Response for art history
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As it is addressed in the textbook, it must be impossible to survive for human-being without food and shelter. Therefore, these have been used as essential elements in art, and furthermore evolved their significance through religious/cultural rituals as time went by. I chose Figure 6.3 African Rock Painting. Cave painting of Tassili n’Ajjer, 2nd mill. BCF. Henri Lhote Collection. Musee de I’homme, Paris, France as an artwork that links living environment and ritual/art. It may be seen as a simple painting from Mesolithic Era or Middle Stone Age, but it also presents the way how human had lived at that time which is hunting and gathering were ways to obtain food and survive. It is not certain why human drew this kind of painting, but there must be a strong desire and wish from their life dissolved in towards food and survival when human had to protect and secure themselves from the weather, wild animals, or etc. In this way, this rock painting is also allowing us to glance at the relation between food and ritual/art. I also chose Figure 6.19 Leonardo Da Vinci/s Last Supper as an artwork that connects food and ritual/art. It was a last supper of Jesus, but it would be a moment combined with a religious ceremony where people shared values, thoughts and feelings by eating food together. As a last example, I chose Figure 7.3 Venus of Willendorf, Austria, c.25000 ~ 20000 BCE, Stone. This small sculpture is described as a representation of the physical essence of fertility that shows the power of fertility implied childbirth or good health. Making and keeping a sculpture in woman’s shape expressed the ideal shape of woman and pray for values that were considered important; having a lot of children or strong and healthy woman who can raise children and take care of home.
I think the standards between art and pornography is depends where its significance or focus lies. The text introduces several examples of art that depicts lovemaking, but they are considered as significant and crucial artwork regardless of sexuality that their contents contain. As an essential part of human life, those work should be considered as art if they include or imply a certain message from the artist or period of time. Graphics that are considered as pornography are because they simply focus on entertaining or sexual purpose.
I absolutely think that what defines art and pornography is highly influenced by cultural factors as well. As I know of, it is not easy to accept artwork described or depicted couples having sex in conservative countries or cultures, although it contains values of time when it was created.
Lastly, I also believe Mapplethorpe’s work is art as it describe the human body so correctly, and delivers the beauty of human. Personally, I think Mapplethorpe made a good example of art using a human body.