This book offers an integrated exploration of Western civilization's cultural heritage. Readers move chronologically through major periods and styles to gain insight into the achievements and ideas in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, philosophy, religion, and music. The book provides a historical (political, economic, and social) framework to contextualize these achievements within a specific time and place, from prehistoric culture to 20th-Century America. Volume I covers prehistory to the late Medieval (Chs. 1-12 of the Combined Edition), and includes literary and philosophical excerpts. For anyone interested in the Arts and Culture.
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Arts and Culture provides an introduction to the world's major civilizations—to their artistic achievements, their history, and their cultures. Through an integrated approach to the humanities, Arts and Culture offers an opportunity to view works of art, listen to music, and read literature, in historical and cultural contexts.
The most accomplished works of painting, sculpture, and architecture, of music, literature, and philosophy are studied for what they reveal about human life. They open doors to the past, especially to the values and belief systems from which those artworks sprang. They also tell us about human attitudes and feelings, about ideas and ideals that continue to have value today.
Works of art from different cultures reveal common human experiences of birth and death, love and loss, pleasure and pain, hope and frustration, elation and despair. Study of the humanities—history, literature, philosophy, religion, and the arts—also reveals what others value and believe, inviting each of us to consider our personal, social, and cultural values in relation to those of others.
In studying the humanities, our attention is focused on works of art in the broadest sense, works that reflect and embody the central values and beliefs of particular cultures and specific historical moments. The following questions deserve consideration:
Balancing the social, cultural, and historical realities that works of art reflect are their uniquely personal visions of experience. Works of art are experiments in living. Through them readers and viewers can experience other imaginative perspectives, share other visions of human life. Works of art provide an imaginative extension of life's possibilities for those who remain open to their unique forms of creative expression.MAKING CONNECTIONS
A study of the humanities involves more than an examination of the artistic monuments of civilizations past and present. More importantly, it involves a consideration of how forms of human achievement in many times and places echo and reinforce, alter and modify each other. An important aspect of humanities study involves seeing connections among the arts of a given culture and discovering relationships between the arts of different cultures.
Three forms of connection are of particular importance:
(1) interdisciplinary connections among artworks of an individual culture;
(2) cross currents among artworks of different cultures;
(3) transhistorical links between past and present, then and now.
These forms of connection invite readers and viewers to locate relationships among various humanities disciplines and to identify links between and among the achievements of diverse cultures. Discovering such connections can be intellectually stimulating and emotionally stirring since the forms of human experience reflected and embodied in the works of art of many cultures resonate with common human concerns. These artworks address and answer social questions about who we are, philosophical questions about why we exist at all, and religious questions concerning what awaits us after death. These and numerous other perennial questions and the varying perspectives taken on them have been central to every culture, and find expression in their arts. Consider the following examples.
One type of interdisciplinary connection appears in the ways the music and architecture of Renaissance Florence were influenced by mathematical proportion and ancient notions of "harmony." Mathematics played a crucial role in all the arts of the Renaissance. Architects were guided in the design of their buildings by mathematical ratios and proportions; composers likewise wrote music that reflected mathematical ratios in both its melody and harmony.
Other kinds of interdisciplinary connections are evident in the collaboration of artists, choreographers, and composers in creating producing and ballets, such as those performed by the Ballets Russes in the early twentieth century. Still other interdisciplinary connections appear in literature and music in the poems of Johan Wolfgang von Goethe that Franz Schubert set to music.
Cultural CROSS CURRENTS
Cultural cross currents reflect the ways artistic ideals, literary movements, and historical events influence the arts of other cultures. Turkish military music, for example, found its way into the symphonies and piano compositions of Viennese composers, such as Mozart and Beethoven. Japanese woodblock prints influenced the art of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet and the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. And the dynamic cybernetic sculpture of contemporary artist Wen-Ying Tsai weds western technology with ancient Chinese aesthetic principles.
Transhistorical Connections—THEN & NOW
Arts and Culture also considers connections between the past and present. A series of THEN & NOW boxes offers discussions of a wide range of subjects that form various types of historical bridges. Discussions range from such subjects as cities, ghettos, and legal codes to movies and monuments, revealing parallels and links between the old and the new in art and architecture, literature and music, philosophy and film.
