Summer Online Bookclub: reviewing a Cengage product – “Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: a Global History,” 16th edition

May 20, 2020 This summer of Covid-19 offers opportunities to focus on one of the most used textbooks in Art History survey classes. Today, in 2020, many students enroll at Liberal Arts institutions that require them to take a certain number of credits in different areas of learning. These courses are often referred to as… Continue reading Summer Online Bookclub: reviewing a Cengage product – “Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: a Global History,” 16th edition

Beginning with Bias – “About the Cover Art”

May 28, 2020 The first art historical analysis is about the cover work, Jan Vermeer’s Allegory of the Art of Painting.  The artist painted this work between 1670-1675, long after the Dutch started to travel throughout the world, set up fortresses, and create detailed maps to help in their efforts to explore and conquer. Dominating Vermeer’s… Continue reading Beginning with Bias – “About the Cover Art”

Problems and errors in the “Introduction” to Gardner’s 16th edition

Page 1: “The earliest known paintings and sculptures were created almost 40,000 years ago,…” Misleading and false First, why only look at paintings and sculptures? There are many more visual art forms including the Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings from the Western Cape of South Africa. These go back to 60,000 BCE. For more information about this art… Continue reading Problems and errors in the “Introduction” to Gardner’s 16th edition

“Different Ways of Seeing”- an analysis based on inaccuracy

One of the most troubling sections of Gardner’s is the “Different Ways of Seeing” section that appears in the “Introduction.”  Two images are provided, both are identified as portraits of the Maori leader, Te Pehi Kupe. The problem is that the image on the left is identified as a Self-Portrait – by Te Pehi Kupe himself.… Continue reading “Different Ways of Seeing”- an analysis based on inaccuracy

The absolutely unacceptable portrayal of Asmat culture in Gardner’s 16th Edition

The Asmat people, who live in what is now the Papua province of Indonesia, continue to face social and economic hardship. They have suffered under many governments including the Dutch and the Indonesian. The presence of Freeport McMoRan, a multinational corporation that established the Grasberg Mine, has and continues to bring environmental devastation to the… Continue reading The absolutely unacceptable portrayal of Asmat culture in Gardner’s 16th Edition

Museums, Art History Programs, and ongoing Racism and Sexism

It is now 2019 and there are is still too many examples of professional art historians and art history programs failing to take an objective view of the information they present. A couple of examples of programming conveying inaccurate information–information that continues to marginalize cultures–comes from the University of St. Thomas. The first example shows… Continue reading Museums, Art History Programs, and ongoing Racism and Sexism

Ah the hyperbole of chapter 3. Presenting the Roman Empire…and its innate superiority…over all the cultures in the world…ever!

When considering the Framing the Era section for this chapter, one quickly understands the advantages of not covering cultures beyond Europe until the very end of the text! For example, anybody who is actually familiar with ancient art of China (chapter 18) realizes how extreme Eurocentrism is in this chapter (chapter 3). “No government, before… Continue reading Ah the hyperbole of chapter 3. Presenting the Roman Empire…and its innate superiority…over all the cultures in the world…ever!

Those blank cells in timelines…fascinating periods when absolutely no major art or architectural developments occurred..

The first blank is in the PREHISTORY AND THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS timeline in Chapter 1, Prehistory. Who knew from 1070-900 BCE nothing of note was happening on the entire planet! Course the presumption might be that nothing was happening in Western Europe or Mesopotamia as these are the areas of focus for the chapter. Timeline… Continue reading Those blank cells in timelines…fascinating periods when absolutely no major art or architectural developments occurred..

“Scantily clad” figures? Why is this applied to Buddhist yakshi figures on the Great Stupa at Sanchi…and not examples of “Western” art?

In Gardner’s descriptions of Greek nude or semi-nude sculptures, analysis tends to emphasize the beauty and sexuality of the figures. The figures are presented as cutting edge sculpture – yet they are works that push the boundaries in a sensuous, and understandable manner. The caption for ALEXANDROS OF ANTIOCH-ON-THE-MEANDER, Aphrodite (Venus de Milo), from Melos,… Continue reading “Scantily clad” figures? Why is this applied to Buddhist yakshi figures on the Great Stupa at Sanchi…and not examples of “Western” art?