Beyond Ballet: El Jaleo

John Singer-Sargent, El Jaleo, 1882
Beyond Ballet

When you hear the words dance and painting in the same sentence, it is easy to think of possibly the most famous painting of dancers, The Ballet Class by Edgar Degas. The thing I dislike about this painting is the stiffness of the dancers. When I think of dancing, I think of movement, music, and drama. The Ballet Class lacks movement. The girls stand around listening to their teacher, but the structure of the class sucks the creativity and freedom of movement out of the girls. When I hear dance and painting I immediately am taken to Spain, where John Singer-Sargent was inspired by women performing the jaleo de jerez dance while men play on guitars in the background. I first saw this painting last year when the Modern Art History class read Strapless by Deborah Davis. This painting was felt so modern compared to Sargent’s French works, and I was taken aback by the drama and movement he captured in the painting. This painting quickly became a favorite of mine and inspired my final project for this year.

I wanted to write about dance, because I think it is amazing how artists can capture a singular moment in time. More so the best works which exhibit movement and drama while encouraging viewers to move too. El Jaleo is the best example of this type of art, which is why I wanted it to be the first piece in my collection, symbolizing everything I love about art and dance.

In terms of movement, Sargent captures woman in El Jaleo in an unnatural position, in mid motion, switching from one dance move to the next, telling a story with her body. The various positions of the females in the bottom right and the band members add variation to the painting. The main dancer’s black top contrasts with her bright white skirt, just as the band’s black suits pop on the light-colored walls. The clashing of black and white adds to the drama of the work. Additionally, Sargent paints a spotlight being shown on the flamenco dancer, transforming the Spanish pub into a stage. The intense shadows only add movement to this dramatic and captivating painting.

Sargent’s ability to take viewers into a different time period and culture, while still feeling familiar, as dance is an activity known to all, proves that El Jaleo is a timeless piece of art that captures everything people love about art and dance.
  • 7:00 AM

Reflections from Locker #14: The South Ledges, Appledore

Hassam, The South Ledges, Appledore, 1913 
Reflections from Locker #14

We’ve come to the end. Our final blog, well at least for me. I’ve spent a lot time thinking about what I would say in this last post, and how I could accurately depict how I feel about saying goodbye. Throughout this series we’ve rediscovered how time does not alter emotion. I feel in one respect I’ve said all I can for now and that my time to go has come, to leave this chapter of my life behind. 

Now this not to say, I won’t return, but for the moment I’ll leave you with my last piece of advice or more accurately the knowledge I have acquired. We try to categorize art into schools and periods, because of the uncertainty of the world around us. If we can call Caravaggio a Baroque artist or De Hooch a Dutch master we somehow bring order to the universe. Although sometimes we have to face the chaos, understand that life happens.

Recently, I received some pretty devastating news, but I know that things will be okay. Our challenges do not define our experiences, our reactions to those difficulties do. For my final painting, I chose Childe Hassam’s The South Ledges, Appledore. Now if you can’t tell by looking at it, Hassam did not paint it during the Renaissance, 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries. He painted this in 1913. Although if I’ve learned one thing you cannot limit the boundaries of your experience with artificial dates. If something speaks to you, you should not have to rationalize within time. Furthermore I realize the name provides little insight into the power of the work, but hear me out. 

When someone gives you bad news, they attempt to brace you, give you a crutch to lean on, to supplement the blow of what you are about to go through by providing you with cases of success and stories of hope. In my experience though, sometimes words drift into the wind and get lost, lose their meaning in an overload of compassion from those around you. Now the people who give you advice don’t mean any harm, but talking helps them process their feelings and often leaves you out. 

Hassam’s painting, speaks louder than words to me. The woman looking at the ocean, appears relaxed, yet slightly tilts her hat downwards away from the crashing waves. This act, her inability to face the ocean head on, mimics how I feel right now. I know I’m ready, I’ve soaked up all I can, but staring out into the blue, well that scares me. Cancer scares me, you hear it and you think of those close to you and what you would do in that situation, but you never know until a doctor stands in front holding test results that do not bring good tidings. 

I see this woman and I see myself, at the cusp of so much, she sits a top the cliffs with the brown and blues mixing together, blurring all lines. The blue should excite me, the promise of the future, of university, of enhanced learning, yet my gaze keeps getting trapped in the rocks, the hospital beds, the unpredictability of what’s to come, the not knowing what’s wrong but only that something is not right. 

The only thing that strikes me as bizarre about this paintings, is the woman’s solitude. Her attire, her posture makes it appears as if she’s staring at the skyline all alone. The viewer does not see the people behind her, the individuals who do not take center stage, but support her nonetheless. 

As I say goodbye, I want to say thank you. Thank you to Mr. Luce for the unwavering support, our faithful readers, my class, my family, and of course art. Without the efforts of those around us, who attempt to capture the human experience, we would suffer greatly. Whether through paintings, etching, sculptures, or wood carvings, art connects us. 

As I depart into the world, I want to share art, because it’s not something only for the wealthy or “well” educated, it’s for humanity. Renaissance or modern, art makes the world seem a little less scary. For all those who will come after me, don’t be afraid to get lost in the pigments, or let yourself feel the paintings. Yes, learn, and learn all you can, about technique and composition, and how history applies to it all, but do not lose sight of the works that tug at your heartstrings, the paintings that brighten your day and remind you how wonderful life is. 

Life will take and take and take, but if you adjust your view a little bit, you will see that life has just as much to give. 
  • 7:00 AM

Reflections from Locker #14: Mother at the Cradle

DeHooch, Mother at the Cradle, 1662
Reflections from Locker #14

I want to talk about love, not the type where you fall for the cute boy in biology class, but the kind that defines life outside of a romantic relationships, something more than a boyfriend or girlfriend, the love that transports you outside the fake wooden floors of the hallways. 

Love...we spend our lives in pursuit of it, running away from it, imagining it, I guess you could call it the quest for the ultimate emotion. We start and stop relationships in search of it only to experience it in the seemingly most mundane things. Love lives in stolen glances, little notes, and extended hands. 

Learning to love means giving a part of yourself to something, a terrifying thought, knowing that the loving people means are you in fact human. That in the midst of all those corny flowers there will be moments when there is no laughter, as someone you love becomes only a memory. 

