Lines Written in Early Spring

Zhang Shuqi, Magnolia and Peacock, 1948

Lines Written in Early Spring
By William Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played;
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Editor's Note: Students were asked to pair a poem and painting with no explanation of the connection.

  • 7:00 AM

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog - Poetry

 Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1819


By Henry Van Dyke

Let me but live my life from year to year, 
With forward face and unreluctant soul; 
Not hurrying to, nor turning from the goal; 
Not mourning for the things that disappear 
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear 
From what the future veils; but with a whole 
And happy heart, that pays its toll 
To Youth and Age, and travels on with cheer.

So let the way wind up the hill or down, 
O'er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy: 
Still seeking what I sought when but a boy, 
New friendship, high adventure, and a crown, 
My heart will keep the courage of the quest, 
And hope the road's last turn will be the best.

Editor's Note: Students were asked to pair a poem and painting with no explanation of the connection.
  • 7:00 AM

Mars Disarmed by Venus

Jacques-Louis David, Mars Disarmed by Venus, 1824

Mars Disarmed by Venus was David's last painting before his untimely death in 1825. The painting depicts Mars, the god of war,  handing over his spear, shield, and sword to Venus, the goddess of love. Behind them are Venus' three graces who are taking his helmet . At the bottom, Cupid is seem unwrapping Mars' sandals with a devilish grin on his face. 

David's color choice was also interesting. The red in the cape of Mars symbolizes war since Mars is the god of war. It also represents love since Venus is the goddess of love. Along the bottom of the canvas, black smokes seems to engulf the painting. The black smoke represents the fact that David knew he was dying and adds the blackness to represent the way death was coming over him. The roses on the head dress Venus is about to place on the head of Mars are white and pink. The pink represents the admiration Venus has for Mars, and the white represents the purity that is associated with Venus. 
  • 7:00 AM

The Intervention of the Sabine Women

Jacques-Louis David, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799


Jacques-Louis David, the most preeminent painter of the Neoclassical Era, painted The Intervention of the Sabine Woman (also know as The Rape of the Sabine Women) after being released from jail in 1799 after the fall of his beloved friend, Robespierre. His wife, visiting him in prison, inspired him to make this, and he decided to align himself with yet another ruler -- Napoleon. 

The work symbollically depicts the bloody conflicts between France and other Europeans after the Reign of Terror; he seemingly presents a critique of violence and instead suggests to bond over a common hatred. The painting, set at Tarpeian Rock where convicts were thrown off, shows women and their children rushing to escape after being kidnapped by a group of soldiers due to their sexuality and the discourse between Sabines and Romans.

Despite the apparent violence in this work, its value derives from David's ability to express underlying messages in his political works. David planned out his harsh and angular lines, sespecially with sthe pears. However, the circular shield stands out in a crowd of lines, shining gold. It represents safety, protection, and selflessness: all of what's desired by the women. The sky speaks to me because although blue and sunny towards the middle while storm clouds pass like a new hopefully more peaceful era arrives. At first glance I thought of this painting as a sacrifice that the women were making for their children. After researching context and over time, I saw themes of violence, peace, motherhood, rape, sexism, and yet hope. The centered woman in pure white reaches out to request peace, much as as David did painting this work.

  • 7:00 AM

Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville

Ingres, Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville, 1845

Painted in 1845, Ingres', Portrait of Comtesse d'Haussonville focuses on the beauty and wealth of women during this time. At first glance, I thought this was a photograph because it looks almost too realistic to be true. The painting was started in the summer of 1842 and finished in the summer of 1845, because the Comtesse was constantly traveling and at one point she had a child. 

Her family comes from a long line of wealthy individuals. In fact, her great-grandfather was the financial director of Louis XVI, and granddaughter to Madame de Stael, a well-known woman through Europe.  

The colors of this are stunning: from the periwinkle dress to the red ribbon in her hair. The dress also helps to bring the focus to her. The painting is mostly anatomically correct, with the exception of her face. It seems to be a little to small compared to her body.

  • 7:00 AM

Oath of the Horatii

Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784

French painter Jacques-Louis David became the most influential artist during 18th century. He successfully set the example of Neoclassicism, a style is heavily influenced by the art and history of ancient Greece and Rome. He was a beast when it came to keeping the geometry influence in his pieces similar to how Romans and Greek dudes used to do.

The Oath of the Horatii blends ancient Rome and French Neoclassical elements, such as strong geometrical figures to define the new style that David had mastered. The piece itself tells the story of two families at war in Rome. The Horattis and the Curattis were having a conflict between three brothers on both sides. The catch is that both families have baes that are related to each-other, so if anyone dies they all suffer, which sucks.

The architecture such as the columns and arches are bold and define the dynamics of the family presented in the piece. The men are rigid and strong like the columns, while the women are curved and dependent on the columns. This is his most popular creation due to the fact that it's straight up Neo Class. 

  • 7:00 AM

Jupiter and Thetis

Jupiter and Thetis, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1811  

Jupiter and Thetis is based on the book of Iliad that begins with those who participated in the Trojan war, Agamemnon and Achilles. In their honor and bravery, Agamemnon, the king of Achaeans, and Achilles, the son of a sea nymph Thetis, both receivesprizes. Agamemnon, must give up his prize (Chryseis) in order to prevent a mass famine; Achilles was forced to give up his war prizes to Agamemnon. Feeling disrespected, Achilles prays to Thetis for his sorrow of losing his honor, and he begs his mother to speak to Zeus. Thetis manages to speak to Zeus and convinces him to do what she wishes.

