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Tutor profile: Caroline G.

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Caroline G.
Art Historian with Master's Degree
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Questions

Subject: Spanish

TutorMe
Question:

Cuál es su experiencia con la obra de literatura "Don Quijote" por Miguel de Cervantes?

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Caroline G.
Answer:

Si quiere saber, tengo un “selfie” con Don Quijote y Sancho Panza. Yo saqué la foto enfrente del Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes en Alcalá De Henares, después de una visita de la casa. Tenía la oportunidad a viajar a España seis veranos pasados con profesores de mi universidad. Los profesores compartieron un montón de conocimiento de Cervantes y fue un placer a aprender durante sus clases. He leído pocos partes de "Don Quijote" en colegio, pero mis compañeros preferían a mirar las películas de la obra en vez de leerlo. Finalmente, yo tenía una clase de literatura peninsular Española. Leímos la obra de "Don Quijote" por dos semestres. Ahora, tengo una base fuerte en la historia y los teorías y filosofías de "Don Quijote," Cervantes, y otras obras como "Amadís de Gaula," "Cantar de Mío Cid," "La Vida es Sueño" y más. Yo sé mucho de los libros de caballería ahora y espero que este conocimiento va a ayudarme a enseñar y ayudar otros.

Subject: Art History

TutorMe
Question:

Why is art history organized by art movements and why are they important? What are the disadvantages of organizing it in this way?

Inactive
Caroline G.
Answer:

Art history is roughly organized by art movement, century, or culture (Baroque, 19th Century, Islamic, etc.) in order to make analyses more simplified, focused, and easily referenced for both the scholars and external readers and students. This organizational method allows art historians to conduct in-depth research in specified areas without the need to explain the circumstances surrounding a work of art each time that it is discussed. However, history cannot be placed into simple boxes or explained easily with dates—it is much more fluid and overlapping. You also have to acknowledge who has been writing the histories. At times, this method restricts scholars from broadening their research outside of a certain time or place, and limits new students from opening their minds to new possibilities.

Subject: AP Art History

TutorMe
Question:

Characterizing Pre-Raphaelite works as history painting, portraiture, landscape, genre painting, or modern life subject can often be difficult; and multiple genres are often found in a single painting. Using three specific paintings as examples, discuss how the rapidly changing social, cultural, and environmental scene of the 1850s and 60s influenced the subject matter of the Pre- Raphaelites. Likewise, discuss how Pre-Raphaelite artists attempted to change the course of nineteenth-century culture and society through their art.

Inactive
Caroline G.
Answer:

