Research weblinks & My thoughts.

Web Links – 19th Century Art

A BBC News article about Manet in relation to an exhibition in Paris in 2011

Edouard Manet, A man with high aspirations and more confidence, he started a trend amongst other artists by simply painting what he saw, as he saw it. He was not afraid to challenge belief or show his own interpretation of events, this I admire greatly and I think any truly great artist cannot be afraid to express their own self and that which they wish the world to see.


Le Dejeuner Sur L’erbe presented by Waldemar Januszczak

A BBC News article about Manet in relation to an exhibition in Paris in 2011

Luncheon on the Grass – Over the years this piece has been subject of mockery, The piece depicts a nude lady prominently placed in the centre of a picnic, with two men sat with her, fully clothed to the extent they even had their hats on, and in a ladies presence. In the foreground another lady, dressed in a simple gown, appears to be douching herself in the stream behind.

The picture itself contains altered imagery or scenes taken from artwork previously produced by Raphael and  Michelangelo.

Is it a simple scene of folly or did Manet hide other meanings inside this piece? Did it sully the nature of women? Or in fact heighten awareness of our sex. Was it a pointed piece to show disdain for the creatures he believed responsible or partially so for his fatherss death? His father having died prior to the making of this piece, of tertiary syphillis – Perhaps Manet was showing, visually, how he felt about the situation. Perhaps that, even flaunted naked before them, men should remain unaffected by the female and her wiles. And the lady in the back? Perhaps she is shoing his feeling of disgust? That she should be washing herself in the stream, in that manner, with an odd sort of picnic going on beside her, maybe shows that this woman needs to be cleansed before she may join the group?

Either way or for whatever reason, Manets Le Dejeuner Sur L’erbe shows not only a determination to show his own mind in his imagery but also to borrow and reinterpret imagery from other artists. This is an avenue for me to explore, in deciding to find a way to visually communicate, misinterpretation, miscommunication or the amendment of facts to suit oneself, can I use this example to create a piece that interprets this in my own way?

The Birth of Impressionism

Waldemar Januszczak on the power of the Paris Salon since its creation in 1673, and how its rejection in the 1870s by a group of artists including Degas, Monet and Pissarro marked the birth of Impressionism.

An interesting piece, showing how impressionists, challenged the perception of art by shunning the 300 yeaar old traditional Paris Salon exhibition, then the only means by which to be recognised as an artist and create a client base. They were turned away as exhibitors and thus, they chose to exhibit work in a local studio instead.

Again, art makes its statement and challenges beliefs and traditions. This reminds me not to worry so much about pleasing the masses, but instead to use my art to show whatever I wish to transmit, visually, to others.

Hokusai’s Great Wave – a podcast from the BBC – the ‘History of the World’ series

The Wave that swept the world


So Hokusai,using wood block print, created a series of imagery entitled 36 views of Mount fuji, of all these prints,  The Great Wave becomes the most famous. Showing Mt.Fuji as a small speck on the horizon and a huge tsunami wave taking out 3 ships in the forefront of the picture, the spray from the colossal wave appearing as snow falling on the mountain in the distance.

It is possible this print became as famous as it did because Hokusai pioneered the use of a new blue ink,  which is now known as Perusian Blue, as the colour for this print, a new colour at this time. It is equally as possible that although he created the series to celebrate the views of the great mountain, in this one it is almost an afterthought to the scene.

Hokusai took inspiration from the west and instead of the one dimensional imagery of traditional Japanese art he offered perspective. In Japan he was frowned upon whilst in the west he became an influence that possibly helped transform the art world again- impressionism may not have come to be had it not been for his impact. Monet himself had no less than 250 Japanese prints in his home, 23 being that of Hokusai, Monet took direct inspiration from Hokusai and his imagery depicting one subject matter in many altered forms and scenes. The woodblock print became fashionable in the west and many artists began borrowing the two dimensional Japenisme style.

