The art of title

what is art

For centuries the History of Art has had titles as guides to what the observer had to recognize in a painting, whether it was painted realistically or not. In the Middle Ages titles gave information about what could be learned from what was represented, especially in religious matters.

In the Golden Age, titles became longer and in the 18th century it was Goya who endowed his works with special titles that almost explained a story. A century later, the titles are so far-fetched and grandiloquent that they are used as a means to show the artist’s imagination and form a global whole with the work.

It is said that artists deny their works a title as a legacy of the avant-garde of the early twentieth century. Marshall McLuhan blames cubism for being the trigger for the lack of titles in contemporary works of art for several reasons.

The object represented in the work of art ceased to be the prominent motif and the viewer was left to find the reflections, feelings and messages of the work itself, in a desperate attempt to separate the work of art from all reality and elevate it to a higher level of mysticism, much more sensory and with more meaning than the work itself.

art titles

The work consisted of a Site-Specific installation under the name ‘Untitled’; one of the most innovative exhibitions for local art since it is not only the first one carried out in our city, but it also broke with the pre-established parameters of what art should be.

In this sense, at the time of the presentation, Micaela Cartier emphasized: «The idea is that we ask ourselves where we are going with art, that we ask ourselves what is hung on the walls, what is legitimized. And also, when you go to a museum what you want is that the work of art gives us answers, and sometimes it is more interesting that the work of art gives us questions».

One of the first artistic performances carried out by the Magnone-Lezcano duo was within the framework of March 24, and consisted basically of lighting 30,000 matches and the symbolism that this represented. Then, due to the success of that event, Franco and Cesar took their «30,000» performance to the neighborhood of La Boca, in Buenos Aires.

«Sharing a bit what Cesar said, this is a first step, the entrance door to a more ambitious work, a little bigger, or maybe a little more worked from the head. It is good that we can project this type of issues so that in the future this transcends and does not remain only in an exhibition, in a project that concluded on the day of the exhibition. It should be the trigger not only for us, but also for the spectator, so that it may transcend in some way», said Lezcano.

titles for works of art

On the other hand, since art aims to create a reaction in the person who is before it, the translator is a first receiver and must manage to convey that same feeling to another culture. This is one of the toughest transcreation exercises there is.

After briefly explaining the most interesting aspects of this article, I wanted to say that I agree with Rodriguez on the need to translate the titles of works of art, because if we do not have this information, the receiver is losing information to receive and feel the work in question.

Thus, returning to the example we have seen before, if we did not know that in the painting Freedom Leading the People it is indeed freedom that appears in the foreground, how many possible inaccurate interpretations could the work have?

Sometimes the author is quite terse with the title of his work. La Gioconda comes to mind. This brevity and conciseness is what makes this image special, because we do not know if she is smiling, if she is sad, or if her expression is something else, and the title does not help us to resolve this doubt.

best paintings in history

Starting from the fact that for millennia text and image have been a cozy couple, that the history of art is full of words -words that build a critical or esthetic judgment, a propaedeutic, a manifesto…- and that our experience of the work of art involves a considerable verbal quotient, we can see that the word-art equation can be oriented in many different directions, among them that of the title. Whether it is on the back of the canvas -condemning it to oblivion-, on the visible surface of the work or in its proximity, it has become one more element of it, it has ended up forming a body with it, it has become so omnipresent that its absence becomes almost a mutilation.

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