Ingres portrays contrast between female and male power in the painting. This can be seen through the delicate and curviness of Thetis's body and the broad, muscular body of Zeus. It shows the dominance of male over female. However it's interesting how Thetis easily manipulates Zeus by her erotic hand gestures. She is gently stroking his beard and she's leaning closely onto him as Hera watches them. The triangular composition in the center of the painting slightly suggests triumph of Zeus's power, and halo-like faint black lines can be in the back of Zeus's head. The eagle resembles Zeus representing that the animal sees everything like the God himself. The color of Thetis's dress compliments the red cloth of Zeus and also contrasts the cobalt-blue sky. 
  • 7:00 AM

Odalisque With Slave

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Odalisque With Slave, 1839


Focusing his interest on historical scenes and portraits (mainly of women), Ingres paints Odalisque With Slave based on the little knowledge he actually knows about Middle Eastern culture. Ingres's favorite subject to paint was the odalisque, a female concubine living in an Ottoman household. Here, you see a reclined, exposed slave, listening to a servant's lute music. This is Ingres' Western interpretation of Middle Eastern culture. He never visited the Near East. The painting was composed in Rome. It's the perfect example of the Orientalist subject that many French painters of the Romantic era liked to focus on.

Odalisque With Slave is actually the second composition, painted from a life drawing Ingres made years earlier. The woman's positioning is similar to that of Ingres' other work. It's languid,  as if she's just draped herself on the bed. The popped hip makes the viewer wonder if she's moving her body to the music. Ingres experiments with abstracting the body, introducing more exotic and complex subjects like here with the provocative woman.

Looking towards the back, the room is enclosed. This is the confined life of the three servants. The enclosure represents the shared experience, the shared lifestyle and treatment of the bunch. The room has no exit. Although they share an experience, the odalisque has it better than most. The cup, crown, and hookah could be gifts from her master, presents to pass the time. The piece is colorful, and although Ingres wanted to emphasize contours, he thought lines to be more crucial. The patterns stand out to the eye. I notice the blue tarp underneath the woman and thought of Boucher's signature touch.

This piece is beautiful in composure but lacks meaning. Yes, it can be seen as a historical piece, but Ingres obtuse interpretation makes it not so. I appreciate the brightness and mystery of the subject's, but I don't care for the piece knowing the uneducated background.
  • 7:00 AM

The Nightmare

The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1782

Despite working during the height of the Enlightenment and the so-called "Age of Reason," Swiss-English painter, Henry Fuseli, instead chose to depict darker, irrational forces in this masterpiece. The Nightmare became an icon of Romanticism and a defining image of Gothic horror.  The painting has yielded many interpretations and is seen as a precursor to late nineteenth-century psychoanalytic theories regarding dreams and the unconscious. The father of psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund Freud, studied this painting and kept a print in his office.

The figure that sits atop the woman's chest is often described as an "imp" or an "incubus." This type of malevolent spirit from germanic legend was believes to lie upon people in their sleep or even have sexual intercourse with sleeping women. The presence of the imp may be understood as a mythic representation of the physical experience of chest pressure during sleep paralysis. Although it is tempting to understand the painting's title as a reference to the horse in the background, the term "nightmare" does not refer to the equine figure. Instead, the name refers to the antiquated term "mara," which refers to an evil spirit that tortured humans by suffocating them in their sleep. It is possible that the milky eyed horse is the evil steed of the mischievous incubus.

Fuseli's painting is suggestive, but not explicit, leaving open the possibility that the woman is simply dreaming. This dream has taken form in a frightening and physical manifestation of the demonic figures. However, the violent slash marks on the drapery suggests that she may have succumbed to the terrors and died. The table top on the left side of the painting holds some mysterious bottles. Perhaps they are perfumes or medicinal concoctions. More than likely, the glasses contain laudanum, a narcotic mixture of alcohol and opium that was popular during Fuseli's time.

Through his use of composition and chiaroscuro the strategic contrasting of light and shadow– Fuseli heightens the drama and uncertainty of his scene. Traditionally, chiaroscuro was used to symbolize the literal enlightening power of rational observation, However, Fuseli's work instead reveals the futility of such light to penetrate and explain the darker realms of the unconscious. The single light source coming from the right, the curtains and tassels in the background, and the shorted foreground all contribute to the theatricality of the work. The red drapery falling off the edge of the bed suggests a river of blood as it might be enacted on stage in the operatic performances of the time.

On the back of the canvas, Fuseli painted an unfinished portrait of a woman. This woman is said to be Anna Landolt, the object of Fuseli's unrequited love during his visit to Switzerland in 1779. After her rejection of Fuseli, his depression and anger manifested itself in his subsequent paintings. This painting has thus been interpreted as an expression of the painter's sexual revenge and frustration. Even the imp's facial features have been seen as resembling Fuseli's own.
  • 7:00 AM

Napoleon Crossing the Alps

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1801

The painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David marked a new era with new authority and peace. Before the conquest of Napoleon, France was in series of terrors and uncertainties followed by the French Revolution. The painting described a story of Napoleon leading his troops across Alps in a military campaign against the Austrians, historically known as the Battle of Marengo. On the bottom left corner of the painting, Napoleon's name alongside with Hannibal and Charlemagne, leading figures of the crossing of the Alps, can be seen craved on the stones. Funny thing, Napoleon did not actually lead the troops during this particular campaign. He departed days after the army had marched and later joined his troops.

Commissioned by Charles IV, the King of Spain, the painting took David only four months to complete. In the making of the painting, Napoleon refused to pose for the painting, therefore David asked one of his sons to dress up in the uniform and stand on top of a ladder which explains the youthful physique of the figure. However, Napoleon was not entirely divorced from the process, he commented one time to David, "calm on a fiery horse," which David nicely obeyed. Napoleon was clearly flattered by the painting and ordered three more versions, which now live in Madrid, two in Paris, and one in Milan. The spread of the paintings also reflected Napoleon's triumph on the European conquest. The painting is commonly criticized of being stiff and propaganda rather than art.

