Monday, September 14, 2015

your turn #2

hypnerotomachia poliphili (1499)

we've travelled even deeper into typeface character: ratdolt's euclid's elements, griffo's amazing bembo, from gutenberg's high gothic to italian and french roman, geoffory tory's pre-neoclassical design, the broken pot, humanism, the nuremberg chronicles, garamond the virtuoso. unlucky tyndale, maps, vesalius's human altas. wow!

what's on your mind? 

15 comments:

lucy hynes said...

What I would like to talk about is a combination of our discussion on medieval maps and the Nuremberg Chronicles. I have always been fascinated with the earliest medieval maps which were created before the “world” was finished being discovered. If you have heard the phrase “There be dragons,” it comes from old maps. When cartographers were unsure of what laid beyond the borders of the map they were making, they would simply draw dragons and other frightening (comical from today’s perspective) monsters and put Here (or There) Be Dragons. These odd illustrations on these old maps function in the same way the bizarre illustrations work in the Chronicle, as some sort of warning or sick twisted fantasy of what will happen to you if you venture away from the known and safe. I wonder if the strange quality of medieval illustration and ideas such as giant sea serpents or a basilisk and a giant footed man come from the repression of education and free will experienced during the middle ages. I was also wondering if anyone was reminded of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights after looking at the Chronicle? To me, the influence was absolutely undeniable.
-Lucy Hynes

Anonymous said...

One of the things that stood out to me in our discussion this past week was that of Guttenburg's Bibles. Given the society we live in today, particularly in a liberal city like Miami, I think it is often difficult to fully comprehend the overwhelming presence and influence of religion as was present when Guttenberg created his Bibles and the extent to which the church controlled aspects of every day life. So much so that I find myself wondering the extent to which an average person researched and studied religious texts in order to create the art we see today and to what extent they relied more on the teachings of the clergy. Just as was the case with the passing down of the art of written language, I would assume that the church played a significant role not only in aspects of daily life but also in how the times of people like Guttenberg and earlier were recorded for historical reference. History is overwhelmingly colored by the voices of the powerful. How much of history can we truly believe if there is no physical proof for any set of events occurring outside of a few surviving written accounts? Up until the Reformation of the 16th century, not even different interpretations of the same Bible really existed because the church had such a stronghold over everything that happened. Religion was so deeply ingrained into life that Guttenberg's Bibles sent him into bankruptcy because he was unwilling to compromise on the quality of a book so important to him and his society as a whole. Considering it wasn't until the 17th century that the Enlightenment really began to take hold and people began to really hold logic, reason, and analysis in such high regards that individualism began to fight back against the traditional roles of authority like the church. People before then lived in an age where it wasn't questioned why things were the way they were. What or who exactly was pushed aside in the events of history in favor of the church being remembered in a more positive light?

-Sam Richard

Anonymous said...

What was really interesting to me this week was the Division of Labor. We learned that time helped develop more affordable mediums of production, and easy to read books. The books contained elaborated letters in the chapters, some books were bizarre, some were funny, and some were in various languages, but they were readable. In order to produce mass books, a division of labor needed to be established. The amount of labor and dedication that was put into each piece was amazing. Despite of their limitations, the prints produced were pieces that lasted through time. Imagine the time to elaborate the paper, ink, plates, and the time spent assembling the product. But not only production was a masterpiece, the typeface chosen for the books brought character and style as well. The typography and illustrations made the books express their individualism. The books portrayed the person’s character and the pride they took on producing such exquisite books for others to enjoy. But, their typography is famous for its quality and clarity, and it is in 1501 when the first type of italic typeface appears. This typeface became popular because it was cheaper to produce, and it took less space on the books helping to cut on the cost of paper. The Renaissance allowed for changes in artistic development and the technical development of printers, which in turn benefited the printers and the customers. Walleska Lacayo

Anonymous said...

The work of R. Crumb really stood out to me. I find it interesting and I think that the fact that these are pen drawings makes the message much stronger, yet casual. The similarity with Early Renaissance style refined woodcut illustrations is incredible. The sense of these illustrations is kind of the same as with graffiti (in my opinion), or even cartoons like the ones from New Yorker Magazine. In these illustrations, the technique or the refinement is not of particular importance; it is about the message being communicated. The artist must find a way to draw or cut in a way that the illustrations speak the same truth to everyone, and so perfection in the type or the ornaments is not pursued. In the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), the illustrations express this “casualty” because of the drawing feeling too. They look more approachable and kind of funny, but they also say something about people’s beliefs in that particular time. I don’t think that the same result could have been achieved by using paint or other medium.

Alejandra Jimenez.

Anonymous said...

