Activity: The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: Art Appreciation: “Discussion Question #3: The Artistic Process”
Link: The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges: Art Appreciation: “Discussion Question #3: The Artistic Process” (HTML)
Instructions: The Artistic Process. Who makes art? Do you think artists have innate ability or acquired skill (or both)? How do artist’s roles change with different cultural considerations?
Different people have different artistic skill levels; from those who can’t draw a straight line and have no interest in visual images to those great artists whose lives revolved around art and whose work has come to us over many centuries. In that respect, artistic skill is innate but but is expressed in the form of artworks depending on encouragement from parents, teachers, media, and friends. People also have other skills such as math, or literature and those skills may be greater and receive more encouragement from parents or societal forces. Thus a person with good artistic skills may end up being a businessman, athlete, politician, etc. rather than an artist.
The encouragement for a person with high artistic skill to spend his/her life creating art can come from societal influences. For instance, Athens in 450 BC had a large number of artists, sculptors, musicians, playwrights, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, engineers and architects.These people were highly respected and well paid. Considering that Athens had a population of about 40,000 male citizens along with about 60,000 women, slaves and foreigners, the city probably had a higher proportion of these highly skilled people than modern cities like New York, London and Paris. Florence in the 15th and 16th centuries also had a similarly high proportion of highly skilled artists and other professionals.
People with very high artistic skills (actually other areas like math and chess also) frequently demonstrate their capabilities at very early ages. Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 6, his first opera at age 11. Giotto, at age ten could draw a perfect circle without a compass. He was a shepherd who spent his time drawing pictures of the animals on flat rocks. Cimabue a contemporary artist saw his work and was so impressed that he invited him to become an apprentice. None of Giotto’s early work survives but as an adult he designed the campanile of the Florence cathedral and completely covered the walls of the arena chapel in Padua with frescoes. Michaelangelo created the two reliefs, the madonna of the stairs and the battle of the centaurs when he was 16 or 17. Picasso’s professional career began when he was 11