To gain a critical and comprehensive view of the development of Western civilization, one needs to examine the relationship between the development of Western ideas and societies and other regions of the world.
To gain a critical and comprehensive view of the development of Western civilization, one needs to examine the relationship between the development of Western ideas and societies and other regions of the world. This Gallery Talk uses women’s art to facilitate such a complex study of the development of modern Western world in a global context.
To do so, you will first visit a museum, gallery, community center, or library online or onsite to observe and study an artwork created by a woman. Focus on an artwork that addresses a topic, issue, or idea concerning women’s well-being in a global context. You may also use the links found on the course page Sources for Images of Cultural Artifacts.
In about 250 words, discuss the following items:
The artist’s background
The creative process focusing on, for example, the art medium, art tools, how the artwork is made, artistic or cultural theory or tradition the artist applied; and creative uses of the elements of art (e.g., color, composition, light-and-dark contrast, focal point, etc.)
The subject matter of the artwork focusing on a topic, issue, or idea concerning women’s well-being in a global context
A couple of questions or thoughts that would encourage the class to examine together the artwork and issue you’ve selected
Post your writing along with a clear copy of the artwork to this discussion forum. Make sure to provide a full citation for the artwork including the following:
The artist’s name
The title of the work
The date of the artwork completed
The size, duration (if multimedia or performance-based art), or location (if site-specific art) of the artwork
The medium of the artwork
Where you observed the artwork (e.g., the name of museum, the title of the book, URL)
Continue participating in the Gallery Talk exercise by responding to your classmates’ posts. Use what you’ve learned from this Workshop to enrich your discussion. Keep in mind that the focus of this Gallery Talk is to examine the influences of Western ideas and society on other regions of the world. Thus, you should strive to expand your learning of women’s lives and art beyond the Western world.
For the purposes of this article, the “West” is that civilization which grew up in western Europe after the end of the Roman Empire.
Its roots lay in the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome (which themselves built on foundations laid in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia). It took shape in medieval Europe, with its Christian religion, feudal society, dispersed power-structures and growing economic dynamism. It was in the modern era that Western civilization took flight, however. It spread from Europe to the North and South America, Australasia and much of the rest of the world; it achieved a level of economic power which far surpassed that of any other civilization; it developed the habit of systematic scientific and technological advance; and it evolved a unique set of personal freedoms which gave its culture an utterly different flavor to anything that had come before.
A rich heritage
The mixed ancestry of Western civilization gave it a rich heritage to draw on. Greek achievements in mathematics, science, philosophy and art, and Roman developments in law, government and technology, all had a deep impact on later European civilization. The religion of Christianity, deriving from the Middle East but absorbed into the Graeco-Roman civilization, constituted one of the great pillars of the medieval and modern West. Added to these elements were major Indian, Chinese, and Arabian achievements in science and technology, transmitted to Europe via the Islamic world and the Mongol empire.