After the Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, David, as a member of those who voted for the death of Louis XVI, was sadly exiled. He moved to Brussels and continued his career as an artist.
  • 7:00 AM

Pliny the Younger and His Mother at Misenum, 79 A.D

Angelica Kauffman, Pliny the Younger and His Mother at Misenum, 79 A.D., 1785


At the year of 79 A.D., an ancient port in Italy, Misenum, was buried by the nearby volcano- Vesuvius. The volcano ashes destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. This scene is pictured in the background of Angelica Kauffman's painting. On the right side is the three-primary colored family group: Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger and his mother. Pliny the Younger is the son of Lucius Caecilius Cilo and Plinia Marcella, Pliny the Elder's sister. After Pliny the Younger's father died, he was raised by his mother. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped educate and raise him. After Pliny the Elder died in the Vesuvius eruption, he passed his estate to his nephew, who was later recognized as Pliny the Younger.

Vesuvius was erupting and the sea was churning. It seems to be the end of the world. Pliny the Younger's mother was afraid of the disaster and tried to use her veil to protect herself. She placed her hand on her son to make sure he was still there. Pliny the Younger, the boy in blue, looked pretty pissed. He was studying as he claimed in his letters to Cornelius Tacitus, while Pliny the Elder went to rescue other people in danger. Pliny the Elder asked if his nephew wanted to come, but "[Pliny the Younger] replied that [he] preferred to go on with [his] studies, and as it happened [Pliny the Elder] had himself given [Pliny the Younger] some writing to do." Pliny the Elder later died as a hero saving many people.

Perhaps Kauffman wanted to punish Pliny the Younger so she painted his figure with two left foot and a wrong perspective. There is also another version: Kauffman was lazy and made her less talented husband paint some parts of the painting, and the two left foot of Pliny the Younger was his "masterpiece."

  • 7:00 AM

Theseus and the Minotaur

Antonio Canova, Theseus and the Minotaur, 1783


According to Greek mythology, King Minos attacked Athens periodically out of nothing more than boredom. The King of Athens proposed a deal to ward off attacks for a while. If King Minos would agree to cease his brutal attacks for nine year, Athens would send seven young boys and seven young girls to be fed to King Minos' Minotaur. 

Theseus, son of the King of Athens, implored his father to let him bring Minos' reign of terror to an end. He accompanied the 13 other unlucky youths chosen as Minotaur chow to Minos' island of Crete. Upon his arrival, Princess Ariadne, daughter of Minos, slipped Theseus a note. She offered to help Theseus defeat the Minotaur if he would bring her with him back to Athens. 

Ariadne gave Theseus a sword, for obvious reasons, and a ball of string to tie to the door and trace back to the exit. Theseus entered the labyrinth and heroically defeated the Minotaur. He began his return to Athens with Ariadne. When the group stopped at a small island en route, Ariadne fell asleep and Theseus promptly abandoned her on the island.

In this sculpture, Canova disregards the dramatic battle between Theseus and the Minotaur and instead focuses on the aftermath. The resulting position of both Theseus and the slain Minotaur invoke a sense of homoeroticism not as obvious in Canova's other works. Instead of being intent on defeating his opponent, Theseus reclines, and his torso forms a diagonal with that of the Minotaur. The two figures create a balance and a seemingly even distribution of visual weight.

Canova, who is often considered among the best sculptors in history, followed a simple rule for his work: "sketch with fire, execute with phlegm." Canova rigorously made and revised sketches and prototypes of his sculptures before making his first cut. He allowed assistants to make the rough form of his sculpture, then the artist himself carved the finishing touches.

  • 7:00 AM

Composer Luigi Cherubini and Muse

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Composer Luigi Cherubini and Muse, 1842


Ingres' Composer Luigi Cherubini and Muse epitomizes the neoclassical movement. Cherubini was a composer of the romantic background who wrote mostly sacred music. He composed 29 operas including: 15 in Italian and 14 in French. Cherubini was inspired by other famous composers such as, Ludwig van Beethoven and Christoph Gluck. Ingres chose the composer Luigi Cherubini to showcase in his work, in order to illustrate Ingres’ own goal in his art. Like Ingres aimed to achieve his work, Cherubini sought to follow the tenants of the neoclassical movement, by emulating works of the great composers and reinventing their styles of music through his own interpretation. 

In addition to the main subject of the piece, Ingres includes the muse of lyric poetry, Erato. Erato's hand is placed directly above Cherubini's head, illustrating that the composer draws inspiration from his classical predecessors. Ingres use of rich color greatly enhances the painting. The artist's contrast between black and white draws the eye towards Cherubini at first glance. He uses red and gold in his columns to frame, as well as balance the piece. The colors can also be interpreted as a reflection of the bloodshed caused by the decadent lifestyle of the aristocracy, during the French Revolution.

The harsh lines in the background also allow the viewer to focus on the subjects. While the harp begins a downward diagonal also drawing the audience to the central figure, Cherubini. Composer Luigi Cherubini and Muse describes the neoclassical movement through its subject matter and masterful execution.

  • 7:00 AM

Hercules and Lichas

Antonio Canova, Hercules and Lichas, 1795-1815

The sculpture Hercules and Lichas created by Antonio Canova is an 11-foot tall masterpiece. The sculpture took Canova 20 years to complete but was worked on in increments due to various interruptions. It depicts a scene from the story of Hercules' death. The story begins when Hercules shoots Nessus, a centaur, with a poison arrow. Before Nessus dies, he gives a shirt with his poisoned blood on it to Hercules's wife. Nessus tells her that if she gives the shirt to Hercules she will never have to doubt Hercules's love for her. Lichas, the servant of Hercules takes the shirt to him but when he puts it on he goes mad from the pain and throws Lichas into the ocean.

