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Iconography and symbology in art analysis

The image itself is a form of communication on its own. Since the beginning of the Ages, in times of persecution or expansion, Mankind has used signs and symbols to communicate a specific message, from the simplest to the most complex.

In our daily lives, we have several examples: a red traffic light means "Stop"; we see a bottle with a black and yellow square or triangle with the flame in the centre and we know that the content of that bottle is flammable; a crossed triangle on the label of a piece of clothing tells us not to use bleach...

Likewise, in the context of Art History and Archaeology, the careful description and interpretation of artistic objects allows us to see something more than what is immediately presented. For instance, an image of a young man with a lily in hand approaching a praying girl ceases to be just that, and becomes a representation of the Annunciation, where the Archangel Gabriel presents himself to Mary, stating that she is pregnant with the Saviour. 

Online courses Analysing Art and Iconography of Saints aim to provide the methods of analysis and query tools required for reading the symbols and more frequent iconographic representations in the history of Western art.

ART ANALYSIS

Distinguishing concepts of interpretation and description when reading a work of art.

Identifying and describing characters and scenarios in an objective and clear way.

 Distinguishing objective reading of subjective reading.

Identifying and recognising the importance of literary and graphic sources for the interpretation of works of art.

Identifying the necessary elements for the description and interpretation of a work of art, according to its nature (painting, sculpture or architecture).

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 ICONOGRAPHY OF SAINTS

At the end of this course, the participants will be able to apply methods of iconographic analysis and recognise symbols and attributes of the Saints, through practical exercises and other resources for future use.

• Recognise and distinguish the concepts of iconography and iconology.

• Identify and recognise characters and scenarios, using the iconographic analysis method.

• Identify literary and graphic sources important to the iconographic reading.

• Before a practical case, apply the iconographic method in all its levels of reading

• Recognise and contextualise characters and episodes of Christian hagiography.

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CONSERVATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY

From the Online Course:

Preventive Conservation of Photography

 

Mankind has produced images from the time of the painted caves to our days. The invention of photography allowed for the creation of more realistic and objective images, and all in fractions of seconds.

Used as a means of expression and communication of personal and social nature, photography has ranged between hobby and profession. Regardless of the context of its production, it touches our lives in various forms, promoting emotions and sensations and registering unique historical and social moments.

 

What is a photography ?

The word photography is of Greek origin, meaning “to draw with light” (“photos”: light; “graphein”: to draw). So, as its name indicates, photography is a technical process by which an image is fixed to a particular support (usually paper), using light (generally), or other form of radiant energy (such as X-rays). For this image to appear, a photosensitive emulsion (such as albumen or gelatine, with fine insoluble light-sensitive crystals used as recording elements like silver halides) is used on the surface of the paper. Once the surface is exposed to light, an image is created. 

 

                                 How a camera works

 

The photographic process involves, generally, the following key elements:

the support surface: the structure that gives consistency to the photographic object, such as glass, paper, plastic, etc.;

the binder: the transparent material (gelatine, albumen or collodion) that agglutinates and fixes the image to its support elements. It may or may not exist; 

the photosensitive elements: what gives shape, contrast and colours that make up the image (silver, dyes, pigment, platinum, iron salts,...). These are normally contained within the binder, forming a thin coat over the support surface (though in some processes they are directly imbedded in the paper). 

To these elements we can also add:

secondary supports: like paper or cardboard that help to reinforce the primary support;

protective layers (or of other nature): that isolate or even shape the surface of the print (like barite, titanium dioxide, gelatine or polyethylene);

dyes or pigments (some albumen prints, for example, are coloured by hand).

 

Due to their diversity and structural complexity, as well as their chemical composition, photographs become very unstable and are sensitive to various environmental factors. So there should be proper preparation and care with the collection(s). 

 

Learn more in the course:

 

Preventive Conservation of Photography

ANALYSING ART

Reading / Interpreting

«The work makes publicly known something other than itself, it manifests something other: it is an allegory. In the artwork something other is brought into conjunction with the thing that is made. (…) The work is a symbol. » (Heidegger in The Origin of the Work of Art):

Thus, and following the reasoning of Heidegger, it is necessary to ‘read’ the work of art, unfold the thought of the artist at the time of its production. This reading will remove the simple ‘thing’ character (das Dinghaft, or «the thingness of the thing», according to Heidegger) to turn it into something more.

The work is wood, stone, canvas,…; but not only. It has this ‘thingness’, but it is still something else because there is a meaning intrinsically linked to the ‘thing’; a meaning that was given by the artist when he worked the wood, carved the stone or painted the canvas.

 

Thus, we must seek the true essence reigning in the production of the work of art, analysing every detail of its production with care and «ask the work what it is and how it is» (Heidegger).

 

Elements of formal analysis

When analysing a work of art, we must keep in mind that the visual analysis depends on the historical information to complete the process of understanding the painting, sculpture or architectural work. The formal analysis will always depend upon the historical analysis and vice versa, as there is reciprocity in information and a constant interrelationship, thus creating a cycle.  

