Art Study Guide

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It is a copy of the art packet - either open & save it or keep the link somewhere so you have access to it!

Below is the first section of the the Art packet out lined, sorry about the shorthand, it got kinda tedious to keep writing everything
-Molly S.

Art: Art and Imperial Power

Art Fundamentals 20%

Introduction to Art History

Art History is dedicated to the reconstruction of Social, Cultural, and Economic Contexts in which artwork was created taking into consideration: the qualities, functions, intentions, and perspectives/ reception of a work of art. Aesthetics (philosophical inquiry into nature and expression of beauty). Art Criticism (explanation of current art events to general public via the press)

Methods and Inquiries of Art History

Art Historians today take a much broader approach in defining works of Art. Art is perceived differently by people of different social standing, education, religions, race and gender
The Nature of Art historical inquiry
Two Models of Art analysis: Formal Analysis- Focuses on visual qualities of work, requires excellent skills of observation and description, keeps focus on work of art itself. Contextual Analysis- looking outside of the work of art to find it’s meaning, studying the intended meaning of the creator in context to the time it was created and the context it is seen in today. Art Historians also look at the influence other Artists have on each other
Sources, documents, and the work of art historians.
Under the best of circumstances Art Historians study the original work but often must settle for a reproduction. Along with the original they look at other associated studies or similar works as well as planning stage versions of the work and letters and writings that relate to the work.
The development of art history
Art Historians officially started their work in the 18th century but written commentary on certain works of art date back to Pliny the Elder (23-79a.d. Rome) with Natural History. Giorgio Vasari(1511-74) gathered biographies of great Artists in The Lives of the Artists. Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68), a German Scholar, began studying stylistic development

