Art Appreciation and Techniques/Course guide/Welcome

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Welcome to the open course, Art Appreciation and Techniques. This course is an exploration of visual art forms and their cultural connections for the student with little experience in the visual arts. It includes a brief study of art history and in depth studies of the elements, media, and methods used in creative processes and thought.

This course is intended for a very broad audience. You may never have studied art formally, and you may not be an artist yourself. On the other hand, you may already be involved in art production. Whatever your background, if you wish to learn about art appreciation and some of the basic techniques of art production, this course is for you.

Course Outcomes

If you decide to complete the course, you will be able to:

  • Interpret examples of visual art using a five-step critical process that includes description, analysis, context, meaning, and judgment.
  • Identify and describe the elements and principles of art.
  • Use analytical skills to connect formal attributes of art with their meaning and expression.
  • Explain the role and effect of the visual arts in societies, history, and other world cultures.
  • Articulate the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic themes and issues that artists examine in their work.
  • Identify the processes and materials involved in art and architectural production.
  • Utilize information to locate, evaluate, and communicate information about visual art in its various forms.

In your studies, you will learn how to develop a five-step system for understanding visual art in all forms based on:

  • Description: Explaining a work of art from an objective point of view, its physical attributes, and formal construction.
  • Analysis: A detailed look at a work of art that combines physical attributes with subjective statements based on the viewer’s reaction to the work.
  • Context: Any historical, religious, or environmental information that surrounds a particular work of art and which helps to understand the work’s meaning.
  • Meaning: A statement of the work’s content. A message or narrative expressed by the subject matter.
  • Judgment: A critical point of view about a work of art concerning its aesthetic or cultural value.

After completing this course, you will be able to interpret works of art based on this five-step system of analysis; explain the processes involved in artistic production, themes, and the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic issues that artists examine in their work; and explain the role and effect of the visual arts in societies, history, and other world cultures.