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Chapter 2 – Developing Visual Literacy
Multiple Choice Questions
1. In The Treason of Images, the artist combines awareness, creativity, and communication by
encouraging the viewer to look closely at an object. The artist is:
a) Lorna Simpson.
b) Duane Michaels.
c) René Magritte.
d) John Ahearn.
2. Jan van Eyck’s Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife Giovanna Cenami depicts many objects that
have symbolic meaning. The use or study of these symbols is called:
3. While in prison, Howling Wolf made many drawings called
b) ledger drawings.
c) office drawings.
d) calculated drawings.
4. Bierstadt’s picturesque view of the Rocky Mountains combines a representation of an
American vista with his:
a) European experience.
b) World War I experience.
c) Polynesian heritage.
d) Alaskan expeditions.
5. Beatriz Milhazes’ Carambola is based on ___________.
a) the shapes, forms, and bright colors of Brazilian culture
b) the art of the ancient Maya culture
c) the realistic influences of traditional Latin art
d) a calm, peaceful interpretation of color
6. When a work of art such as Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematist Painting, Black Rectangle, Blue
Triangle (p. 29) shows no reference to the natural world of images, it is usually called:
7. The stained-glass window from Chartres Cathedral is an excellent example of the use of
a) abstract art.
c) non-objective art.
8. Which of these statements best defines visual literacy?
a) the ability to construct an artificial 3-d environment
b) the ability to recognize, understand, and communicate the meaning of visual images
c) the ability to envision a theoretical concept
d) the ability to write about art
9. Rene Magritte’s The Treason of Images asks us to consider__________.
a) that images and words refer to things that we see, but are not the things themselves
b) that there is a direct, one-to-one relationship between objects and the words we use to
c) that we are often fooled by what we see, a la “trompe l’loeil” paintings
d) that images and words not only refer to things that we see, but are also the things
10. The Triumphal Entry page from the Shahnamah manuscript, a sacred text, exemplifies the
preference of word over image in
a) Chinese art.
b) Japanese art.
c) Korean art.
d) Islamic art.
11. The symbolic hand gestures that refer to specific states of mind or events in the life of
Buddha are called
12. The terms naturalistic or realistic art are sometimes used to describe
a) representational art.
b) abstract art.
c) nonrepresentational art.
d) folk art.
13. Lorna Simpson’s series, The Park, includes both images and printed words. The text
contributes to the prints in a way that makes the viewer more active in the work. What does the
a) An artist
b) The subject of the work
c) The form of the work
d) A voyeur
14. Why are images of humans traditionally banned in Islamic art?
a) Humans are thought to be a symbol of filth.
b) Human images are not banned in Islamic art.
c) Depicting a human is thought to be competing with the “creator.”
d) Calligraphy is more challenging.
15. In a work of art, “content” refers to
a) what the work expresses or means.
b) the culture that produced it.
c) its style.
d) the way it looks.
16. What kind of reading does Kenneth Clark illustrate in his assessment that an ancient Greek
statue represents a “higher state of civilization” than a West African mask?
17. What is the chief form of Islamic art?
a) abstractions of animals
b) figurative representation
d) conceptual art
18. What is the subject matter of Shirin Neshat’s Rebellious Silence?
a) the prominent place of women within every aspect of Iranian culture
b) it is difficult to say from a Western perspective, because of lack of understanding of
language and culture, but it is probably feminist in nature
c) it reflects the artist’s comfort with the roles of women in Iranian society
d) it depicts a Muslim woman in a black chador, a rifle dividing, and Farsi text inscribed
over her face
19. Naturalism is a brand of representation in which the artist
a) abstracts what he/she is depicting, to varying degrees.
b) retains realistic elements but presents the world from a personal or subjective point of
c) paints exactly, faithfully what she sees.
d) works with ideas instead of images, creating purely non-objective artwork.
20. When works of art like Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematist painting, Black Rectangle, Blue
Triangle, show no reference to the concrete world, it is usually called
21. What is the content of Albert Bierstadt’s Rocky Mountains?
a) It is a sublime representation of the mountain range that can be seen to encompass the
spirit and character of the American West
b) It is an imaginative interpretation of the landscape of the American East
c) It combines a representational depiction of a mountain meadow with a lake, waterfall, and
Native American encampment with a barely disguised rendering of the Matterhorn in the
d) It is a realistic depiction of the mountain range without embellishment or artistic license.
22. The representation of what subject has consistently aroused controversy throughout the
history of the Western world?
a) the human figure
b) the Christian god
c) political leaders
d) Roman ideals
Short Answer and Essay Questions
23. What is the relationship between form and content?
24. What subject matter is the artist Lorna Simpson most noted for?
25. Define subject matter.
26. What is the content of Jean-Michel Basiquiat’s painting Charles the First?
27. What term is used when someone imposes his or her own meanings and prejudices onto the
art of another culture?
28. What is the content of Malevich’s painting, Black Rectangle, Blue Triangle?
29. In Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini “wedding” portrait, the dog symbolizes what?
30. The habitual or expected ways (of seeing, for instance) of a given culture are known as what?
31. What is the chief form of art in Islamic cultures?
32. Discuss the disadvantages of judging artworks according to our own cultural standards.
33. Using René Magritte’s Treason of Images, discuss how representational paintings can be
more abstract than abstract paintings.
34. Compare and contrast John Taylor’s and Howling Wolf’s Treaty Signing at Medicine Lodge
Creek. In your discussion, use the terms form, content, representational, abstract, ledger art,
convention, and iconography.