Study of the humanities provides a balance between appreciating masterful individual works of art in themselves and understanding their social and historical contexts. Arts and Culture highlights the individual artistic qualities of numerous works—paintings, sculptures, architectural monuments, buildings, and other visual images, such as photographs; poems, plays, novels, and essays; songs, symphonies, and other musical compositions; philosophical and religious systems of belief—always in light of the cultural worlds in which they were created. Each work's significance is discussed in conjunction with the social attitudes and cultural values it embodies, without losing sight of its individual expression and artistic achievement.
This balancing act appears throughout the book, though it sometimes leans more in one direction than the other. In discussing ancient Chinese and Japanese sculpture and architecture, for example, explanations of the Buddhist religious ideals they reflect are accompanied by considerations of their artistic forms. In discussing Renaissance literature the focus sometimes shifts between the artistic individuality of the works examined—as with Shakespeare's Hamlet—and particular cultural values the works embody.
The cultural traditions included in Arts and Culture reflect a broad rather than a narrow understanding of the term "culture," a humanistic approach to culture rather than an anthropological or sociological study. The idea of culture presented in this book reflects the complex of distinctive attainments, beliefs, and traditions of a civilization. This sense of culture is embodied in works of art and in historical forces that reveal the social, intellectual and artistic aspects of the civilizations that produced them.
Two important questions underlie the choice of works included in Arts and Culture: (1) What makes a work a masterpiece of its type? (2) What qualities of a work of art enable it to be appreciated over time? These questions imply that some works of art are better, more perfect embodiments of their genre, or type, than others. The implication is also that masterpieces are worthy of more attention, more studied effort, more reflective consideration than other "lesser" works.
One of the most interesting of all questions in the humanities concerns the way in which particular works become cultural icons, enabling them to represent the cultures out of which they arose. How does the Parthenon represent Greek cultural and artistic ideals? How did Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 come to stand for the very idea of a symphony? Why does the Eiffel Tower symbolize France?
Certain works richly embody the spirit of a particular culture and yet can simultaneously transcend that culture to reflect broader universal values. It is a stunning paradox that those works that do come to speak beyond the confines of the times and places that produced them are often rooted in the local and the particular. The short stories in James Joyce's book Dubliners, for example, describe the lives of middle-class Irish people as they lived in early twentieth-century Dublin. Yet Joyce's stories speak to people beyond Dublin, and even beyond Europe, across time and cultures to a set of shared human concerns.
Arts and Culture includes a wide-ranging representation of the world's civilizations. In addition to Western culture, the civilizations of Africa, China, India, Japan, Latin America, and Mesoamerica are examined, along with a special chapter devoted exclusively to Russian civilization. Significant attention is accorded the contributions of women, from the eleventh-century writings of the Japanese Murasaki Shikibu, the twelfth-century music of Germany's Hildegard of Bingen, and the fourteenth-century writings of the Italian Christine de Pizan, to the Rococo art of the French Marie-LouiseElisabeth Vigee-Le Brun, the Romantic music of Clara Schumann, and the numerous women writers, painters, architects, sculptors, and photographers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, European and American.
The final chapter of Arts and Culture brings together a broad spectrum of styles, voices, and perspectives, which, though focusing on contemporary multicultural America, reflects trends and influences from around the globe. A number of current issues in the arts are raised, including what constitutes worthwhile contemporary art, which works will endure, and how technology has globalized the arts today. The numerous and varied contributions of artists and writers include works by Native-American painters such as Lisa Fifield and Jaime Quick-to-See Smith, Latina/Latino writers such as Sandra Cisneros and Oscar Hijuelos, and Australian Aborigine artists.
Throughout the book as a whole, the authors have tried to present the arts and cultures of the world to suggest their richness, variety, and humanity. Readers of Arts and Culture can find in these pages the background necessary to understand not only the artistic achievements of many civilizations but also the representation of human experience in all its complexity. In a time of rapid social change when the world's cultures are becoming increasingly globalized, it has become necessary to understand the values of human beings around the world. The common humanity we share has been recorded, inscribed, and celebrated in arts and achievements of all cultures. Our survival and our happiness as human beings about to enter a new millennium warrants nothing less than understanding our human heritage as revealed in the art and cultural achievements that Arts and Culture brings together.
A complete package of supplementary material accompanies Arts and Culture.
- Student Study Guide—designed to make students' lives easier. It is carefully coordinated with the text and is thoughtfully presented to help students work their way through unfamiliar material.
- Music Compact Disk—a collection of music that contains important works discus
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Book Description Prentice Hall, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0130975087