The entire sculpture makes a triangle pulling the viewer's eyes to the top. Almost all of the limbs of Hercules and Lichas are parallel, which creates a strong sense of motion upwards and to the right. Both Hercules's visually and physically superior size create a large weight to the right side of the sculpture that also draws the eyes in that direction. There is also a half circle starting and Hercules's left foot running through the lion skin, up through Lichas's body and to Hercules's left arm. This half circle encompasses Hercules drawing focus to him.

Since this sculpture is monotone and was not given any color, detail is very important. And it sure has a lot of detail. Even Hercules's veins near the surface are visible. The tiny creases of the shirt Hercules is wearing are even visible.

  • 7:00 AM

Assassination of Jean Paul Marat

Jacques-Louis David, Assassination of Jean Paul Marat, 1793

I picked The Assassination of Marat because the heroic drama captivates me. History remains crucial to understand and analyze this painting. David painted this right after the murder of Marat. Marat was know as one of the fathers of the revolution. He published scientific journals, and he was not afraid to display his opinion. Marat's pen exhibits his journalist involvement. His resentment towards monarchy built his journalism career. Marat also participated in the National Assembly.

On July 13th, Charlotte Corday stabbed Marat. The bloody knife is located in the left corner of the painting. Corday supported the Girondins, which was a moderate Republican party during the French Revolution. Marat took frequent baths because of his skin disease. Marat's death was ironic because right before his murder, he planned the execution of a list of traitors. Marat assumed Corday planned to provide him with the list.

The composition consists of strict and harsh lines. Horizontal lines appear on the bathtub, side table, and ledge. Vertical lines develop on the side of the table, creases in the white cloth, and Marat's arm. David typically paints a neutral background, which highlights the subject. David admires Marat by giving his skin a glowing effect. The painting separates into two halves. Marat and his bath separates from the neutral background.

Marat and David had a personal friendly relationship. Therefore, David mimics paintings of Jesus Christ. Both Marat and Jesus Christ's lifeless arms dangle in paintings. Paintings of Christ and Marat show violent scenes, but Marat and Jesus display peaceful facial expressions as they take their last breath of air. David portrays Marat to exhibit sacrificial features. Marat's face exhibits innocence, and the knife confirms the murder weapon. The cloth around Marat's head resembles a halo. The circular composition from the halo continues to the left edge of the painting shown in the cloth. Furthermore, this painting allude to religion. Overall, David transforms a messy, violent scene into a peaceful and heroic death. However, Marat's character comes into question, for he plans to execute "traitors." Thus, this painting does not accurately portray his behavior.
  • 7:00 AM

Depression Series #5

Beverly McIver, Depression Series #5, 2011

Eryn McKynzie Madison,

I chose to dedicate this painting to you because of how much you mean to me. When I saw that little girl on the painting it made me feel like I was looking at you. I felt like we were back at home together watching movies and eating pizza in the living room floor.

You’ve been my best friend for 14 years now. Every year I see you grow more and more into the person you’ll be for the rest of your life. I know what you’re going through is getting harder and harder by the day, but you’ll get through it. I went through the exact same thing when I was your age and even when I was a bit older, so I completely understand how you’re feeling. Through all the court cases and family drama just know that I love you and I’m here for you whenever for whatever.

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.

  • 7:00 AM

First Station

Barnett Newman, First Station, 1958


I chose to thank you with this painting because I know it’s something that you’d hate at first. I can hear you now, “There is no way that could mean anything. That’s a line. Seriously.” And you’d be right, as always. It is a line. But it’s not just any line, because it’s one of Barnett Newman’s emblematic zip paintings and it happens to be titled, First Station

After years of you teaching me, it’s my turn to teach you a little something. 

Newman created a series of fourteen paintings that represented the Fourteen Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross outline the horrific events of Jesus’ last day on Earth. Historically, artistic depictions of the stations were meant to reanimate the trauma of His crucifixion so that they become newly raw and searingly real regardless of the viewer’s familiarity with art or even the church. 

As we’ve grown together, I’ve seen you step away from your Southern Baptist roots in favor of a faith still traditional in its beliefs yet more modern in its applications. I think that’s exactly what Newman was trying to get at with these paintings. Newman himself said, “We do not need the obsolete props of an outmoded and antiquated legend.” Instead he insisted that modern artists and believers ought to make cathedrals “out of ourselves, out of our own feelings.” 

Newman’s abstract development of the Stations of the Cross recognizes the evils of idolatry. It was never his intention for his viewers to see a literal representation of Christ that could then be worshiped. He encouraged his viewers to draw their own conclusions and make their own emotional connections unhindered by the blatant portrayals of violence or sorrow so often seen in renderings of the crucifixion.

Newman’s work resisted idle religious generalization in favor of the visceral and instinctual. The austerity of Newman’s series accomplishes just that. The violent zips on the canvas reflected the woundedness and brokenness of Jesus’ physical body. His work reminds me of the way we can know something is there without fully being able to describe it. To me, that’s what faith is. That’s what you’ve taught me faith is. 

So. I hope that after that explanation, you understand why I love this painting. I hope you love it too. I encourage you to look at all of these painting in succession. I encourage you to momentarily trade your world of logic and rationality for a world of the vague and emotional. 

Thank you for your faith in Christ and your faith in me. I love you.


Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Anthony of Padua

Kehinde Wiley, Anthony of Padua, 2013



I gift you, Anthony of Padua.