1848 was an eventful year in Europe. Political revolutions spread over the continent, Anne Brontë published The Tennant of Wildfell Hall, and the Potato Blight returned to Ireland. Most significantly, a group of young artists secretly established the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Tim Barringer and Jason Rosenfeld explained that the newly modern world in which the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was created was “marked by dramatic technological and social change, the globalization of communications, rapid industrialization, turbulent financial markets, and the unchecked expansion of cities at the growing expense of the natural world.” Radical changes were taking place in every sector of their environment, so rebelling against the conventions of the Royal Academy was a natural response. The founding members did not just rebel against an artistic style but created an idealistic philosophy through which art could address issues happening around them and have a positive impact. Searching for solutions to the social chaos of the time, the artists looked to the social and cultural aspects of the early Renaissance and Middle Ages, times when they believed art was more highly appreciated, laborers found joy in their work, and social classes mingled more fluidly. They wanted to bring these past beliefs to the present in the hope that they could revive them in the nineteenth century. In his famous essay, “The Nature of Gothic,” John Ruskin wrote, “Wherever the workman is utterly enslaved, the parts of the building must of course be absolutely like each other; for the perfection of his execution can only be reached by exercising him in doing one thing, and giving him nothing else to do.” In the age of the industrial revolution, where people worked in factories like miniature machines, a great anxiety that humans were becoming emotionless machines developed. This is what the Pre-Raphaelites felt was happening in the Royal Academy. They were being taught nothing but artistic conventions – all perfected by Raphael – that would appeal to the constructed social tastes and ensure that their paintings would sell. They rejected this commercial-focused style outright, preferring to create work that was true and moral by painting it exactly as they saw it – using no artistic tricks – and in painstaking detail. This style was no doubt taxing, but as Ruskin believed, there was honor and beauty in hard work that was done by free will. Ford Madox Brown’s "Work" (1852-63) depicts a busy scene on a road in Hampstead, where workers are fixing water pipes while merchants and ladies pass by and two men to the right of them watch. Brown was a fan of Thomas Carlyle, author of Past and Present (1843), who agreed with the Pre-Raphaelite idea that medieval integration of social classes was better than that of the nineteenth century. In "Work," Brown displays a mixture of people from all backgrounds and social classes who work and live together in one neighborhood with relative egalitarian cohesion. Carlyle is one of the two men that Brown painted on the side of the road, along with religious social theorist F. D. Maurice. Both of these social commentators agreed that in their current society a diligent worker can rise in social status. Brown’s scene is by no means a utopia. There is an impoverished group of children with a woman in a tattered velvet dress at the front of the composition, on the grassy bank to the right are unemployed laborers, and behind the heads of Carlyle and Maurice is a woman selling oranges being accosted by a police officer. In a time when the narratives of many paintings were easily recognized, Brown created an intricate slice of life with "Work" that commented on political and social issues. Brown most likely had the hope that viewers would look long enough to contemplate some of their meaning. The Royal Academy exhibitions of the 1840s were filled with works that fit into the lower categories of painting hierarchy: landscapes, portraiture, and genre scenes – all safe, nonthreatening subjects. In an interesting “attack from above,” as Elizabeth Prettejohn put it, the Pre-Raphaelites preferred the higher subjects in art – historic, allegorical, and religious – which they thought would “appeal to the intellectual and moral faculties,” according to John L. Tupper. However, in many works the Pre-Raphaelites combined pictorial categories to create something wholly new. By using techniques from painters before Raphael, the scenes somehow looked modern, even if they were set in another age. Although John Everett Millais’s painting, "Christ in the House of His Parents" (1849-1850) was technically a religious work – the highest rank in painting – it could also be considered a genre and allegorical scene. By painting a religious work, Millais was essentially rebelling against the tastes of the Academy. The Victorian Era saw an instability in religious followings as Roman Catholicism was revived, and Protestantism was characterized by the development of different church branches. Millais’s work reflected a new vision of the Holy Family as unidealized, working-class carpenters. Millais and other members of the Brotherhood erased hierarchies even in painting composition, treating every detail with the same accuracy, color, and clarity. This also supported their desire to display truth, even at the risk of losing beauty. However, this philosophy was lost on some viewers at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1850, who became enraged at the slim, gangly figures of the Holy family in "Christ in the House of His Parents." It is hard to determine whether Millais intended it, but this artwork mirrors that of the Protestant Reformation in Northern Europe, which focused on making Christianity more accessible by humanizing religious figures and placing them in familiar scenes. This work is typically identified as having one of the greatest impacts on art and its Victorian audience because of its shock value, complete reversal of common style, and new religious interpretation. With the rapid industrialization of cities like London came overcrowding, pollution, and cholera outbreaks. A reaction to this was the ‘back to the land’ movement or a desire to return to the fulfilling simplicity of rural life. Before the movement really began, the Pre-Raphaelites were focused on capturing the truth and beauty of nature, setting many of their subject matter outdoors and even painting in “plein-aire.” In 1853, Ruskin proclaimed, “The affectionate observation of the grace and outward character of vegetation is the sure sign of a more tranquil and gentle existence, sustained by the gifts, and gladdened by the splendor, of the earth.” This appreciation of every leaf and flower petal was prided by the P.R.B., and is especially apparent in Millais’s work "Ophelia" (1851-2). Millais’s naturalistic scene of Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, which he worked on from June to December in 1851, was painted with a scientific precision. In the nineteenth century, one of the emerging areas of research in the natural sciences was botany, which greatly interested Millais. In Ophelia, he painted numerous identifiable flower and plant species – even down to the unique specimen. Although critics and art historians have noted that not all species that are shown in the frame would have been blooming in Surrey at the same time, the truth lies in the accuracy and honesty with which Millais painted them. In his article, “The Purpose and Tendency of Early Italian Art,” F.G. Stephens wrote, “If this adherence to fact, to experiment and not theory has added so much to the knowledge of man in science; why may it not greatly assist the moral purposes of the Arts?” With "Ophelia," Millais saw an opportunity to experiment with science and art, consequently creating a highly influential masterpiece. As Elizabeth Prettejohn strongly argues, the Pre-Raphaelites were the first modern art movement, beating even the Impressionists to the punch. Influenced by the negative socio-cultural and environmental changes taking place, the P.R.B. fought against them by looking back to early Renaissance art, developing new techniques, and establishing an egalitarian attitude that permeated throughout everything they did. In the short-lived Pre-Raphaelite journal, The Germ, John Lucas Tupper wrote, “If, as every poet, every painter, every sculptor will acknowledge, his best and most original ideas are derived from his own times.” The Pre-Raphaelite artists did not always depict modern scenes in their work, but the subjects of their compositions were greatly influenced by the social, cultural, and environmental issues of the Victorian world around them. By establishing a movement focused on change, the Pre-Raphaelites certainly believed that art could have a powerful impact on the ills of society.

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