What really stood out to me during our recent class discussions has been maps. Until we spoke about it in class I never gave maps much thought. Especially in the 21st century, maps are something that can be easily looked up on a phone, via satellite GPS, and directions can be immediately downloaded and read aloud to us. I had never thought about how people made maps before the time of satellites, aerial photography and other tools that make mapmaking easier. Looking at the maps shown in class, and from my own further research, I realized that for not having any high tech tools, these maps were astonishingly accurate. Even the amount of detail, longitude and latitude lines, the later concept that the world was round, and even the location of the equator being portrayed were all so well depicted considering the tools and time period. After doing more research, I also found that maps did not begin during the time period we started at, no instead they began in the times of cave paintings. For me this raises further questions of how they did it? Even in modern times, with all of our mathematical and scientific research and out advanced technological tools, our modern maps, even Google Earth, is said to not be 100% accurate. So I am still left wondering how, if in the 21st century it is still difficult to create a perfectly accurate map, individuals writing on cave walls and discovering new areas of the globe were able to develop such detailed and accurate maps.
-Alejandra Madrid

beccamag said...


The work in this post is really interesting to me. It is an important example of early printing, done with woodcut illustrations, from the Hypernerotomachia Poliphili published in 1499. Due to the nature of the print, and it having no colors, just outlines, it sort of reminds me of a drawing in a coloring book might look like back in 1500. The image is very interesting because it has a sort of cartoon-like nature, but the subject and images within are both sexual and intense. There is a phallic image front and center, emphasis on women’s breasts, and what looks like a sacrifice of a horse or donkey in the foreground. There is also music being played and throwing of different items such as food going on in the air. When looking at this image as an individual, I am very interested in the larger story and want to see more images. Upon doing research I learned that the book as a larger concept is about the quest of Poliphilo to regain Polia’s love through a series of dreams.

Becca Magrino

Katie Luddy said...

We witness many examples of humanism through various pieces we have studied that show humanist beliefs in the development, progression, and education of solving human problems. Ratdolt's Euclid's Elements was influenced by Byzantine and Arabic text and became the most important geometric book of the time. It was the beginning of the development of elementary number theory and an instrument to the development of logic and modern science. Today, numbers and geometry have advanced. It is used in almost every aspect of life, from computers, design, videogames, mapping, astronomy, etc. Another example is with the development of maps. One of the greatest memorials of medieval cartography began in the 15th century, Venetian monk Fra Mauro’s map is displayed as artwork with a depiction of a condensed mass of land. Maps evolved by the 17th century to show more accurate land calculations and new methods of projecting the Earth’s circular projection on a flat surface. At the present time, maps are mostly used on GPS devices and continue to be updated everyday by programmers behind the virtual map applications.
Last, Andrea Vesalius’s De Humani corporis fabrica was the most accurate display of knowledge of human anatomy of its time. It solved Galen’s errors of the largest blood vessels originated from the liver and instead educated the world that it originated from the lungs and heart. Andrea Vesalius’s De Humani corporis fabrica was an advancement in the education of the human anatomy. These days we do not have to dissect bodies to do research but we have accurate maps of the human body from the bones, blood circulation, organs, veins, arteries, etc. and the tools of x-ray machines, microscopes, MRI machines, PET and CT scanners, monitors, and ultrasound.

- Katie Luddy

Anonymous said...

When we talked about Vesalius's Human Altas, it got me thinking as a designer. I can recall being at the doctor’s office, and seeing the posters of the human body. I would question how in the world did they come up with these things. As artists/designers we see things differently. Vesalius could’ve created the human atlas for many different reasons. When I first saw it, I thought that is something odd but different. A lot of the artworks that we have seen, we can all come up with our own conclusion on how and why it was made. It just made me think that’s how the designers of that time were thinking. They created not only what they knew, but also what they saw. We all interpret art differently, hence why we create it differently as well. The same goes for the maps. It all started somewhere, and as designers we see what others don’t. We questions what others don’t. Graphic design now is broader than it was all those years ago.

- Alicia Veasy

Ashlee Fabian said...

Perhaps because I am a science major, I was most struck by the inclusion of Andrea Vesalius’s De Humani corporis fabrica as a product of graphic design. The human anatomy has been extensively studied, taught, and examined throughout history but I never thought of the beautiful depictions of anatomy as a form of "art" or graphic design. In the study of science, scientists use many figures and pictorial depictions, as well as graphs, charts, etc, as a way of conveying scientific knowledge to others. In most of these scientific graphics it would seem that the science present in the picture is valued over the artistic representation, but, after our class discussion, I'm left wondering if you would you be able to argue that all of these scientific graphs and pictures are produced with an eye toward graphic design principles. Would you then be able to say that things like textbooks or Mendeleev's Periodic Table of Elements are also products of graphic design? Can you also say that their creators then double as graphic designers? -Ashlee Fabian

Anonymous said...

What stuck with me the most this week was that of the Guttenberg work on the bible. Not only was he the first to translate it but also the work that went into making it is incredible. I think it struck me so much is because I did a research paper on Guttenberg’s invention and what it did to humanity but I never went so far to actually look at the bible. It’s astonishing and the way that we talked about it in class only amused me even more. The details of the spaces and the material used for the paper. I always thought that details were important to create the big picture and this example is the best reason why it is true. He went as far as putting watermarks on the paper. Not to mention the actual type; beautiful and bold. The finished work is impeccable and every detail counts from the texture of the first letter to the colors of the margins flowers. It is as you said “the best”.