Having always as a base the historical data that can be collected through parallel research, we can list, then the elements of visual analysis that assist us in the formal analysis process. Note that the elements here exposed are examples that should be tailored to the specific needs of each piece in question:  Identification;  Technical data; Theme;  Function; Structure (basic and essential considerations); Composition.

 

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Contents: iconography and symbolism

The analysis of the content is directly related to an attributed symbolism and therefore it requires a descriptive study of the theme presented and how its elements interrelate. The analysis of the symbolism must classify the representations and describe them using an iconographic study and even associating them with textual sources that contextualize the image created or the artist's intention.

Thus, when we identify a theme and so that its description is as accurate and detailed as possible, we use literary and historiographical sources that explain the representation we have before us, elucidating the historical, cultural, social or religious context.

This research may have to be more or less thorough, depending on the complexity or the rarity of the representation. Some characters or scenes will be more easily identified and described than others.

 

Learn more in the link below:

ONLINE COURSE ANALYSING ART

Icon, Iconography and Iconology

From the beginning of Time, the use of symbolic systems has been naturally reflected in Mankind’s daily life. Signs, symbols and icons of all kinds have served as one of the most effective forms of communication. We just have to look around in our daily lives to find examples, such as traffic signs, colour systems for distributing tasks or allegories like Lady Justice, identifying a particular building as the Courthouse.

In an artistic context, the use of one or more symbols (which may be more or less ambiguous) also serves the purpose of transmitting a given message. 

 

What is an Icon?

As a symbol, an icon represents or suggests something, or, in other words, it's what we use to convey our particular message, within the system of ideas in which we operate. Laundry symbols are a good example. A certain icon will therefore replace the written message, passing it effectively through a pictorial representation.

 

icono

 

The Panofsky method

In 1939, Panofsky presents his iconological method of analysis of art. For him, the analysis could not merely depend upon literary sources, which after all, are not always available. He goes on to investigate the way in which, according to the different historical conditions to which the artist is subjected, themes, subjects or facts are chosen to be represented. I.e., he defends the study of meanings.

 

The primary level should correspond to the most basic level of understanding, i.e. the natural perception of the work. 

The second level of understanding requires a certain iconographic knowledge, to the extent that this is the interpretation of the message and its meaning. 

For the third and final level of interpretation, the observer not only receives and interprets the message contained within the representation, but also seeks to interpret it under an historical point of view, looking for social and cultural interrelations that might broaden the meaning.

This level sees the art not only as isolated act, but as the product of historical, social and cultural conditions conducive to its creation. So, the third level of knowledge requires a deeper knowledge and understanding, at a technical, historical and cultural level, in order to answer the last question: «what does it mean?».

 

Get to know this and so much more through our online courses:


 

 

 




How does online learning work?

You will access your online course through an elearning platform. Once you enter into your course, you will have access to discussion forums, videos, text, lessons.

You have access to all the contents 24 hours a day.

PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION

WHAT IS PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION?

 

«Better safe, than sorry». Prevention is the best way to avoid getting the objects into risky situations. In this early part of the course we will see how to prevent the degradation of cultural goods. 

vantagens

 

Go to PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION online course  

 

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Online Course. Treasures of Architecture I: from Egypt to Byzantium

Treasures of Architecture | From Egypt to Byzantium

 

Following a chronological order, the course will begin with the historical, artistic and cultural explanation of the base style of construction, followed by the analysis of the monument, its history and architect. This way the participant will be provided with the necessary contents to understand the building as well as its architectural surroundings.


 

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ART CONSERVATION

Art Conservation

 

At the end of this course, the participants will be able to apply methods of preventive conservation. In order to protect our heritage and prevent its destruction.

  • The main notions of preventive conservation internationally accepted
  • The methods that must be used before a variety of situations.
  • The effects of the agents of deterioration on the various materials
  • Methodology for risk assessment

 

       

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CONSERVATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY

In the end of this course you will:

  • Identify and recognise the structure of a photograph (within its different types).
  • Identify and recognise the most commonly found types of photographs.
  • Recognise the main factors of common deterioration of photography.
  • Apply a program destined to control environment and pest infestations.
  • Recognise the practice of handling procedures and identify the more suitable storage systems for each type of photograph.
  • Develop and maintain a preservation program for the photographic collection, suited to the types of photographs to which it is destined. 

 

 

    

 

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ICONOGRAPHY. Online Course

The image itself is a form of communication on its own. Since the beginning of the Ages, in times of persecution or expansion, Mankind has used signs and symbols to communicate a specific message, from the simplest to the most complex.