Illuminated Manuscripts and the printing press – links

I tried my own illuminated Manuscripts :


More on display in my hut, where I have used gold and silver leaf, and sketched designs in my sketch book. Overall I do not feel my strength is in topography lol. I enjoyed making my initial though and after watching the painstaking process of hand drawing illuminated letters into handmade books, I really have a new appreciation for the mastery required to do this for a living.


BBC Podcast of conversations surrounding an Exhibition of Daumier’s work at the Royal Academy in 2013

“Daumier made his living as a caricaturist in newspapers, observing and ridiculing the conceits of bourgeois society, reserving special criticism for dishonest politicians and lawyers; even earning himself a spell in jail for his depiction of King Louis Philippe as Gargantua.” – Direct quote from page.

Information about the Royal Academy Exhibition of Honore Daumier

Daumier, the man who wasn’t afraid to point a finger at the people in power, the politics and leadership he ridiculed, although perhaps rude was amusing in its way, in the way we all know the people in power are not always people we wish to look up to, or even wish to invite to tea. In some of his images, almost too much care is shown to depict the absolute and unabashed lines between societies classes. The third class railway coach, for example, showing shoddily dressed working people, hard worn lines upon the elderly ladies face, shrouded with a hooded cloak, the lady beside her nursing an infant, the child on her other side, sleepily sat dozing in the seat. A far cry from the pompous 1st class society he depicts in other pieces, even seeing three ‘men’ sat around a table to eat, with the middle mans face having become that of a pig, with the use of a well placed teacup!

Again just the use of a simple prop, turned this picture on its head, I looked at this image several times before I realised he was not filling his snout with something from the table, but instead holding a teacup to his face – Perception, interpretation, misinterpretation? How easy to see something that is not there, simply because it is implied!


Guardian review of RA Exhibition

Noting again the solid impropriety of art in context in the world as the underdog sees it. Daumier shows the world as it is, in humour perhaps on occasion but also in simple truth. Art frequently presses boundaries and is used to air otherwise silent views, sometimes to the worlds delight or folly and other times to its disgust. nonetheless, art still stands as the continually changing visual communication that crosses most social political, religious and ethical boundaries without too much fray. There will always be an audience for a silent voice.


A comprehensive bibliography of Ukiyo-e Woodblock printing references

Woodblock prints, originating in China in the 8th century, where used commonly by Buddhist monks to produce books at a faster rate than handwriting each individual page,  still taking an age to create initial templates it saved the long drawn out and repetitive task of painstakingly writing onto the pages themselves. Woodblock printing continued for a further 10 centuries and with the exception of  Tawaraya Sotatsu, who used to to print on silk & paper. The Edo period, 1603-1863 ,saw the rise of woodprint as art ,it was taken on by many and used to mass produce imagery that could be sold at far more affordable prices. It took on a role of its own allowing art to seep into everyday homes and become the norm. Now 1000 people could all own a single piece, each one printed from the same woodblock print.

Another breakthrough saw the invention of new technology in 1765 polychrome prints became possible. Polychrome or nishiki-e as it is called, saw the beginning of colour in print, until now the restrictive monochrome imagery had boundaries. Now we see the printers showing people, scenes and historical events, all documented and printed on a mass scale the audience broadens,  Suzuki Harunobu (1725- 1770),The first to use the new technology, not only that but used it to redesign the art of Shunga, or erotic art. And also Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858), both used the technique to their advantage and became famous through its use and the imagery they created with it.

So again we see art crossing a boundary, now we all know of the Karma Sutra – so don’t fib lol. But to see art used as auto-erotica on a much larger scale across a nation in an affordable form. I wonder how many arguments that caused. I wont look into it now but its definitely on my to do list!

In the 19th century when the Europeans discovered the  they where captivated and inspired by it and it quickly crossed the oceans and became a part of European art. Influencing artists such as Gogh and Monet.

 The Evolution and Importance of Visual Communication

So this Slideshow reminds us that visual communication is at the forefront when it comes to getting a point across, ‘ a picture is worth a thousand words’ seems to be most apt when we are told that our brain is hardwired to process visual imagery 60000 x faster than text. At this point I want visual imagery for sure, soaking in so much information is difficult at the best of times but imagine if there was no visual picture to help us through? I do not wish to imagine the world without pictures. Likewise we see that babies communicate without language seeing the images they recognise and even now baby sign language being taken on as a genuine option when raising pre-schoolers and negating the frustrating cries of a child who cannot yet verbally communicate its needs.

