Syntax and the definition of Art

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Re: Syntax and the definition of Art

Postby dandelion on August 20th, 2017, 5:17 am 

Thanks Michael, sorry for being away so long. This is a bit rushed.

To do some recapping, you wrote about the Annunciation and your works involving, according to you, 4D, and there has been discussion of time, so took it likely to mean here, 1 time + 3 space, and I felt this extension of flat image in this way may be achieved through artistic YouTube and thread discussions of the works- having discussion of the Annunciation and your works extended over time in different media, with YouTube film and real time in threads, an on-going interactive artwork process. (I also like that this played with notions of illusory components of art too). This wouldn’t be an especially unique means, an artistic book or film, music, etc., about some flat image, e.g., The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and some sort of further discussion or something like that, could be similar.

Some suggest analytical cubism involved showing figuratively, different angles at once, like incorporating many images from a time-lapse camera in one work, and so showing space in time, while also acknowledging flatness and illusion. Some also suggest that this was unsuccessful as around 1912 Picasso abruptly changed tack. This may be that the illusory figurativeness became too unrecognisable and complex, or overly abstracted, defeating the purpose of exploring figurative representation, as all his works over his life-time to some greater extent remained figurative representations. Some suggest Pollock’s works demonstrates by tracing bodily movement as a flat work, the act of creating art work in time, in one view, without such concern for figurative representation. This can be done in other ways, e.g. paintings of photos of illusions or of mirrors. It might be you have a different notion of (3 space, 1 time) 4d than I suggested. I think your view may involve claims of some notion of diagrammisation of time within formal composition of those 4 works of art, and not involving the videos and threads, is this the case?

Or do you have 4 spatial dimensions in mind? Various works have been said to have been involved with this. I think I’ve seen you mentioning straight lines. It would be helpful if you could concisely explain more about whatever it is you mean and how it relates to the work.

Regarding the straight lines you’ve drawn over that Annunciation, I’ll mention I've seen many works with linear demonstrations something like this, and in some cases, they seem to be quite easily fudged to make various differing claims. Such lines can be rather subjective and imprecise, although some compositions can be more precise.

Now, for one consideration, you may attach some aesthetic value to the composition via such lines. Even if the lines of the Annunciation agree just with the lines you describe, and if there were something aesthetically pleasingly special about such composition, do you think that such lines might be varied to some degree and re-balanced with other lines, to create much the same effect whatever that is, with variation? If this were possible, and this seems likely, would such compositions also be considered harmonious and artistic to you? I think general notions of proportionally off-setting balanced symmetry tends to be fairly much considered common knowledge for people trained in art and those exposed to it. Notions such as this could allow for many other examples of visual art than the 4 you allow for. I just note too that you have offered the Mona Lisa somewhere as more artistic than Cezanne, yet if there were only four pieces of visual art ever, why compare Cezanne with, in your expressed view, another example of non-art, unless you considered there is some spectra of artistic value?

Another consideration is, I think I’ve mentioned, that a seeming restriction to one design element AFAIK, line, and descriptions of syntax possibly suggests some sort of influence of formalist aesthetics, and if so, this would be something you have in keeping with Greenberg and with Badger’s suggested reading, Wilde’s Dorian Gray preface, involving notions from Plato or Socrates, Aristotle, Kant, Coleridge, Bell, etc. Generally, this may involve absolutist notions that art is autonomous, it is functionally purposive, an end in itself, an artwork as complete entity, referring only to itself within itself. This could involve metaphysical or mystical notions including of profound artistic genius. Leonardo may have done to improve status of artists, while others like Kant seemed to further some strength. This may be a totalising view of art and deflects questioning or critique aside from questioning the formalist position itself. Referencing other than itself brings formalism into question, and this seems to be the case in this instance. Wimsatt’s Intentional Fallacy opens formalism to question, and e.g., there have references here to more innovative scientific research external to the artwork, etc. A formalist rejoinder would be that an artwork refers to itself eternally, including such more recent research, and with such sorts of questions a position of formalism may be very ambiguous. But if you take a formalist approach, it seems for this to be internally coherent other elements and even absence could be accounted for. Compositionally or syntactically, e.g., there is colour in the Annunciation, and an account of such colour, as far as I know, hasn’t been provided.

