1. Identify aspects of Durer's self portrait that show a changing view of the artist's view of himself as an individual.
2. Explain how the artist's social status increased during the Renaissance period. Briefly explain why this happened.
During the Renaissance a revival of classical texts and art led to the discovery of theses on mathematical and scientific ways to composition and construct an artwork. As these were techniques and methods were applied in art making and required intellectual thought, painters, sculptors and architects wanted to attain recognition for their professions as liberal arts. This meant that their work was not just a craftsman skill but also required intelligence and the implementation of scientific methods. With their new scientific methods they began to claim superiority over mere craftsmen, and tried to establish for themselves a better social position (Blunt, A. 1962). This meant that there was a crucial shift from the artists as mere artisan belonging to a craft guild to the artist as a creative and learned personality, admired not just for acquired skills but also for innate ability what we might today call creative genius (Barker et al, 1999). There was a high value on imagination, originality, spontaneity, creativity and self-expression and that art should reflect the individual sensibility of the creator. The rising status of the artist during the Renaissance was a kind of reaction to the loss of any precise social function for art and resulting in the marginalization of the artists (Barker et al, 1999). Artist of the time began asserting an individual reputation that set them apart from other members of their profession. The idea of belonging to a guild or workshop as a fundamental unit of production, with works being more or less collaboration, began to deteriorate as shown by Francesco del Cassa’s complaint of all artist working on a set of fresco paintings for the Duke at the Schifanoia Palace were being paid by the same rate per square foot of wall regardless of reputation. Cenneno Cennini’s treatise of how apprenticeships shouldn’t be where new artists copy another artists work to create a uniform workshop style but so that the aspiring artist should eventually develop his own individual style had a large impact on the social status of the artist (Barker et al, 1999). However the attainment of status cannot simply be attributed to individual ‘greatness’ of an artist. A crucial role was played by transformations in artistic patronage during the Renaissance, when the expanding power and wealth of Italian rulers such as the Medici were taking place enabling artists to escape from control of guilds and work as court artists, creating a name for themselves as individuals with their own style.
3. Comment on Gavin Turk's work in relation to individualism, status of the artist and egotism.
Knob (1997) Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk’s work shows individualism through the use of his name alone. No one else has his name and it is individual in itself as a symbolic representation of him. Reading the name on the screen print you automatically think about that person whose name it is and why they chose to portray their name in such a way. He considers this work portraiture (British Council, 2009) By printing his name as this artwork he is attempting to validate his importance to society (British Council, 2009, Gavin Turk (1967-) his themes of authorship, authenticity and identity, often lead to him casting himself as the main subject of his work. This shows his opinion of his status as an artist as an important person and also of his egotism of his love for himself and thoughts of high priority in society. (British Council, 2009, Gavin Turk (1967-) it shows status of the artist and his want for recognition for his artwork and society to think him accomplished and as a high ranking artist.
4. Comment on Damien Hirst's use of his work and the media for self promotion.
Damien Hirst and Maia Norman (1995)
For Damien Hirst “it is the recognition... that counts.” He feels sorry for artists like Van Gogh, whose works never sold until he was dead and became famous (Brooks, 2010). He seems to crave fame and acknowledgement over people thinking he is an amazing and talented artist. He uses his work which is often controversial to get his name out there and known. The more objection and controversy the more the media will pick up on it and spread his name around society and get him to the status of a household name and British art icon. For instance his Two F***ing and Two Watching, a rotting cow and bull, was banned in New York for fears of ‘vomiting among the visitors” (Encyclopedia of Art, 2011). He never does anything quietly, always in the media and promoting his name out there.
5. Find 2 images of work by artists or designers that reflects some of the ideas of individualism, self promotion or egotism that have been discussed on this blog.
6. How do you think artists and designers are viewed in Western society today?
I think art and design is a crucial part of western society. It is why we like what we buy, use, have, etc. We may have it because we like the design, name associated or functionality of the piece created. Artists are viewed, I think, a little more creative and ‘artsy’ than designers in society but I feel that designers include art into their designs and are as much artists as painters or sculptors.
· The self-portrait as a projection of self. http://userpages.umbc.edu/~ivy/selfportrait/project.html
· Albrecht Durer. http://www.moodbook.com/history/renaissance/durer-portraits.html#self-portrait-in-a-fur-collared-robe
· Blunt, A. (1962) The Social Position of the Artist. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
· Barker, E., Webb, N. & Woods, K. (1999). Historical introduction: the idea of the artist. In Barker, E., Webb, N. & Woods, K. (eds.), The Changing state of the Artist (pp. 7-25). London: Open University.
· British Council. (2009) Gavin Turk. http://collection.britishcouncil.org/collection/artist/5/18434/object/45690
· British Council. (2009) Gavin Turk (1967 −. http://collection.britishcouncil.org/collection/artist/5/18434
· Brooks, R. (2010, March 28). It’s the fame I crave, says Damien Hirst. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/visual_arts/article7078850.ece
· Encyclopedia of Art. (visited 2011) Damien Hirst (b1965). http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-artists/damien-hirst.htm