- According to the video, Buddhist art used to be aniconic but soon began depicting the Buddha. Was there any controversy/conflict/heresy involved with this transition?(13 votes)
- The conversion of Buddhist art from aniconic and iconic has been a subject to much study and debate. The representation of God as formless has been a part of Indian culture for ages and did not change till the advent of the Kushana period. The iconography probably changed during this time as a cultural change and did not cause much scandal. Although it does not question the beliefs of Buddhism, there are also justifications that the division into 2 sects i.e. Himayana and Mahayana makes all the difference. It is difficult to say which of the various theories is correct, since it has also been said that the iconification started because of the influence of Greek anthropomorphic sculptures, but this is one point that very few people agree with. You can read various theories at http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ADM/huntin.htm and http://www.academia.edu/1977694/The_Shift_from_Aniconic_to_Anthropomorphic_Buddha_in_Greco-Buddhist_Iconography_How_Anthropomorphism_Advanced_Buddhism(29 votes)
- At3:08what painting is that? It reminds me of a tsunami! And it also is kinda reminiscent of space...(10 votes)
- 2:42, who are those people in the middle dressed in black near the paintings?(6 votes)
- The gentleman in the hat is Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, who was Governor of the Southern Netherlands (roughly modern-day Belgium). The impressive art collection depicted in this painting belonged to him -- this is at his palace in Brussels, in the 1650s. The artist who painted this work was David Teniers the Younger. Teniers was not only the court artist -- he also acted as the curator for the Archduke's massive art collection. Teniers has painted himself in the group of men surrounding the Archduke. The rest of the men depicted are probably members of the Archduke's court.(9 votes)
- When he mentions "keeping it real (the relationship) between individual and the divine", what is the relationship, and by "keeping it real" does that mean to uphold the relationship between the individual and the divine?(2 votes)
- to "keep it real" may mean to maintain the relationship with the unseen divine in a pristine state, unmediated by visual or material objectification(6 votes)
- What makes up a cultural language?(5 votes)
- what are some examples of art that people worshiped? (aside from the golden bull of biblical fame that is shown in the video)(2 votes)
- Art THAT people have worshipped is a hard thing to answer. Even the golden bull in the Exodus was a piece of something in front of which people worshipped something "beyond" the reality that it purported to represent. But there have been people in (and outside of ) all religions who have worshipped art for reasons that are not at all religious, but which are very strongly related to "worship". Recall how some people value particular artistic items for their monetary value, is not THAT akin to worship? When art draws us to worship that which is beyone it, rather than the artistic production itself, it does its best work. If I pray to St. Anthony, for example, in front of a statue of St. Anthony, hoping that St. Anthony will hear me and intercede for me with Jesus to grant my request, I am not worshipping the statue. BUT, if I believe that the statue of St. Anthony in a particular location hears prayers "better than" statues of a different saint in a different place, then I'm worshipping the art of that particular statue or location, aren't I?(1 vote)
- Why did Aniconism exist? Were religious people not suppose to worship and interpret their lord?(2 votes)
- I think for the most part people were expected to worship and interpret their lord. Aniconism occurred because it was feared that worshippers were mistaking the material representations of their lord for the lord itself, therefore, focusing their worship on the object and not the deity.(1 vote)
- The painting at4:14that represent a human born from an egg, is that true ? ,that human was born from an egg long time ago ?(2 votes)
- What lead to the rise of museums in the 20 century?(2 votes)
- There's a section on the History of Museums at the Wiki. You may likely find the answer to your question there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum(1 vote)
It's only been the last few hundreds years or so that Western civilization has been putting art in museums, at least museums resembling the public institutions we know today. Before this, for most, art served other purposes. What we call fine art today was, in fact, primarily how people experienced an aesthetic dimension of religion. Paintings, sculpture, textiles and illuminations were the media of their time, supplying vivid imagery to accompany the stories of the day. In this sense, Western art shared a utilitarian purpose with other cultures around the world, some of whose languages incidentally have no word for art. So how do we define what we call art? Generally speaking, what we're talking about here is work that visually communicates meaning beyond language, either through representation or the arrangement of visual elements in space. Evidence of this power of iconography, or ability of images to convey meaning, can be found in abundance if we look at art from the histories of our major world religions. Almost all have, at one time or another in their history, gone through some sort of aniconic phase. Aniconism prohibits any visual depiction of the divine. This is done in order to avoid idolatry, or confusion between the representation of divinity and divinity itself. Keeping it real, so to speak, in the relationship between the individual and the divine. However, this can be a challenge to maintain, given that the urge to visually represent and interpret the world around us is a compulsion difficult to suppress. For example, even today, where the depiction of Allah or the Prophet Muhammad is prohibited, an abstract celebration of the divine can still be found in arabesque patterns of Islamic textile design, with masterful flourishes of brushwork and Arabic calligraphy, where the words of the prophet assume a dual role as both literature and visual art. Likewise, in art from the early periods of Christianity and Buddhism, the divine presence of the Christ and the Buddha do not appear in human form but are represented by symbols. In each case, iconographic reference is employed as a form of reverence. Anthropomorphic representation, or depiction in human form, eventually became widespread in these religions only centuries later, under the influence of the cultural traditions surrounding them. Historically speaking, the public appreciation of visual art in terms other than traditional, religious or social function is a relatively new concept. Today, we fetishize the fetish, so to speak. We go to museums to see art from the ages, but our experience of it there is drastically removed from the context in which it was originally intended to be seen. It might be said that the modern viewer lacks the richness of engagement that she has with contemporary art, which has been created relevant to her time and speaks her cultural language. It might also be said that the history of what we call art is a conversation that continues on, as our contemporary present passes into what will be some future generation's classical past. It's a conversation that reflects the ideologies, mythologies, belief systems and taboos and so much more of the world in which it was made. But this is not to say that work from another age made to serve a particular function in that time is dead or has nothing to offer the modern viewer. Even though in a museum setting works of art from different places and times are presented alongside each other, isolated from their original settings, their juxtaposition has benefits. Exhibits are organized by curators, or people who've made a career out of their ability to recontextualize or remix cultural artifacts in a collective presentation. As viewers, we're then able to consider the art in terms of a common theme that might not be apparent in a particular work until you see it alongside another, and new meanings can be derived and reflected upon. If we're so inclined, we might even start to see every work of art as a complementary part of some undefined, unified whole of past human experience, a trail that leads right to our doorstep and continues on with us, open to anyone who wants to explore it.