The Annunciation seems to involve subject matter, and perhaps it would be good to give an account about how this refers. Beyond formalism it is possible to consider some referenced claims. There are quite a number of notions here that seem strange or not terribly consistent. It seems strange to use innovative scientific research to claim that innovation is problematic. I’m still unsure what claims have been made about innovation more precisely, about function, about training and about monetary value, but I may discuss this some other time in another post. Regarding other possible references that might be interesting, e.g. explanations about all other art, the historical situation of the Annunciation written of, the subject matter, these sorts of things. I ask because there may be some nice answers. E.g. I once came across some interesting claims made about another Annunciation, and I thought the similarity of subject matter, regardless of the strength of claims, sort of delightful. Sorry, I’m unsure of any peer review, etc, it seems fun, and although I’m unsure about the artistic claims and could make some suggestions, I’m well assured of the mathematical credentials in this area of one of the co-authors - http://www.ralphabraham.org/articles/MS ... angels.pdf
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Re: Syntax and the definition of Art

Postby Positor on August 20th, 2017, 8:46 am 

Dandelion,

You have raised several points that occurred to me also. In particular, I would like to know more about MrMikeludo's views regarding works of the period 1480-1880. To what extent, if any, can other paintings from this period (including others by Leonardo himself) have artistic value? Is the representation of the 'fourth dimension' (spatial or temporal?) a prerequisite for 'Art'? Can a work of true 'art' confine itself to representing only three dimensions, by the use of accurate perspective (possibly by means of a camera obscura)? Can it have other artistic values (e.g. clever use of colour, contrasts, striking imagery, or symbolism) that compensate for the lack of 4-dimensional structure?

Also, if there is a geometrical formula, I would like more detail about this. How do we determine the key points ('viewpoints') in a painting, in order to build the geometrical structure? Which points are crucial with regard to central or peripheral vision, and which are not? How is the formula to be applied to other types of painting, e.g. landscapes/cityscapes or still-lifes?

It would be helpful to show The Annunciation side-by-side with another painting from roughly the same period, and to demonstrate with lines etc exactly why the former has a 4-dimensional structure but the latter does not.
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Re: Syntax and the definition of Art

Postby dandelion on August 23rd, 2017, 6:27 am 

Thanks so much, Positor, that helps me a lot, too.
Positor » August 20th, 2017, 1:46 pm wrote:...You have raised several points that occurred to me also. In particular, I would like to know more about MrMikeludo's views regarding works of the period 1480-1880. To what extent, if any, can other paintings from this period (including others by Leonardo himself) have artistic value?...


Yes, this sort of question is to some extent why I asked MrMikeludo’s views about Ruskin or the Pre-Raphaelites, "founded in London in 1848", as an example, because I thought there could be some view, either way. “The Pre-Raphaelites were a secret society of young artists (and one writer), http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/pre-raphaelite . Amongst some similarities, the brotherhood expressed interest in the geometry of compositions of works of the middle ages and early renaissance.

It hasn’t loaded well for me, but I see MrMikeludo offered a virtual gallery, not sure whether this contains works appreciated or why it was offered, but it seems to include both some pre-raphaelite work like pieces by Edward Burne-Jones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_P ... _paintings) as well I think as works by Joshua Reynolds and Whistler. I’ll include a quote here from a page about a young Millais work,
“Scathing Reviews
Although Millais’ exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1849, Isabella, had been well received, the critics blasted Christ in the House of his Parents. The most infamous review, however, was the one by Charles Dickens that appeared in his magazine Household Words in June 1850. In it he described Christ as
a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-haired boy in a nightgown, who appears to have received a poke playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand out from the rest of the company as a monster in the vilest cabaret in France or in the lowest gin-shop in England.

"The commentary in The Times was equally unfavorable, stating that Millais’ “attempt to associate the Holy Family with the meanest details of a carpenter’s shop, with no conceivable omission of misery, of dirt, of even disease, all finished with loathsome minuteness, is disgusting.” The painting proved to be so controversial that Queen Victoria asked that it be removed from the exhibition and brought to her so she could examine it.” https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ ... is-parents

And,


Ruskin v. Whistler-

"The two held completely opposing views about politics and art: Ruskin was a socialist, while Whistler deplored the idea that art should be for everyone."

"Ruskin’s doctors declared him unfit to appear in court, so Edward Burne-Jones took his place. Over the course of two days, many figures from the London art world gave evidence, while the newspapers discussed the meaning and value of art. Whistler’s painting had subverted the widely-held notion that art should have some moral or didactic purpose; indeed, to some it barely seemed to represent anything at all."
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-br ... v-whistler


Also, "The phrase 'art for art's sake' condenses the notion that art has its own value and should be judged apart from any themes which it might touch on, such as morality, religion, history, or politics. It teaches that judgements of aesthetic value should not be confused with those proper to other spheres of life. The idea has ancient roots, but the phrase first emerged as a rallying cry in 19th century France, and subsequently became central to the British Aesthetic movement. Although the phrase has been little used since, its legacy has been at the heart of 20th century ideas about the autonomy of art, and thus crucial to such different bodies of thought as those of formalism, modernism, and the avant-garde. Today, deployed more loosely and casually, it is sometimes put to very different ends, to defend the right of free expression, or to appeal for art to uphold tradition and avoid causing offense.