We only met three years ago, but I treat you as if you were my long-lost brother. I have never been able to relate to anyone other than you and the fact that both of our views on any subject matter are the same is freakin' absurd. The advice you gave me during our last talk has given me the strength to deal with the pressures of my life, and I want to thank you for that. I felt like I was going to be slumptfor an eternity if you wouldn't have talked some sense into me. I value your honesty with me, and I have kept your advice in my mind as I transition into a young adult.

I chose to gift you a Kehinde Wiley painting cause we both have a passion for fashion and music with a heavy urban influence. You try your hardest to understand other cultures and that's exactly why I mess with you. The paintings of Kehinde Wiley contain people from the city who remain in elegant poses with vibrant backgrounds filled with flowers. The fancy yet empowering poses remind me of how we both like to showcase our style. We keep it classy but flex at the same time. The paintings remind me exactly of how you photograph your models for Instagram. (Floral Patterns + Designer Clothes = Good Vibes)

It's been a long time since we've hung out,  but I hope that we can stay in touch for as long as possible. I'm thinking about visiting your place this summer before college takes over our lives. Just keep grinding in your art, and I'll kill it in music. We definitely need to collab in the future.
(Tyler x A$AP Rocky Visionary Movement)


  • 7:00 AM

Sunset at Sea

Pierre-Auguste Renoir,  Sunset at Sea, 1879



For Thanksgiving this year, I am going to get you this painting. It’s called Sunset at Sea. I know what you’re thinking, “Why get me a painting, why not clothes, or money, something besides art.” Sit down, relax, and let me explain.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French Impressionist painter in the mid to late 1800s who started with Impressionism and moved to Renaissance in the middle of his career. Sounds boring right? Wrong. Renoir’s eye for beauty was what made him one of the most well-known artists of his time. To find his inspiration, he frequently traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre to study artist during the Rococo period. Artists such as Watteau and Boucher. Most of his paintings are focused on leisure. In the 1860s, Renoir worked alongside Claude Monet, therefore providing essentiality to the development of Impressionistic art.

I chose this painting for you because, in my eyes, you are the perfect representation of beauty and elegance. In addition, it reminds me of the trip we took over the summer for your 18th birthday. We went to the ocean every day, watched the sunset, went crabbing, and almost made it a drama free trip. That trip, was so much fun because I was with you, my sister, who means the world to me and who I would do anything for. Also, it's a picture of the ocean, our favorite place to be. I hope that in the future we can live our dream of owning a beach house and traveling the world together. I love you more than words can say. 

Thank you for all of the fun times we've had, and I hope there are more to come. 

Happy Holidays,

  • 7:00 AM


Nicolás Paris, Astronaut, 2011

Dear 2018 classmates,

At last, the end of our senior year is just around the corner. Where all of us would soon split apart to live the life as an independent beings. We grew up in this school like siblings, caring and supporting each other. We shared generous amount of memes, hatred, laughter, and creating unforgettable memories that will forever last. There will be a feeling of emptiness after the ceremonies, but that  feeling exists so that you can make more new memories with the people you love in the near future.

I wish spent my time more wisely at this moment because as time goes by I feel more emotional to leave this place... I remember telling my 14-year=old self how time should go faster just because school was just a daily burden and a place to kill time. When really I shouldn't have complained and just treasured each moments of spending time with you all.

There will be tears and broken hearts on the last day of our high school year; but like an astronaut, we will float and wonder about what's ahead of us as we unfold our future little by little. I thank you for these precious memories that I will treasure and probably will laugh about before going to bed. I thank you for all the warm and fuzzy feelings of happiness you guys have given me. I thank you for  the grade dramas, chitchat sessions, and just pure confusion. Finally, I thank you all for all the numerous hugs for the past years and making me feel special for being myself. Since we have few more months left together (or more), I hope to build more unforgettable memories with you all.


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, love ya guys.

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Impression, Sunrise

Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise, 1872


Dear Jenny Zhu,

Congratulations, you have passed Barstow's junior year! Now you are here to finish the last year of high school in Barstow with me :)

I remember when you first came to Barstow, I didn't have a positive feeling about you. But time has proved I was wrong. We got together pretty well. Maybe it was because we wanted to get into the same major. I feel thankful about that as you are a good friend to work with.

Here is a picture of Monet's Impression Sunrise painting. It reminds me our hometown - Shanghai. Shanghai used to be a fishing village but now the harbor expanded and became a International Trading Port. I wish you to have a bright future like Shanghai. This painting also gives me a misty feeling which I have now during this application season. I know you have the same feeling as me but I believe everything will go well because I know you have great passion in art. Hope this painting will limit your homesick.

Thank you for pushing me forward when I don't know what to do. Also thank you for coming to Barstow. We all enjoyed being with you.


Linda Xu

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Tigers and Cubs


Dear Daphne,

Most people seem to think that cats hate people but I think you prove them wrong. Sure you have your moments of grumpiness, but who doesn't? I give you the painting Tiger and Cubs because I know deep down inside this is what you think you are. A loving mother that takes care of her children, in this case, me, my sister and parents. You make sure we are clean by licking us. You even protect us by chasing away all the dangerous squirrels and birds in the backyard.

Now, you are a bit of a pain sometimes, meowing whenever you want out, scratching furniture when you want food, and of course, waking us up at 5:00 a.m. to let you out every morning. However, with every annoyance comes something good. You love to be petted and have your chin scratched. You are even (occasionally) happy to see one of your humans when we come home. You will always listen to anyone if they want to complain or just talk about something, although you aren't all that good at giving feedback, but, eh, you're a cat.

