HUM 389 Midterm Essay
Due: midnight February 28 Worth: 20% of final grade
Answer ONE of the questions from the list below.
Use only readings, resources, and notes from class. No outside sources. Submit in WORD format, not PDF etc…
For ANY question, you must include a discussion of at least one work of art. I will assess your paper on your understanding of historical context, ideas about art, and formal analysis. Your essay should bring together information from readings, class discussions, and examples of works of art.
Use the readings posted on Blackboard that are relevant for your question. For example, if you choose to work on question 7, you must read – and refer to- the articles by Walter Benjamin. If you are not sure which readings are relevant, ask me.
4 full pages. Approximately 1300 words. Number the pages. Indicate the WORD COUNT at the end of your essay.
This is not a group assignment. Do your own work. Automatic “0” for papers found to be too similar.
Cite any sources you use. Failing to cite sources is plagiarism. Use Chicago Manual of Style.
1. Why is “art” a problematic concept (according to Wartenberg)? How would you define art?
2. Can a work of art be considered beautiful if its subject matter is disturbing?
3. Should art be censored? Why or why not?
4. Hume argues that, while our knowledge comes from our experiences, yet we can explain agreement in aesthetic judgments because of uniformities in the human mind in the exercise of our taste. ..Has Hume reconciled subjectivity and objectivity? How persuasive is his approach to explaining evaluation in art?
5. According to Kant, we would not demand that everybody like a specific flavour of icecream just because we like it, but we would insist that our statement, “this rose is beautiful” is a universally correct judgment. Why do we suppose we have the right to other people’s agreement once we have declared an object beautiful?
6. According to Nietzsche, artistic creation depends on two opposing forces that he calls the Apollonian and the Dionysian. Explain how these forces work to produce art.
7. What is the concept of the sublime and can it be expressed in the visual arts? If yes, how? And if not, why not?
8. What is the impact of technologies of mechanical reproduction on our definitions and experiences of works of art, according to Walter Benjamin?
9. Is Romanticism inherently conservative? Explain.
10. According to Baudelaire, Romanticism is modern. What does he mean by this characterization? How is Romanticism modern?
11. In what sense is Realism realistic?
12. Analyze the excerpts of art criticism (from French Painters and Paintings from the Fourteenth Century to Post-Impressionism posted on Blackboard) about ONE of the following artists: Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, or Monet. Summarize the critics’ comments. Do the critics agree in their assessments of the artist’s work? Do you agree with the critics? Why or why not?
13. Some art critics consider Gustave Courbet to be the first avant-garde artist, a position he claimed for himself. What does it mean to be avant-garde? How do Courbet’s paintings, The Stone Breakers and A Burial at Ornans, fit the definition of the avant-garde?
14. What does Olympia reveal about the categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality in mid-19th century Paris