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ARTS 1A: Discussion 3

Selfhood in art

This week we’ll consider imagery related to selfhood: those things about us that make up our
individuality.

Please see above a detail of the mosaic representation of the Empress Theodora, made in the
sixth century.

Address ANY of the following questions in your discussion post:

1. Looking closely at this mosaic image, what do you think Theodora was like as a person?

2. Theodora’s public life included maintaining both political and religious roles in society.
In what ways are her public duties communicated to viewers by this portrait?

3. In what ways did the mosaicist succeed in communicating that the empress was an
actual person with a physical body rather than simply a head of state?

4. With all of these things in mind, who was Theodora—what constituted her “selfhood”?
Use the mosaic itself to answer this question.

ARTS 1A: Group Analysis 3

Addressing continuity and change

Each week we participate in a group analysis. This week, let’s consider artistic continuity
and change.As you take notes on Chapter 3 and read this week’s document, written by
Joshua Reynolds, consider this quote from Reynolds:

. . . examining the art itself by the standard of nature, he corrects what is
erroneous, supplies what is scanty, and adds by his own observation what
the industry of his predecessors may have yet left wanting to
perfection.Having well established his judgment, and stored his memory,
he may now without fear try the power of his imagination.

Address the following prompt in your group analysis post:

It would seem from this quote that Reynolds believed that a finished work of art
produced by an accomplished art student should be influenced by two things:
nature (that is, the visible environment, including human bodies as part of nature),
and imagination.

What evidence is there in The Archers that Reynolds followed—or did not follow—his
own advice? In other words, what references (or lack of references) are there to nature
in this work? And what aspects of this work may have been informed by Reynolds’s
imagination?

Build your response from what you read in Reynolds’s quote as well as what you see in
this work of art.

You may post a comment independent of other students’ ideas, or you may add to the
posts of other students as you work to acquire up to two points of discussion credit for
participation in this group analysis.

If you have an opinion that is different from the opinions of your classmates—and you
probably will—use respectful language when stating your ideas.

***

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