SEMIOTICS AND HISTORIOGRAPHY

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SEMIOTICSAND HISTORIOGRAPHY

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MiekeBaland Norman Bryson analyse that the main issues which are core to theideas and practices of art history entail the positivist aspects ofknowledge. They postulate that there are a set of semiotic toolsessentially guide the art historical analyses1.The evident challenge in their analysis is the methodologicalapproach of assigning an artwork in its context. The challengeemanates from the fact that it is problematic for the context of awork of art to be produced and is itself a text consisting signs thatare subject to interpretations. In Bal and Bryson’s perspective, itis imperative that art historians interpret and portray artwork as anembodiment of past social life and practices and a reflection of theinteraction of artists with their work.

Baland Bryson contest the applicability of different approaches in artinterdisciplinary studies. They portend that semiotics hasmulti-disciplinary features through its applicability of from acrossdifferent disciplines. Normally, the application of the semioticsacross disciplines does not create hierarchical distinctions. Neitherdoes it create transfer of concepts to other disciplines2. Thus, they suggest and propose a semiotic impact that wouldeliminate the superiority of one language over other forms of artsuch as paintings.

JulesPrown depicts Winslow Homer not just as painter but also as a graphicartist. Through Prown’s analysis, it is evident that Homerillustrates the Civil War as a significant, emotional, and historicalexample of wartime reporting3.Homer dramatically paints the sea in manner that pays respect andhonor without a great sense of historical sensitivity. Prownaslodepicts Homer as an icon of the American image of humanity and rescuein the wake of sea peril.

Bibliography

BalMieke and Norman Bryson. Semiotics and Art History. The Art Bulletin,Vol. 73, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 174-208

Prown,Jules D. Winslow Homer in His Art. SmithsonianStudies in American Art,Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring, 1987), pp. 30-45

1 Bal Mieke and Norman Bryson. Semiotics and Art History. The Art Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Jun., 1991), pp. 174-208

2 Ibid

3 Prown, Jules D. Winslow Homer in His Art. Smithsonian Studies in American Art, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring, 1987), pp. 30-45

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