Throughout the Renaissance, the Dutch embraced death with series like the Dance of Death and the emergence of momento mori. Many often criticize the Dutch masters for their lack of excitement. Although I have to disagree. I admire the Dutch masters for their dedication to the milk jugs and backyard gardens. 

Pieter De Hooch's Mother with Cradle, to me represents the love that we fear but cannot live without. At first glance, De Hooch's painting only appears as snapshot of a woman’s life, yet as you look closer the image alters. Take the little girl in the back, who stands at the cusp of the illuminated door. Here De Hooch references the innocence of the little girl and how sometimes when mother’s turn their back, children walk out the door into the bright unknowing world, unaware of the change to come. The dog turns his head back to the motherly figure as some last attempt to stop the girl from stepping into the light. 

In this painting, love is in the mother’s glance towards the baby, her extended finger, and the room as a whole. The loose pan...a sign of home with food and furthermore prosperity with the addition of well built furniture and elaborate draping. This family lives a stable life, safe in the cocoon of yellow and red hues. 

Recently, I watched the yellow light stream into my life, eclipsing the safety of this comfortable room. I stood in silence as De Hooch's motherly figure turned her back and I faced the doorway. 

The mother is not abandoning her child, she’s letting go. She understands that the little girl needs to find her way. She will stumble, but she has a home to come back to, a mother who will extend her hand in times of need. 

This seemingly ordinary moment that DeHooch captures, represents so much than Dutch life. We think of love as this grand thing, expressed in candlelight and airplane writing, but the most profound love often goes unseen and unspoken. The connection between the little girl and her mother, they may appear separated, the diagonal line that stems from the mother’s shoulder to her daughter’s back shows at their foundation lies a love stronger than a tangible object.

I’m lucky enough that when I see this painting, I see my mom, who although is currently terrified of sending me off into the world, knows that the love she raised me on will guide amidst all the bright light. 
  • 7:00 AM

Reflections from Locker #14: Basket of Fruit

Caravaggio Basket of Fruit.jpg
Caravaggio, Basket of Fruit, 1599
Reflections from Locker #14

From love to fear. What could you possibly fear in high school? I mean grades, college, friendships, life in general, the fact puberty is a thing? At times it feels like rotten apples are pushing you, the grapes are holding you tight, while leaves seem to drift away. 

Your evolution will occur when you least expect it, friendships will fade with differing class periods, and late night decisions will alter the course of your experience. You’ll make the wicker basket your temporary home, but as the days weigh on, you and others will start to press on the flexible fibers, as ripe and overgrown fruits now too heavy for the once large basket. 

With fear comes anxiety. As much as I hate to admit it or give metaphorical power to the belief that anxiety is a part of high school, and growing up, it seems to be true. Although I ask you this, should it be? 

Should kids feel like they need to distinguish themselves as the most pristine grape or apple in order to achieve great things? 

Trust me, I’ve had the panic attacks, laid on the floor as I wondered what I am doing? And what am I doing in this basket, where I’m pushed and pulled, and told that this it’s normal. 

The normalcy of taking anti-anxiety medication in order to walk the hallways of this claustrophobic fruit basket. 

Caravaggio did not attend high school, yet with his Basket of Fruit, he seems to capture the sentiments of a secondary school environment. 

The apples, although slightly cumbersome and outnumbered, appear to cultivate precious space while they slowly rot from the core. They press on those around them, submitting them to a status beneath them, they appear solitary yet hold so much power. To the left, Caravaggio tackles the pear, with unique roots that sprout from all angles, and slightly off beat, practically falling out of the basket. He fills the rest of the space with differing grapes that seem to sweat before your eyes, and strategic branches and leaves in different stages of dying to demonstrate the complexity of the ecosystem. 

The basket placed up against the yellowed background, makes it appear isolated, creating a vibe that this basket could be placed anywhere and contents of the fruit inside would not differ. 

As the year comes to a close, the basket will grow lighter as the fruits begin to tumble off into a multitude of directions, some will bruise, others will blossom, but none will call the criss-crossing wicker strands home anymore. 

Although for all those still stuck within the confines of Caravaggio’s table, what advice to you give? Do you tell them to wait out the harvest, or reduce themselves to occupying less space? I hope not. Caravaggio by placing the fruits on top of each other, references how suffocating high school can be. His coloring and attention to detail demonstrates the subtle intricacies that no one would notice as first glance, yet are necessary in order to fully comprehend the painting. 

The trick is to see the intricacies and value them, but them put them away, or else they will consume you. Instead of you tumbling out of the basket, you’ll recede into the wicker. The moments of doubt will pass, and in the end you’ll be glad that you had a such a nice basket to call home for a little while.
  • 7:00 AM

Reflections from Locker #14: Apollo and Daphne

Bernini, Apollo and Daphne, 1625
Reflections from Locker #14

This next post is about the pain, the growing pains of high school, you grow a few inches in height, in years, and in experience. Between the ages of 14 and 18, you stumble a few times, acquire some new scars, and rediscover old ones. You’re at that age where you’re still too young to understand the gravity of some situations but old enough to realize when something goes wrong. 

Before I begin, I’d like to dedicate this post to all the people who have been told “you’re lucky because it didn’t go further, because you screamed, because you cried, because he apologized.”Stop feeling lucky and start feeling those invisible scars before they consume you. You are stronger than the Apollos and through Bernini’s work I hope you begin to see your strength. 

Apollo, you wrap your arms around me, weaving your way into my soul, slowly taking the breath from my lungs. You move quietly amongst the trees, almost indistinguishable. My feet will only carry me so far, I run and run only to feel you around the next corner. Your fingerprints linger far after my skins return to its normal complexion. You’ve left your mark on me and despite my efforts I cannot wash it off. 

You took away my safety, made me shudder when people stepped too close, but I am not giving up. You haven’t won Apollo. I am not your Daphne. 

Despite the fact that Bernini crafted his sculpture in the 15th century, the twisting and turning of Apollo and Daphne transcends time. For if you take away their names, Apollo and Daphne, represent any woman and man who has ever felt violated. The look on Daphne’s face does not project her majesty, but her humanity. With her emotional facial features, Bernini captures the pure terror that washes you over as you feel someone close in with no hope of escape, the act of screaming without a sound. Her eyes cast downward in disbelief, “Could this really be happening?”According to the mythological tale, the Gods save Daphne by turning her into a tree. Although little girls don’t turn into trees. Bark doesn’t protect them from the prying hands of Apollo and his sweeping cape. 