So in essence, before we are taught language we understand visual communication: Those without hearing use signs to communicate, those without sight use a selection of images indented into paper or other materials -braille, those with learning difficulties  use picture cards and  frequently when we are stumbling through foreign countries with little clue as to the time zone we are in we all know we can draw a picture of an airplane and hopefully be directed to the nearest airport lol. Flat pack furniture displays simple 1. 2. 3 imagery this piece looks like that and goes here this way up. oh and use these (4) to stick it all together. Historically cave art displays imagery from 30.000 BC found in the Chauvet caves it shows the earliest dated visual symbol. Just 100,000 years ago Speech begins and we see the beginning of symbols as language and finally, writing comes to the world 5000 years ago  – so for all the time before hand it was symbols and pictures that directly impacted our communicative genetics, is it any wander that we respond to that faster? We had so much more time to evolve to respond to that stimuli. 

*Now this topic, the way we process information, very much was taken to heart and used to produce my final piece.


AIGA Archives – sent to Case Study research.


The Bayeaux Tapestry  1066 –

Inspired me to explore further the idea of textile art, see Embroidery & Textile Art

This is still a big thing to me, textiles as art, It really is a media close to my heart and always sneaks into my work on some level, I watched a documentary at the start of this course showing how Matisse inspired many fashion designers, including a British one creating men’s fashion. i’ll add the link as soon as I locate it! Serously though its as important to address textile as a form of visual communication – every culture has their own style and heritage, progression and history are documented through fashion design, architecture, tools/technology, political ruling and industry. As art directly influences the first two and then knocks into the marketing designs of technology – its a safe bet that art will not become useless any time soon.

Stephen Fry and the Guttenberg Press

Johannes Guttenberg and the printing press

A revolutionary change to media begins here, the first mass printing that does not require hours of painstaking carving of single letters and pictures. It had a massive impact on how the world has progressed, the way that we communicate too, with it now being far easier to mass produce documents or media to the general public and not just those that can afford it,shamefully though, printing holds no actual bearing on my art work 😦 Beyond saying that I looked into it and it is very fascinating to see how it was done, and knowing that I have a little more information in my head, I do not really see how to take this as an idea towards a final piece. Although I did, print a smush of berry art onto fabric, does this count ?lol.

Albrecht Durer

Durer, the first artist to use a trademark on all of his work, he started a revolution in art, the first great artist to mass produce his imagery using the woodcut print technique during the 15th century, this confused the heck out of me, having researched the woodblock prints previously. 

Woodblock printing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For Western art prints, see woodcut. For the related technique invented in the 18th century, see wood engraving. For Japanese woodblock printing, see woodblock printing in Japan.

Young monks printing Buddhist scriptures using the rubbing technique, Sera Monastery inTibet

Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220, and woodblock printing remained the most common East Asian method of printing books and other texts, as well as images, until the 19th century. Ukiyo-e is the best known type of Japanese woodblock art print. Most European uses of the technique for printing images on paper are covered by the art term woodcut, except for the block-books produced mainly in the 15th century.

 Ecerpt taken directly from page 05/05/2016 for clarity.

 Aside from being utterly confused, and seeing how terminology across cultures affects communication again, I can only assume that Durer with his woodcut technique started a wave of his own that was reinvented later on by the eastern artists. I appreciate the impact he had – breaking through and changing the world, even just by adding his ‘BRAND’ and forcing everyone to recognise his work, he really did start a trend that soon caught on and now, we all recognise artists styles or signatures within a second of seeing the piece. I will not pursue this matter further in respect to this module, but no doubt curiosity alone will have me sorting through this in the future.

