Please answer all of this question. A 1 page answer for each question is required (doubled-space, 12-pt font, Times New Roman). The topics for this class are attached in this document to help you answer question number 3.

  1. Present and explain the Dialectical Mind-Set
  2. What is realism in the XIXth Century? Explain it an make your own personal comment on the full extent of this concept. Bring the consequences of your consideration to present time.
  3. What are, according to your own judgement, the three most important challenges, questions, unsolved problems our contemporary culture has to deal with? How do they connect with topics examined in HUM313?


HUM313 – Art Study Guide

Art Bourgeois (early 1700s)

Author presented: Fragonnard

Works offered: The Swing, The Bathers

Moving away from Baroque?

Everyday life subject matter instead of saints, crowned heads or mythological deities …

Pastel colours instead of chiaroscuro and theatrical use of light

The lack of grandeur = Art without transcendence?


Neo-classicism (1750?  – 1800 and beyond …)

Author presented: Jacques-Louis David

Works offered: The Three Horatii Triptic (After execution), The Death of Socrates, Venus and Mars, The Assassination of Marat, The Coronation of Josephine Bonaparte

Art of Precepts or Aesthetics out of theorists, gallerists, curators, marchands … but not artists

Expresses the ideals of Rational Control in Enlightenment, applied to the arts

Ready in 1750, had to wait 40 years for a great artist to adopt these precepts (and still be able to do something inspired and genuine)

Architectural framing of the spatial configuration, like Italian Quattrocento

Clean cut image after drawing

Aiming the grandeur of Baroque, but without the boasting thing of Baroque

Emotional reverberation under control

David, shifts in Aesthetics: announcing Romanticism (The Assassination of Marat, Napoleonic Era)


Romanticism (1790 – 1830 and beyond …)

Author presented: Theodore Guericault

Work offered: The Raft of the Medusa

The scholarly response to Neo-classicism

From Rational Control to Irrationality or carefully losing the grip of things

Back to certain Baroque elements (agonic subject matters, use of intense colour, theatrical use of light)

Another artist shocked by contradiction and hypocrisy in the French Revolution


Neo-classical vs. Romantic (1830 – 1870)

An academic dispute that will rule Western European Art for half a century


The role of Edgard Degas in the survival of Realist Art


The Realists (1820 – 1910)

Impressionists (1820 – 1850)

Author presented: Claude Monet

Works offered: The Umbrella, Water Lilies, House of Parliament by the River Thames (three versions), Giverny Garden (detail)

Trusting both perception and the chance of contacting reality again

The realism of perception: what meets the eye, objectivity through circumstances (multiple deliveries of the same subject-matter)

Expanding the palette of colours

The thick interrumpted brushstroke and the use of light and colour after Leonardo da Vinci

Sculpting three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional support


Expressionists (1840 – 1870)

Author presented: Vincent Van Gogh

Works offered: Small flower vase (early Van Gogh), Large flower vase (shifting Van Gogh), Sunflowers, Self-portrait, Self-portrait after mutilation, Bedroom at Arles, Starry Night

Realists’ pilgrimage to Expressionism

Being objective with the artist’s emotional reverberation after subject matter

A certain degree of abstraction and, therefore, distortion (at least, compared to the realism of perception)

The troubled artist


Fauvists (1890 -1910)

Authors presented: Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Umberto Boccioni, Kees van Dongen

Works offered: Munch’s The Scream (1893 version), The Green Room, Madonna; Picasso’s Arlequin (Pink Period); Boccioni’s Ugly Couple; van Dongen’s The Opera Singer

“Fauvism” or The Beastly Art

To radicalize Expressionism: to profoundly shake the observer, or the observer’s society

To accept distortion as an instrument for radicalizing Expressionism

To work in terms of sketches and thick brushstrokes

To reach the point of doubting what are you in front of

To scandalize: distortion of shape and colour, distortion of implied values


Cubism (1910 – 1920)