In high school, you’ll meet your first Apollo. It doesn’t matter what you say, or your body language, he will not see it. He will make you feel as if you are nothing, but a sum of parts. Apollos come in all shapes and sizes, yet share the same goal. 

You’ll feel paralyzed, the world will orbit around but you will stay stagnant, cemented in the roots at your feet. You might want to become a tree, to escape it all, but you can’t. 

Bernini could have sculpted Apollo holding a tree, cherishing his prize, but he doesn’t. Instead he opts to show the moment of intensity, the culmination of terror, power, and matter colliding into one another, creating a still chaos. With stone, Bernini manages to mimic the fluidity of a wind blown forest, consuming a girl. Her hands morphing into the branches that safeguard her. 

Today we have trees, trees that bear scars but that stand tall, who wave their branches, and rock their roots. Little girls deserve good watering, and care, to grow strong and green, to bloom when they’re ready. 

Apollo will not vanish, he will try again, but this time your branches will be ready. For your roots have formed with those around you, creating a system that cannot be uprooted with an ax for you are stronger than a single piece of artillery.
  • 7:00 AM

Reflections from Locker #14: Girl with the Pearl Earring

Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665
Reflections from Locker #14

We hear labels like the Renaissance, the Cubist movement, Impressionism and automatically we think of Michelangelo, Picasso, and Van Gogh. We fabricate time periods to fit artists, to fit ideas, to make a timeline. Although in placing arbitrary boundaries around art we lose our connection to the pieces themselves. Yes, by breaking art into specific schools, to study and analyze, we succeed in viewing the works through Michael Baxandall’s period eye. Yet what happens when you understand why a virgin Mary’s hand are placed outwards, but have no emotional reaction to the work? You only see the painting as piece of history, like a coin or cup salvaged from a some far away kingdom, not an image in front of you that was forged to inspire and to admire. 

With this collection, I plan to talk about the humanity of art, why paintings from the Renaissance mean more than a representation of certain time period. To talk about the power of artwork, the miraculous combination of paint and pigments that transcend time. The works that despite our distance from their creation continue to shock, awe, and mesmerize those who study them. 

In order to place the paintings in perspective, I plan to examine them through my personal experiences. The stories paired with each work will indeed be personal, and slightly embarrassing, but real. I believe that art serves two basic functions, one to educate and another to feel. I’ve spent the majority of high school absorbing the education and now with the little time I left before I voyage off, I figured that maybe I should feel the works one last time. 

I invite you to join me on this deconstructed academic crusade of looking at a work, and attempting to rationalize the art within in your own context. 

Welcome to the Megan period, detailed in nothing in particular but the insights of one high school senior from the Barstow School. 

So where shall we begin... the Girl with a Pearl Earring

If you’ve read this blog for a while or are familiar with some of my former posts, you might remember I wrote about Leibl’s Girl with White Headscarf as the supreme example of simple beauty. I now must rephrase, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, knocks Leibl’s Girl with White Headscarf out of the park for me. 

You might be confused on why I would start our journey with a discussion on beauty, but if we’re going off the timeline of high school, beauty unfortunately is at the start. For to a high school freshmen, the Girl with a Pearl Earring represents that one senior girl who effortlessly exemplifies natural beauty. 

At 15, I wore rainbow colored shorts and collared shirts, attempting some “preppy” yet relaxed vibe. I’ve evolved to denim skirts, cotton t-shirts, stripes, sneakers, navy and green. Now in twenty years, I’ll probably look back on my senior year self and wonder what the hell was I thinking? But for now I live in amidst weathered Birkenstocks, brown leather belts, and red baseball hats. 

The fact that the identity of the Girl with the Pearl Earring, is unknown to us only makes her more mesmerizing, her anonymity gives her the passing face in the hallway vibe. She’s the kind of person who you know by name and appearance but nothing of her life beneath the surface. Vermeer paints her to be on display, her head’s position delicate and slightly agar, forcing the viewer to tilt their own head slightly to mimic her. Her eyes possess a certain storm like quality with the whites and grays drawing you in, her gaze speaks out to you as strangely personal yet equally distant. Her slightly parted lips, colored with a mild rouge, appear mid-sentence, mid-thought, creating a casualness in the viewer-painting relationship. 

Vermeer’s dark background, makes her skin appear illuminated. He further supplements her glowy skin with the light bouncing off her pearl earring. The pearl itself alludes to her elegance, and her natural and effortless beauty. A kind of last minute accessory that separates her from every other girl with a blue headscarf. 

Her headscarf beautifully painted with strokes of blue that further bring out her eyes and slightly parted lips. The traces of blue towards the nape of her neck demonstrate the continuance of this light, this light only brought you to by this transfusion of color. 

As a freshmen you see her as all you want to be, confident, beautiful, mysterious, noticed. You think of the ways to achieve this allusive beauty, attempting to change your features to fit the girl. Although as you grow, you come to realize that instead of altering yourself to fit the girl in the painting, you begin to see yourself as the girl in the painting. 

One cannot measure beauty in comparison to others, because it stems from you. The Girl with a Pearl Earring appears so stunning because she lacks fear, she embraces her beauty. As you grow, you see the impractical nature of trying to be her, your realize your eyes are not clouds of gray but a kaleidoscope of color. You discover you cannot recreate her, but why would you want to? 

At 18, I’ve come to embrace my own beauty, the freckles on my heels and shoulders, and my hair that changes with the seasons. It’s precious waste of time to compare yourself to others, for you will never live up to your own expectations unless you first accept yourself. 

Now when I look at the Girl with a Pearl Earring, I do not see some upperclassmen I aspire to be, I see myself. 

  • 7:00 AM

Crossing Boundaries: Lamentation of Christ

Image result for lamentation of christ mantegna
Andrea Mantegna, Lamentation of Christ, 1480
Crossing Boundaries

The Lamentation of Christ was a commonly depicted theme for artists from the Medieval ages and the Renaissance to the Baroque. It shows the period of mourning after Christ's crucifixion. Since many artists painted their own versions of the Lamentation of Christ, many variations of design and composure exist. However, Andrea Mantegna's depiction of the Lamentation of Christ differs from most other paintings of the scene in many ways. Mantegna looks at the scene through a perspective that other artists had yet to imagine. He strayed from the common layouts that consist of much more contact between the mourner's and Christ, and uses light, shadows, and drapery to emphasize the suffering of the figures. 