Update: Then curiosity got the best of me anyway and I went here : The invention of woodblock print and then here : 

  • Meissner, K. Japanese woodblock prints in miniature: the genre of Surimono, Kegan Paul.Link

  • Hiroshige, U., Opie, J., Clark, T., Ikon Gallery, B. & Grundy Art Gallery, B. 2008, Utagawa Hiroshige: the moon reflected : later woodblock prints from the British Museum : exhibition at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 28 November 2007-20 January 2008, and the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, 8 March-26 April 2008, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.Link

  • Brokaw, C. & Reed, C.A. 2010, From Woodblocks to the Internet : Chinese Publishing and Print Culture in Transition, circa 1800 to 2008, 1st edn, BRILL, Leiden.Link

  • Ives, C.F. 1974, The great wave: the influence of Japanese woodcuts on French prints, N.Y.G.S.Link

  • Knappe, K. Durer: the complete engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, Alpine Fine Arts Collection.Link  – 

  • Pon, L. 2004, Raphael, Dürer, and MarcAntonio Raimondi: copying and the Italian Renaissance print, Yale University Press, New Haven, [Conn.];London;.

Unfortunately, none of the above were available for online viewing, very frustrating! So I wound up here :

Globiliazation in World History 

My conclusion, is that the globalization of art and its availability was attributed to many and that really, over the course of history many people have influenced how art became a worldwide market instead of restricted to the area you were in. With trade, travel and communicational growth came new horizons. Eastern Buddhists printing books with the technique had a huge impact and then it was a progression that started with Durer in 1400’s with his use of the technique in the Western world of woodcut to mass produce and stamp his works. I think we can then credit woodblock prints to Western culture in the 17th century, influencing artists around the world again. Without either we would be living in a very different world, each with their own style, technique and subjects all encompassed in a nutshell title’ woodcut’, but all contributing to how mass produced media and graphic design become the norm.

Durer is indeed a pioneer and his work will stand out for many many generations to come. Interestingly enough he had a bit of a rival relationship with the Cranachs:

The Cranachs

The Cranachs, Father and son, created modern medieval art .The father married a mayors daughter, he built up a collection of properties and business ventures, eventually he became mayor and lived in a large house in the centre of town, He was already business minded and famed enough for his art works for Luther, whom he worked for and was paid handsomely, as his personal artist , employed to produce not only the typical portraits of his employer, but also to create woodcuts of events as a way of immortalising the occasions.

In his workshop, he taught his son, who shared not only his name – Lucas, but also his talent for painting. The older Cranach used his workshop and staff to not only paint work but also to reproduce it on a mass scale using – yep you guessed it- woodcut prints, with evidence to suggest he not only created huge woodblock carvings but then substituted sections of it, such as a head, for example and created another different print , reusing the materials and saving not only on costs, but on the time it would have taken to manually carve another 11 sheet piece, he was indeed a shrewd business man as well as a clever artist!

Hans Holbein

So, Hans uses this seemingly typical portrait of the Ambassadors, to send a completely different message – Maths, science, Heaven & earth, life and death all rolled into one amazingly detailed picture. The finesse in Holbein’s work is simply amazing, the way he brings everything together to create an image of seemingly typical painting of the era and taking it to an entirely new level, here we see another change in the perception of art and how it is used to  portray the everyday or supernatural world.

Now this, may, or may not have directly influence my chain of thought towards my final piece, without having realised it! Looking now at his display of Heaven, and Earth, Maths and science, Reality and Imagination.

The Limbourg Brothers 1409

Responsible for creating the most expensive book in the world, these 3 brothers, originating from the Netherlands, the brothers brought beauty to the middle ages, creating beautifully detailed illuminated books to the royalty of the time, their painstakingly hand written and illustrated books, kept strictly for regal eyes only. 

Bringing colour, an perspective into impossibly finite imagery, giving us snow and night scenes, imagery that depicts a peace to the world around them that we do not associate with the strife filled middle ages. These artists, kept under the royal protection from the eyes of the world, lay pretty much undiscovered, until the images were reproduced and mass marketed in January 1948, after World War 2, we saw a mass reprint of the 600 page calendar, the Book Of Hours, and the Limbourg brothers astounding imagery took centre stage, still a visual icon of the Middle Ages.