Brief Overview of Art in the Western World

Art History often focuses on Western Art because it is better preserved then non western art.
Ancient Civilizations
Art of the Old Stone Age
Cave Paintings in Chauvet Cave in SE France dating back to c. 30,000 BC were created with minimal yellow, red ochre and black charcoal and depict animals. Later Cave paintings have been discovered in France and Spain dating back to c. 15,000- 10,000 BC, particularly Lascaux and Altamira. The later drawings include more animals and even some human hand outlines. Venus (Woman) or Willendorf (c. 28,000-25,000BC) is one of the most known stone female figures that have exaggerated bellies, breasts, and pubic areas even though its barely four inches tall. Possibly a fertility symbol.
Art of the Middle Stone Age
Rock Shelter Paintings in Spain date back to 7000-4000BC and include both HUMAN and animals
Art of the New Stone Age
Rings and rows of rough-hewn stones located in Western Europe dating as early as 4,000BC included stones as large as 17ft. high and 15 tons in weight. Often referred to as Megaliths (great stones).Stonehenge, built in Wiltshire, England on the Salisbury Plain around 2100BC is the most well known of these.
Ancient Mesopotamian Art
Most of their Art was destroyed by invaders and time. Sumerians(focused on religion) dating back to 4,000 BC built sculptures and buildings including massive temples that were central in their cities. Less complex platform structures evolved into stepped pyramids called ziggurats( centers of worship and trade). Around 2334 BC Akkadians took over and focused their art on their rulers. Around 1792 BC Babylonians carved the still-existing Code of Hammurabi into stone that is presently located in the Louvre. Assyrians had relief Carvings depicting -battles, sieges, hunts, and other important events from 900-600BC. From 612-538 BC the Neo-Babylonian Era created the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Ishtar Gate.
Persian Art
From 538-330 BC the Persian Empire flourished in Iran and were notable for their architecture including the Palace of Persepolois.
Ancient Egyptian Art
The Sphinx, The Great Pyramids of Giza, The Statues of Pharaohs, and the portrait head of Queen Nefertiti are all notable artistic achievements of Ancient Egypt. Usually used hierarchical scale which sizes figures based on status.
Nubian Art
Currently being studied by Art Historians, similar to Egypt
Greek and Roman Art
Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean Art
Cycladic culture flourished from 3200-2000BC and are known for their nude geometric female figures and decorated pieced of pottery and marble bowls and jars. Minoan culture flourished around 2000BC with the story of Minotaur(Bull-Man), snake goddess statues, frescoes, and pottery. Also known for their architecture with four major palaces. Mycenaean are known for their elaborate tombs, goldsmithing, and relief sculptures.
Ancient Greek Art
From 660-475BC during the Archaic Period Greeks created sculptures carved of marble and limestone in a mostly Egyptian frontal style, temples using columns of Doric and Ionic styles, and vase paintings (Corinthian Style: set figures against floral backgrounds). Athens was a center of Art in the Classical Period and Contrapposto was invented so statues were more life like. During the Middle Classical Period the Parthenon was restored and architecture flourished.
Etruscan Art
Tomb decoration, bronze work, and some paintings
Roman Art
Advances in Architecture and engineering including concrete, curved arches led to the Colosseum and Pantheon. They also created sculptures
Early Christian, Byzantine and Medieval Art
Mosaics, The Hagia Sophia (532-37 AD) is considered greatest architecture of all time, books(Book of Kells and Coronation Gospels), metalwork, woodwork(Viking Ships), Church Architecture, Romanesque (Saint-Sernin in France) (Barrel Vault- tunnel of arches)(Vaults-arch shaped structure that is used as a ceiling or a roof support). The Gothic style also for churches mostly pointed arches, Ribbed Vaults (a framework of thin stone ribs or arches built under the intersection of the vaulted sections of the ceiling), Flying Buttresses (bracing material and arches placed on the exterior of a building)
The Renaissance and Baroque
South R.->Giotto di bodone(1267-1337)- Frescoes with perspective. Classical Roman and Greek Art had a tremendous impact on Renaissance art. Unlike former periods, some R. artists stand out due to the focus on the individual, also artists social standing greatly improved. Florence competition(1400) designing doors for baptistery- Lorenzo Ghiberti (1381-1455) won (Gates of Paradise). Filippo Brunelleschi(1377-1446) lost competition, designed dome for cathedral in Florence, credited with developing linear (single vanishing point) perspective. Masaccio(1401-28) R. painter, used both linear and aerial perspective. Donatello (1389-1466) founder of modern sculpture, bronze statue David(c.1420-60) first since antiquity. Botticelli(1444-1519) The Birth of Venus(c.1482) established standard 4 female beauty, painting.
High Renaissance Artists-> Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo(1450s-1560s); LDV(Florence): inventor-architect-engineer-painter-sculptor-scientist-musician, locks 4 water level still used, viable submarine and helicopter models, Mona Lisa(1503-5) and Last Supper(1495-8), sfumato- use of mellowed colors and blurred outline-used in ML; MA: used flawed marble to make David(1504), Moses-The Dying Slave-The Bound Slave were all designed for P. Julius2 tomb, Sistine Chapel(4yrs); Raphael Sanzio(1483-1520) competed with MA in papal commissions, School of Athens and Sister Madonna; Giorgione(Venice 1477-1510), landscape painter, The Tempest; Titian Vecelli(88-1576), portraits, great colorist, innovated backgrounds in portraits; Tintoretto(1518-94) painting style Mannerism(distortion of elements, acidic colors, twisted positioning), chiaroscuro (dramatic contrasts in light and dark); Reformation and Counter Reformation (El Greco was a mannerist and CR)
North R.-> Matthais Grunewald(75-1528)Germany: crucifixion scenes, Isenheim Altarpiece; Albrecht Durer(71-1528)Germany, combined north and south styles, woodcuts-engravings-paintings, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse(c.1498); Hans Holbein the Younger(97-1543) portraitist, Ger. worked in Eng. 4 Henry8
Baroque-> movn’t and energy, 1500-1700s, emotional, Counter Reform, richness of color and heightened ornamentation/energy; Caravaggio(1573-1610) Italian, naturalism-light/dark contrast, supported low classes; Artemisia Gentileschi(1593-1652) WOMAN, self portraits and OT women; Gianlorenzo Bernini(1598-1680), Papal recognition, sculpture-architect-painter-draftsman, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa; Peter Paul Rubens(Flanders); Rembrandt van Rijn(Dutch), painter-printmaker-draftsman, The Night Watch(broke with tradition/was his downfall), died in poverty; Versailles palace- Louis14; Spanish King Philip4- Diego Velazquez(Impressionism)was his painter
Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism
RO is extension of Baroque except w/ celebrations of gaiety-romance-frivolity, gold and pastel colors; Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)- fete galante (nobility in elegant dress in country); Francois Boucher(1703-70), fav. of Mad. Pompadour (Louis15), mythological characters to courtly gallantry (nudes); Jean-Honore Fragonard (32-1806) MP fav again;Neoc-> yrs leading to French Rev., challenged RO links to aristocracy, Roman/Greek influence; Louis David(48-1825), Oath of Horatii, worked for Napoleon; Jean Dominique Ingres(80-1867), sharp outlines, unemotional figures, geometric; ROM-> Eugene Delacroix: rival of Ingres, emotional, imaginative, exotic, melodramatic; Theodore Gericault and William Blake were ROMs.
Realism and Impressionism
RE was a reaction to ROM and NEO, most show all features of subject even neg., both rich and poor subjects; Gustave Courbet(1819-77), showed simple folk, The Stonebreakers, sparked revolutions; Honore Daumier and Jean Francois Millet. IM-> Manet: used bright contrasting colors, Dejeuner sur L’herbe and Salon des Refuses, scandalous; Monet: Impression Sunrise, worked outside; Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley were of note.
Post-Impressionism and other lat nineteenth century developments
Paul Cezanne: used solid form/ perspective; likes brilliant colors; George Seurat: science of color(optical mixing/ basically dots that look like color); Van Gogh: contrasting color, color should be used to portray not nature but inner human emotions; Paul Gauguin: traveled in search of natural/ wild paintings; Degas: combined snapshot style of photography with Jap. Perspective from above
The Emergence of Modernism
Henri Matisse: used vibrant obtrusive colors, arbitrary color(color doesn’t need to represent nature); Picasso and Braque created Cubism( breaking figures up into multiple overlapping perspectives), influenced by African art, preferred abstract forms; German Die Brucke art- Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde combined arbitrary colors with intense feeling to make Expressionism; Der Blaue Reiter led by Vasily Kandinsky as Expressionists and painted totally abstract pictures; other abstractionists included Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian; Harlem Renaissance; Dada(angst against ww1) movement, Marcel Duchamp- Ready mades(ordinary objects w/ new context); Surrealists- incorporate workings of human mind into art including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro.
WW2 mainly propaganda art, NYC becomes central to art, Critics such as Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg shaped art 1930s; Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock*; Abstract expressionists were either action paintings or color field paintings(dribbling of paint); Naturalism reemerged using common objects to create art such as Jasper Johns featuring flags, numbers, maps, etc. and Robert Rauschenberg using garbage to create sculptures.
Pop Art, Minimalism and Photo Realism
POP->1960s- incorporation of mass culture and generally violating unspoken rules; Andy Woehol(icon of pop art) mocked art world and achieved great fame; Roy Lichtenstien- enlarged comic books so that dots that made up the pics became massive; Robert Indiana uses stencils of commercial signs to create messages; MIN-> emphasizes simplicity, Frank Stella, David Smith(stainless steel), Dan Flavin(neon tubing); PR-> subject matter in sharp focus, moved away from haziness, Chuck Close (portraits), Duane Hanson (sculptures)
Earthworks, installations, and performance
EW->1970s, Christo and Jeanne-Claude brought interest to EW-using fabric to wrap things or cover things they work together; other EW artists include Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson; PERF-> Guerilla Girls;