Mantegna portrays Christ at an angle from his feet and uses the method of foreshortening to make Christ appear shorter. At the time this optical illusion was fairly uncommon to artists, but after Mantegna's mastery of it, foreshortening became a standard part in training artists. The shortening of Christ's body and the distance of the mourners pull more emphasis to the anatomical details of the body. From this angle Mantegna can highlight Christ's thorax as well as the holes on his hands and feet. The close intimacy the of the work shows the deep rips of the holes. The drapery falls between Christ's legs and and wraps around his pelvic area to highlight the genitals, a symbol of humanity. 

Mantegna tested the limits of artistic freedoms and painted in a way unimagined before. He took the chance to cross an artistic boundary and received boundless praise for doing so. Artists now model their works off of Andrea Mantegna's creativity and boldness. 
  • 7:00 AM

Crossing Boundaries: Madame X

Image result for madame x singer sargent
John Singer Sargent, Madame X, 1884
Crossing Boundaries
By Emma Shapiro

Amelie Gautreau, the subject of Sargent's Madame X, was a well-established Parisian socialite, best known for her beauty. Although Amelie was born in the United States in New Orleans, she moved to Paris at a young age with her mother and grew up in a life of French nobility. She later enhanced her popularity by marrying a wealthy banker twice her age. Due to this high social standing she had many painters paint portraits of her. John Singer Sargent aimed to become one of those lucky painters.

Sargent vied to paint Madame Gautreau because he believed that doing so would elevate his status as a painter. One of Amelie Gautreau's most defining characteristics was her soft white skin, and Sargent wanted to emulate that skin on canvas. When Sargent had the chance to paint Amelie Gautreau he tried to show her skin, grace, and beauty, but also emphasize her daring attitude and individuality. By portraying her personality though portraiture Sargent thought he would receive praise for his skill and also his uniqueness. To do this, Sargent painted the right strap of Gautreau's gown slipping down her shoulder. But, Sargent's attempt at being innovative failed him.

The painting was first displayed at the 1884 Salon. Sargent had won an award at the salon the previous year which forced the Academie to give him a spot on the wall in 1884. Yet, his painting at the 1884 salon received much more ridicule than praise. People were offended by Sargent's portrayal of one of Paris' elites as coquettish. 19th century society could not believe that Sargent would paint something which condoned adultery. Madame Gautreau's mother requested that Sargent remove the painting from the salon and change the name of the portrait from Portrait of Madame Gautreau to Portrait of Madame X. She wanted the identity of her daughter hidden, because this painting crossed the line.

  • 7:00 AM

Crossing Boundaries: One Way Ticket

Image result for one way ticket jacob lawrence
Jacob Lawrence, One Way Ticket, 1941
Crossing Boundaries

Jacob Lawrence was born in New Jersey in 1918, but his parents migrated from Virginia and South Carolina. From a young age he took an interest in painting the people surrounding him; neighborhood activity, sideway politics, beggars, and late night commuters. Lawrence then moved to painting scenes of Harriet Tubman and Toussaint L'Ouverture. He painted them in flat, unshaded forms, a style he never abandoned. When Lawrence grew tired of those scenes he decided to begin a large scale documentation of the black exodus from the south, birthing the Migration series.

In his Migration Series, Lawrence does not depict the gruesome scenes of violence and racism but focuses on the internal emotional suffering of the lonely survivors. He is able to convey the struggling that African-Americans experienced during their migration without tossing blame in any direction. Lawrence chose this subject matter because he felt connected to the story.

Jacob Lawrence tells the African-American migration story and even though we are past the pain of this particular historical event, many current stories can relate. People around the world constantly must make the choice to cross physical boundaries in search of new residence. And just like the African-American migration, these boundary crossings are in search of safety, security, freedom, and a happier life.

  • 7:00 AM

Crossing Boundaries: A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery

Image result for philosopher giving a lecture at the orrery
Joseph Wright of Derby, A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery, 1766

Crossing Boundaries

Joseph Wright of Derby took an interest in the industrial revolution and the enlightenment and painted a series of paintings displaying scientific and academic subjects. A Philosopher Giving a Lecture at the Orrery preceded An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump and followed Three Persons  Viewing the Gladiator by Candlelight. All three of these paintings depict people observing science or studying, are candlelit, and caused a stir in opinions. Joseph Wright of Derby shows scientific miracles in a way which was previously only used for religious paintings. The painting shown also goes by the longer name "A Philosopher Giving a Lecture on the Orrery in which a lamp is put in place of the sun". This title reflects the idea of scientific miracles, such as artificial light, overtaking religious symbolism. Instead of the figures having a religious epiphany they are experiencing a conversion to science.

Joseph Wright of Derby's painting challenged the set hierarchy that favored classical history and mythological subjects. The public was previously only exposed to paintings of biblical heroes, and greek gods. Wright transitions from his classic landscapes, portraiture, and christian themes and attempts to revolutionize subject matter. Wright advocated for the importance of science and knowledge through the concentration of the subjects surrounding the orrery. Their interest highlights the idea that science and reason help advance society. He also includes two young girls leaning on the orrery which shows belief in the future involvement of women in intellectual matters. The people in the painting are crossing the academic boundaries that constrained them, and art, before the enlightenment.
  • 7:00 AM

Crossing Boundaries: The Bolt

Image result for the bolt fragonard
Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Bolt, 1777

Crossing Boundaries

Jean-Honore Fragonard painted The Bolt (also known by The Lock) in 1777. Initially this painting appears similar to Fragonard’s The Stolen Kiss, a romantic scene of lust and affection. It has the same softness and flowy drapery, but the room is in a disarray. The chairs legs stick out, the harsh red drape falls around the messy bed, and roses scatter the floor. The woman in The Stolen Kiss shows a lack of complete interest in her face, but the tilt of her body confirms her consent. However, the woman in The Bolt looks unhappy in her face and seems to be pulling away from the male grasp. With closer examination of the subject matter and the name the painting loses its loving appeal and adopts a more violent one. 

