March 3, 2013

Evolution of Aesthetic: Knowledge

From: Art's The Answer!
Stagnation is the surest path to death, either of our minds or our spirits. To nurture our intellect, we must continue to consider new ideas from books read or discussions had. However, nurturing our aesthetic can take many roads. The most accessible way is  a regular attendance of new galleries or exhibits to keep the flame of creativity and inspiration burning. It may just be my love of books, but I find the more I learn about the world, the more beautiful it becomes.

St. John the Baptist, Jusepe de Ribera c. 1624
Usually, paintings such as the two found above bore me completely. Being neither religious nor a historian of art, these don't speak to me in the slightest. However, after reading Theresa Cheek's excellent post on the excessive use of the angle 23.5 degrees, these religious pictures became more interesting. (I  highly recommend reading the original post and her blog Art's The Answer!: 23.5)

From Science Blogs, Starts with a BANG
The earth is titled at a 23.5 degree angle from a perpendicular access to the ecliptic. The Ecliptic is the perceived path that the sun and the planets follow through the earths sky. In the Ptolemaic days, people thought that it was the sun's path that was tilted in regards to the earth, but later Astronomy proved that it was the earth that was tilted instead. This tilt is responsible for the different seasons of the year.

As Ms. Cheek illustrates, early painters were well aware of this angle and considered it divine. They hid this angle in a number of different places in their paintings- from the subtle as in the picture above to the more obvious pointing of the arms in the early pictures. These paintings are full of mathematical and astronomical symbolism which makes them far more interesting than I ever gave them credit for. Read her article or look up some more examples to see for yourself.

I still don't care for these early paintings, but after learning how to see the angle of the ecliptic they are more palatable than before. My aesthetic has increased slightly from this knowledge.

If this interested you, look at Paradigmshift for tons more examples.

What have you done to evolve your aesthetic?

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