"Most Important Art

"Art for Art's Sake Famous Art
Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1874)
Artist: James Abbott McNeill Whistler
The American-born painter James Whistler was a central figure in Britain's late 19th century Aesthetic movement, which made 'art for art's sake' its rallying cry. Color and mood were crucial to his art, his paintings often bordering on abstraction. His titles, like that for Nocturne in Black ..."
http://www.theartstory.org/definition-art-for-art.htm

And mentioned MrMikeludo’s use of the Mona Lisa (c1503-6-possibly -17) against a portrait by Cezanne.

Positor » August 20th, 2017, 1:46 pm wrote:...Is the representation of the 'fourth dimension' (spatial or temporal?) a prerequisite for 'Art'?...

I forgot where I was leading to, thanks! I’d meant to ask this something like this, put it aside while I enjoyed thinking a lot of possible considerations about this myself, then somehow forgot to write it something about it at all! I won’t answer for MrMikeludo, but was trying above to roughly distinguish some of my critique into 2 categories- those elements with more formalist internal reference and areas with that are less formalist, with possible external reference to contexts like life, science, to subject matter, to social commentary, etc., and wasn’t sure which reference to time would fit according to MrMikeludo. I struggle with notions like this as they may also touch on other things like innovation or originality or creativity, change, causality, or recombination, order, scale. (Positor, more on this, I’ve just seen a response of yours in another thread with wariness of causal notions which I had seen and wanted to say too, but wouldn’t have expressed my concerns so well. Also, I’ll add, Positor, I’m very interested in your interest here given the content of your posts including your poems.)

Positor » August 20th, 2017, 1:46 pm wrote: ...Can a work of true 'art' confine itself to representing only three dimensions, by the use of accurate perspective (possibly by means of a camera obscura)? Can it have other artistic values (e.g. clever use of colour, contrasts, striking imagery, or symbolism) that compensate for the lack of 4-dimensional structure?...


Yes, I think I’d mentioned at some stage too, that MrMikeludo’s evaluation of visual art seems narrow, and some greater specifics like this are helpful.

Positor » August 20th, 2017, 1:46 pm wrote:...Also, if there is a geometrical formula, I would like more detail about this. How do we determine the key points ('viewpoints') in a painting, in order to build the geometrical structure? Which points are crucial with regard to central or peripheral vision, and which are not? How is the formula to be applied to other types of painting, e.g. landscapes/cityscapes or still-lifes?...


Yes, and I hadn’t raised MrMikeludo’s mention of central and peripheral vision, and would like to have some explanation of that as well, too.

Positor » August 20th, 2017, 1:46 pm wrote:...It would be helpful to show The Annunciation side-by-side with another painting from roughly the same period, and to demonstrate with lines etc exactly why the former has a 4-dimensional structure but the latter does not.


Great suggestion! For suggestions of which might be interesting comparisons, as works involving Fra Angelico have been linked, perhaps the Cortona Annunciation, 1433-34, or the work that I think Alberti is said to have drawn a grid for, which may be a Sacred Conversation, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/73 ... -urbis.jpg .
I think Botticelli, who is associated with a number of Annunciations, before and after 1480 too, is also said to have used Alberti’s grid. I’d also be interested in a comparison with works associated with Piero della Francesca, such as the Flagellation, c1455-60, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellat ... _Francesca) or an Annunciation, there is one from Arezzo, c1455, and another here, c1470, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... A17467.jpg . Or perhaps a Sacred Conversation, c1472, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pala_di_B ... ca_046.jpg . Leonardo may have had different influence and the Annunciation in this case may use perspective of wider horizontal and vertical angular distortion. Perhaps a comparison with the Last Supper, commenced 1495–1496. Perhaps with another who may have been less associated with the ideas, Carlo Crivelli, 1486, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paint ... nt-emidius . Another thought was comparison with a pre-Raphaelite work, given they enjoyed more geometrically complex work of the past, like Christ in the House of His Parents, Millais, 1849-50, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ ... is-parents .
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Re: Syntax and the definition of Art

Postby MrMikeludo on August 23rd, 2017, 11:26 am 

dandelion:
Positor:

I haven't been ignoring you, I have been working...Will reply shortly...
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