My notes from the lecture are presented like this,

Whereas my later reflection on those notes are presented like this.

Lecture with Gary Layden. Date of lecture: 2/10/12

Opposing theories of how we gain knowledge of the world (Rationalism + Empiricism)

Rationalism –

  • Can know things independent of senses
  • Can know things instinctively
  • Knowledge gained a priori
  • Mathematics are knowable by intuition & deduction
  • Knowledge from earlier lifetime or god
  • Things we know without learning OR through logic, independent of experience

Empiricism –

  • Can only know things through senses

De Veritate

De Veritate

Rationalism vs Empiricism

Nature vs Nurture

Language, Truth and Logic by Ayer A. J.

Language, Truth and Logic by Ayer A. J.

Neo-classicism vs Romanticism

Neo-classicism – 

  • Interest in the ‘classical’ world as antiques were uncovered in Greece and Rome
  • Create images in Roman/Greek style to achieve figures which were universally perfect
  • Emotions & shapes are very controlled
  • Shapes repeated
  • Things are beautiful because they are
  • Lack of material texture
  • Impractical buildings, designed for perfect & platonic shapes


Example of Neo-classicism: Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 1784 (Musée du Louvre).

Source: http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/neo-classicism.html

Doesn’t look like natural poses or emotions, very controlled. Repeated pillars separating painting into thirds, fabrics and materials don’t have texture

All adds up to a Rationalist approach to Art & Design


William Wordsworth ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ 1804

  • Trying to make you see & feel how he sees & feels

Romanticism –

  • Awareness of the beauty of life
  • Curiosity of the external & spiritual world
  • Paintings about mood & light
  • Fabric & material textures
  • Real rather than controlled emotions
  • Different look at Greek & Roman ideas


Example of Romanticism: Mounted Officer of the Imperial Guard [1812] – Theodore Gericault

Source: http://www.kickarseart.com/art_trends/7_Romanticism.htm

Lighting and colours have created the mood for the image, and it looks very much in motion.

Henry House, Stourhead, Wiltshire, 1741-80, Temple of Apollo

  • Every sense is involved in a visit to Stourhead
  • Has ‘proven’ its beauty, rather than ‘because it is’

AnEmpiricalapproach to art & design.

Ludwig Mies Von der Rohe –

  • Lakeshore Drive apartments, 1949


Source: http://www.archdaily.com/59487/ad-classics-860-880-lake-shore-drive-mies-van-der-rohe/

  • Perlstein hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1945-60


Source: http://www.iit.edu/campus_and_conference_centers/meeting_spaces/academic_space/perlstein_hall.shtml

Very controlled buildings, controlled beauty (Rationalist)

Le Corbusier

  • High court, Chandigarh, 1952

Can’t seem to find an image of this. Most searches bring up the Palace of Assembly (Below), so I think that they may be the same thing.

  • Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh, 1965


Source: http://blogofthecourtier.com/2011/08/25/leaks-crime-and-bad-taste-the-legacy-of-le-corbusier/

^ Interesting article about why Le Corbusier was a bad architect (mostly, poor choice of materials and not being able to build buildings which would last/not fall apart immediately)

  • Open hand monument, Chandigarh, 1972


Source: http://indiantourist-spots.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/chandigarh

Empiricism, sensitive to the functionality of buildings & the feelings of people

Jawaharlal Nehru Speech, 17 March 1959

Jawaharlal Nehru Speech, 17 March 1959

End of notes

I find the idea of Empiricism far more appealing than Rationalism, as I prefer the idea of knowledge through logic and proof rather than inherent knowledge given to us by an unseen deity, although I do wonder about how much of our thoughts are influenced by instinctive behaviour.


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