Author presented: Pablo Picasso

Works offered: Damsel with Mandolin, Les demoiselles d’Avignon, Guitar Nº1, Still life on piano

A formal reaction to the chaos in Fauvism

A formal, yet abstract, reaction to the chaos in Fauvism

Cubism: how to simultaneously see all six faces of a cube, in one single act of sight

Perception as steered by a very rational purpose

De-constructing representation, to the lost of representation (again, like in Fauvism)


Surrealism (1920 – 1930)

Author presented: Salvador Dalí

Works offered: Last Supper, The Persistence of Time (melting clocks), Temptations of St. Anthony, Child looking at the Birth of the New Geopolitical Man

A new formal reaction to the chaos of late Cubist experience

The logic of dreams as the rule of aesthetics

The emergence of the Unconscious in the Visual Arts

The incredible experience of making the Unconscious visible

The limits for understanding the Unconscious: representation made impossible to discern


Abstract Art (1940 – 1950)

Authors presented: Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Varied authors (related to technologically created abstraction)

Works offered: Hommage to Matisse (Rothko), One: Number 31 (Pollock), etc …

Art that quits both the element of representation and the element of expressive potential

Non-representational art: art hostile to the presence of both reality and artist

Abstract Art as embodiment of Nihilism

Positive aspects of Abstract Art: sheer form, colour and texture delectation


Pop Art

Authors presented: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein

Works presented: Campbell Soup Can, Marilyn Monroe Silkscreening, Mao Zedong, Dinner for 59 cents (Warhol); Blonde Girl, Takka Takka (Lichtenstein)

The courage of retrieving both representation and expressive potential in art

The uncomfortable mirror of consumerism

The usual disrespect for Pop Art

The unusual insights of Pop Art


Weak Art

Authors presented: Bansky, Weiden & Kennedy/London for Honda Corp., Marco Evaristti, U2

Works offered: Girl with pearl earring/ADT (Bansky), Honda Civic Adv 2006 W&K/L), Blenders (Evaristti), Window in the Skies (U2)

The Contemporary Scenario after having questioned the chances Art has of representing real and conveying emotion

The Role of Design in contemporary consumerism, planned and perceived obsolescence

Social denunciation in Street Art

The potential banalization of the beauty experience


Art as merchandise and the dilemmas out of it

Ephemeral Art

Installations as a conspicuous statement

Installations as a way of involving the observer’s interaction

Unexpected places to find art at its highest potential

A response to Late Freud’s “Culture Discredited” belief





Age of Revolutions

Revolutions were not carried on against Feudal Medieval Monarchies


A Modern Conflict: Enlightenment produced the Later forms of Absolutism the Revolutions tried to depose, in the name of Enlightened ideas on Society and Politics …

French and American Revolutions



Romanticism and Nature

Romantic reaction against the Industrial Revolution and its consequences

The view on Nature: another Modern Conflict: Renaissance vs. Enlightenment, Contact vs. Control

Nature as source of inspiration (Art & Religion) and purification (feelings and emotions retrieved)

Early Romanticism as balance between reason and emotions, and Late Romanticism as irrationalism

Wordsworth vs. Whitman

The individual in Romanticism

The artist against its society

The Romantic Hero

Exaltation and doom of the individual in Late Romanticism


The Dialetical Mindset

Hegel, Logic and Metaphysics, two-steps and three-steps Dialectics

History as endless, self-legitimated negative process

The contrast between Traditional Metaphysics and the Dialectical Mindset

Historicism, the epochal horizon

The futility of good and evil in History according to the Dialectical Mindset

States as the real subjects in History according to the Dialectical Mindset

Realpolitik, to prevail at whatever the cost


Nature as Irrational

Marx as a third rank Hegelianism

Darwin as deeply affected by Hegelianism


Beyond Dialectics

The impulse against the Idealism of the Dialectical Mindset


Realism in the 1800’s

The four alternatives


  1. Schopenhauer

Inside Hegel but taking sides with the individual

History as Blind Arbitrary Will, Realism is Pessimism

Real and Ideal, Culture as Placebo for “The Ugly Truth”

