Honors | Geology of Sculptors' Material
H205 | 0016 | Basu

9:05A-9:55A    MWF    GY 447 & GY 245
This sections meets with Honors 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), terra cotta, jade, 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.
Research in an undefined field, i.e., the application of geology to
aesthetics. Students will learn to formulate a research project and
complete it on time.
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, a constitute the core of the
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)
Press and Siever: Understanding Earth (Pages 9-17)
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 the Art
Institute of Chicago to examine a variety of sculptures (subject to
funding for "field work").
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
Two intra-term lecture examinations				20%
One lab examination						10%
Oral and written presentations of group projects		15%
Oral and written presentations of individual projects	25%
Final Examination (comprehensive)				30%