Lots of pets,
Miles K

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Knowledge That Books Give

Oscar Romero, Knowledge That Books Give, 1995


Dear Harrison,

I gift you this beautiful mural to begin this holiday season. Your drive and determination to pursue scholarship has always remained a great inspiration to me. From a young age you have instilled in me a desire to learn and follow my passions. This piece, like you, shows an enthusiasm towards learning by illustrating many disciplines of study. Knowledge That Books Give illustrates scientific studies (through the use of a fossils), english and literature (through the scribe unfurling a scroll of text) and historical analysis ( by means of the Egyptian statues).

While I was watching you go through your years of schooling, you have always have been a role model for me. You have shown me the value of a strong work ethic and of dedication. Conversely, you have shown me the importance of being well rounded, that academic success is not everything. I wanted to thank you for your encouraging comments regarding my school work and my pursuit to follow my passions.

Upon first glance at this piece, one is overwhelmed by the deep blue hues in background. I view this as a metaphor for your future endeavors -- that the sky's the limit for you. The open hands over the book are symbols that with knowledge anything can be attained, another value you were instrumental in teaching me.

Thank you again for everything you have done for me during the past several years. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Your loving sister,

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.

  • 7:00 AM

Girls Picking Flowers in a Meadow

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Girls Picking Flowers in a Meadow, 1890


Dear Sophie,

I know you find art museums boring, but I know you will appreciate this piece. Instead of focusing on analyzing politics or religion, this painting aesthetically comforts and satisfies viewers. Girls Picking Flower in a Meadow focuses on the beauty of nature and people. The layers of thin and twirly brushstrokes gives the painting a light-hearted and playful energy. The vibrant colors overwhelm the campus with light. The curvy field outlines the girls and their body movement. Overall, the energy remains vibrant with color yet displays relaxing movments.

Renoir highlights the comfort of human relationships. Renoir's girls resemble our sisterly relationship. The elaborate floral hats remind me of the hats mom made us wear many years ago. The rosy cheeks displays innocent yet vulnerable emotion. The girls in the painting appreciate nature. You resemble Renoir's girls by always finding new ways to explore and absorb the beauty of nature. In Greek mythology, Sophie means wisdom. Your knowledge and love for animals and nature always amazes me.

The peacefulness of the girls display reminds me of our relationship. We never fight, and I always view you as the peace keeper in our family. The girls display youthful innocence. As a 13-year-old, you still need growth and development. Even I lack growth and maturity. I advise you to keep your innocence and optimistic view of the world. I urge you to picture this world with fields full of flowers ready to be picked.

Love you lots,

Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Smoke of a .45

Charles Marion Russell, Smoke of a .45, 1908

Dear Farmboy,

I gift you Smoke of a .45.

Charles Marion Russell is an artist of the Old American West. He loves cowboys and the country. Needless to say, you two would get along.

When I first thought of what painting to pick, I wanted to choose something different than what I've written about so far. I started searching around and landed on Smoke of a .45. I immediately thought of you and your love of Westerns.

What's going on in the painting? Did one cowboy run his horse into the other, resulting in a gunfire showdown? Was the man outside the Palace sleeping with the cowboy's wife? Maybe the Palace man is innocent and the cowboy is just looking to start some trouble. Who knows? The interpretation is up to you. Frankly, I'd go with the third's more exciting.

The painting reminds me of you because you grew up watching this action. You know the cowboys, the accents, and the brawls. You also know every cowboy versus Indian movie there is. I thank you for introducing me to this different world of film. Although I have seen few Westerns, my love of them grows each time we get to watch together. You name the different characters as if they're family friends of yours, and you explain what's going on when I think two characters are the same person. Through these films, I get a peek into your childhood. It's like with each movie, I learn a little more about you.

The piece is chaotic, fun, overwhelming. The point isn't to question the work's brushstrokes or use of lighting. You don't have to look for a meaning. I look at his work and feel an urge to be apart of the excitement, to be that cowboy. In another life, you would be that cowboy.

And so, I gift you this piece. Take it. Enjoy it.


  • 7:00 AM

Portrait of a Woman with a Dog

Portrait of a Woman with a Dog, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1769

To Grammy: 

This Thanksgiving, I gift you Portrait of a Woman with a Dog by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Like this exquisitely-dressed woman and her little white pooch, you and Eliza are the perfect pair. She's your prized possession, and you hold her up, display her for all the world to see, just like the woman in this painting. 

In this painting, both the woman and her dog sport luxurious fabrics in opulent jewel tones. The two figures play off of one another. The woman's collar, striped sleeves, pearl necklaces, and drooping double chins form parallel diagonal lines pointing to her tiny white dog. The dog directs a facial expression somewhere between adoration and disdain towards the woman's face. She shoots the viewer a cheeky "side eye," with a mischievous smile nestled between two rosy cheeks.

Like this little white dog, Eliza is always looking to you for when to eat her dinner scraps, when to ascend onto the dining room table, when to stop her relentless circle running. And while you're always there to hold her, you also look to us, your family. With Eliza by your side, you regale us with a plethora stories, though they often repeat. Your days as a secretary, your "Fluffy the bunny" Sunday dinner, your road trip through Mexico. You've told us the good, the bad, the sad, and the ugly. 

I remember sitting on the edge of your bed rifling through your costume jewelry drawer with you and Eliza. You pulled out a string of pearls just like those in the painting and began to tell me exactly where they came from and offered them to me. So in exchange for everything you've given me, all the stories (no matter how often they're repeated), jewelry and shoes to serve as fodder for my dress-up, and all the love, I give you this painting. 


Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

The Weeping Woman

Pablo Picasso, The Weeping Woman, 1937

Dear Owen,

I admire your curiosity, especially of art. Every time I begin the process of a new painting, you question the techniques and concepts even once completed. You always offer your help whether it be with ideas, painting, or cleaning. You, a seven year old, make me see my own art and others' differently. 

