For this week I decided to write a short paragraph on why it’s worthwhile exploring artworks despite studying literacy, admittingly I think I have a pretty good understanding of this due to also studying Visual Arts and currently doing art history.
While at first glance it may seem kind of silly and almost a waste of time to explore a subject that isn’t directly something you are currently studying, but when it comes to art I think although they are both different mediums they are both equally as important to the understanding of certain time periods. The reason for this is artists are quite commonly at the forefront of political and social movements. Artists and literature writers are also usually part of the same groups, influencing each other, so at times you will often see literature and art almost mirror each other as they break away from conventional practices and become more experimental.
A great example of this would be romanticism itself. If you look at the artists pre-romanticism period they often paintings central themes often revolved around religious iconography or people who had either a strong influence within their country or some sort of power. whereas the romantic artists started to peel away from this tradition and experiment with painting grand landscapes and sceneries.
So why it may not seem necessary to look at other mediums of the time, doing so can yield some great insight into cultural movements.
Here’s a little image I made, on the left probably the most well-known piece to ever be created, Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and on the right Caspar David Friedrich’s “Abbey in an Oak Forest”. You can see a huge difference in the works and what they represent. Where Da Vinci has aimed to accurately recount an event from the bible Friedrich has painted a piece that could be mistaken for something out of a Dungeons and Dragons book by painting an abandoned church which is now used as a graveyard within a forest.