Ahead of their time and with a talent for painting the most stunning illuminated pictures, these brothers changed the face of a whole Era, having died at just 30, the brothers worked in a furious frenzy, producing books for 10 years, with one book alone tallying 380 images , each hand drawn, intricate and without flaw.

The Writing of the Magna Carta

After watching a documentary , somewhere up the page I believe, but I will locate it and add it here later, I appreciate the effort required to reproduce even the paper here! 

Again I am seeing natural materials – Lamb skin, Oak Galls, Goose feathers… all coming together to create a visual communication piece of work.

A mix of several typography scripts mix together to form the Magna Carta, A quicker, simpler script to both read and write was required for this sort of official documentation, Comparing the two copies, one from the curt – done by a clerk at speed to record the necessary information in the fastest time possible. The second, a hard copy, handwritten and produced for the Bishop at Salisbury. So we see the difference in technique, design , culture, How the audience, the target viewer of the work, initiates a chain reaction and produces a different end product.

A scribbled, secretarial account becomes a clear and precise recollection of facts and information, written to reflect the need for it to be read easily. So it is not always enough to simply state facts, sometimes how we state them or display those facts makes a huge difference to the impact we receive, I agree whole heartedly here, I have long been taught that sometimes the written word is the first impression we will make on any one, in an age where reading and writing is everywhere, everyday, used to communicate on and off the great internet. Forms, documentation, diaries, newspapers, advertising, the list is endless.

Where would our world be without the landmarks we see on this page, without the evolution of the written word, without the birth of printing techniques, the constant and beautiful elegance to the visual counterpart, Art itself, without the development of new colours, technology and the impact that heritage, culture and surroundings have on our views of the current world.

Foundations of Graphic Design on –

  • Dhillon, K. 2012, “Graphic Design: History in the Making”, West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 169-171.Link
  • Dhillon, K. 2012, “Graphic Design: History in the Making: Organized by Sara de Bondt and Catherine de Smet St Bride Library, London”, West 86th, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 169-171.Link
  • Triggs, T. 2011, “Graphic Design History: Past, Present, and Future”, Design Issues, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 3-6.Link ” The history of Graphic Design has been scattered amongst the past of Art, Printing, Typography, Photography and Advertising.” -Direct excerpt from Journal taken on 5/5/2016.

After reading through it is clear that many different media come together to create ‘Graphic Design’, with the birth of Computers really creating a huge leap and the instant catapult of graphic design to centre stage, for it to become an art form its in own right. During the Art Nouveaux period, we saw the face of graphic design become more like it is today, with leaps in printing techniques, new perceptions of art, and culture having a massive say in how and what was created. During the war it was used to recruit troops, in direct conflict to its stereotypical advertising of events and productions.

Today we use it in everyday life, business cards, posters, leaflets, advertising media, it is everywhere. My own graphic design skills are novice to intermediate, but I can get by.


Cave art :


Cave art

Lascaux’s Prehistoric Cave Paintings

Please see sketchbook for my notes on this subject.

The website above gives a comprehensive breakdown of the milestones listed in the previous slide. Use the website to glean information to aid further research

Recommended Reading



Betts, R.F. (2004). A History of Popular Culture. Oxford: Routledge.

Dempsey, A. (2010). Styles, Schools and Movements: The Essential Encyclopedic Guide to Modern

Art. 2nd ed. London: Thames and Hudson.

Harrison, C. & Wood P. eds., (2002). Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. 2nd

  1. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Jaeger, A.C. (2010). Image Makers Image Takers. 2nd ed. London: Thames & Hudson.

Perry, G. ed., (2004). Difference and Excess in Contemporary Art: The Visibility of Women’s Practice.

Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.





Creative Review


The British Journal of Photography


Contemporary Magazine




Creative Choices:       

Crafts Council:            

Arts Council:               

Association of Illustrators:

Semiotics for Beginners

Tate Galleries            

Victoria & Albert        

National Gallery          

Saatchi Gallery        


IKON Gallery            



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