THE ROLE OF ACADEMIC SAMPLES IN VISUAL CULTURE AND THEIR HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Atslēgvārdi:Academic samples, art academies, copies, mannerism
Academic samples are a specific cultural phenomenon created by art academies since the beginnings of art education in the late 16th century. As a fundamental method of teaching and learning it was an integral part of art education untill the age of Modernism. Although the culture of academic samples has been strongly criticized for its uniformity and eclecticism, the entire concept of providing the samples of distinguished artworks as a reference source in studying the Fine Arts still seems valid. The practical application of the academic samples is twofold – (1) it ensures the permanence and consistency of the academic training and (2) focuses the student’s attention to the aesthetic experience of the object in question. Academic samples are both physical objects, usually copies of the original artworks, and immaterial conceptions on the overall appearance of objects. The latter aspect is possibly the most disputable one because it may indoctrinate the student’s imagination with non-specific images of a single aesthetical trend. Although every period of cultural history provides its own theoretical support to the concept of academic samples, the main potential value of use of sample objects, when they are consciously selected, is that it provides the resource for visual thinking and sharpens one’s attentiveness towards the observable object or space.
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