Brief Overview of Non-Western Art

Asian Art
Chinese Art
2,000 mile long Great Wall of China; Emperor of Qin (c.210bc) full army of life size clay buried as part of his tomb; the following ruler created magnificent palaces and tombs that are noteworthy for their bronze statues and ceremonial vases; Ink Drawings (618-907AD); Since 1949 art is Communist approved only (gradually declining since 70s)
Indian Art
Buddhist and Greek! Influence; Ruins of early civilizations; sculptures are sensuous; Hinduism influence;
Japanese Art
Japanese art remained mainly secluded and therefore was uninfluenced by outside movements; Buddhist influence; flat areas of color; known for printmaking;
African and Oceanic Art
AF->Cave paintings in Namibia from 23,000BC; Nok civilization produced terracotta sculptures c. 500BC; the Benin kingdom c. 900bc created cast bronze portrait heads, much of their art was confiscated by Brits and spread throughout empire; use of textiles means we don’t have much art not to mention colonialism destroyed much of their history; art in African culture generally has a purpose; Dan and Bwa known for masks; OC-> Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia art has been destroyed by time, climate and ill care; tattooing and body art express social status in Polynesia; The Asmat culture used to perform head hunting, now mainly huge wooden shields that are intricately decorated; Melanesian cultures have carved masks;
Islamic Art
The Quran itself has often been made into artwork; Abstract and Calligraphic decoration, sacred architecture (The Dome of Rock)
The Americas
The Olmec, Toltec, Maya, Inca, and Aztecs; Pyramids, decorative carving (Mayan ruins), statues in clay and stone, fine textiles and jewelry; Great architects, but much of art is lost;

