NonWestern II

April 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Horizontal Flute Played on the Back of an Ox, by Guo Xu

(date not known)

Guo Xu is very talented at freehand brushwork, he paints things such as flowers, landscapes, grasses and characters. Guo Xu was offered  to paint for the Emperor Xiaozong of the Ming Dynasty but rejected the offer. This piece that I selected is of a child on top of on ox playing the flute. The painting is made of ink and the brushwork is rather simple.

I chose this piece because it stood out to me out of all the art works in the Chinese museums. Do remember the childhood story where a boy plays a flute and mice follow behind him? This is what it reminded me of. A little boy is playing a flute. Although the boy is not controlling where the ox is going by not holding onto the reigns, his flute playing is guiding where the ox should go. Perhaps it’s sort of around the same story line? The ox is hypnotized by the boys playing.

I also like the way Guo Xu painted his piece. Have you noticed that the majority of Asian artworks look alike? Just by the way it is painted, you can tell it is from an Asian artist. I think it’s really cool how you can depict where some art works are from which country.



April 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

Why We Don’t Know, by Christian Goltz in 2010

Christian Goltz explained that: “I try to see and then make simple photographs of what cannot be explained. Normally, it must be beautiful and Namibian. Women, leopards, a milk bush in Namibia and so on.”

I agree with Christian because what can be explained of this image? The topic “Why We Don’t Know” of this art work fits perfectly. As I was researching some things about Christian, he said, he said: “The whole idea of my art is to say things visually.” I think that’s really cool how he said that, like the picture explains itself. His art doesn’t need big paragraphs on what it’s about, just the photograph do the work!

I Chose this mysterious piece because I feel that it just leaves me hanging with questions that crowd me. Looking at this photograph and reading his topic creates questions that just fills my mind. What don’t we know? Don’t know about what? Why don’t we know about “it”? What’s “it”?

I couldn’t find information about this art work, so instead I decided to write a little about Christian Goltz. He grew up in Namibia, Africa but left to go after his dream which was to have a career as a geoscientist. He also graduated from the New York Institute of Photography. In 2008 he returned to his hometown of Namibia and became a full-time photographer and writer. His photography is amazing, it surely shows the African world, including me of what I don’t know and why I don’t know.

Post Modern

April 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Theme: The main message portrayed through my 6 chosen museum exhibits will depict the histories of the past. My theme will show viewers a captured moment of time of life back then in diverse cultures of the world, and will also give the viewers a feeling of recent life whether it’s beautiful, interesting, depressing or amusing.

Biography: Eleanor Antin was born in New York City in 1935. Her works portray history, such as ancient Rome and the Crimean War. She does this as a way to explore the present. Eleanor is a highly respected artist and teacher and has been a professor at the University of California, San Diego since 1975.

The Artist’s Studio from The Last Days of Pompeii, by Eleanor Antin in 2001.

This specific art work by Eleanor Antin is a great way to show viewers a graphic and vivid image of life in ancient Rome. Although it wasn’t very colorful, the you can tell the very uniqueness of this photo, especially through the pottery, the clothes and sculptures. This piece fits perfectly with the rest of my chosen exhibits and theme because it’s an almost exact illustration of life back then. My favorite part of this art work are the pottery and how close Eleanor designed the studio compared to the real thing.

Angel of Mercy, by Eleanor Antin in 1977.

This is also another piece that would fit superbly with all of the other exhibits that I chose because it clearly illustrates life from the Crimean War. It looks very non-fictional as if it were an actual moment captured from that time. You can see pain, confusion and pity in the faces of the man and the lady.

James Garfield, by Lisa Fifield

(I couldn’t find the date and where it was made)

Biography: Lisa Fifield is an artist that is of Native American and German descent, she is a part of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin in the Bear Claw Clan. Lisa has award winning portrayals of native people. She ties the bond of animals in with humans in her paintings.

This painting of the Native American significantly shows how they used to dress in the past. They might still dress like this maybe for ceremonies or dances, but in my eyes, most people dress with the modern style. You can see that he is full blooded and has perfect face features of a Native American. His blood line is strong and you can see the difficulties of his time period in his expression. This is another piece that would fit in with the other exhibits because it also portrays the past in an amazing way.

Birch Bark Woman, by Lisa Fifield

(I couldn’t find the date and where it was made)

 This art piece called Birch Bark Woman, by Lisa Fifield catches my full attention. When I look at it, it reminds me of my culture and how Inpuiaq people are one with the land, that they are a part of it. This piece also makes me think that the birds are going near the birch bark woman because they are not afraid, they are comfortable with the one who is like them. This piece fits in with the rest of my exhibit art works because it also depicts life of the former world. I really admire this piece because this is how it should be.

Nirvana, by Mariko Mori in 1996-97

Biography: Mariko Mori was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1967 but now resides in New York. According to  the site Kunsthaus, it explains that Mariko would combine Japanese tradition and religion, motifs from Eastern and Western art history, as well as contemporary phenomena like fashion, music, science fiction and ect.

