Log in

Next Entry


Welcome to the Art community!
Feel free to post questions, musings, pictures of paintings (or other media), your own paintings etc
I promise to keep this a  nice, flame-free community of people with a common interest in art.

To start out our discussions, I have two topics for you:

1. Madame X
The painting at the top is a detail from Madame X (1883-1884), John Singer Sargent. He was greatly criticized for the original work, which featured the woman with the right strap of her dress slipped off. Here is a picture of what the original painting looked like:

Even after changing it, the painting remain controversial.
Why do you think it caused such an critical storm? After all, by 1883 nudes were nothing new in painting.
Should he have changed it under the pressure of his contemporaries? Does it change that value of the work knowing that the artist intended it to look differently?

2. Cave Art

Why do you think the hunter-gatherer decided to go into a cave to create art?
How did he feel, how did his tribe feel?
Was there a religious purpose, or was it an attempt to create order in the chaos that the primitive man was experiencing?
Why are people inherently drawn to creating art?

Deviations from these questions are encouraged, I just put the questions here to get you started.

Have Fun!
Your friendly, neighbourhood moderator.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Hello, and first post?! That's a first, haha. (No pun intended.)

I've never seen the Madame X painting before, but just by looking at it I can see why it was so controversial. The way her face is turned away from the viewer and how it exposes her neck, shoulders and chest shows a subtle hint of sexuality. Just that bit was enough to stir up controversy during the time it was painted. Women were expected to be proper and dress the part--I think this painting is kind of like a middle finger to polite society in a way. I like it for that reason and also because, it's just a really beautiful painting.

I think cave art served multiple purposes just like it still does today. Early man probably used them to document things that were significant to them. Or maybe it was used for leisure? There probably wasn't much to do back then besides hunt and survive, so I think it was used to cure cave man boredom. Lol.
Jan. 7th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
lol: "Okay guys, have we hunted?" "Yes, Ooog, we've hunted" "well..have we mated?" "Yes Ooog, we have mated." "Alright. Let's go paint then!"

That seemed really funny in mind for some reason.

You're right, I suppose, about sexuality in Madame X warranting its notoriety. What I'm confused about is why nudes in...say...as far back as Renaissance paintings were not an issue, and suddenly, when the Church and even social standards have slackened, a woman whose neck suggests sexuality is so greatly criticized.

Why didn't early man ever draw people? Were other tribesmen not important in their lives?
Jan. 8th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
XD. Yeah, that is kind of funny once you think about it. Haha.

That's a good question. In church cathedrals it's not uncommon to see "pagan" imagery painted on their ceilings. There was one in particular (whose name I can't remember right now) that had paintings of half naked men and women and characters from Greek mythology on it's ceiling. But on the flipside, if a woman shows a little skin, it's considered immoral. I'm not sure why that is. XD

Perhaps the reason that animals were the only subjects they painted was because they were an important factor to their survival? They used them for food and clothing and without those, they probably wouldn't have been able to survive.
Jan. 6th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
I have also started a new community recently, one that intersects the study of art and beauty enough to warrant the promotion of your community in my own. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in the study of signs, significance and meaning, point them toward sign_studies. I look forward to seeing further posts in your community.

Jan. 6th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
Very interesting paper. Good ideas. Original in Russian.
"Triad method for studying the anthropology of language and art"
The purpose of this paper is to present and describe a new method for studying pre-speech language. The suggested method is based on three linguistic categories - nouns, verbs, and interjections in their motor and expressive qualities - and their relation to the three basic forms of art - graphics (visual art), movement (dance), and sound (music). The study considers this correlation as caused by the nature of the human receptor system. This method explains the nature of art and the phenomenon of aesthetics and allows for the chronological arrangement of important cultural processes.
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
Lets go with 2, first.

The appearance is of a hunting picture. It was likely done with some sympathetic magic in mind. The hope for a successful hunt is in part imagined. This painting then becomes the visual representation of that hope. Of how the hunt ought to succeed and so further how the world ought to be. This is how all artworks have a moral component.

Nietzsche calls art the only truly metaphysical activity. This is because it is creative as an echo of the gods. It comes out of imagination and so is always tied to some extent to how the world ought to be.

1. In the era of the painting I would guess that it was scandalous, as all artworks are, to some extent. It confronts morality on two planes therefore, that of showing a madame in a conservative period, and the morality inherent in artworks. That the public demanded a change meant that the message was loud and clear and in some sense made the work "interactive".

As its message is very much tied up with the social outlook of the times, the work has paled over time. Without some historical context, in our era, the primary message is rather lost...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )