The history of art reaches back to the mists of mankind’s earliest beginnings, but in which centuries do scholars believe scientific theories began to define style apart from content?
#106452. Asked by queproblema. (Jun 19 09 5:52 PM)
The 14th and 15th centuries.|
One could argue that when our common ancestors first represented three dimensional animals as two dimensional cave paintings that they were in fact making use of perspective, spatial relations and even geometry albeit in a very informal and instinctual way. That said, I always thought that Pointillism, a term from the 19th century used to describe the style of painting using numerous dots that coalesce into intelligible shapes and colors in a viewer's mind, was the beginning of scientific theory trumping content in art (at least in painting).
"Pointillism is a style of painting in which small distinct dots of color create the impression of a wide selection of other colors and blending. Aside from color "mixing" phenomena, there is the simpler graphic phenomenon of depicted imagery emerging from disparate points. Historically, Pointillism has been a figurative mode of executing a painting, as opposed to an abstract modality of expression.
The technique relies on the perceptive ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones and is related closely to Divisionism, a more technical variant of the method. It is a style with few serious practitioners and is notably seen in the works of Seurat, Signac and Cross. The term Pointillism was first coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation."
However, I found this source which points out the fact that scientific theory was in heavy use earlier on:
"At different stages in the past, scientific theory has contributed the development of artistic expression. During the Renaissance Filippo Brunellschi and Piero della Francesca used their understanding of mathematics to apply the principles of perspective into painting, and thus allow the two dimensional representation of three dimensional objects. Albrecht Dürer utilised devices of his own invention to allow accurate foreshortening to be produced in his compositions. Jan Vermeer and Auguste Ingres were aided by complex optics to create highly-detailed works that brought new levels of realism to the painters' craft, and the inimitable Leonardo da Vinci studied many cadavers in order to enhance artists' comprehension of human anatomy.
Though the need for science as a foundation to artistic endeavour was perhaps more apparent in the Fourteenth and Fifteen Centuries, its importance would not wane completely in the years that followed, and even in contemporary art there are still occasions when its application is vital to the realisation of the finished work."
Not having found any other source to back me up, I would have to agree that the 14th and 15th centuries would be the best answer. Pietro Perugino's painting below was what I had in mind when I was thinking about your question. To me, the use of perspective is quite blatant and almost overpowers the drama in the foreground.
I'm glad you're back - I was having trouble with this one....|
I don't really know the answer to this question.|
Baloo, for his part, privately suggested "Possibly when Golden Section was first talked about, or when Leonardo, Cranach and Uccello were around." (And I do hope he doesn't mind my making it public.)
I've spent a bit of time reading Ed's sources, and prickling over the Pointillist point. :-) Scientific theory was indeed in heavy use earlier on, but to support, not supplant, content. Perugino's "Giving of the Keys to St. Peter" is a distinctly narrative painting strongly supported by style. Pointillism seems to have come rather late in the post-Enlightenment emphasis of style over content. Consider rococo and romantic art.
I'm guessing it was the 1700-1800's.
Anne D'Alleva says that "Marxist, psychoanalytical, and semiotic lines of questionings" "have roots in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art historical practices." (If I'm not garbling her thoughts and mangling her meanings. Hope not.) From page 11 on:
Leslie Brown Kessler argues "...that seventeenth-century artists and art theorists did not view the problem of style formally, but were rather concerned with the manner in which a style might interpret or support content.
"...it should be recognized that style was not fully defined as a purely formal value, exclusive of content, until the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, when "scientific" and positivistic theories of form elements and their transformation displaced earlier, content-based art theory."
How I would love to have her guide me through a museum!
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