Fragonard meant for The Bolt to compliment his Adoration of the Shepherds. The Adoration shows sacred love and redemption, whereas The Bolt sends a message of sin and desire. The bed takes up a large portion of the canvas, an obvious symbol of eroticism. Fragonard also draws the viewer to the violence by streaking the light from the bolt and following the pull of the man's arm. The man's arm moves up to the bolt, but his body falls toward the woman. The woman on the other hand has lost her balance and control. Fragonard shows a complete invasion of space. The man crosses the unconsenting woman's personal boundaries as well as her sexual comfort levels. 
  • 7:00 AM

Women in Photojournalism: Donna Ferrato

An assignment for the New York Times Magazine on child rape in South Africa, 1998, Donna Ferrato
Women in Photojournalism

Donna Ferrato, a photojournalist known for her coverage of domestic violence, has worked for a great deal of new sources such as The New York Times, Time and People. In her photographs, Ferrato focuses on illuminating the darker sides of humanity. What is so unique about her work is that she captures issues that people are reluctant to discuss. Taking on both freelance and commissioned assignments, Ferrato's work provokes thought on human interactions.

Ferrato not only photographs images that bring awareness to issues such as rape and abuse, but she consistently works with various companies to help eliminate these issues from society. These issues are hard to photograph without showing scaring and violent images, although Ferrato uses human emotion to show the detrimental effects of matters such as sexual assault and abuse. In a assignment for the New York Times Magazine, Ferrato did a series on child rape in South Africa. In this series, rather than finding a way to show the gruesome acts, Ferrato shows the human reactions to moments revolving to sexual assault. I believe this is what photojournalism should be, a portrayal of raw human emotion in reaction to all wonderful, difficult and challenging moments in life.
  • 7:00 AM

Women in Photojournalism: Hansel Mieth

Hansel Meith, Untitled, 1963 
Women in Photojournalism

Hansel Mieth fully dedicated her life to her profession. When photographing on site, Mieth and her crew would live among the issues in order to capture the most raw and telling images. Mieth once said "To be a good photographer you must feel what people feel when they're down." Her extreme commitment to battling social and political issues in the United States resulted in great contributions in documentary style films and photojournalism. Mieth achieved her primary goal of showing the world injustices through the lens of her camera.

In 1937 Meith was made executive editor at LIFE magazine, making her the second female photographer on staff. For this reason, Mieth felt a great deal of discrimination and restrictions against her work and creativity. She was given demeaning assignments, her work was often censored and in many cases the work she was assigned did not get published. Meith had originally been hesitant to take the job in the first place because of these reasons and potentially undermining her beliefs to work for corporate America. Although despite this, Meith was able to use LIFE as a platform to reach thousands of people and display to the strength of human spirit. 
  • 7:00 AM

Women in Photojournalism: Hillary with Ice Cream in Hand

Diana Walker, With an ice cream cone in hand, Hillary waves to the crowd in Weedsport, New York, as she heads to the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn, New York, One of the stops on her Save America's Treasures tour,  July 14, 1998, 
Women in Photojournalism

Diana Walker provides America with images of behind the scenes and in between moments of politics. Walker worked as TIME Magazine's White House photographer for over twenty years covering numerous presidencies with subtly. Her greatest technique in capturing these unique moments is credited to the detachment. In the same moment, she somehow creates an unspoken relationship with the subject as well. In other words, Walker does everything she can to make herself invisible in order to capture the raw, detailed moments.

Walker had a particularly unique relationship with Hillary Clinton. She had the opportunity to photograph her over a period of twenty years, as Hillary transitioned from first lady to secretary f state and everything in between. Since the span of Hillary and Walker's time together was so large the level of comfort between the two reached a point where Walker could capture exactly the types of images she wanted, the natural and candid moments. The image above is a perfect example and one I find particularly powerful. Ice cream cone in hand, Hillary waves to a crowd. 

Like many of her female colleagues, Walker felt that she faced gender discrimination in the news field. In an interview she discussed this saying, "I've always felt that I got a really good shake from the women picture editors in New York who thought it time for another woman in their ranks. In some ways being female gave me a leg up; in other ways, male chauvinism reared its ugly head." For this reason, I feel that Walker's relationship with Hillary has allowed her to capture such amazing moments in her career. Working along side each other, the two heavily promote equal opportunities for women and succeed at making strides that push the system with this in interest.

  • 7:00 AM

Women in Photojournalism: Displaced

Malin Fezehai, Displaced, on going 2007-present

Women in Photojournalism

Malin Fezehai began her career in Sweden, her home country. After attending school in New York City for film and photography, Fezehai began her career as a photojournalist. She spends much of her time traveling the middle east, Africa, Europe and America capturing images of displacement. 

In an on-going series, Malin Fezehai studies modern migration and displacement around the world. For the first time since world war II over fifty million people have been forced to flee their homes due to climate change, wars, natural disasters, food and water scarcity, and internal conflict. In many cases multiple of these factors play a part. 

In 2010 a massive magnitude 7 earth quake devastated Haiti. The earthquake caused an especial amount of damage to Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. It's estimated that nearly three million people were affected by the earthquake, including aftershocks. In the first image, taken in 2012, a collection of wife-beaters hang down from a close line. On the horizon are a collection of houses and buildings in Port-au-Prince still in need of repairs. 

Women make up 50 percent of refugees. In many cases, these women often end up being abused or sexually assaulted after or during the escape of the countries they are fleeing. The following two images are women in UNHCR camps (the UN against sexual violence in conflict), an organization that raises awareness to these issues and works with displaced women and girls. Their primary goal is to help bring an end to sexual violence and make the world a safer, more nurturing environment for girls and women. 
  • 7:00 AM

Women in Photojournalism: Nepal

Maggie Steber, Nepal, 2000
Women in Photojournalism

It’s no secret photojournalism is a field largely dominated by men. The job demands a lot but both physically and mentally from the professional, and knowingly placing workers in harm's way to capture a shot creates even more of a gender bias. Typically, companies assume a male is more fit to take on the job for this reason. In the next five blog posts I plan to highlight women in the photojournalism field and their accomplishments as well as the ways in which they broke gender stereotypes, along with the stories behind the images they’ve captured. 

During Maggie Steber's career as a photographer she has focused on capturing humanitarian and social issues. Working in over 64 countries, Steber has decades of experience in the field and her work has been published in both National Geographic and The New York Times. Reaching such a successful point in her career was nothing short of difficult. Facing multiple accounts of sexual harassment, Steber refused to succumb to the pressure of men in the field and persevered with resistance to become a highly respected artist in the field of photojournalism. In an interview Steber addressed sex related to her career saying, “Clearly I’m a woman,” she continued, “But I think of myself as a photographer who just happens to be a woman. How my gender shapes my views is important and cannot be denied, but I just feel like it’s stating the obvious and sets women up in a male-dominated business, still to this day, as ‘them and us.'"