You will not only like this piece for less mature reasons such as the vibrant colors and abnormal depiction, but also for how it makes you feel. You empathize and have an insatiable desire to help others and to keep everyone happy. When I see this picture with you in mind, I see the subject as myself, feeling anxious and upset. I know that I can depend on you to always give me a hug and ask about my day because you genuinely care about my feelings. You have the ability to change any bad day into a better one and manage to end it on a happy note. I felt that you would appreciate this painting because of all of the techniques and abnormality in order to express movement and emotion. You inspire me. 


Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

The Break Up: The Lovers, The Great Wall of China Walk

Marina Abramović, The Break Up: The Lovers, The Great Wall of China Walk, 1988

To Tao

I know it's weird to write a love letter using an example of once great lovers breaking up with each other. I remember looking at her performing art works for the first time with you. I felt something within. I knew at the instance that I would never want that to happen to you and I, but the future is way too long and unpredictable for us to know for sure.

Marina Abramović, the grandmother of performing art, once said that "an artist should avoid falling in love with another artist," and I think that's what happened to Marina and Ulay, her ex. To complete their breakup, the former couples started from the opposite sides of the Great Wall of China wearing complementary colors, red and blue, in an extend of 90 days, and met in the middle to make the final farewell. I keep wondering what they were thinking about when they were walking alone on those walls. What led them to that position? Why did they breakup? After all, it seemed quite peaceful between the two? Did they just decide they were not the one for each other? During the course of walking, did they ever regret the decision of splitting apart? I keep thinking, but I don't think I can ever get near what they were thinking unless I walk those walls.

And Tao, I think we are on our own walls right now, but we are side by side walking together. I'm a senior, and like most of the high school couples, we are about to face the first biggest step of our lives, college. Things will change. Maybe one day one of us will turn around and walk the opposite directions, Even though we might not be able to walk together much longer, for the time left, I wanna make the best out of it. I have so many things planned out for us to do.

By the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanna thank you for everything you've done, especially the late night phone calls when I'm feeling down. Sometimes we just have a special connection where simple eye contact alone is enough for all I have to say. You get me like no one else does. Nothing can express how grateful I am to have you.


Editor's Note: Students were asked to give a painting to someone they cared for. These are their moving responses.
  • 7:00 AM

Diana Leaving Her Bath

Francois Boucher, Diana Leaving Her Bath, 1742

In Diana Leaving Her Bath, Boucher demonstrates his expert manipulation of color, lighting, and form to create an idyllic and erotic portrayal of the innocent goddess, Diana. His subject matter is mythical in nature, but also takes on a sensual connotation. Boucher intentionally contrasts the dark blues and greens around the periphery of the painting with the bright golden tones in the center to emphasis his subject matter. In regards to perspective, the manipulation of color also brings the center of the painting forward, while pushing away elements such as the hunting dogs and forest. The lighting works in conjunction with this structure. The pseudo-natural lighting, possibly a beam of sunlight through the trees, emphasizes Diana and her hand maiden. 

A series of lines run through the painting, creating structure and visual focus. The main linear structure runs from the arms of the assistant, through Diana's legs and up through the infamously reoccurring blue curtain. The painting is very well balanced along this diagonal line and provides an untraditional sense of symmetry. Again, Boucher sticks with his trademark circular composition. In regards to form, the bodies of Diana and her aid are very proportional and anatomically accurate. They are crafted in a delicate and sensual manner that is aided by the texture of the brushstrokes. The soft, feathery, and well blended strokes around the skin add to the ethereal effect of the painting. 

Beyond the formal elements of the painting, Boucher has crafted a very specific narrative. Diana is identified by her signature attributes: the golden crescent settled in her hair and the bow and game lying next to her. However, most prominent here are the traits in fashion under the reign of Louis XV. Her the milky complexion, small full face, and curvaceous figure are emblematic of beauty standards at the time. 

Her virginal state distances her from any ill intent and she reveals her nudity only out of the necessity of her bath. She does so with total frankness and lack of prudery, like a novice to the world of romance. Diana is presented as a ravishingly pretty and demure girl. Many critics describe Diana as having “a voluptuous vacancy on her face” and argue that the lack of animation in her expression increases her charm. Her features reveal nothing of the hard-hearted goddess of the hunt. Though Diana is so desirable, she seems without desires, in a state of innocence that borders on ignorance. She is almost aloof in her routine. 

Boucher is above all interested in the relationship between the body and nature. The intense blue of the drapery is offset by the rosy freshness of skin and the subtle green of the landscape. The treatment of the nude female body is particularly delicate here and the modeling of the body is sensual, yet realistic. Boucher’s depiction of Diana reflects a totally human woman. His idealizing touches are restricted to the refining of the ankles and wrists, the arc of the brows, and the deeper red tinting of the lips. 

The most famous story relating to a bath of Diana is that in which the hunter Actaeon, coming across the bathing goddess, spies on her. Diana in her anger at Actaeon, who once boasted that he was her equal in hunting, causes her to turn the man into a stag. His own hunting hounds devour him. Is this painting a recreation of the pose of a goddess only recently having dealt with an affront to her glory? A goddess who calmly returns to her routine as her servants serve and her subjects reel in terror? 

  • 7:00 AM

Marriage à-la-mode: The Tête à Tête

William Hogarth, Marriage à-la-mode: The Tête à Tête, 1743

William Hogarth's satirical artwork criticizing the 18th century's societal and political flaws became a precursor to today's political cartoons. Magazines like The New Yorker take the same stance of wry humor that Hogarth used to critique social practices and events in his time.

