Cheeky Quotes: have fun!

October 22, 2014

"Whistler's Mother"

Comment on the video material about James McNeill Whistler's  "Portrait of the Artist's Mother" also known as "Arrangement in Gray and Black, No 1"; you might think about him breaking all sorts of conventions, both in his real life, and in his painting. Or, maybe, think about what he said:

"Art should be independent on any emotions such as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like. And that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies'".'s_Mother

Here is a very short fragment:

Deadline: 18th of November

Course no. 2: The Critical Essay. The Formal Analysis

The artistic discourse community:

- a socio-rhetorical group of people who share common goals directly related to art; certain mechanisms of communication (eg. art magazines); specific vocabulary, grammar, semantics, rhetoric; specific GENRES

- genre: type of texts that share the same communicative purpose

The Critical Essay = a genre whose communicative purpose is to offer a personal opinion on a specific subject. Therefore we can consider it subjective writing. Nontheless, subjective does not mean total lack of evidence for what we claim.

The Formal Analysis
- a type of critical essay

- to analyse = to take a thing apart; to decompose it in order to see what its components are and how they work together as a whole => to analyse a work of art = to deconstruct it into smaller elements such as : subject-matter; formal elements; principles of design; style; purpose, etc.
- purpose: to describe, interpret and/or evaluate a work of art, that is, to analyse a work of art
- prerequisite: direct access to the real work or to a good reproduction
- each such important element is then analysed in order to see what role it plays in the whole

- the standard move-structure of a text belonging to the subgenre of formal analysis:

MOVE I: Introducing the work and the artist

  • step 1: identifying the work (some details about the title, author, theme, subject-matter, medium, dimensions, period of creation, current location, purposes of creation)
  • step 2: identifying the artist: only that biographical information considered relevant for the work analysed

MOVE II: Transition:

- usually offers a personal first response to the work

MOVE III: Analysing de-constructed elements:

  • step 1: analysing first element : describing the first element + interpreting the first element + /- evaluating the first element (e.g. a character in the work)
  • step 2: analysing element 2 (e.g. the principle of the perfect symmetry)
  • step 3: analysing element 3 (e.g. the dominating colour)

MOVE IV: Concluding:

- offering a final interpretation +/- evaluation of the whole work, based on the previous analyses


- study the texts:

1. The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini and Jeanne Cenami by Jan van Eyck, written by Erwin Panofsky

2. Ten Lizes by Andy Warhol by Anca Teodora Pora

3. Write a formal analysis on a subject of your choice.

- comment on the analyses made by the authors, that is, on the descriptions and interpretations and/or evaluations offered; did they convince you?; can you find other possible interpretations to those elements?; are there other elements you would have chosen instead? which? why?

DEADLINE 1 (for task 1): November 4th

DEADLINE 2 (for task 2): November 25th;id=16186;type=101

DEADLINE 3 (for task 3): December 3rd, and 10th 

October 08, 2014

Course one: An overview on the peculiarities of the discourse about art

The members of the (artistic) discourse community share a number of features:
  • a set of common public goals
  • mechanisms of intercommunication
  • mechanisms to provide information and feedback
  • GENRES - which are specific to the common goals
  • specific lexis
  • discourse expertise in the specific field
TASK: Can you exemplify these common features: e.g. What common goals do artists have? Which are the mechanisms through which they communicate among themselves?
Art and communication : visual + verbal/linguistic

Visual communication: facilitated by such features as : theme, subject-matter, elements of design, principles of design/composition, iconography (signs, symbols).

Task: give some examples of how the artist may communicate a specific thing threough one or more of the above features of the plastic discourse.

Linguistic/verbal communication: 

The artistic discourse community employs its own discourse, characterized by certain features:

  • specific vocabulary (the specific lexis)

-everyday words placed in a new, art-specific context (e.g. brush, installation, ground, glazing, etc)
- words from science and technology (e.g. de-gas; alkydic resin)
-word-formation (e.g. water-colour, aqua-tint, body colour, aquamarine, etc)
- borrowings (from French: e.g.frottage, sanguine, gouache, and Italian: e.g. sfumato, chiaroscuro, sgraffitto, etc )
- specific phrases (e.g. still life, life size, colour field, nonobjective art, found object, ready made, etc)
- trademarks/tradenames (e.g. a Picasso, a Chanel, an Impressionist, etc)

  •  specific morphology, syntax, semnatics, rhetoric (not extremely different from the general use)
  •  specific GENRES

NOMENCLATURES = hierarchical arrangement of the terminology of an area of study ; they are probably the most important characteristic of any specific vocabulary.