When I gaze at this art work, it simply displays the peace of life in Japan. They way the character is dressed blossoms beauty and awe of the past. This is a rare flower. It fits in with my other exhibits because of the strong culture displayed.

Kumano, by Mariko Mori in 1998

This art work by Mariko fits along with the other pieces because it doesn’t show massive buildings, but instead it shows nature beautifully. We all know that in the past, nature was the dominant thing on the Earth, now it’s towers of buildings. So this piece illustrates the simplicity of life back then. As I gaze at this piece, I can see these bright figures, as if they’re angels walking.

Early Modern Era

April 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica made in 1937it can be seen in the Museo Reina Soffa in Madrid.


In World War I…their only light was from a light bulb, and that probably wasn’t even that bright considering that most were broken from the war commotion. No one could see any shed of light, not the light of satisfaction, merriment, contentment and most of all not even the light of love. The only shed of anything was the shed of blood and tears. The colors of life faded to black, grey and white while in the shadows of darkness. The terror of major conflict in this period of time affected the lives of every living thing in the way of bombs, and anything that death got its anxious hand on. That is what I imagine when I look at this tense artwork called Guernica by Pablo Picasso. As I observe this artwork, it’s as if each character is a piece of broken glass. Sort of like the war broke the clear window of peace and tranquility. Perhaps that’s the way Picasso wanted to display this art, because of how the war shattered a lot of things, and the broken glass may resemble that the people from this era were easily broken by reality.

Feelings are revealed through the arts. For example in the visual arts, feelings are shown by the way they are painted and the brush strokes. In this era the “Age of Anxiety” is clearly visible in the visual arts by Picasso. Maybe it’s just me, but when I observe Guernica, I see that things are mixed up. People and animals are dying, and why would they be dying? It’s definitely because of the World War. Paintings highly reflect the horrors from this era. Capturing moments of truth can be horrifying. You see hardships, poverty, destitution, suffering and misery. World War I has a lot of influence on this painting. As stated by Wikipedia, Guernica exhibits suffering people, animals and buildings wrenched by violence and chaos. For example there is a scene in a room where a bull stands over a woman crying over a dead child in her arms. Also a human skull covers a horse’s body and a light bulb bursts into the shape of an evil eye over the suffering horse’s head.

According to Wikipedia Pablo Picasso painted Guernica in response to the bombing of Guernica by German warplanes in 1937. Guernica displays many catastrophes of war and the way war creates suffering on innocent people. Wikipedia also says that this art piece became a reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol and an expression of peace.

I think it’s very interesting how Picasso decided to portray his pieces. It’s cool how each individual has their own unique style and technique applied to their artwork. One reason why I like this piece is the way Picasso illustrated the destruction of war in Guernica. I also like how he shows that war causes nothing but suffering within the economy, that all men, women and children, animals and buildings are affected.



March 30, 2011 § 3 Comments

Impressionism is a style shown in paintings that depicts an impression of a moment in the here and now viewpoint. The subject matter of impressionism includes that the painters often worked outdoors, the paintings were of pleasant moments, did not focus on history and religion and had the effect of light and weather in them. According to Wikipedia, the site explains, “the early impressionists broke the rules of academic painting. They began by giving colors, freely brushed, primacy over line, drawing inspiration from the work of other painters. They also took the act of painting out of the studio and into the modern world. The impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting in plain air. Painting realistic scenes of modern life, they portrayed overall visual effects instead of details.”

Cote d’Azur, by Pierre Bonnard in 1923

My perspective on impressionism shown in paintings has both its pros and cons. I’m leaned more towards the in between of liking it and disliking it. When I observe some impressionist paintings such as one from the painter Pierre Bonnard and his artwork called Cote d’Azur is very blurry, makes me think of a puzzle and looks like finger painting. They’re a lot of colors mixed together which is cool but it’s not my ideal painting and not something I would gaze at or hang up in my living room. Although, in my opinion the pros of impressionist paintings are the eye-catching beauty of the chosen objects such as outside scenes, the soft sunlit pastel colors and a soft blur all over the paintings. I give my thumbs up to August Renoir and his painting called Irene Cahen d’Anvers (Little Irene) and Claude Monet and his painting called Water lilies at Giverny. They both capture my full attention and they are very, very alluring. Makes me think that the girl Irene, she must have been real, and to think that she was alive in 1875, her clothes and the ribbon in her hair define her period of time and helps bring me there. As for lilies, I see that they painted what they see almost everyday and to see those lilies must have been so breathtaking. I would love to see them everyday; where I am from we only get small flowers like the size of our thumbs.

