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Griselda Pollock's Opinion On Art History

1248 words - 5 pages

The article Artists Mythologies and Media Genius, Madness and Art History (1980) by Griselda Pollock is a forty page essay where Pollock (1980), argues and explains her views on the crucial question, "how art history works" (Pollock, 1980, p.57). She emphasizes that there should be changes to the practice of art history and uses Van Gogh as a major example in her study. Her thesis is to prove that the meaning behind artworks should not be restricted only to the artist who creates it, but also to realize what kind of economical, financial, social situation the artist may have been in to influence the subject that is used. (Pollock, 1980, pg. 57) She explains her views through this thesis and further develops this idea by engaging in scholarly debates with art historians and researcher, and objecting to how they claim there is a general state of how art is read. She structures her paragraphs in ways that allows her to present different kinds of evidences from a variety sources while using a formal yet persuasive tone of voice to get her point across to the reader.
Pollock (1980) begins her article by drawing in her audience in; asking how is it possible that art history does not incorporate any other field beyond the artist in order to explain the meaning behind their work. She then explains that her article is mainly about how she rejects how art historians are depicting artworks and restricting themselves in explaining the work solely based on the biography of the artist who created it. (Pollock, 1980, pg.58)
In order for her to be able to back up her thesis she references studies done by art historians and pull out quotes that she finds are significant to the paper and counter-argues in order to back up her thesis. One example that shows how she is doing this is when she refers to a paper titled 'Remarks on the Method of Art History' by "the marxist art historian Frederick Antal" (Pollock, 1980, pg.58). In this paper, she pulls out a relatively long quotation based on how Antal claims that if any other field of study were introduced to how art history is read, it would be rejected by art historians. Later, Pollock explains that Antal believes there are only two ways of describing its history and nothing more; either the artist’s life explains the works or a collection of artworks is depicting the artist (Pollock, 1980, pg. 58). After citing the quotation, she goes on to explaining her remarks on the example and how it is fairly common to see similar explanations in other art history text.
Pollock also tries to use alternative views and argues against some of her references in order to further explain her thesis. She uses Frederick Antal's paper as an example and after, Pollock (1980) voice her remarks to the quotation she pulled, she argues that there are alternative ways into looking into art history than it states on the study. Pollock elaborates that aside from the life of the artist and how the artworks come together to form a vision of...

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