We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A friend who is aware of my interest in art and art history mentioned to me the other day that he has always regretted not having taken at least an intro art history course in college. (Where I went to college, intro Art History and Intro Music History were required courses. Good, but very demanding and well beyond cocktail party art conversation.)
I told him that this regret was easily remedied, at the cost of some time but for very little money. Here's what I suggested:
For starters, these two from Great Courses (the old Teaching Company)
Note Giotto's use of blue for the sky. This was a major innovation and initiation to the Renaissance (rebirth), as previous Medieval artists used gold for sky , as if to suggest that the heavens are opaque to human vision. Here, Giotto introduces the beginning of perspective (without the vanishing point), by giving sky its apparent color and the possibility of looking in to the heavens.
When I lived and studied in London, I took two Art History courses (what better place to do it, aside from perhaps Paris). I turned out to be a useful student because I was educated in a Catholic High School and had a love of Greek and Roman Mythology. So all our trips to the Tate, the National and various other galleries wound up involving my explaining the subject matter.
This made the subject very approachable and I eventually did my two papers on Constable and Turner.....neither of whom did much religious or mythological work at all (that I know of).
I love spending time in museums. I've tried to instill the same love in my boys, but they are like I was as a teen - "Aw Dad...another museum?"
If I recall my Art History class correctly - Giotto is actually very early, rediscovering the vestiges of Greco-Roman shading that survived in stylized form in medieval art. This sculptural shading creates "local perspective" - each figure appears three dimensional, but the overall scene is still an unconvincing, compressed space. Masaccio and others follow on Giotto and start producing the mathematically correct "theater set" spaces we associate with the Renaissance.