ART/101 Introduction to Art
October 9, 2011
An artist assumes one, or a combination, of four roles when creating a work of art. These four roles are; 1) to help viewers see the world in a different way; 2) to create a record of the culture of their time and place; 3) to make working objects and buildings more enjoyable to look at and also to give them meaning; and 4) to give form to personal feelings, universal truths, immaterial things, or spiritual forces (Syre, 2010).
The lower nine panels of the center window in the west front of Chartres Cathedral shows the artist’s role in giving form to a spiritual concept. The symbolic significance of this artwork is that it depicts the Christian story of Christ in the nine panels. When someone who is familiar with the story of Christ views this artwork, the story really comes to life and has a deeper meaning. The nine panels, laid out in three rows of three columns, can be read starting at the lower left panel then moving to the right and up. These panels show such things as the angel visiting the Virgin Mary and telling her she is going to give birth to the Christ Child, the Nativity, and the three wise men showing their adoration of Christ (Syre, 2010).
In Albert Bierstadt’s painting The Rocky Mountains, the artist takes on two roles. He was creating a record of the culture of that time and also helping viewers to see the world in a different way. For someone who had never seen the Rocky Mountains, but may have heard of their beauty, they could now have a different view of the mountains through Bierstadt’s work. Bierstadt also accurately records, in this artwork, Native-American dress and living conditions (Syre, 2010). As someone who has never seen the Rocky Mountains, I now have a new outlook and deeper appreciation of the area just by viewing this relatively small work of art.
Syre, H. (2010). A World of Art [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. : Pearson....