subject-matter identifiable objects, stories, events; "what is depicted?"
  • representational/abstract/non-representational=nonobjective art
  • meaning=content
  • title
  • iconography + iconology
formal elements:
  • line (e.g. dominant/subordinate, smooth/jerky/brusque/jagged)
  • shape (e.g. geometric/biomorphic)
  • light/dark (value,key)
  • mass
  • volume
  • colour, hue, value, intensity/saturation/purity; primary/secondary/intermediate/analogous/monochromes/warm/cool
  • space (overlapped shapes, foreshortening, size, linear=geometric perspective + vanishing point/atmospheric=aerial perspective/realistic space/analogical,abstract space; three/bi-dimensional space
  • texture
  • time and motion
  • sound and smell
principles of design:
  • balance (symmetrical/approximately simmetrical/asymmetrical balance)
  • focal point
  • dominance
  • economy
  • rhythm
  • scale, proportion ("the golden section")
  • unity/variety
  • open/closed composition

purposes of art (functions that artworks may fulfill - in religious rituals, commemorating, assertion of power, honouring a person, recording an event, etc)

processes and materials/media
  • drawing (e.g. in silverpoint, in pastels, etc)
  • painting (e.g. in acrylics, oil paint, etc)
  • printmaking (relief/intaglio processes/engraving/drypoint/aquatint, etc)
  • sculpture (additive/subtractive; modelling, casting, assemblages, etc)


  • conceptual, representational, illusionistic, naturalistic, realistic, idealistic, abstract, non-representational;
  • Classsical/Romantic/Baroque/Impressionistic/Expressionistic, etc
GENRES     = classes of communicative events (spoken, or written) which share communicative  purposes

The genres that we will be studying are:
  • the critical essay (the formal analysis, the expository essay, the compare and contrast essay, the argumentative essay);
  • the essay examination;
  • the research paper
  • the art review
  • the artnews
  • the artist's statement
  • the artist's blog
  • the artist's home page/web site
  • the exhibition catalogue

NOTE: for more detailed information and a deeper insight, please consult Anda-Elena Cretiu: An ESP Perspective on Art-Related Discourse, EZway Books, LLC, Las Vegas,NV, 2004, which you can find in the UAD library; chapter3- An overview on the peculiarities of the discourse about art, pp.71-100; the 1000 terms dictionary at the end may also be of some help. You may as well consider the new book by the same author: Discourse and Communication in Visual Arts, CCS, 2014 (pp. 9-68) and 249-259

DEADLINE: October 21, 24 hrs.

Please bring comments under each section you may have something to add to. You may come up with some new examples for each section.

Manet's "Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe"

The above link is to a kind of summary of the material we have watched; however, it may help you remember some things in order to comment on the watched documentary.

Task: comment on how Manet managed to break all the rules by creating this work.

Deadline: October 21, 2014

October 02, 2014

VIDEO MATERIAL for the 2nd year

Attendants of the second year course in English for Art are kindly invited to select one title from the following list. Materials that will have been most often selected by you will be used during our video session every two weeks. Your suggestions are welcome.


Sandro Boticelli – La Primavera;
Paolo Uccello – The Battle of San Romano;
 Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper;
 Pierro della Francesca – The Resurrection

Rembrandt van Rijn – The Night Watch;
Johannes Vermeer – The Art of Painting;
Diego Velasquez – The Rokeby Venus

Francisco Goya – The Third of May 1808;
Eugene Delacroix – Liberty Leading the People;
 Katsushika Hokusai – The Great Wave

Edouard Manet – Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe;g
 James McNeill Whistler – Portrait of the Artist’s Mother;
Edvard Munch – The Scream

Auguste Renoir – Dance at the Moulin de la Galette;
Vincent van Gogh – The Sunflowers;
Georges Seurat – A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884

Pablo Picasso – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon;
 Gustav Klimt – The Kiss;
Salvador Dali – Christ of St. John of the Cross

Michelangelo – David;
Edgar Degas – Little Dancer Aged 14;
Auguste Rodin – The Kiss

(The Private Life of a Masterpiece, BBC VIDEO, 2008)

Orar semestrul I (anul II)


8 oct, 22 oct, 5 noi,19 noi, 3 dec, 7 ian
Pictura + Foto
Curs + seminar
17- 19

8 oct, 22 oct, 5 noi, 19 noi, 3 dec, 7 ian
Curs + seminar
19 – 20
Vezi mai sus
P + F + G
(vizionare + Speaking) SM
15 – 17

15 oct, 29 oct, 12 noi, 26 noi, 10 dec, 14 ian
Sculptura + Conservare + Design Textil + Design Vestimentar
Curs + seminar

17 – 19

15 oct, 29 oct, 12 noi, 26 noi, 10 dec, 14 ian
Design + Ceramica
Curs + seminar
19 - 20
Vezi mai sus
S + CO + DT + DV + D + CE
(vizionare + Speaking) SM