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Instructions: Select and answer four of the following questions.

1. The notion of the “decorative” was associated in painting with a return to a more deliberate mode of composition after impressionism, and with the emergence of craft modernism in architecture and design.Focusing on the Gamble House and/or the paintings in the Norton Simon Museum and LACMA collections, discuss the related issues of craftsmanship, repetition, harmony, aesthetic wholeness and/or distortion?

2.Select one painting from LACMA’s gallery of realist, impressionist, or post-impressionist art, and write a “thick description” of it. Your description should be based on your observations of the work’s compositional structure and thematic content, but also informed by your readings and reflections on the assigned art historical texts.

3. The humorous caricatures satirizing the art works exhibited at the Paris Salon participated in the so-called “battle between the ancients and the moderns” of the mid-nineteenth century.What was this battle, and how did it lead to the historical emergence of modernism?Who were the principal combatants?How did the battle unfold at the socio-historical level of the art public and art criticism?What was at stake aesthetically?What innovations in style, technique, and subject matter created the divide between moderns and ancients?

4.Discuss the specific aesthetic “transpositions” of the female nude from the historical emergence of modernism with Manet and the Impressionist thru the work of Gauguin and Modersohn-Becker.What explanations have art historians put forth to explain the fact that modernism’s most extreme innovations occurred with the female nude?

5.The notion of the modern artist in dialogue with the past—its artistic creations, styles, cultural mythologies, peoples– had a special meaning for Gauguin, Kandinsky, and history of decorative or symbolist modernism. What was this meaning?How do their art works correspond to the thesis of philosophers like Worringer and Lukacs who argued that, around 1905, “to be modern, it is not necessary to be new.”

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