Honors | Geology of Sculptor's Materials
H205 | 0015 | A. Basu
This section meets with HON H230
H205: Lab meets on Friday
Critical evaluation of properties of rocks and minerals used in
sculptures. Origin and distribution of marble (limestone), quartzite
(sandstone), jade, alabaster, and other common earth-materials.
Critical appraisal of the choice of material by sculptors mostly in
Western Europe; geology of localities famous for sculptures and
studios. Two lectures and one laboratory per week.
Goal: Research in an undefined field, i.e., the application of
geology to aesthetics. Students will learn to formulate a scientific
research project and complete it on time.
Theme: The central theme of this course is the process of discovering
knowledge within the theoretical and empirical constructs of the
science of geology vis a vis objects of art that are beyond rational
explanation. We expect to introduce "a way of thinking" that connects
science (requiring reproducible results) and products of art
(necessarily unique). Yet, an object of art could be viewed as a
product of industry from geological raw materials. We address neither
a controversial question nor a relevant issue; rather, we focus on an
intellectual curiosity about a rational connection between seemingly
unrelated disciplines and entities. How would one go about finding the
connection, if any, and how would one approach the problem in a
scientifically valid way, constitute the core of the course.
Textbooks: None. Instead we will have reading assignments from
several books on reserve in the Geology Library (6th Floor) and in the
Fine Arts Library (2nd Floor). Initial assignment will be: Feynman:
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman (Pages 191-198) and Press Siever:
Understanding Earth (Pages 9-17).
Course Organization: The course will be organized in three thematic
parts, not necessarily in a sequence. One part will consist of
gathering information from textbooks, e.g., properties of minerals and
rocks and the processes that formed them, and, the geological reasons
for the occurrence of these materials at certain places on the earth.
The second part will be the examination of the actual material used by
sculptors in fashioning their products. A third part, and the most
challenging, will be an analysis of the reasons why a certain material
was used for a sculpture. This third part will be carried out first in
groups and then individually as projects.
Students will visit the IU Art Museum regularly to familiarize
themselves with objects of art and consult the Fine Arts Library and
the museum's archives for information on the material used in some of
the sculptures. Attempts will be made to visit the Indianapolis Museum
of Art and possibly the Art Institute of Chicago to examine a variety
of sculptures (subject to funding for "field work").
Examinations and Grading: Grading will be on an "A-F" scale; "P-F"
will not be permitted and an "I" will be allowed only for medical
reasons and extremely extenuating circumstances. Visiting an
out-of-town museum may be required subject to funding.
Two intra-term lecture examinations 10%+15%=25%
Two lab examinations 10%+10%=20%
Oral and written presentations of group projects 5%+20%=25%
Oral and written presentations of individual project 5%+25%=30%