Brooklyn Museum Assignment

For my formal analysis of art from the ancient world, I chose to focus on “Painted  Coffin Interior” 1070-945 BCE.  To begin with what we discussed in class and how this piece relates to our discussions, we can see that this coffin interior uses different registers to section off certain parts. The thick, light blue lines act as the registers divider, and the light blue is the most prominently featured color. Along with the light blue, there is white, dark green, gray, and black used. Also featured is a diamond pattern on  king Osiris’ legs, and semi-circles used for his torso. King Osiris is the central figure, taking up a majority of the coffin’s interior, and the largest in scale in relation to all the other figures depicted. The images of birds is repeated often throughout the registers, some of which have human faces. Next to many of the birds looks to be fruit, specifically grapes or berries. Like many pieces of Ancient Egyptian Art there is an ohm featured on the second register from the bottom. By the King’s feet we see a depiction of Anubis and another animal-type creature supporting the King’s legs. The King is also holding a striped staff or cane, across his chest. A heavily repeated image is the reddish circle with the white outer rim. It is repeated over the king’s head, at the very top of the coffin, and there are four that surround the kings torso. At the very top, it is unclear but it looks like two eyes are painted, perhaps to watch over the deceased in the afterlife.


A piece of art that spoke to me instantly from the soul of a nation collection was Wadsworth Jarrell’s Black Prince. It depicts a colorful and powerful image of Malcolm X holding up a finger. What I was immediately drawn to was the intense palette of red the artist used. Next to this painting were several other paintings also using vibrant and passionate reds to “drive” the art. After exploring the entire museum i found the soul of a nation collection to be the most striking and powerful. This piece, like many of the pieces in the museum, seem to represent the ongoing struggle African Americans have had in this country. Malcolm X is one of the most recognizable African American leaders in the past century so to choose him as the subject was very poignant. As mentioned the intensity of reds drew me into this painting but once closer, standing a few feet in front of the art, the painting took an entirely new dimension. The artist used hundreds of recurring “B”s to shape the painting, and repeating B words such as Black, Beautiful, and Bad. Along with all the B’s there is Malcolm’s X famous quote about using any means necessary. The quote hangs around X’s chest almost like a pendant or necklace, worn as a badge of honor. A small detail that I believe to be important is that the colors extend beyond the border of the painting. There are dots and splashes of paint beyond the white border, breaking through frame.






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