Irene Cahen d’Anvers (Little Irene), by August Renoir in 1879








Water Lilies at Giverny, by Claude Monet, in 1915





Comparing baroque style paintings to impressionist paintings, they have come a long, long way! A painting called The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, by Caravaggio made in 1601-1602 looks very realistic but with a massive amount of shadows, as if it were inside a house. As opposed to impressionist paintings, they are very sunlit, less realistic and less shadows. I would rather prefer baroque style paintings because of how realistic they look, they remind me of the Bible and Jesus’ days with the style of clothes and hair.

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, by Caravaggio in 1601-1602



March 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 was finished in 1824.

This musical piece was premiered on May 7, 1824 in the Karntertor Theater in Vienna.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s musical piece, Symphony No. 9, wouldn’t be my first selection for music. Not because of sound but the reason why I chose this piece was because of the story behind it. It’s sorrowful, tragic and has my full consideration. As I was watching the YouTube link on our written homework assignment, I learned that Beethoven was deaf. How despairing that would be, I am totally in awe of his dedication to his work. It’s very discouraging that such a talented composer can become deaf and not be able to perceive his own written artworks. Yet he conducted Symphony No.9, which would be the most amazing thing to do. According to Wikipedia is says that Beethoven would constantly be offbeat by a couple measures while he was conducting. In my opinion, it takes one very strong person to do something like that, to conduct while impaired. It would also take a lot of courage and boldness, and he was all of them. The most appealing thing about this chosen piece that I selected is Beethoven’s diligent, astonishing and committed self to his musical deeds. I think this would be a great topic to dig deeply in and write about.

Ludwig van Beethoven is a best-known composer from the Classical Era, the period where they strayed away from Baroque style. According to Wikipedia, the choice for simplicity rather than complexity changed the music styles. They moved towards a style where a melody over a subordinate harmony, called homophony was preferred. This new style in music also moved to new changes in social structure, which had an effect to changing the quality of musicians. It was possible for composers to live without being the employee of one person or family. This meant that concerts were no longer limited to palace drawing rooms. Composers were able to feature their own music and it attracted large audiences such as the middle class.

According to Montclair, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “is sometimes characterized as a revolt against the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment in that it prioritized passion, feeling, sentiment, and imagination over reason and logic, but in fact writers express ambivalence about such oppositions.”



February 25, 2011 § 3 Comments

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s The Inspiration of Saint Matthew made in 1602 in Rome, Italy.

This painting is currently held in the Contarelli Chapel, Church of San Luigi deiFrancesi in Rome, Italy.


The painting, The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is an excellent artwork from the Baroque era because it not only creates a curiosity that flows through my mind, but it sparks the spirit of inquiry. Who knows exactly what Caravaggio was thinking when he painted this piece, although someone might have told him what to paint? Every thought and every word? I honestly don’t think that anyone alive knows. One thing I do know is what I am thinking. In my opinion it looks like Saint Matthew ran to that desk rapidly. Do you know when a brilliant thought pops up in your mind one moment and the next it just disappears? Maybe that’s what happened to him, A clever idea popped up in his mind so he briskly ran to the desk to write down that extraordinary thought before he forgot. In our world angels and any supernatural creature is unseen, Saint Matthew can’t see the angel behind him but he looks back as if someone was talking to him. Really, it’s the angel that’s whispering in his ear giving him all sorts of ideas and inspirations. It’s as if the angel is saying “1: go help people in need. 2: give money to the poor. 3…4…5…” and so on and so on. This is what comes to my mind when I look at this compelling painting. I think that the most appealing thing about this artwork is the thoughts I get when I look at it. I like to think that the angel is unseen, and Saint Matthew thinks that someone is talking to him, but really it’s the angel’s unheard voice giving him inspirations great enough to write down.

The story behind Caravaggio’s The Inspiration of Saint Matthew was that a serene angel who is a young boy guided Saint Matthew’s hand as he wrote the gospel. The angel uses his fingers and counts, as the saint takes note. I like reading about the stories behind paintings. Before I read about this painting, I gazed at it for a few minutes then analyzed both the painting and title. After that I just imagine what might have happened then I read what the real story is. The real story and my own thoughts were very similar, but very different. Is the gospel the Bible? Someone would have to know about the Bible and according to the story behind this painting, he was possibly writing the book of Matthew?

The Council of Trent originated from the Roman Catholic Church, and held twenty-five sessions for three periods. The council was entrusted with a plan to oppose the protestant reformation, which is a religious and political change in Rome that was straying away from mannerism. According to Wikipedia, “the council would issue condemnations on what it defined as Protestant beliefs and defined Church teachings in the areas of Scripture and Tradition.” Caravaggio was a part of the Baroque era that grew out of the mannerist era. He was born during the time of the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic Church was trying to regroup after the Protestant Reformation; this had a huge influence in his paintings.  A couple factors that were different from the renaissance era paintings to the Baroque era are the richer and darker colors used and the theme of religion was brought back. Stated by the Atble, after the decline of mannerism, the church wanted simpler art that would have a maximum effect on the emotions and Caravaggio’s art was keeping with the spirit of the Counter-Reformation.