Elements of Art

Formal Qualities of Art

Vertical lines cause us to look up often used in religion to make us look up to heaven; horizontal lines suggest peace and tranquility like the horizon; jagged or curved lines suggest activity
Shape and Form
Shape is what defines the 2dimensional area of an object and forms are objects in the 3rd dimension; form in 2D art is created through shadow and perspective; S and F can be geometric (w/ rules) or organic (free-form); Space-> the org of objects and the areas around them, Positive Space(area occupied by objects, shapes and forms) and Negative Space(unoccupied space)
P: the illusion of depth; shading and highlighting, depth and positioning, size, detail for closer objects; Aerial Per or Atmospheric Per: take into account fog and smoke which makes farther objects appear lighter and more neutral and closer objects will have more color contrast; linear perspective: developed in REN; lines disappear into the distance
Hue(the name of the color), primary colors(red, blue, yellow), secondary colors(r+y orange, y+b green, b+r violet etc.), tertiary colors mix of primary and secondary colors; Color Wheel(org of hues into a visual scheme, 18th century and Newton in 17th century); the amount of light reflected and the purity of color affect light; Value (used when discussing the lightness or darkness of a color); Neutral( non hue black and white); Intensity(brightness or purity of colors), mixing primary colors reduces intensity and adding black or gray does the same; warm vs. cold colors; Local colors( true color of object or area seen in normal daylight); Optical color (the effect that special lighting has on the color of objects);arbitrary color(emotional or aesthetic impact influences color choice)
How things feel or how they appear to feel; Actual vs. visual textures;
Composition: refers to the artists org of elements of art; Rhythm: movement or pattern created through a repetition of elements such as line shape color and texture; Motif (single element of a pattern, different motifs are repeated to create a pattern) and Pattern (involves the repetition of elements, motifs make up a pattern), Balance (equal distribution of visual weight in a work of art), symmetrical balance (equal weight on both sides), approximate symmetry (slight variations, not exactly symmetrical), asymmetrical balance (visual balance achieve through the organization of unlike objects) using position or other means; Focal Point (element that creates contrast to the eye); Proportion (size relationships among the parts of a composition); Scale (dimensional relationship between the parts of a work and its entirety also refers to size);

