Thursday, January 26, 2017

Baltimore Museum of Art


This first piece is Clearing in the Forest, by Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Pena.  It is an oil piece on canvas from the year 1863.  I really enjoy Pena's use of light to illuminate the clearing from an almost central point in the background.  The trees and shadows create interesting depth and the small subjects allow the viewer to imagine themselves in the environment.
Afterglow on the banks of the Nile, c. 1840-1848, is by far one of my favorite pieces found in the BMA.  This French painting, by Jean-Adrien Guignet, was made during the romantic era of art and is not an accurate depiction of the Nile, but it is beautiful.  The horizon line splits the painting quite low, leaving a large portion of space for the sky.  The color fade to create a well blended sunset with just small hints of dark detail to give the painting character.
My favorite piece in the Baltimore Museum of Art is Venice, the Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute, by Francesco Guardi, in 1750.  Guardi painted what was known as view paintings during the era of the Grand Tour, a time when artists traveled around Europe to visit the best artworks  known to man at the time.  This painting of Venice, and many others, were sold as if they were postcards, so that travelers could have a keepsake of the city.  I enjoy the symmetry of this piece greatly.  The cathedral in the background sits as a center vanishing point for the lines of the canal and its buildings.  This painting is about 3 ft by 4 ft and the tiny architectural details are stunning.  Along with the composition and small detail, I find the choice of colors quite intriguing.  The painting is dark, reflecting the underlying turmoil that was occurring in Venice at the time of the Grand Tour, but Guardi wanted to make his city look as best as it could.  He most definitely does that with this painting.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I found Italo Calvino's description of imagination very interesting and intriguing.  He presents the concept of imagination in a couple different ways.  The reading begins with a relation to Dante when he discusses "high fantasy".  This seems to be a more complex side of imagination, different from simple tasks such as dreamer.  It constitutes higher order thought.  Calvino then goes on to describe two types of the process of imagination, "the one that starts with the word and arrives at the visual language, and the one that starts with the visual image and arrives at its verbal expression" (83).  I thought this was very easy for any member of society to relate to.  While we can read words on a page in a book and create a mental image of the passage, we can also see an image and describe its details and how we interpret it.  Calvino also discusses imagination related to St. Ignatius of Loyola and Christianity.  The idea of using imagination through meditation and contemplation appears extremely rational and helpful.  Loyola wishes that his followers are completing his spiritual exercises and imagining before themselves physical places and metaphorical goals, or even sins, that are a part of their lives.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What is art?  Art is more than a painting, drawing, or sculpture.  Art is an experience that we as humans do not, and will not, fully understand.  It has the ability to inspire and arouse all sorts of emotions, and every piece is uniquely made to provoke a large array of reactions.  In the article, The Whole Ball of Wax, Jerry Saltz discusses the abilities and meaning of art through philosophy and its influence on the mind and person.  Art has the ability to combat the issues of a society and heal not only an individual, but a nation.  It creates both a collective mind and also thousands of unique interpretations that are debated through out centuries of history.  Among his artistic diction and philosophical tone, one line Saltz wrote really stuck out to me.  He wrote that "art tells you things you don't know you need to know until you know them."  Art has a way of explaining the unknown to us.  Even if we do fully understand it, we develop a connection that allows us to process it as it best relates to us individuals.  This connection is adds to the experience that a work of art gives, encouraging one's mind to either love or despise a piece.  Art is complicated and difficult to explain but it can impact the world in beautiful ways.

Postmodernism

As time progressed through the mid to late 1900's we can see a huge variety of change and development.  Cultures are combining left and ...