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Western Civilization Series Addresses 20th Century Visual Art

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For the final Western Civilization Series presentation, Professor William Mancuso of the Department of Art and Design discussed the changes in Western art during the 20th Century. Mancuso accompanied his presentation with images of various artists from that century, and one of his main points concerned the effect of technology on art. Mancuso told the assembled students that the rise of photography had a profound effect on artists, who increasingly wondered why they should attempt realistic depictions of nature or humans when a camera could do it better. This led to more representational art movements such as Impressionism, and Cubism, which did not seek to accurately depict their subjects, but rather present their feelings toward images.

Mancuso also discussed how the rise of the profession of Psychology led to paintings that explored the inner self, such as Edward Munch's Scream (image at left), and how the horrors of World War I led to artistic movements such as Dada, best exemplified by the paintings of Salvador Dali. The purpose of the Series is to provide students with a deeper appreciation for topics that our faculty does not have the time or the expertise to explore in great detail. Professor Mancuso succeeded in that and we thank him for his efforts!