6/14/2021 HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) – HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) 1/4

Week 2: The Visual Arts

HUMN 100 6981 Introduction to Humanities (2215) OO

The Visual Arts

There are painters who transform the sun to

a yellow spot, but there are others who, with

the help of their art and their intelligence,

transform a yellow spot into sun. —Pablo


Still Life with a Bottle of Rum by Pablo Picasso

Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access “The Met Collection”

The Humanities are the study of the things that make humans special. Since the beginning

of time, people have made art. The oldest known cave paintings date back almost 40,000

years. One might say art-making and the appreciation of art are inherently human


Today, we often think of art as precious things on display in a museum. However, that was

not always the case, and the visual arts include more than just painting and sculpture.

Architecturally crafted and designed objects—articles of daily use—may be considered art.

Art is often made to add beauty to our surroundings, but it may also be produced for

spiritual practices or rituals, to assert power, inform, or cause controversy—questioning

assumptions or pushing the boundaries. Some artists even try to change the world!

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Week 2 Checklist

The role of art and the artist in society has changed throughout history and varies from

culture to culture. As the audience and as potential art makers, we have a role to play, too.

While an artist may imbue meaning into a work of art, meaning is made and changes

through use and circumstances. And, art can be a form of the shadows seen by those

inside the cave in Plato’s allegory, or it can lead people out of the cave. We will explore

these issues in this week’s session on the visual arts.

Learning Outcomes

Following is a list of the Week 2 outcomes, mapped to the corresponding course

outcome. The course outcomes give “the big picture,” and the weekly outcomes provide

more detailed information that will help you achieve the course outcomes.

Week 2 Outcomes

Explain the relationship of the visual arts to the humanities (1).

Identify the scope of the visual arts (1, 2).

Place the visual arts into an historical and cultural context (2, 3).

Analyze philosophical questions related to art production (1, 3).

Describe and interpret visual arts (3, 4).

Course Outcomes Met in Week 2

Describe and analyze the way human culture is expressed through works of

literature, performing and visual arts, philosophy, and religion in order to appreciate

the depth and breadth of the humanities.

Use basic vocabulary, concepts, methods, and theories of the humanities disciplines

in order to describe and analyze cultural and artistic expressions.

Identify and apply criteria in order to evaluate individual and collective cultural


Examine individual and cultural perspectives in the field of humanities in order to

recognize and assess cultural diversity and the individual’s place in the world.

All images are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Online Collection of public domain


0 % 0 of 5 topics complete

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Week 2 Study Guide
Web Page

Week 2 Learning Resources
External Learning Tool

Week 2: QUIZ

WEEK 2 DISCUSSION: Analyzing Visual Art
Discussion Topic

Read the Weekly Overview & Learning Goals

Read, View, Review all of the Learning Resources & Links

Participate in our Discussions

Take the Quiz

Take the quiz before you post to the discussions.

Please use the Learning Resources from this module to answer the quiz questions. You

may take this quiz up to five times. Questions you have answered incorrectly will be

shown to you after each attempt. Your best grade will be recorded in the grade book.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS: Your contributions should be thoughtful

and developed. Answer all parts of the question and use concepts from the course

materials. Use a professional style of communication, with attention to grammar, spelling,

and typos; cite your sources.

Unless your instructor specifies otherwise, choose ONE of the following questions, and

give a substantive response to at least two other students.


1. Describe a favorite work of visual art and include a picture of it in your post. Your

selection may come from the entire range of visual arts, anything from a famous

painting in a museum to an iconic architectural masterpiece to a handmade basket

or an especially well-designed object. The only restriction is that you need to have

seen the actual work of art, rather than a photo or online image.

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2. Describe the medium it represents within the scope of visual arts. Tell us about its

maker or designer. What year is it from? Where is it located? What was its

intended function? What is its significance to you?

3. Does this particular piece help you understand something about reality or is it

intended to be more of an illusion pointing to something we don’t really quite

understand, like a shadow on the wall of the cave as in the Allegory of the Cave

we looked at last week?

4. Use at least two of the vocabulary, concepts or techniques from the Learning

Resources or the module to say something more about this piece of art. Underline

or bold the vocabulary, concept or technique you use as a interpretative tool in

your post.


1. Choose a theory of visual art described in this week’s Learning Resource titled “A

historical overview of ideas guiding the visual arts in the Western world: from

Plato to the present day.

2. Then find a related work of visual art represented within the Learning Resource

link to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, or any

of the Learning Resources.

3. Include a picture of the work in your post, and Discuss your interest in both and

the relation you see between them. That connection may relate to visual qualities,

history, use, or meaning.

4. Finally, point out how your response uses at least two of the vocabulary, concepts

or techniques from the Learning Resources for the module

5. . Underline or bold the vocabulary, concept or technique you use as a

interpretative tool in your post.

You will not see any other postings until you post your own.

Initial posts are due by Saturday at 11:30PM ET and at least two responses to fellow

classmates are expected by the end of the academic week on Tuesday by 11:30PM ET.

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