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Program:

PART 1 - First Notions

1. First notions: Icon, Iconography and Iconology       

2. The evolution and definition of the Iconography as an area of stud

3. The Panofsky method

 

PART 2 - Christian Iconography

1 - Art and Christianity – the image as a vehicle for a message

2 - Graphic and written sources 

3 - The first symbols of Christianity

 

PART 3 - Iconography of the Saints

1. Saints and martyrs: General aspects

2. Clerical vestments

3. Most veneered Saints: symbols and attributes


PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION

Prevention practices avoid the deterioration of works of art and the high costs of recovery.This course provides a set of information and simple methods that alert us to minimize the degradation of heritage. At the end, everyone should be able to identify and anticipate risk situations and develop actions to reduce or control the damage that may lead to the degradation of cultural property.

 

PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION

HERITAGE - TOURISM RESOURCE

The Heritage is a major tourist resource, as long as we developed appropriate techniques of interpretation, making it visible and showing it. At the end of this course everyone will be able to assign value to disclose a particular heritage, using the most appropriate technique and turn it into a tourist resource to the service of cultural tourism.

 

MURAL PAINTING

The Centro Luso Italiano de Conservação e Restauro has recently held the work of Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting in the Convento das Bernardas - Lisbon.

 

See Portfolio

OPPORTUNITY FAIR - MAIA 2013

The Centro Luso Italiano de Conservação e Restauro attended the Opportunity Fair held in Maia city in May 16, 17 and 18, 2013.

SALLONE DELL'ARTE E DEL RESTAURO OF FLORENÇA

The CENTRO LUSO ITALIANO DE CONSERVAÇÃO E RESTAURO, was another year in the SALONE DELL’ARTE E DEL RESTAURO of Florença which took place from November 8 to 11. In this 3rd edition the fair was attended by several exhibitors which presented laboratories for practical demonstrations of products and techniques and a teaching and learning area. The event aimed for sharing know-how, training and dissemination of services, promoting and safeguarding of cultural property is already a benchmark in our cultural heritage.

CREATIVE TOURISM - GUIMARÃES

The Centro Luso Italiano de Conservação e Restauro in partnership with the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Guimarães started on July 13, cycle of a  ARTISTIC EXPERIENCES, the first of which dedicated to the technique of fresco. The cloister of the Old Hospital offered participants a privileged place to create their own work inspired by the paintings of the Sacristy

PRESENCE IN AR & PA

The Centro Luso Italiano de Conservação e Restauro attended the AR & PA - International Art and Heritage Restoration in Valladolid. Our stand had a large influx of visitors from diverse backgrounds and had the opportunity to make the international presentation of our new services

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Brief

Iconography and symbology in art analysis
The iconographic analysis is an important tool for professionals who are engaged in activities related to History and Art History, Museography, Conservation and Restoration, Tourism professionals
Read [+]
CONSERVATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY
What is a photography ?
Read [+]
ANALYSING ART
Reading a work of art is as important as its production. It allows us to interpret and understand the works in order to reach the messages contained in them.
Read [+]
Icon, Iconography and Iconology
The notions of Icon, Iconography and Iconology.
Read [+]
How does online learning work?
Online Courses are always open and ready for you to start at any time.
Read [+]
PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION
What advantages are there in adopting a preventive conservation policy?
Read [+]
Online Course. Treasures of Architecture I: from Egypt to Byzantium
With this course, we will show you how to recognise architectural styles, as well as the history, culture and art of the best architectural and touristic examples in the world
Read [+]
ART CONSERVATION
At the end of this course, the participants will be able to apply methods of preventive conservation. In order to protect our heritage and prevent its destruction
Read [+]
CONSERVATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Do you have a large collection of photographs and don't know how to keep track of everything? You can learn that and more with our Preventive Conservation of Photography course.
Read [+]
ICONOGRAPHY. Online Course
Intended for professionals who are engaged in activities related to History and Art History, Museography, Conservation and Restoration, Tourism professionals and all interested in the subject.
Read [+]
PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION
Preventive conservation course - concepts and methods
Read [+]
HERITAGE - TOURISM RESOURCE
The course of Heritage Interpretation - Aplication Techniques is starting
Read [+]
MURAL PAINTING
Work of Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting
Read [+]
OPPORTUNITY FAIR - MAIA 2013
Opportunity Fair - May 16, 17 and 18, 2013
Read [+]
CREATIVE TOURISM EXPERIENCES
Discover our creative tourism activities
Read [+]
SALLONE DELL'ARTE E DEL RESTAURO OF FLORENÇA
The CENTRO LUSO ITALIANO DE CONSERVAÇÃO E RESTAURO, was another year in the SALONE DELL’ARTE E DEL RESTAURO of Florença
Read [+]
CREATIVE TOURISM - GUIMARÃES
Guimarães - European Capital of Culture 2012 - CREATIVE TOURISM
Read [+]
PRESENCE IN AR & PA
The Centro Luso Italiano de Conservação e Restauro attended the AR & PA - International Art and Heritage Restoration in Valladolid.
Read [+]
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