László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was born in 1895 in Borsod, a small village in southern Austria-Hungary. Nagy was one of professors in the school of Bauhaus, who was a painter and a photographer. Nagy was influenced by the constructivist movement and the speeding technology/industry as we can observe in his works. In his autobiography Abstract of an Artist(1944) gives his idea of art understanding. Hw says that his work was figurative since he found the contemporary art of his day as chaotic. He says he did not undertand Cubism, Fauvism, and Futurism. He worked on the drawings  of artist as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. He affected by the expressive power of lines and absesnce of half tones. And then he started to experiment with Dadaist compositions. After that he beganhis photographical experiments and works. Nagy also coined the term “the New Vision”. He believed that photography could create a whole new way of seeing the outside world that the human eye could not.

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Alexander Rodchenko and his Influence Today

Alexander Rodchenko was a Russian avant garde artist. First a graphic designer and later he became a photographer.  His photographs were more photomontages. He is very influential and we can see many artists referencing him today. First of all the graphic designers of 20th century are very much influenced by him.  He lived when there was a lot of political changes in Russia and his work reflected that. He is one of the founders of Constructivist art.

Barbara Kruger is a conceptual artist,whom I like very much and whose photographic works and the used texts accompany each other in a great way , is clearly influenced by Rodchenko.

These are some of her works:

You can also see Franz Ferdinand’s cover for their album ‘You Could Have it So Much Better’ references the second image in this post.

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The First Photograph

The first ‘photograph’ is by Joseph Nicophere Niepce. It was taken on a hot summer day, in the year 1827. The photographic image was made with a camera obscura. Before that artists would just use camera obscura to make accurate drawings. But Nicophere produced a photograph for the sake of it being a photograph.  This was the beginnig and prototype for modern photograph. But Nicophere’s technique caused the image to appear for a while and dissapear after. It was exposed for 8 hours. Niepce would place a metal plate into a solvent and an image would appear after being exposed for the time required.

The photograph is taken from the upper rear window of Niepce’s family house. We can see a tree, a wing of the family house and the sky. It is not very detailed and  that is not because of fading but because it is quite underexposed even it is exposed for 8 hours. Later, Louis Daguerre  tried and was able to reduce exposure time to less than 30 minutes. He also was able to stop the image from fading and dissapearing afterwards.

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Lithography

Lithography, which was the first new discovery in printing after the relief, is a mechanical process. The printing and the non printing areas are at the same levels in the plate and it is completely basen on water repelling the oil. Chemical processes create the image.  Alois Senefelder invented litography.  He was an actor and a playwright and when printing his play was a problem, he fell into debt and needed money.  Therefore, he experimented with new techniques using greasy and acid resistant ink. He then discovered that he could print from the flat surface of a stone.  Senfelder also made litography as a potential for a medium of art. This is because artist could draw very easily on the surface of the stone with pens.  Specimens of Polyautography was published soon after. It was a portfolio of artist lithographs.

Here is an example from the book:

Of course number of works from much later years show how lithography took a turn and how artists used this technique.

 

Picasso, Woman in an Armchair No:1 (1948)

 

Lolita Film Poster by Roger Soubie

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Garamond

Garamond is a family of typefaces. The style if old and with serif. These typefaces are derived from Claude Garamond’s work. Garamond is famous for being elegant and readable.

Claude Garamond is one of the most important people in 16th century and the starting of typography as an industry.

In the 16th century Claude Garamond found that multi talented people were needed in typography industry in order to create fine books.

Claude Garamond was the first type designer and he became famous all over Europe with his types and therefore King of France ( Francois I ) ordered him to produce a Greek typeface. Claude Garamond modeled them after the handwriting of Angelos Vergetios. He was a scholar in Garamond’s time.

 

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Incunabula

An incunable means; a printed book in Europe before1501. Incunabula are not handwritten, they are printed. Two types of incunabula are, the Block Book and the Typographic Book.

A famous example is Gutenberg Bible. It is the first book that is printed and it marks the beginning of the age of printing books. The book is very famous for its artistry and iconic. Gutenberg used an oil based ink instead of water based ink that were very much used at the time. This is because scribes used water based inks to produce manuscripts and that was ok for the manuscripts. However Gutenberg needed to find an ink that would be useable in his metal type.

The Gutenberg type is blackletter type. It is now known as Textura. It is a very calligraphic type of blackletter and is very associated with Gothic. The letters are very narrow and tall.

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The Four Books on Human Proportions

Albrecht Dürer was very important in Renaissance and the developements in it.  His most important and influental aspect is that he introduced the scientific system of Italy to Northern Europe by using laws of proportions.

The Four Books on Human Proportions were highly influenced by Leonardo Da Vinci. The books investigate ideal human proportions.  His studies show very technichal works of human anatomy and proportion. In the books, Dürer simplifies the complex structureof human body into sections using spheres, cylinders, cones, cubes and pyramids.

Dürer shows in the book that ‘Stereometry’, that is the science of measuring volume, can make drawing easier by solving the problem of foreshortening.

In the image above, Dürer uses stereometric construction so that the feet are perfectly foreshortened.

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