Tuesday, August 26, 2014



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HUMAN 120, Fall, 2014 Week 1 Class Notes, page

Prof. Leonard De Grassi & Dr. Michael Harnett



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Welcome to our course: Literature and the Cultural Arts! The course is all about the parallel and connected approaches to literature and art from the Medieval to Modern Periods. The emphasis in this course is on the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, and Modern eras.

Dr. Harnett (English)

Prof. DeGrassi (Art)



  1. I will take roll every day, usually toward the end of class. Attendance is important, and so is your participation during class.

  2. Handouts: syllabus and “What Is Art?”.

  3. Welcome and Introductions. Course Overview, Policies, etc.

    1. Our approach to the course.

    2. Website: http://mharnett.weebly.com/ Please refer to this website regularly. I have posted the course syllabus on the HUMAN 120 main page. I will be posting class notes each week as well on the HUMAN 120 Class Notes page within it. I’ll post other course materials and announcements, both to all of my students on the home page, and to you on the HUMAN 120 page.

    3. Emails: Normally I will send out any emails to your GCC student email address. Make sure to check that email for messages from all of your professors.

    4. Taking Notes: You should take notes during class sessions for your reference later in preparation for exams and assignments. While Prof. DeGrassi lectures, I will do my best to keep track of his major ideas on these class notes. However, you are responsible for taking notes very carefully, since much of the art content in particular is explained orally.

  4. DeGrassi: Applying Elements and Principles (listed on handout). How artists show their representations of objects, landscapes, etc. This is in preparation for the Design Assignments that are coming up soon. The Elements and Principles help you to analyze the art in this course, to learn to know how and why you react as you do.

Elements: The fundamental aspects of a picture:

  • Line

  • Mass

  • Light and dark

  • Form

  • Texture

  • Color (not shown on handout—“you know what color is”)

    • Principles: How well a picture is put together. Rules for artistic expression.

  • Format: fits within the shape or frame of the design.

  • Unity: the viewer’s eye is taken smoothly from one part of the design to the next—as set up by the artist.

  • Rhythm: static (still) or dynamic (moving).

  • Balance: positioning of elements of a work, either symmetrically or asymmetrically

  • Variation: use of different sizes, shapes, elements in a work

  • Harmony: a pleasant, cohesive overall effect (not shown on handout)

Classical vs. Anticlassical Approaches to Art: Classical represents ancient Greece, Rome, Southern Europe. Anticlassical art comes from Northern Europe: Germany, Northern France, Russia. You will be asked to use Classical and Anticlassical approaches. More on this later this semester when we get to Renaissance, Baroque, and Romantic Eras

Classic & Romantic Contrasts: Classic is about logic and congruity, while Romantic is about emotion and incongruity. See all of the factors on the handout. More on this later.

Design Assignment Information: You will have 3 (possibly fewer or more) of these to do. Get a pack of mixed colored paper—8-1/2” x 11” for Design Assignment, at Swain’s or another art store. You will cut out shapes in this paper to show various Elements and Principles of design. In doing this, you will make a work of abstract art. You will need glue or paste, too. Include black and white for sure, gray as well at your option. Have a big sheet of white paper as a base. You’ll make and arrange various geometric shapes in ways that demonstrate Format (8-1/2 x 11 paper), Line, Form, etc. You will also eventually need felt-tip or other pens. This shows how art is composed in a basic way. On exams, you will be able to analyze works of art using these design Elements and Principles.

You’ll prepare an Art Term Paper (Museum Report) by the end of the semester. Some of it will be your constructions and drawings, and some will be a written analysis. Part of it involves you copying a painting in the collection in the Norton Simon Museum, so we recommend that you visit there a few times before midsemester. Go to the Museum for short visits, with an eye out for possible paintings for you to work with. It’s free with your student ID.







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