  1. Realpolitik

The intended cause of WWI after five hundred years of Western European World Supremacy

Social Darwinism


  1. The Realists

The aesthetic response to the Dialectical Mindset, trusting perception

The full cycle of Impressionism and Expressionism

  1. The Social Realism

Romantic Literature’s depiction of Western European Society in the 1800’s

The early Civil Rights heroes, trusting individual action


The Social and Political Unrest in the 1800’s

Congress of Vienna as a major setback for the Age of Revolutions

Pessimism: parallelism with Absolutism in the 1600’s

Social Engineering and the building of Utopias


Nietzsche at the eve of the 1900’s

Nietzsche’s Dramatic Atheism vs. Today’s Comfortable Atheism

“God is dead … and his blood still stains our blades”

A desperate attempt of making Schopenhauer’s Placebo to become real

Super-human & Will to Power

The three stages of Will to Power: Reality, Art and Day-dreaming


Dialectical Mindset and Beyond Dialectics in the 1900’s



Early Freud and Late Freud

The empirical, MD-cure seeking inspired, young Freud

Hypnosis and Hysteria, The Discovery of the Unconscious

The unconscious aspect of the life of the Psyche

The true nature of Desire, Psychoanalysis and Dream Analysis

The Healthy Psyche: to be able to love and to work

The theorist, pessimistic, old Freud

Adopting Schopenhauer as philosophical mainframe

Sex as the power of History in the individual, Pansexualism

Id as a dangerous trick of a cursed nature,

Super-ego as the man-made contention dam,

Ego as the “poor thing”

No chance for a healthy Psyche if Ego is a buffer between two incompatible massive forces

Id as the dialectic aspect of real, Id prevails: no Super-ego will ever beat it

WWI, the living proof of Freud’s suspicions, Culture Discredited

Terror Icons and their message


After Early Freud’s legacy …


On aggression, the energy after desire, desire and its object as the measure of the energy deployed

Violence is neither the only, nor the necessary destiny of human action

There’re no scapegoats


Recurrent dreams in the individual, and also in society

Recurrent dreams, and recurrent contents: Archetypes

There’s a shared human condition

The most relevant element shared: the religious element in human condition



The Post-WWI scenario: Realpolitik and Freud’s pessimism proven

The Rejection of Idealisms, The Need to Address the Concrete Individual’s Condition

Literature (and Drama) as the preferred format for discussing and transmitting ideas

The Quest for Meaning after the Absurdity of Existence

The very fabric of human condition is the conversation we create as we strive for meaning after our best efforts (The Sunset Limited)

Atheist Existentialism, Sartre

Absurd: there’s no meaning in existence

God doesn’t exist, nobody considered this world’s existence, the world is mute

Geworfenheit: we’re basically thrown into existence, we weren’t asked

Freedom is our chance of rising above absurd, our choices create the determinations the world doesn’t provide us to interact with it

Freedom finishes its work after our final choice, before death, after which there’s nothingness

Human condition is futile

Theist Existentialism, Marcel (Camus)

Absurd: whatever is not incompatible with our shared human condition (Camus)

Geworfenheit: I don’t fear being thrown into existence, as long there’s a Pitcher (Marcel)

Subsidizing Contingency

The value experience: subjective and objective

Our progressive transcending of contingency: family, community, society (national and global), culture, history, science, Nature, God

The question for real

To treasure what makes our lives to make sense


Present Time

Possible meaning for Post-modern, what’s beyond Post-modern?

The open challenges our time faces and their connection throughout debates and conflicts in HUM212 and HUM313



Social and Political Surveillance



Manipulation of the individual

Civil Rights



Environmental Concerns


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