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Introduction to Humanities


The humanities are those studies that are directly concerned ... such as; love, hate, indecision, arrogance, jealousy, ambition, justice, civil rights, etc. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Humanities

Introduction to Humanities
  • Humanities Through The Arts
  • By
  • F. David Martin and Lee A. Jacobus

Chapter OneThe Humanities A Study Of Values
  • What is humanities?
  • The humanities are those studies that are
    directly concerned with human values.
  • Unlike the sciences, which are expressed through
    numbers and symbols, human values can be
    perceived, felt, and expressed in subtle and
    enduring ways.
  • In the medieval period the word Humanities
    distinguished that which pertained to humans from
    that which pertained to God.

Humanities a Study in Values
  • Humanities covers a broad area of human
    creativity but are distinct from mathematics and
    the hard sciences.
  • The separation between the humanities and the
    sciences is illustrated in the way values work
    differently in the two areas.
  • Both the scientist and the humanist must make
    value judgments. The development of powerful
    weapons is seen as a positive development for the
    scientist - because of the many possibilities the
    development of the weapon might bring.
  • On the other hand the humanist might see the
    development of powerful weapons as a bad thing
    that will eventually affect or even destroy a
    culture, people and or an entire life style.

A Humanist Approach
  • The humanists say, what we need is a study that
    will get us closer to ourselves.
  • Of the many ways to study an approach to the
    humanities is through art and the subtle
    enduring ways values are expressed in the arts.

Taste is an exercise values!
  • People are often quick to say they like or
    dislike a piece of work because of taste.
  • An there is no accounting for taste.
  • The taste of the mass public shifts constantly.
    It does not matter if it is in fashion,
    programs, slang words or terms, etc., it will one
    day go out of style. Examples the cabbage patch
    doll, the pet rock, the eight ball, gold teeth,
    mini skirts, the thong, etc.

  • Everyone can and should be educated about the
    arts and should learn to respond to as wide a
    variety of the arts as possible
  • Because when we do there is a change within us -
    something has been added.

Many facts are involved in the study of the arts
  • We can verify the dates of Beethovens birth and
    death the dates of his important compositions,
    as well as, their key signature and numbers.
  • We can investigate the history of jazz and the
    claims of Jelly Roll Morton for having been its
  • We can make lists of the Impressionist painters
    and those they influenced.
  • There are oceans of facts attached to every art
    form. But our interest is not in fact alone.

What we mean by a study of the arts penetrates
beyond facts
  • to the values that evoke our feelings
  • In other words we go beyond the facts about a
    work of art and get to the values implied in the
  • We learn to recognize the values expressed in
    such works as well as to understand the ways in
    which they are expressed.

Responses to Art
  • Our responses to art are complex
  • Education in the arts permits us to observe more
    closely and thereby respond more intensely to the
  • Consider Eternal City 1934 1937 by Peter Blume
    (p.7 - 5th ed/p.9 - 6th edition)

Knowledge about a work of art can lead to your
knowledge of the work of art,
  • which implies a richer experience.
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT as a basic principle since it
    means that we can be educated about what is in a
    work of art, such as its form, shapes, and
    objects, as well as what is external to a work,
    SUCH AS its political references.

Artistic Form
  • Form is the interrelationships of lines, color,
    light, textures and shapes.
  • Form of any painting can be analyzed because any
    painting has to be organized

  • Frequently, we need to know something about the
    background of a work of art that would aid our
  • Composition is basic to all the arts
  • To perceive any work of art adequately, we must
    perceive its structure.

Abstract Ideas and Concrete Images
  • Examine the following poem l(a- by e. e.
  • Cummings poem presents an abstract idea fused
    with a concrete image or word picture.
  • It is concrete because what is described is a
    physical event a falling leaf.
  • Abstract idea on the other hand deal with words
    or terms such as love, hate, indecision,
    arrogance, jealousy, ambition, justice, civil
    rights, etc.

What is a work of art?
  • A work of art is often said to be something made
    by a person. Not natural beauties. Instead it
    is of human creation!
  • Identifying Art Conceptually
  • Criteria for determining whether or not something
    is a work of art
  • 1. That the object or event is made by an artist,
  • 2. That the object or event is intended to be a
    work of art by its maker
  • 3. that important or recognized experts agree
    that it is a work of art.
  • mass produced works do not qualify as works of

Identifying Art Perceptually
  • Perception, what we can observe and conception,
    what we know or think we know, are closely
    related. Do they possess artistically perceivable

Four Factors for Identifying Art Perceptually
  • 1. Artistic form All objects and events have
    form. Form is the interrelationships of part to
    part and part to whole. Perceptible unity!
    Artistic form distinguishes art from objects or
    events that are not works of art.
  • 2. Content Content is the meaning of artistic
    form. The meaning!
  • 3. Subject Matter is the content or meaning of
    the work of art is never directly presented in a
    work of art
  • 4. Participation We must not only give but also
    sustain our undivided attention. Only by
    participation can we come close to a full
    awareness of what the painting is all about.
    Good Analysis

Being a Critic of the Arts Chapter 3
  • There are methods and means for becoming a good
    critic and understanding the goals of responsible
  • The act of responsible criticism aims for the
    fullest understanding and the fullest
    participation possible.
  • It requires being at the height of awareness
    while examining a work of art in detail,
    establishing its context, and clarifying its

Being A Critic Of The Artscontinued
  • You are already an art critic - when you choose
    a film or change the channel looking for
    something better, turn a radio dial looking for
    good music, when you stop to admire a building or
    a sculpture.
  • Our experience is one factor which qualifies us
    to make such critical judgments. It helps us make
    critical judgments without hesitation.

Critics of the arts
  • Everyone has limitations as a critic.
  • Without some specific critical training ourselves
    we are capable of going only so far.
  • By learning some principles about criticism and
    how to put them to work, we can develop our
    capacities as critics.

Being a Critic of the Arts
  • Our basic critical purpose is to learn, by
    reflecting on works of art,
  • how to participate with these works more
    intensely and enjoyably
  • good criticism will sharpen our perception of
    the form of a work of art and increase our
    understanding of its content.

Kinds of CriticismDescriptive Criticism
  • Descriptive criticism concentrates on the form of
    a work of art,
  • Describing the important characteristics of that
    form in order to improve our understanding of the
    part-to-part and part-to-whole interrelationships.
  • Still, we miss things and oftentimes we miss
    things that are right there for us to observe.
  • Good descriptive critics call our attention to
    what we might otherwise miss in an artistic form.

Kinds of CriticismInterpretive Criticism
  • Interpretive criticism gives detailed explanation
    of the content of a work of art.
  • It helps us understand how form transforms
    subject matter into content what has been
    revealed about some subject matter and how that
    has been accomplished.

Kinds of CriticismEvaluative Criticism
  • Evaluative criticism to evaluate a work of art
    is to judge its merits (praiseworthy quality).
  • At first glance, this seems to suggest that it is
    prescriptive criticism, which prescribes what is
    good as if it were a medicine and tell us that
    this work is superior to that work.

Kinds of CriticismEvaluative Criticism continued
  • If evaluative criticism makes you uncomfortable,
    your reaction is based on good instincts.
  • Nevertheless, evaluative criticism of some kind
    is generally necessary.
  • Evaluative criticisms three fundamental
    standards perfection, insight, and
    inexhaustibility. -30-