q and a Art and the Reformation 17th century Holland

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					Tutorial questions and answers for Art and the Reformation: 17th century Holland FLASHCARD A
QUESTION: What, in general terms, was the Reformation?

ANSWER: The Reformation was a religious revolution that took place in the Western Church. There was a split into 2 camps: Catholic + Protestant, w/ a further subdivision of the Protestant camp into separate denominations that didn't entirely agree w/ one another. QUESTION: When did the Reformation begin?

ANSWER: During the 16th century--the second half of the Italian Renaissance. QUESTION: The Reformation was a complex phenomenon, which had many contributing factors, which included both need for reform in the Church, and some political factors. What were 2 political factors?

ANSWER: a) The rise of Nationalism, in which Western European countries started to see themselves as NATIONS separated from other nations rather than united by the church. b) The Peasants' Revolt, in which German peasants rebelled against their feudal overlords. Over 100,000 peasants killed when the nobles fought back. QUESTION: Where was the Reformation centered (geographically)?

ANSWER: Germany QUESTION: How many years of religious wars followed the beginning of the Reformation, and what major conflict occurred at the end of these wars?

ANSWER: 120 years of war, ending w/ the 30 years' War, in which about 35% of Germany's population died. QUESTION: Was the Reformation a time when intellectual horizons broadened?

ANSWER: No. In both Catholic and Protestant camps, there tended to be a narrowing of intellectual horizons, to the point that the Reformation has been called a "counter-Renaissance." QUESTION: What 2 major effects did the Reformation have on Art? (1. In Catholic countries, + 2. in Protestant countries)

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland

ANSWER: 1. In Catholic countries: Much stricter supervision of artists doing religious art, and a tendency for art to become more dramatic. 2. In Protestant countries (northern Europe) there was much disapproval of the use of art in worship--the Protestants saw it as IDOLATRY. QUESTION: In Northern countries, where the use of art in worship was seen as idolatry: What practical effect did this have on art and artists? (2 things)

ANSWER: 1. The market for art dried up, + what little work there was for artists tended to be: book illustration, portraits, + genre scenes (scenes from everyday life). 2. There was much destruction of art--people smashed what they disapproved of. QUESTION: In northern (Protestant) Europe: What, then, was the major question that the Reformation raised about art?

ANSWER: Would there be any art AT ALL? QUESTION: The early part of the 17th century wasn't so great for Europe, then, because of religious warfare. What other two factors were involved?

ANSWER: A poor economy, + a cooling trend in the climate, often called "the little ice age." QUESTION: How was Holland doing during the 17th century?

ANSWER: It was relatively peaceful and prosperous. QUESTION: Why was Holland doing well?

ANSWER: Geographically, it was out of the way of the major conflicts, it had achieved independence from Catholic Spain, + tho the majority were Protestant, they were tolerant of minority religions. QUESTION: After gaining independence from Catholic Spain, what sort of government did the Dutch establish?

ANSWER: A union of provinces under a governor, + ruled by the upper middle class. QUESTION: What sort of society, then were Dutch artists functioning in?

ANSWER: A middle class society w/ no royalty; disapproval of excessive display of wealth; disapproval of the use of art in worship, so churches were not ornamented. QUESTION: Where, then, was the main focus of society, + by extension, art?

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland


ANSWER: The focus tended to be on the home. QUESTION: In what 3 ways did this context influence art?

ANSWER: 1. Artists no longer had patrons; instead they tended to do work on speculation, + to have second jobs to make ends meet. 2. Since Dutch houses were around the same size as our middle class homes, there was little sculpture because there was no room for it. And paintings tended to be small, so they could be conveniently hung on the wall. 3. The context affected the subject matter of the paintings. QUESTION: Aside from religious works, what 4 categories did 17th century Dutch painting tend to fall in?

ANSWER: Landscape, Genre scenes (scenes from everyday life), portraiture, still life, w/ portraiture being the most popular. QUESTION: How, then, would you describe the shift that took place in the function of art in 17th century Holland?

ANSWER: It was MAJOR SHIFT away from art in support of the church and the aristocracy, to art relating to the daily lives of the middle class.



What work of art is shown in Flashcard B?

ANSWER: View of Delft, by Vermeer QUESTION: Why were the Dutch so fond of landscape?

