Reflection on Part 5 and Assignment 5

This is a section of the course I freely admit to have struggled with particularly in terms of style and hence my notes have been left longer than required which I have appreciated I may get marked down for.

My understanding the work of abstract-expressionist artist such as Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still or Jackson Pollock and going forward into minimalist art was non-existent before reading that last chapter of WHA  but it became a revelation in terms of that understanding.  I also have felt that there was much to understand too in the style details during the two wars and preceding WWI as well as the developments that seem to suddenly take place – these developments in terms of artistic style and use of mixed media revolutionised the way in which the spectator views art and asked the spectator what exactly constitutes art in the modern era.  Although I have struggled with this period much more than earlier periods I feel I have achieved a level  of understanding and knowledge that will endure and no doubt result in more research in the future as my textiles studies continue – I am no longer afraid of looking at modern artists of the past century and not understanding their technique and this is part of the reason for those longer notes so that I can look back and refer to them when required.

img_3852What has been particularly interesting is the early part of the 20th century was this is the era in which my grandparents were born – my maternal grandfather was born in 1894 and my paternal grandfather in 1913 and as I have read the material and researched the different styles and aspects my mind kept wandering to wondering what John  Sheehan or Leonard Murdock and my grandmothers, Mary and Gladys, would have thought to these new artistic styles.  Leonard was an amateur artist himself  as can be seen from my photograph – I cannot finish my last reflection of my art history course without including this much loved picture I have had since childhood and perhaps even inspired my love of art alongside my own mother’s beautiful sketching. I do not know  my grandparents artistic tastes but I know from the paintings that Leonard did he was interested in naturalistic styles so I wonder what would his opinion have been of Pollock or Rothko or other abstract-expressionists or what would John have made of the Dada artists?

I fully confess to having changed my opinion on previously disliking abstract-expressionist art personally and have certainly become a huge fan of cubism and fauvism along with Picasso and Braque

whose work will continue to fascinate me but I am now looking forward to looking at abstract art works in future trips to any art galleries and being able to understand them whether on a technical level or on an emotional level.

Although at this stage I have some blogs I wish to add including one long-planned on the Medici family as well as others on various articles I have saved from the internet or newspapers which quietly got filed away until ‘a rainy day’  I am now at the end of the actual coursework and it feels incredibly strange.  It has been one hell of a journey through the centuries and I feel it has been the biggest, most frustrating and also most enriching journey of my life in terms of academia – it has been incredibly frustrating at times which I will now admit to but on many other occasions there have been expressions of wonderment and delight as I read a particularly interesting section or the proverbial light bulb goes on with understanding a passage or style I have been totally flummoxed about.  The conversations between my fiance and myself have totally changed over the last two years as we discuss and debate either different artists or art works and the enjoyment we have both gained through the knowledge of this course enables us to visit galleries or country houses in our locality and so hence our lives have been enriched in ways we never expected – and I do say ‘both’ of us in terms of knowledge gained due to those aforesaid discussions and my fiance reading passages himself of my textbook and other library books.

As I reflect on this journey I also do so with a knowledge that I will be setting up another blog in order to continue my art history studies  to run alongside my textiles degree courses and this course will have had a direct influence on those studies as my aim is still to incorporate art history studies into my textile work in the future and for that to be a major part of my practice.

I can honestly say that despite the frustration at times this course has been one of the best decisions of my life and has woken up a passion for art history that I know will be lifelong not least a passion for a certain female Baroque artist by the name of Artemisia.

Regarding the expected criteria this is where I feel much more confident than I have previously:

Demonstration of subject-based knowledge and understanding: 

I feel that I have demonstrated my knowledge and understanding much better than I have previously through both through my notes on the 3 chapters and also the course exercises including my final essay and any separate blogs regarding visits or own research. I am aware I have struggled at times with understanding various stylistic concepts but I have demonstrated a level of knowledge despite the difficulties.

Demonstration of research skills:

This is where I feel I have progressed the most as I have used a variety of sources including IT and also textural in the form of a variety of books – the information that I have been required to evaluation has been more challenging particularly with regards my final essay but also the coursework.  My final essay has enabled me to demonstrate that I have been able to design and carry out a research project and also locate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of sources – this has been a fascinating and challenging process but also an enjoyable one too.


For this point I can reflect on the coursework as a whole and as I have prepared for my final assignment to be submitted I have spent time going back through the various blogs and either adding tags or checking for spelling errors and in doing so I have been able to see how much progress I have made throughout the course.  I have learnt to communicate ideas and knowledge and support my ideas with relevant visual material as well as improving my presentation.

Much of my work for my final essay was based on modern day author’s works who have spent time researching the available information including trial documentation and newly published letters but this information has enabled me to also consider the information that was available at the time of Artemisia Gentileschi.  However in terms of the art I have studied in the last 3 chapters of WHA and the last section of the course the information is more readily available and is presented by modern art critics and writers and this has meant I have had to re-consider the ways in which I evaluate the art or communicate my ideas and arguments.

My weak point throughout the course has been working on analyses and I freely admit to having seriously struggled with them but at the same time I feel I have been able to demonstrate a learning curve with regards to information communicated in a clear and coherent manner.    I have applied methods used for analysis when writing my final essay as I was effectively analyzing two works of art by Artemisia and also comparing them to Caravaggio’s work on the same subject as he was such a strong influence and this in itself has been an incredibly useful exercise.

Overall I do feel that my communication skills have been through their own steep learning curve and I must take into account I have never studied art history before and as I continue my studies beyond this course this course has provided a solid and valuable foundation.

My final reflection is that this is my final end of assignment reflection – as I state above it is a very strange feeling particularly as I now anticipate my final tutor report and start to prepare for assessment with some trepidation.


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