This interview really resonated with me and is the premise for the following series of posts addressing women working in the field of photojournalism. 

Nepal has one of the highest rates of blindness. In the image above, a nearly blind man peers through a pair of broken glasses while waiting to receive cataract surgery in a newly established clinic. Steber recalls hundreds of people lining to receive the surgery that Dr. Ruit, a leading surgeon at the clinic, has perfected in two simple incisions.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Kiss

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907

Awkward First Kiss

Klimt’s painting evokes the comfort and pureness of the couple embracing. The Kiss was created during Klimt’s “Golden Period” where he used oil paint with layers of gold leaf when combining the Art Nouveau style with more organic forms. He leaves the couple enfolded in gold and flat patterns while highlighting the realistic form of the figures. Klimt was inspired to focus on gold a trip he made in Italy and the Byzantine style that focused on flat, depth-lacking figures and gold. Klimt combines and contrasts the two styles. He focuses on the flat patterns covering the gold to give detail to the painting, while giving a soft shadow and lightness to the realistic figures. 

His composition is linear, with the couple almost seems to jut up against the flowers and the woman’s feet forming a right angle, while the patterns he uses also following a linear direction. While the composition is very strict, Klimt softens the painting with his detailed flowers and his contrasting, harsh black lines on the man and softer circles on the woman. He also adds shadows to his gold background by adding a shimmery layer to the darker background, softening the sharp effect of the gold and linear composition and giving the painting a simultaneous modern and ethereal effect. 

The flowers surrounding the couple add a natural effect to the painting, even as Klimt uses flatter colors to emphasize the pattern. Klimt’s use of gold and full, colorful patterns adds to the emotion of the painting and the dreamy quality of the couple embracing. The quiet intimacy can be seen is the soft features of the woman’s face, eyes closed in trust and hands clasped around the man’s hand and neck. The man cradles the woman’s face delicately and seems content to just hold her. The emotions Klimt shows transcends the simple act of a kiss and shows the love and trust between the lovers.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Kiss of Judas

Giotto, The Kiss of Judas, 1303
Awkward First Kiss

Judas and Jesus’ kiss is arguably the most awkward kiss of all time. Giotto’s painting, The Kiss of Judas, depicts Jesus and Judas in the garden of Gethsemane as Judas identifies Jesus by kissing him, alerting the Roman soldiers lying in wait to arrest Jesus. This betrayal is the turning point in Judas and Jesus’ bromance and one of the most important scenes in the Bible. Giotto emphasizes Judas and Jesus’ embrace by giving Jesus a golden halo and Judas a golden cloak. 

He balances the golden yellow at the center of the painting with the blue and red cloaks on each side of the painting. The golden spears and fire held by the Romans break up Giotto’s signature ultramarine blue sky. Giotto’s painting technique combines the Byzantine style of flat figures and affinity for gold with a more naturalistic style that would pave the way for the Pre-Renaissance. Giotto’s use of color, clothing, and ability to show characterization in his figures sets Giotto’s paintings apart from his mentor, Cimabue. His colors come through more vibrantly on his figures due to his shadows and folds in his clothing. Giotto adds depth to his painting with the placement of the figure’s feet at the bottom to show distance to combat the flatness of the figures at the top of the painting at their heads. 

Giotto tells the story in his paintings through his faces. His faces have clear, definitive emotions that clearly show each of their motivations and set each of the figures apart. Giotto’s style comes through most vibrantly with the pure emotion between Judas and Jesus, embraced and staring into each other’s eyes as soldiers come angrily into the scene. Judas’ briss, or “bro-kiss,” is considered one of the worst betrayals of all time, making it onto this list of the most awkward kisses in art history.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: Krishna Revels with the Gopis

Unknown, Krishna Revels with the Gopis: Pages from a Dispersed Gita Govinda, 1605
Awkward First Kiss

This painting shows an illustration of a part of the text from the Gita Govinda. The painting has the god Krishna on the bank of a river surrounded by gopis, maids who herded cows who were known for their unconditional devotion to Krishna in the stories of the Bhagavata Purana. The text above the painting sets the scene for the painting:

"A girl with curving hips, bending to whisper in his ear,
Cherishes her kiss on her lover’s tingling cheek.
Hari revels here as the crowd of charming girls
Revels in seducing him to play."
—Gita Govinda, canto 1, verse 41

This painting, similar to the illuminated manuscripts from medieval art, shows a scene from a larger story in the Gita Govinda, a work composed by the Indian poet, Jayadeva, in the twelfth century. He details the story between Krishna and the gopis of Vrindavana, and the girl he falls in love with, Radha. The story is written in couplets grouped in eights, called the ashtapadis.

Jayadeva’s story described the Krishnu’s love for Radha, how he turns away from her, and his final return to her. His story meant to show the human soul straying from God, but eventually returning to him at the end. The painting itself is an opaque watercolor and silver on paper. The bright colors within the painting and animals bring life to it. The distinct patterns on the painting gives detailing to catch the eye. The whirling of the waves in the water, the differences in leaf patterns on the trees, and layering of the opaque skirts of the stripes all add a sense of dimension to the painting and a place for the eye to fall. The monkeys and birds in the trees add to the sense of fun and liveliness of the scene. The playfulness of the scene is shown in the bright, contrasting colors, fun patterns, and full composition. 
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Stolen Kiss

Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard, The Stolen Kiss, 17
Awkward First Kiss

In Fragonard’s The Stolen Kiss, a young girl and boy attempt to steal a kiss hidden away in shadow. The young woman seems nervous in the painting, leaning towards the boy while refusing to make eye contact, scanning the room for anyone who could catch them in the act. The boy is hidden behind the door while trying to reel her in by the wrist. Everything in the room seems set to be romantic and dreamy; the light falls gently on the young couple, there is a softness of emotion in their faces, and the focus on clothing adds detail to an otherwise smoothness in the painting. 