Processes and Techniques

One of the most basic forms of art; Utensils: pen and ink, pencil, charcoal, crayon, felt-tipped pens; media: ancient walls of rock to wide varieties of paper; Primarily based on the use of line, different utensils make different kinds of line; Shading (used to change values), Hatching (placing lines close side by side), Crosshatching (lines are crisscrossed) and Stippling (placing a pattern of dots for different values) are tools used in shading
Refers to a group of mechanically aided 2D processes that permit the production of multiple original works; Includes relief prints (artist cuts away parts from a plate and cover it with ink to press onto paper, empty space makes the image), intaglio prints (the artist engraves or etches lines into a surface that is filled with ink and pressed to paper so that lines make the image), lithographs (waxy utensil marks metal plate which hardens and ink is applied but doesn’t like waxy oil so is picked up by paper), and screen prints (image is transferred to a fabric and ink is applied but only goes through un-stenciled areas onto paper); very inexprensive
Pigments(finely ground materials that include clay, gemstones, minerals, plant/insect materials), binders(holds the grain of pigments together and cause paint to adhere to a surface including egg yolks, linseed oil, and wax), and Solvents(water or oil that is added to change consistency of paint to alter drying time) are the 3 materials that compose pain; Varieties of media including boards, paper, canvas, and plaster walls; variety of tools including paintbrushes, fingers, sticks, palette knives, etc.; Fresco usually used for walls and ceilings, buon(true) frescos include pigments-water-and wet plaster making the art permanent in the plaster, Fresco secco includes paint-and dry plaster, often in REN churches, Diego Rivera (famous Mexican muralist of 20th cent); Oil paints started around 1400s, easily mixed and build layers called glazes(thin almost transparent layers applied over other colors to alter it); Tempera(water based paint mostly with egg yolks) used prior to 1400s; Encaustic(wax based paints used 4 anc. Egyptian grave markers); Gouache(water-based opaque paint, high quality tempera) has more body and dries slower then watercolor(transparent, makes tints, hard to work with due to mistakes); acrylic paint: synthetic materials, plastics, and polymers make up this modern paint
Developed mid19th cent; originally sparked realism among other artists, but as time passed it expanded art beyond the natural; still photography, film and video art are now common
Carving(subtracting process from rock or wood), modeling (additive process using clay, wax, plaster), casting (original form encased in plaster which hardens and is removed creating a mold, the mold can be filled to create multiple casts), and construction; reliefs can only be seen form a limited range, but freestanding sculptures can be seen from every angle; Alexander Calder (1898-76) created mobiles so that the move with the wind; Earthworks/ Environmental Art: 1960s, large scale-onsite-nonpermanent
Mixed Media
Artist used several art medias either 2D or 3D; collages created by Picasso and Georges Braque in 1912; Robert Rauschenberg (1925-08) combined silk screens with paint; Joseph Cornell (1903-72) filled open boxes with created symbolic statements; Masks
Lacks permanence; large varieties
Craft and Folk Art
Pottery: medium based on the use of natural materials, pinch pots, coil pots, slab pots, Slip (liquid clay used to hold pieces of clay together), potter’s wheel (when wheel used pots are referred to as being thrown), kiln hardens clays through heat and a chemical change in the clay, glazes add color to pots; Fiber Arts: both woven and non-woven materials, weaving (loom, braids, knitting, crochet), Quilting; Glassware: 1st discovered in MidE in 3rd millennium BC, made of silica, glassblowing, stained glass; Woodworks: NW Indians carve boxes and house boards with trad. designs, Boats
ARCH-> art and science of designing and constructing buildings; early architects used sticks, mud, grass, animal skins, ice, and wood, later brick and stone were used; Post-and-lintel Construction long stone or wooden beam is placed horizontally across upright posts such as the Parthenon; The arch, the vault, and the dome very important; Colosseum is example of vaults mastered by Romans as was concrete which was used in building aqueducts, baths; Medieval ARCH include skeletal buildings with windows(lots of windows) and flying buttresses; Indust Rev ARCH led to the Crystal Palace(1851) and the Eiffel Tower; Antonio Gaudi (1852-26) no straight lines using stone


Art history is an Aca discipline that seeks to reconstruct the social, cultural and economic contexts in which an artwork was created. The basic goal of this work is to arrive at an understanding of art and its meaning in its original historical context. Art historians rely on a variety of docs and sources in order to conduct formal and contextual analysis; The History of W art is often studied chronologically with cave paintings in SE France, Early Civs arose in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Nubia, Aegean Islands, Greece and Rome all imp. ANC civs; Big shifts in art of MED with the emergence of CHRISTIANITY and church as patron of arts; church big patron in REN and Baroque periods, also a rise of secular arts due to PROTESTANT REF and social/economic shifts in Europe. REN-> linear perspective, naturalism; BAR-> more movement and drama then REN; ROCoco-> tied with French aristocracy prior to FRE REV; NEO->reaction to ROC and political/social revs; ROManticism-> reaction to classicizing tendencies of NEO and seeking to appeal the emotions and senses; REALism and IMPRessionism both in 19th cent, focused on everyday life and IMPR with visual perception; POST-Impressionism and PRE-Raphaelites; MODerism emerged 20th cent including cubism, expressionism, dada, surrealism, abstract expressionism; the ARMORY SHOW in NY 1913 marked shift in art world w/ US as new center; Pop-art, Minimalism, and Photorealism responded to WW2 industrial culture; Installations, performance, and Environmental art challenged conventional ideas/ limitations; China, Japan, and India big Asian art cultures; Ancient African traditions; Islam’s mosaics; Ancient American civs; line-shape-form- perspective-color-texture--composition; drawing-painting- photography-sculpture-mixed media-performance-craft/folk art- architecture