-Zina Dornbusch

Anonymous said...

I love how Baskerville’s genius is in his simplistic approach to type and print. In the first couple weeks of class, we saw how heavily reliant scribes were on ornate letterheads and intricacies in order to identify a work as theirs. When I first saw how Baskerville completely defied that tradition by crafting clear-cut letters, it seemed like he was one of the first few people in graphic design history (thus far) that was more concerned in delivering the message of his work rather than detailing the page to mark it as his. However, in a way, his lack of flourishes and decorative fixtures does mark his work as unique, so maybe the lack of signature strangely is one. The creators of these transitional typefaces (including Baskerville, Caslon, etc.) may have been attempting to achieve renown by formulating a new way to experience type; however, I still believe that this sudden shift in type design was a result of (and the encourager of) an ever-growing public sphere of a literate populace.

-Rachel Watkins

Anonymous said...

This week has been filled with information about the fathers of Typefaces. We cannot forget that all these changes came about because of the rise of Humanism, men started to be the center of the circle and not God anymore. This shift in focus generated a more classic and clean typefaces pulling back from the great masters – The Greeks and Romans. In England, the classicism master is Calson that creates the punching method that is the perfect mix of technique and design. However, my favorite aspect of these past few classes was to understand a little better William Blake. I am a great fan of Blake. I admire him for his avant-garde typeface, which he got inspired from yet again the Romans imagery but he can still appreciate the new methods of communication. So I have been thinking, did Blake really know how to join both function and art in the enlightened age? Is his works the best outcome of the period?

- Anne De Souza

Anonymous said...

What stood out to me the most over the past week of material was the mention of cartography. I was most taken with this when we talked about how the process of map making involved taking the 3D world and putting it onto a 2D surface using projected geometry. I’m currently in a figure drawing course, and the main theme that the professor always tries to reinforce is how to see the figure in a flat, geometric way. Beginning the drawing of the figure with straight lines and using basic shapes is the only way to get accurate results in the end. Similarly, this was how maps were first made. The man to discover the necessity of mathematics when it comes to cartography was Eratosthenes when he estimated the circumference of the earth and argued that accurate mapping depends upon accurate linear measurements. One of the hardest things to do as an artist is to translate the 3D world onto a 2D page, and it is truly amazing that this technique was discovered as early as 200 BC.

-Jamie Port

Anonymous said...

Spencer Schladant

I will preface this post by saying that I unfortunately missed the lecture monday, but since I missed the deadline for the first blog post, I will brain dump everything I have thought about the class thus far. As an art history major seeking to pursue graduate degrees in the field and hopefully a job in teaching, this class has been interesting to me as it has been different than any other classes I have taken in the major at UM. I took two semesters of graphic design and thought this class could help me build on the functional aspect of graphic design and I am grateful because it has lead me to a decent understanding of the basic concepts of graphic design. The concept that everything is design, such as maps and GPS like we discussed two classes ago, gets very convoluted in my head because I come into each lecture looking at the works and examples as graphic design. But looking at the layout and forms of the classroom as graphic design leads me to ask the question where to draw the line between art history and art of the classics, modern, and contemporary times and design as a practice and concept that is applied both to everything today and the entirety of art and its history. I enjoyed reading the blog that touched on Blake and his influences on poetry and book making and drawing. It was good to see an artist fit well both into the canon of art history and as a leader in the beginnings of graphic design that influenced people after him and built upon the people before him. Looking at and reading about all the graphic designers that first went out there and created the field and used it as a method to make art makes it a lot more interesting as I can really look at it through the lens of art history.

Sabrina Tomlinson said...

As a history of graphic design class, I'm surprised at how in depth we are looking at typography. I understand that yes, typography is important in the history of design. But what I was amazed at was the fact that graphic design could be traced to the stone ages as physical art. I'm not the biggest fan of typography in its entirety only because I do not receive the emotional connection from it as I do a more standard form of art. However, to see the passion in which it is explained to us has changed my mind about its emotional appeal. It's funny that you can hear the same thing over and over but it doesn't make a difference until passion's involved. So that is my focus this week, the passion and emotional draw of typography. Like I said, it's not for everyone. Words are emotive to most people, but that's not the same for letterforms. My question is where does that stem from? Gutenberg, Baskerville, Caslon--- all of these people we have recently talked about had a significant hand in the formation of typography as a real art and trade, but where does the passion to create these letters come from? It was such a painstakingly slow and complicated process to create type and pick the right kind of paper, binding, and in the end, something could go wrong in the process and ruin all your work? Did they enjoy this complicated process? Where does the love come from? In my opinion, the art of creation is in almost every type of work. The fact that they had the idea to create a new type from scratch blows my mind. To put that much attention into the detail of each serif and curve and line must be love because otherwise they wouldn't do it; and then where would we be? Would someone eventually have evolved type or would it become a lost art? Passion is the drive behind the creation and permanence of art, graphic design, and yes--even typography.

-Sabrina Tomlinson