Monday, September 23, 2013

Calligraphy / Typeface as abstraction





Iran, Page of calligraphy, 1700s, ink and gold leaf on paper, 30.5 x 19.7 cm (12 x 7 3/4")
© Brooklyn Museum  (BMA-2464)

Abstraction is defined as the reduction of form to simple (geometric, or organic) or decorative (a word I hate) shapes. I’ve blogged briefly about calligraphy in the past, but I rarely get a chance to look at it for its purely decorative potential.  This piece reminds me of carpet pages from medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from western Europe: extremely decorative!  If anything shows the beautiful aesthetic potential of the element of art LINE, Arabic calligraphy does.

The above example shows how calligraphy can merge with floral patterns to form something akin to a logo. It reminds me of those complicated historiated initials from medieval European manuscripts. This is a capital A, beginning a sentence with “Aspiciens a longe” “I look from afar.” The rest of the text begins below the initial.

.
Flanders, Antiphonary cutting, 1115-1125   © Cleveland Museum of Art  (CM-484)

The importance of writing, which is emphasized throughout the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, led to the importance of calligraphy as an art form. Cursive script dates back to the first centuries of the Muslim era. Unlike European languages, Arabic is written from right to left. In this case, from lower right to upper left.  Cursive scripts were used for secular writings rather than transcriptions of the Qur’an. This page of beautiful calligraphy shows how writing – line – can be a work of art in itself. However, expressions from the Qur’an are expressed in gorgeous calligraphy.

Here’s another gorgeous example of the expressive use of contrasting lines in calligraphy.

Iran, Page of calligraphy, 1800s, ink on cardboard, 11.4 x 18.6 cm (4 1/2 x 7 5/16”)
© Brooklyn Museum (BMA-2465)

Edward Fella (born 1938 US)  He’s History, 1997, lithograph, 43.2 x 28 cm (17 x 11”)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York © 2013 Edward Fella (MOMA-P1206)

This is an interesting comparison using more recent western type in a similar sort of decorative configuration.


 Correlations to Davis programs: Explorations in Art 5 5.25, Explorations in Art 5 5.26,
Explorations in Art 6 5.27, Explorations in Art 6 5.28,   A Global Pursuit 3.4 studio, A Personal Journey 4.2, Exploring Visual Design 1

Studio activity:   Making a decorative pattern of your name. Using a wide-tip maker in black, make a decorative symbol of your first/and/or last name. Practice using a pencil to make sure if geometric or organic line is preferable. After making a bold statement with your name, embellish it with colored pencils or markers making sure to interwine shapes with the bold black lines of your name.

2 comments:

  1. An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was conducting a little
    research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it
    for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.



    Feel free to visit my webpage: lawyer for accident car

    ReplyDelete
  2. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing
    a little homework on this. And he actually
    ordered me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him...

    lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your blog.


    Feel free to surf to my site house air purifier

    ReplyDelete

We appreciate your feedback. Thanks for blogging with us. Your friends at Davis!