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland


ANSWER: 2 reasons: They'd worked hard to reclaim the land from the sea, and from the marshland. Also: they had fought a war of independence from Spain, + so felt all the more strongly about their land.



What works of art are shown in Flashcard C?

ANSWER: The Concert, by Vermeer (left) and The Merry Family, by Steen QUESTION: Which of the 4 categories of painting (other than religious topics) do these 2 paintings fall into? ANSWER: These are GENRE PAINTINGS, scenes from everyday life. QUESTION: The Dutch liked 2 sorts of genre paintings, what were these 2 types?

ANSWER: Formal (example, the Concert), and Informal (The Merry Family) QUESTION: Is there any symbolism in the Concert?

ANSWER: Yes, and it's sort of an "in" joke: The picture over the head of the singing woman is a copy of a famous picture called "the Procuress" (an older woman who makes arrangements for paid sex). The suggestion is that there's more going on between the man and the singing woman than is immediately obvious.


Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland



What work is shown in Flashcard D?

ANSWER: A still life, by Heda (in class we saw a different one of the same series) QUESTION: How did a painting of this sort tie in w/ the interests of the Dutch people?

ANSWER: It was a reference to their comfortable lifestyle, + it included symbolism, which they loved. QUESTION: Symbolism? What sort of symbolism? And what is this kind of still life called?

ANSWER: This sort of painting is often called a "vanity painting," because it includes a reference to the fragility and brevity of the good life that the Dutch enjoyed: The good things in life were "vanities" that would pass away. The broken glass, beautiful and fragile, is the symbol of this.



What is the work of art shown in Flashcard E?

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland


ANSWER: The Sortie of Captain Banning Cocq's Company of the Civic Guard (also commonly known as the Night Watch) by Rembrandt. QUESTION: What category does this painting fall into?

ANSWER: Portraiture. The Night Watch is an example of a CORPORATION PORTRAIT. QUESTION: What is a Corporation portrait?

ANSWER: A portrait of a professional group. QUESTION: Do corporation portraits tend to be bigger than portraits of individuals?

ANSWER: Yes. The Night Watch is about 12' x 14'. QUESTION: What does the Night Watch depict?

ANSWER: A military group--often such groups had been together in the war of independence from Spain, and stayed together as units of the civic guard. QUESTION: What 2 things is Rembrandt especially known for in his painting?

ANSWER: Dramatic use of light, and psychological insight in his portraits.


Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland



What, as a group are the works shown in Flashcard F?

ANSWER: Some self-portraits by Rembrandt. QUESTION: About how many self-portraits did Rembrandt paint?

ANSWER: More than 62. QUESTION: Was Rembrandt being vain, painting himself so often?

ANSWER: Not at all. He was, in effect, writing a visual autobiography, and as he aged, depicted himself w/ great honesty + insight.



What work of art is shown in Flashcard G?

ANSWER: Young Woman w/ a Water Jar, by Vermeer QUESTION: What artistic concerns is Vermeer especially associated w/?

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland


ANSWER: His scientific interest in the visual world, which went far beyond his interest in his subject matter--especially his interest in light. QUESTION: Was Vermeer a particularly fashionable painter in his own day? Why?

ANSWER: No, probably because his paintings have an ambiguous quality: they rarely tell a clear story or draw a definite moral. QUESTION: What is it about ambiguity in a work of art that tends to make it universal?

ANSWER: Some ambiguity in an artwork gives the viewer more room for his or her response. The viewer completes what the artist has begun, + if the viewer's response isn't too narrowly dictated by the artist, the ambiguity of the artwork tends to help the viewer's imagination along. QUESTION: What instrument did Vermeer use to help him w/ his observation of nature?

ANSWER: A camera obscura QUESTION: What is a camera obscura?

ANSWER: It's an ancestor of the modern camera. It works on the same principle of a camera, only there is no film. A camera obscura is a box w/ a pinhole or a lens on one end, + as w/ a modern camera, an image would be projected on the back of the box. The artist could look in thru a peephole, or, in later versions, a system of mirrors (much like in a modern single lens reflex camera) would project the image onto ground glass on top of the box. QUESTION: How do we know that Vermeer was using a camera obscura? ANSWER: Because his paintings show some effects that we're familiar w/ from photography, especially (in the Young Woman w/ a Water Jug) the blurry highlights on the silver basin.

Tutorial Questions and Answers – Reformation + 17th c. Holland


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