Fragonard adds the sense of nervousness and intrigue to the painting by focusing on the emotion and body set of the young lady, leaning towards the boy while watching for the women at the party who could walk in at any time. Fragonard paints in the Rococo style with his attention to the detailing of the clothing. The focus on the painting goes from the smoothness of the young lady’s skin directly down to the satin sheen and heavy folds of her dress and then is drawn right by the blue-stripped cloth and shows the drama of the painting: the danger of being caught by the ladies on the far right, hidden in shadow. Fragonard’s focus on the heavy cloth extends to the pink heavy curtains on the doors, to the heavy cloth draped behind the chair, and finally ending on the embroidered, stylized rug. He adds to the intimate scene of the room by bathing it in warm light and keeping the room smaller to contrast to the darker tones of the hidden room on the right and the cool, intricate white detail of architecture above the party.

Fragonard’s painting seems romantic, but also shows the innocence of young love set in a court where gossip ruled and the emotion of the young girl shines through the cloud-like nature of the rest of the painting. 
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: Death and the Maiden

Hans Baldung, Death and the Maiden, 1545
Awkward First Kiss

We’ve all been there before: you’re dancing in the club, having a good time, when you feel some drunk guy start grinding into you from behind and grabbing at you to the beat of DJ Khalid’s new single, “I’m the One.” Your mood plummets from a twelve to about a three as you get pushed off the dance floor by the guy’s enthusiastic hip thrusts. Now imagine this time you turn around and the guy is a strangely muscular zombie-man with Trump hair and the dance floor isn’t a poorly lit room with a mass of writhing bodies but a desolate graveyard and your sequin dress has turned into a white sheet.

This is what life is like for the young girl in Death and the Maiden. Death has appeared behind her and starts to pull her into the grave burial place at the right bottom corner of the painting. Death tangles his hand in her hair to tip her face back and give her the kiss of death. He gropes at the skin by her breast which shows the tainting of the maiden’s innocent life by the plague and death spreading through Europe. As Death starts grabbing her, he grabs at the life within her as well. Her skin turns pallid and as pale as the bed sheet she wears around her waist. Her body seems to weaken from his grasp and her limbs go akimbo as she collapses. The emotional and physical turmoil within the maiden manifests itself as the bloody tears that leak down her face. This image of death and a maiden stems from the myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. Hades, god of the underworld, appeared from a crevice where Persephone had plucked a flower and took her to the underworld. The influence from the myth is plainly seen, as Death embodied tries to drag the young girl into her grave with his romantic advances.

For all the girls out there, remember, the  next time a guy is trying to hit it from behind in the club and fistbump you in the back of the head, he could be a ripped tan death zombie with surfer hair trying to pull you into a grave and you could be a maiden in the 1500s Germany, afraid of dying of the plague before you reach fifteen years old. So take that dude outside and bodyslam’em into an open grave.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: David Bowie

David Bowie, D Head V, 1998
Rock On

A freakish and creepy image, Bowie's fifth self portrait is a haunting look at what the artist perceived himself as. The crazed look on Bowie's face combined with the rushed feel of the paint strokes around the edges of the painting give off an unsettling feeling in the viewer like from a nightmare. This leads one to wonder why Bowie would want himself to be portrayed this way—it's not flattering or accurate to an outsider perspective. But is this what David Robert Jones thought of himself as? One can't truly know. But what we do know is that he had painted this himself and that says enough.

1998 is regarded as the end of Bowie's "Electronic Period," which involved progressive techno and rock sound. The previous year, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and released the album, Earthling. The tracks in that album were tech-heavy and featured songs called "I'm Afraid of Americans" and "The Last Thing You Should Do." Some of the lyrics: "I'm afraid of Americans / I'm afraid of the world / I'm afraid I can't help it / I'm afraid I can't," and "What have you been doing to yourself / It's the last thing you should do / Nobody laughs any more / It's the worst thing you can do," I feel are a soundtrack for D Head V. These two pieces reflect a fear for the world and give off a crazed energy. Of course I realize that not all music is auto-biographical, but I still think that his dark lyrics speak to his personality and emotions.

Born in England, but like a lot of other musicians upon reaching fame, he moved to America. His eccentricity and flamboyancy perhaps did not initially fit the American aesthetic and was way too "out there" for some, but fit well with the art districts of the Europe like Berlin and Paris. While Bowie could pull large crowds in America, I feel like most of the U.S. was not ready for him at first and preferred less liberal, experimental, and expressive forms of music, perhaps leaving him to write a song like "I'm Afraid of Americans" and painting something like D Head V.

Not much explanation has been given from the artist about what he was trying to convey with his painting or what motivated him to create in this medium. His other works are just as eerie and expressive and feature other self-portraits, frightening faces in his D Head series, and portraits of his friend and punk rock star, Iggy Pop. The haunting paintings Bowie made in the late nineties seem to coincide with his unsettling lyrics from his album, Earthling.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, Endless Highway, 2016
Rock On

Bob Dylan’s series, “The Beaten Path” showcases many American landscapes through the eyes of the infamous folk singer. With these paintings, Dylan wanted to display his favorite parts of American culture from his time touring around the country. Often, Dylan chooses a subject and omits the aspects of the scene that he doesn’t like or think belong—office buildings, cars, skyscrapers. While this is not an accurate representation of modern America, Dylan explains that it is intentional.

These manipulated vignettes are not meant to have emotional meaning according to the artist and are supposed to contain images that are recognizable to any viewer. Dylan wants his art to be universal and understood by all and he aims to do that by de-personalizing his paintings.

Highway 61 Revisited, an exceptionally large canvas, took up an entire wall in the Halcyon Gallery. This gorgeous sunset scene succeeds Dylan’s aim in defining America’s landscape, but I believe utterly fails his intentions to not have work that evokes emotion for the viewer. In all of his paintings, there is common theme for a desire for nostalgia in the very premise of why he paints. His reverence for hay-day America motivates Dylan and it is quite apparent when seeing his paintings of hotdog stands, retro cars, and neon signs.

His expert use of brush strokes and color can’t help but remind me of masters like CĂ©zanne and Monet—two painters known for their landscapes and expressive pieces. Dylan uses cameras and hand-built camera-obscuras to create his compositions and paint; this tool is not obvious when looking at his images because of how stylized they are, but in paintings such as Abandoned Hotel”and this one, it is a little more apparent because of the location and the strange use of angle. Discovering Bob Dylan’s painting has been an indulging experience for me and I hope that more people look into his painting whether or not they enjoy his music.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood, Beggars Banquet, 1989
Rock On

Ronnie Wood, the second most underrated Rolling Stones member, has taken up painting as he’s grown older and settled down from a rigorous touring schedule. His work often reflects his time on stage, his friends, and his life as a rock and roller. This painting is a visual representation of the Stones’ album, Beggars Banquet. Surprisingly, Wood does not appear on this album, as he later replaced Brian Jones after his death. In fact, this was Jones’ last album before he drowned.