Africa and Europe 30%

Europeans in Africa: An Introduction

Early Explorers

PORTugal’s expansion into AFRica began in 15th cent with the goal of exploring AFR, Asia and other parts of the world and spreading Christianity and the land of Prester John (leader of lost Christian kingdom); PORT sought to control markets and resources in Africa specifically gold, and searched for a route to India (spices); Prince Henry the Navigator supported exploration; exploration was a first difficult due to tricky sea routes, but the PORTs figured it out and led the charge for ivory, bronze and other AFR products

The Origins of the Slave Trade

Early 1440s PORTs led first slave raiding expedition in Mauritania, slaves were initially transported to EURO for labor but by 17th cent they were sent to the W for sugar production; presence of PORTs in AFR with all the slaves drove other EURO powers to join the exploration; PORTs power dropped and Holland and Brits increased power due to slave trade; by 17th-18th cent slaves were key source of labor for all colonies and traders grew wealthy; slavery pre-dates colonialism in AFR but was usually in times of war and could gain freedom; slaves were traded 4 silk, porcelain, beads, bronze, and firearms; 1807 British Slave Trade Act abolished slave trade it didn’t end slavery until 1833 in Brit empire; caused population probs in AFR and ethnic rivalries

The Scramble for Africa

Beginning in late1880s EURO powers scrambled for control of AFR and continuing 4 20yrs; Berlin Conference of 1884-5 was a meeting of major W powers to determine fate of AFR; exceptions to colonial rule were Ethiopia and Liberia (1822 American Colonization Society for displaced American slaves); Top powers included France, Brits, Belgium, Italy, and Germany; they wanted resources (rubber, coffee, palm oil), land, and labor force; often forced assimilation, exile of former leaders, and confiscation of all national symbols;

Decolonization and Postcolonial Art

Imperial control of AFR began declining in 1950s probs caused by WW2 injustice and forced participation and the rise of leaders; Artists had it rough because EURO and US were the only ones that wanted art and that was against there nationalistic tendencies; responses to this prob vary

Selected Work: Lidded Saltcellar, Sapi-Portugese, Sierra Leone, Fifteenth-Sixteenth Century

Cultural Group: Sapi-Sierra Leone area; small communities under control of local chiefs

Visual Analysis: Made of carved ivory with abstract designs and figurative motifs, which probs had signif to the Sapi carvers; the motifs did not necessarily hold the same signif for EURO patrons; Forms a lidded bowl supported by a conical base and topped with a finial;

Materials: Ivory


Produced by an AFR artist and purchased by a PORt visitor in the 15th -16th cent; PORT explorers purchased beautiful ivory carvings as presentation pieces 4 wealthy patrons who financed their voyages; works like this rep. engagement between AFR and EURO explorers during the early period of contact; Sapi-PORT objects favored by foreign collectors had EURo prototypes. The form of this type of saltcellar is reminiscent of EURO cups cast in metal, which may have been available as models to Sapi carvers by way of prints or drawings; produced by AFR artists from local materials and referanceing indigenous belief systems, the saltcellars were intended as luxury goods in EURO and eventually came to be used as containers for salt, itself a much-desired import

Selected Work: Plaque, Benin Kingdom Court Style, Edo Peoples, Nigeria, Mid-Sixteenth-Seventeenth Century

Cultural Group: Benin Kingdom, Language(Edo), rulers known as Ogiso (rulers of the sky), The Benin Kingdom was founded in Nigeria around 900AD and it had risen as a flourishing political state by the late 13th or early 14th cent, by time the PORT arrived in this region in 15th cent the BK had expanded greatly through warfare; The BK produced many kinds of artworks, the most prized being those made of cast metals, ivory, and coral, many of these artworks were created 4 use in rituals and on altars; Brits attack on BK in 1897 was very disruptive, Brits confiscated many objects and ownership is still contested; Bronze plaque illustrates many stylistic features of BK art including stylization of figures, hierarchy of scale and emphasis on symmetry, metal plaque also demonstrates the degree to which BK artists had mastered complicated casting techniques; original function of plaques is unknown, especially since they were forcibly removed form original context

Visual Analysis: primary figure is in high relief and other figures are in low relief basically hierarchical positioning of the figures; Regalia is also used to indicate importance;

