Perception in Art

Topics: Abstract expressionism, Visual perception, History of painting Pages: 3 (694 words) Published: September 19, 2014
Perception Essay
After viewing the power point presentation and the videos provided, I learned about the relationship between representation and abstraction in art, context within art, contemporary art and finally about visual perception. Representation and abstraction was discussed in the video. In the discussion, representational art was compared to a lie or a falsehood. In the video, the commentators compared a representation painted by John Everett Millais called “Ophelia” (1851) and an abstract piece called “Vir Herocious Sublimus” (1950) by Barnett Newman. In the video, one of the commentators tells the audience that the “Ophelia” piece was created by an artist painting in the Pre–Raphaelite style. According to Jennifer Meagher (2004) of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pre-Raphaelites “emulated the art of late medieval and early Renaissance Europe until the time of Raphael”. (The Pre Raphaelites section, para. 1). Representational art is described as being a lie or falsehood, in the sense that the lady in the piece “Ophelia” is representative of a woman, not a real woman. On the other hand, abstract art has no need to lie. Abstract art is defined by the Oxford University Press, as “art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.” (“abstract art”, n.d.) When discussing abstract in the video, the commentators examine Barnett Newman’s “Vir Herocious Sublimis”. They assert that abstract art is an art form which tests the norms of traditional art.

I learned about how context is important when viewing art. Context is described by as “the conditions and circumstances that are relevant…”. (“context”, n.d.) The video had the audience compare works by Kazimir Malevich and Claude Monet. Malevich’s piece, “White on White” (1918) is painted at a time when Russia was in the midst of a revolution. You have to know the context behind the painting to fully grasp the...

Citations: Meagher, Jennifer. "The Pre-Raphaelites". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2004)
No Author. “Abstract Art” No Date -
No Author. “Context” No Date -
SmartHistory, Art History at Khan Academy. (2012, September 1). Hirst 's Shark: Interpreting Contemporary Art [Video file]. Retrieved from
No Author. “Definitions: Contemporary Art” No Date -
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