Beggars Banquet was regarded by critics and fans as a mature revival of the Rolling Stones’ country, folk, and rock roots after their lowly rated psychedelic period. The album contains acoustic and vocal-focused tracks that are technically impressive and musically resonant. Of the ten tracks, “No Expectations” is particularly notable as it was Jones’ last musical performance. While Brian Jones had struggled with addiction, lead members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had difficulty finding a place for the unreliable, yet undoubtedly talented, musician in the band and were contemplating scratching him out of the band completely. When Jones showed up to the studio on the day they were to record “No Expectations,” Keith asked Brian to add something to the piece which resulted in the most beautiful slide guitar fills ever improvised.

This painting in my eyes acts as a sentiment to Brian Jones’ life and his work on Beggars Banquet. Within this composition, members of the Rolling Stones are seen strewn across a red and brown dining room holding glasses and making a toast. I also want to point out how clever the oxymoron of Beggars Banquet is and what that possibly says about the band. Perhaps it speaks to making the best of what you have. The last song in the album, “Salt of the Earth,” asks the listener to “raise a glass to the hard working people,” thank, and recognize the people that are struggling on this planet for all that they do for the rest of us and for the hard times that they pull through. This painting and the album of the same name salute Brian Jones, all of those who experience hardships, and those who do the thankless jobs.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.

  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: The Beatles

George Dureau, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Two Nuba Wrestlers, 1970-1
Rock On

Instantly eye-catching and even confusing, this painting asks many questions and does not give many answers. The composition alone—not considering who the subjects are—draws so much attention with Dureau’s effective use of washed out colors in the background and the ambiguous nude figures in the front, one on top of the other. But by either reading the title or noticing the easily recognizable Beatles in their “Sgt. Pepper’s” garb, a new meaning is inferred in the image. What is Dureau saying by illustrating perhaps the most famous band starring (or grimacing) at these two African wrestlers supporting each other?

Art critic D. Eric Bookhardt describes Dureau’s style as an “iconic mix of flamboyant elegance and earthy eccentricity,” which is evidently seen in this piece. The Beatles’ extravagant marching band outfits and white skin sharply contrast the bare dark-skinned models in the foreground, one of which seems to has a noose around his neck.

Victors of Nuba wrestling matches in Sudan are often carried on the shoulders of fans and other wrestlers becoming a town celebrity for the week until the next tournament. Perchance that is what is depicted here. Also it should be stated that traditional Nuba wrestling is done naked as clothes are not needed for the sport and can actually get in the way.

To me, this painting speaks about fame and questions what hard work is. From Liverpool, the Fab Four became a massive sensation across America and achieved great wealth and popularity within four years of forming. Meanwhile Nuba wrestlers sacrifice their bodies to the sport for very little money, if any, and only local recognition if they win a match. I feel that the bottom wrestler’s noose signifies that to attain fame, one must kill himself or die—a notion that the Beatles don’t agree with.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Mick Jagger

Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger 142, 1975
Rock On

One of the ten portraits Warhol made of Mick Jagger, 142 shows the rock icon laughing unlike the other nine renditions. Often with pop stars, their stage personality is mistaken with their personal identity. This is especially true with the Stones’ “bad boy” status and their disreputable actions on and off stage. In 1975 The Rolling Stones were in the height of their popularity and Mick Jagger had become a common household name in the U.S. and in the U.K. This print, done that same year, continues Warhol’s series of celebrity portraits; a fascination in public figures like Marilyn Monroe to Mao Zedong saturates most of Warhol’s portfolio. But in actuality, it was the Stones who approached Warhol asking for cover art for their album, “Sticky Fingers.” They were looking for a simple and grabbing image in Warhol’s sensational style to which he delivered. The scandalous picture Warhol produced soon became perhaps the Stones’ most recognizable cover art. This contract began the two subversive icons’ friendship which lasted until Warhol’s death in 1987.

With this print, I feel it is a closer look at the human being Jagger and not the chicken-dancing persona that he took up on stage. Warhol’s screen printing technique begins with a snapshot—a frozen moment of humor that is then pulled away and simplified. This abstraction of Jagger’s face in executed in a way that fundamentally breaks it down to an exaggerated state divided in blocks of color. The yellow rectangle resembles a post-it-note as if Warhol is jotting down only the essential aspects of Jagger’s physique. Overall, there is an experimental and loving feel to this piece in trying to capture Warhol’s friend in a piece of art.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: Guitar and Violin

Picasso, Guitar and Violin, 1912

Fine Tuning

As I write my last blog post of my Junior year in Renaissance Art History late on a Friday night, I would like to thank all the wonderful people I have been able to work with this year in this class. I have learned much, and have much more to learn. I think that this painting might reflect my year in Art History. Abstract, colorful, and strange. At first glance, it seems like a mess of shapes and colors, but really there's more to it. Put together is supposedly a guitar and a violin, and just like my year in this class, all the miscellaneous information that I have learned in the class adds up to something meaningful. 

Picasso, whose full name has actually twenty three words in it, originated in Spain. When he was born, he was so darn small that his midwife thought he was a stillborn. His uncle would come to his saving on that occasion. Picasso completed his first painting at just the age of nine and was known not to be the best student, frequently given detentions. As he got older, he progressed into being a co-founder of the style of Cubism - paintings or works made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and later, collages. He experienced different periods of art which included the rose period, the blue period, each of which he used a theme of blue or rose in his paintings.  

His earlier paintings, before he got into the Cubism style were not so abstract. When viewing one of his early paintings, one can see what he was actually trying to paint instead of using one's imagination. The Guitar and Violin that he painted in 1912 looks nothing like a guitar and violin. (Definition of a Violin: a bowed stringed instrument having four strings that range from G to E having a shallow body, shoulders at right angles to the neck, a fingerboard without frets, and a curved bridge) The violin is played in the treble clef, just like how a guitar and piano are. However, bits and pieces from each instrument in this painting are sprawled out throughout the painting. The scroll from the violin is in the top right corner, the strings from the guitar are in the left-middle of the painting and so is the body of the guitar. 
  • 7:00 AM