Materials: Copper Alloy

Selected Work: Asafo Flag, Kweku Kakanu, Fante Peoples, Ghana, c.1935

Artist/Cultural Group: Fante Cultural group located in coastal Ghana, Language(Akan), chiefs hold power with military(Asafo=war people) companies; flags (frankaa) and cement shrines (posuban) are important parts of Asafo company interection; This flag was created by Kweku Kakanu

Visual Analysis: Red background bordered by black, yellow, and white triangles; a crocodile, a pond with a fish, four birds, the Brit flag are also depicted;

Materials: cotton cloth

Flags serve as a form of communication between Asafo orgs. To provoke each other

Selected Work: Wraper, Yoruba Peoples, Nigeria, Mid- Twentieth Century

Artist/Cultural Group: The Yoruba cultural group has occupied SW Nigeria since 350BC, but declined in influence under colonial rule

Visual Analysis: Includes elaborate figurative panels of King George V and Queen Mary of England probs inspired in association with their silver jubilee 1935; Islamic symbolism (Mohammed and winged horses), and Yoruba symbolism (birds, elephants, lion, man with gun) and the words “Everything is known to God”

Materials: Adire is a utilitarian cloth that has customarily been available to common people; a kind of tie-died cloth that is trad. Produced by Yoruba women; Indigo for dye

Although the technique of resist dyeing was certainly in use long b4 the 20th cent, adire became more popular when artists began to use imported materials in the colonial period; by mid20th cent adire cloth fell out of favor and was largely replaced by multicolored factory cloth-imported

Selected Work: Face Mask, Guro Peoples, Cote d’Ivoire, Mid- Twentieth Century

Artist/Cultural Group: Guro is the name of a cultural group in Cote d’Ivoire and is known for rich trads in masquerade; Masquerade plays an especially important role in upholding the social order, and it is for these activities that the most signif art objects are created;

Visual Analysis: mask is caved from one piece of wood and is divided into 2sections one illustrating trad beauty in Guro culture with prominent colors of red, black and white and perfect symmetry- the other depicts Mami Wata(Mother Water) (inspired by German lithographic copies of an East Indian snake charmer) with a woman in a red dress with matching red toenails who is surrounded by enormous snakes and a snake charmer with a flute using a multitude of colors

Selected Work: Fading Cloth, El Anatsui, Ghanian, 2005

Artist Biography: El Anatsui (1944) is contemporary artist who was born in Ghana, lives in Nigeria and exhibits his work around the world which addresses some of the challenges and issues in post-colonial AFR; many of his recent works are wall installations made of discarded metal cans and bottle caps carefully flattened and woven together with copper wire; the works which have a look of large colorful textiles are intended to be hung with folds which enhance the texture of the works and the reflection of light off the metal; his work clearly references Kente cloth (woven textile associated with cultural groups in Ghana); He connects his work to traditional art forms in order to address the interwoven histories of EURO and W AFR; multilayered meanings are characteristic of his work

Visual Analysis: over 10ft high and 21ft wide; mostly gold in color with reds, blues, and silvers mixed in

Materials: bottle tops flattened into rectangles and held together with wire


The PORT began to make contact with cultural groups in coastal areas of W AFRica by the 15th cent; the PORT soon vied with other EUROpean powers 4 control of markets and resources in the region; The large coastal kingdoms of W AFR supplied EURO w/ slaves and other resources in exchange for luxury goods; control of highly valued imports further consolidated power in the hands of the dominant kingdoms; Beginning in the 1880s and with the decline of the slave trade, EURO powers sought direct control over W AFR by way of colonial rule; EURO partitioning of AFR had an enormous impact on the production of art; New, imported materials arrived and played an important role in shifting societies; Colonialism also largely dismantled existing power structures resulting shifts meant that prestige arts among the most powerful kingdoms either ceased or took on even more importance in the face of such challenges; Contemporary artists in post-colonial AFR face particular challenges because the most lucrative markets for contemporary art are in EURO and the US; Some post colonial artists have abandoned trad ways of life and indigenous materials in favor of EURO art styles, materials etc.; Others address the post-colonial experience directly by appropriating materials/themes and using them as a form of critique; others still make trad works with some modern twists; SELECTED WORKS!!!