Among Hogarth's most famous works is his six-painting series entitled Marriage à-la-mode. The chronological series follows a marriage based on economic gain rather than love. Hogarth illustrates the scandal and tragedy that can result from this skewed concept of matrimony.

A tête à tête is a private conversation or occurence between two people. However, this scene hardly seems private. The couple sits exposed, with a glowing light illuminating their debauchery in all its glory. Two figures detract from the privacy of this moment as well. On the left, the couple's accountant stands, bills in hand, behind a toppled chair with a face that portrays equal parts shock, disgust, and resignation. A startled butler stands further back, jaw-dropped.

The  saints and cupids hanging on the walls seem to look down judgmentally at the couple, and with good reason. The young woman, reclined on a chair with her bodice noticeably loosened, boasts a smug expression. She holds a mirror in her outstretched hand, perhaps signaling at her lover. Though this lover does not appear in the painting, his implied existence detracts from the intimacy of this "husband-wife" scene. The husband, meanwhile, also boasts several signs of infidelity. A large black syphilis patch on his neck contrasts with his pale skin. The young man also displays a slightly more insidious sign of debauchery dangling from his pocket. A small dog sniffs the woman's bonnet that the husband seems to have hastily stowed in his pocket to hide any evidence of his extramarital activities.

Hogarth's work is filled with snarky and subtle commentary on "modern marriage." He suggests that a marriage based on financial gain cannot lead to a pure, happy life. Alongside several portraits of saints, a mostly covered canvas displays a single nude foot. This suggestion of a distasteful nude portrait, added to the array of tacky figurines on the mantle, imply that the marriage as a whole may be in bad taste and doomed. Additionally, a broken sword in the bottom right corner suggests impotence. Hogarth's inclusion of hidden symbols and details helps his series of moral paintings to convey their purpose.
  • 7:00 AM

The Love Letter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Lover Letter, 1770


The Love Letter, by Jean-Honore Fragonard, was painted in 1770, is oil on canvas, it's 2 feet x 1 foot, and is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This piece is very aesthetically pleasing in that the use of all of the different shades of gold and brown helps to bring the focus on the woman in the center. In addition, the flowers, ribbon, and dress also help to bring the piece together. The blue dress she wears is one of the main components of the painting because all of the ruffles, highlights, and shadows make it as realistic as possible. There are several aspects of this painting that help bring it together. This includes line(s), lighting, and subject matter.

With respect to the lines and hidden shapes in the painting, there are several curves, diagonals, triangles, and squares. At first glance, it is hard to see. However, if you take the time to really study and admire the work you'll be able to see the curvature with the drapes, windows, and desk. The harsh straight lines are on the chair, the top of the desk, and the bottom half of the chair.  Within the woman alone there are triangles, diagonal lines, and a circle. All of this gives you a different way to view this rather than just seeing a painting.

The lighting in this is another key component. As you can see, the upper half is significantly darker than the lower half. This is for two reasons. One, to help keep the focus and importance on the woman, by illuminating her face, the letter, and the flowers. Two, because of the position and placement of the window.

Next, the subject matter. The woman in the painting is noticeably wealthy, literate, and classy. We can see her wealth through the dress and bonnet, and her literacy through the letter and desk. It seems as though she has just received a letter from a letter and is preparing to write back. In addition, note the smirk on her face as if the letter has something inappropriate written in it or she is writing something inappropriate back.
  • 7:00 AM

The Lover Crowned

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Lover Crowned, 1771-72


In The Progress of Love series, Fragonard painted this piece The Lover Crowned. In this piece, the light comes from the left bottom corner and directly illuminates the lovers, who are the main focus in this painting. The woman is crowning the young man with a garland. However, the woman is looking away when crowning, which makes the viewers think she was not willing to do so. Take a closer look and viewers can find she is smiling. The woman's left hand is holding the man's hand. Their hands are either facing up or down which symbolize receiving and giving in relationship. The man shows his love as he is looking at the woman instead of looking up at the garland. It is also shown as he was sitting on the floor begging the woman while the woman is sitting on the bench tricking him.

In the background, the trees are doing the same pose as the lovers. The big tree in the middle is like the woman crowning the weak tree on the left. Before the trees, there is an angel statue looking down at the lovers, wishing them good luck. On the right bottom corner of the painting, an artist is sketching the lovers on his sketch book. By lining up the lovers, viewers can see the angel statue and the artist are symmetrical. The painter used complementary colors such as green and red to highlight the red in the painting which emphasize the theme love. Also, elements like flowers, music, and angel all symbolize the beauty of love in this painting. The hue in this painting is thick but because of the use of nature and warm light in this painting makes the painting looks comfortable.
  • 7:00 PM

The Fountain of Love

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Fountain of Love, 1785

Painted in 1785 by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Fountain of Love depicts a young pair of lovers leaning toward a fountain preparing to drink water from it. The water will make the young couple fall in love. The "Fountain of Love" was a popular theme in Rococo era paintings and art. Fragonard's paintings often had sexual undertones and played with the feeling of falling in love. Generally, Fragonard painted portraits of wealthy noble people, but this particuarly painting was right before the French Revolution and political tensions were high.

There are two versions of The Fountain of Love, the one pictured above was the original. Fragonard also painted a second, more refined version later the same year. This version actually has two layers, the first layer has the man looking at the woman. Fragonard changed his mind and repainted the two lovers heads giving an interesting look at his artistic process.

Despite the painting being about love, the colors used are quite dark and dull, which is in contrast since most of Fragonard's paintings are quite colorful. The only light is on the lovers and cupids, which brings the focus to them and also creates a contrast between love and hate. The lover's bodies create strong parallel lines giving them swift movement to the left. A line starting at the cupids in the bottom left and running through the woman's right arm gives the painting visual balance.
  • 7:00 AM