6 Answers

  1. Art critics don't look for meaning. Art historians certify the authorship, dates, authenticity of works, origin of materials, technique, sources of allusions, the position of a particular object in the general field.

    You study as an art critic for five years, plus two years of graduate school, plus most of the art historians you know defended their dissertation later. Art historians are trained in the same way as historians, archaeologists, Latin translators, or social scientists — plus, it's always a bit of an interdisciplinary field to some extent, meaning it's normal for an art critic to read financial history, geology, evolutionary science, or whatever.

    Fortunately, you don't have to be an art critic to understand paintings. The meaning of most art objects is simply not necessary to look for, because they either lie on the surface, or are easily found in general literature, if of course a person has read it at least diagonally.

    The general rule-always, one hundred percent of the time-is that the subject should be considered in the context of history. Normal history. Not popular history, not nationalist nonsense, not TV documentaries. General knowledge of history allows you to make good guesses even for periods that a person does not know well (the keyword is guesswork).

    In other words, it all comes down to the basic cultural foundation and source skills that every HSE graduate should have. I don't know why it is so poorly distributed in practice.

  2. An art critic or art historian is a very broad concept: within this community, there are a wide variety of specialists and experts. Someone can attribute drawings by Rococo artists, someone writes excellent articles about Dadaists, and someone prefers to evaluate works in auction houses.

    Finding “meanings and problems in pictures” may not be the initial task for a particular specialist. However, there is no doubt that every art historian should have a wide range of knowledge in their specialty. If you are interested in a particular field of art, you should look for specialists in it, read their articles, books, and study those to whom they refer. In addition, it is important to refer directly to the sources (the picture itself, the drawing, the archives).: you may be able to find additional details that no one else has found before you. This is where the problem lies: an art critic sees unrecorded points and tries to find answers to them.

    Finding the” meaning ” of a picture is almost as vast and inexplicable as finding the meaning of life. It all depends on the perception, the chosen methodology, and the narrow range of questions that an art critic poses. There is no unique code for an art historian: it all depends on the person himself, whether he is able to discover something new, look again at already fully studied topics, discover new ideas in forgotten ones, and so on. To reveal such a special “look”, you need to read a lot of scientific literature on art, “watch” a lot, that is, go to exhibitions, study catalogs, and even look at online collections, as well as try to communicate directly with specialists.

    You can learn everything, it all depends on the degree of your interest and involvement. You just need to understand that in order to understand deep topics, you need to lay long time intervals. Good luck!

  3. Art historians really do a lot of different things, and the search for meaning is usually not an end in itself. But if I understand correctly, the question is still about how a person without special education can make sense of what is hanging in front of him. I will make a reservation right away that art historians work mainly with plastic arts, i.e. architecture, painting, sculpture, while other specialists are engaged in music and literature.�

    As in any other business, first you will need to master the basics of theory, and then practice a lot. By theory, I mean a general idea of the history of art from the ancient world to the present day, the formation of large styles in Europe, and so on – here E. Gombrich's “Art History” may be useful. Then practice and practice “watching” – it's important to learn to draw parallels between what you've read and what you see. To do this, it is advisable to go to museums and exhibitions as often as possible, but if this is not possible, then illustrated albums help a lot (Taschen or any others). In books, information is more structured and visually better perceived, but on the Internet it's all there too – you can save pictures in the process of studying theory and return to them regularly. There are also a lot of online courses, but I can't recommend anything specific here, except for the Arzamas website – they publish high-quality materials about art in a clear language. � �

  4. I am not an art critic, but I have difficulties when I try to understand the meaning of a work, then I ask for the opinion of experts, but I am not always satisfied with the answer. is this probably correct?

  5. Even in primitive society, people were drawn to creativity, especially to the visual arts. This is confirmed by the finds of various figurines and rock carvings. For example, the most ancient painting is the image called “Parade of Animals” in the Chauvet cave in the south of France. According to researchers, it was made 32 thousand years ago. This work is unique not only in its antiquity, but also performed with the use of many artistic techniques.

    Art has taken on a variety of forms throughout its history, and it is difficult for an ordinary person to navigate in such a variety. But there are specialists for whom the study of the history of art, its types, trends is a life's work. They are called art critics.

    In art criticism, there are several areas: musicology, literary studies, theater studies, film studies. Many specialists devote their lives to the study of fine arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, etc.). As a rule, art historians specialize not just in a particular art form, but in a particular historical period. The activity of representatives of this profession involves not only the study of theory, they can be teachers or guides and share their knowledge. In this area, there are people who sell antiques and objects, as well as organizers of various exhibition events.

  6. Good afternoon!

    Meanings is a very general term. Let's divide the answer into two blocks: one – story, the second – visual.

    The plot is a literary thing and with a certain degree of reading, the viewer can easily determine “what is the picture about?”.

    The visual component is already a professional field for art studies. Let me suggest that you read my article, which just analyzes several works and, perhaps, with a specific example, it will be much easier for you to understand the mechanics than “after reading a lot of theoretical letters”)))


    I hope my answer was useful to you!

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