css.php

Extra Credit

For my extra credit, I chose to visit a museum not related to the things we studied in our class but someone rather different. I went to the Museum of Moving Image, as it is one of my favorites because of how different it is. This museum, located near Kaufman Studios in Queens, focuses on film and television. While there are not necessarily paintings and statues like in the Metropolitan Museum or the Brooklyn Museum, there are many other interesting things to look at, such as costumes from movies, fan mail received for certain shows, cameras, and even original movie script drafts.

One thing I saw when I was there was letters from fans of “The Muppet Show.” Some of these were dated back to the 70’s and were often from kids. One specific letter was from a boy named Jay from Michigan, who wrote to the creators of The Muppets to share his concerns of the show being cancelled before he has the chance to work with the muppets. At the end of the letter he even adds a drawing of a muppet saying “We go Bye-Bye!” before signing off as “a concerned kid.” This caught my attention because it was very real and something the kid never would have thought would end up in a museum. He only wanted to discuss his worries about a show he was a fan of becoming cancelled.

Another thing I found interesting was a display of a paper with the original brainstormed ideas for the title of the 1986 film “Labyrinth” starring David Bowie  and Jennifer Connelly. I loved this movie as a child and getting to see something that was a part of the process was interesting. Some of the title ideas were “Magic Maze” and “Inside Outside.” Seeing this reminded me that while the title of a movie may seem insignificant to viewers when thinking about a whole movie, a lot of thought does go into it. The full outfits worn by David Bowie’s character were also on display and being able to examine the details of those up-close showed just how much effort actually goes into creating the clothes worn by characters in things we watch.

In my post about what art is to me, I wrote that art is not limited to just paintings and sculptures because photography, fashion, and film, are also forms of art. This museum is a perfect example of this because it proves that museums are not always just about paintings from centuries ago, they can be about things we enjoy in our daily lives too.

Final Project: The Female and The Male Nude

When examining sculptures throughout various eras of art, it is now evident that many are nude. The nude is a significant part of art and it’s implications are just as significant, especially in Greco-Roma/Western art. However, it appears that more often than not, there are more male nude figures than the female figures, which poses the question of why this is. Further exploration of nude sculptures from the time periods prove that there are in fact many differences between the nude sculptures of men and women.

The emergence of the nude became more frequent in ancient Greek art. In the art from this decade, we see various different nude male sculptures with the ideal male body because the Greeks, unlike other ancient civilizations, did not associate the nude with indecency and weakness. These sculptures have athletic bodies and this was done as a way to signify everything the people of that time valued the most, such as, success, power, strength, and glory. The Greek youth already spent time in the nude when training or competing in athletic events so the nude was natural for them. In his book “Greek Art: From Prehistoric to Classical: a Resource for Educators” Michael B. Norris states that the Greek associated being in the nude to “heroic excellence.” For example, for my project one of the artworks I looked at was the 1st-2nd century Roman copy of the Marble statue of the Diandoumenos by Polykleitos from 430 B.C. that can be found at the MET. The statue depicts an athletic youth tying a fillet around his head; the MET’s description of the statue states that “the position of the feet- poised between standing and walking- gives a sense of potential movement,” which shows that the artists cared to show that the statues didn’t just have athletic figures but was actually moving and participating athletics. There are various copies of this statue and they imitate Polykleitos’ original portrayal of the male body because Polykleitos paid careful attention to his statues’ body parts, proportions, and stances. This is done not only to make the figures accurate but to help the audience get a proper sense of the heroic strength the statues are meant to exude. Norris also explains the importance of a well-proportioned body by stating that a “perfect proportioned, well-trained body was considered an outward manifestation of the striving for excellence that marked a hero.”

Most nude male statues do not shy away from illustrating the details of the male genitalia. However, when it comes to female nude statues it is the exact opposite. From all the different female statues that I examined, none of them were explicit with the detailing of the female genitals. This can be traced back to the fact that many viewed the female nude as a symbol of sex and sexuality and viewed that as shameful if it was not focused on fertility. For years, the female body was not shown in the nude unless it was the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. This only started after the Aphrodite of Knidos by Prexiteles was created and became one of the very first sculptures of a nude female, setting precedent for other female nude sculptures. Nonetheless, breasts were not as taboo and are shown more commonly. The marble statue of a wounded Amazon (found at the MET), for example, shows an Amazonian woman with an injury under her right breast, while the other breast is covered with her clothes. Another example is the Marble statue of a Seated Muse, which shows a muse sitting on a rock. While her breasts her exposed, the lower half of her body is covered with clothing.

For my project I chose to create a collage of various sculptures in the nude. In my collage, you can see the differences in the depictions of male genitalia versus the female; one is almost always more detailed than the other. The male’s perfect athletic bodies are also shown and the females’ breasts are visible in all the artworks shown. The differences between the bodies of men and women in sculptures is evident when look at art. The power of art is that we can get a message across just by showing, so rather than using words to compare the difference between Michelangelo’s “David” and a statue of Aphrodite, I chose to juxtapose the numerous female and male statues in a collage as a good way to look into this.

Final Annotated Bibliography

  • Sorabella, Jean. “The Nude in Western Art and Its Beginnings in Antiquity.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/nuan/hd_nuan.htm (January 2008)

This source briefly discusses the nude in Greek art. Since the sculptures I chose for my project are from the MET, I decided to use this specifically. It compares the use of the male’s athletic, celebrated body to the female’s “seductive and life-giving” one.

  • Szepessy, Victor. “Representation of the Female Body in Hellenistic Sculpture.” Academia.edu – Share Research, 2011, www.academia.edu/7394370/Representation_of_the_Female_Body_in_Hellenistic_Sculpture.

This academic essay also discusses the way the female body was represented in ancient art, specifically the Hellenistic era. I am using this because the author examines the art of a time period and how it impacted the way the human body was portrayed in art. He also looks into the different arguments that art historians have on what artists actually meant to get across with the various male and female nudes.

  • Christine Mitchell Havelock, The Aphrodite of Knidos and Her Successors: A Historical Review of the Female Nude in Greek Art.” 1995.

This book by Christine Mitchell explains the history of the Aphrodite of Knidos and the numerous other versions of the Goddess in the nude. I am using this because Aphrodite of Knidos by Prexiteles was one of the very first sculptures of a nude female and set precedent for other female nude sculptures. Looking into this sculpture and its history will provide me with further perspective on why a woman in the nude is different from a man in the nude.

When working on my project I noticed that female genitalia is depicted differently than male genitalia. McFadden’s article delves into the vague presentation of female genitals and how this is a commonality in almost all sculptures. She also explores what the shift in history was that caused the “erasure of the vulva.”

  • Norris, Michael. Greek Art: From Prehistoric To Classical: a Resource for Educators. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.

Michael Norris’ book focuses on various pieces of Greek art and provides in depth details about the pieces, as well as their history. This is useful for my project because he talks about some of the sculptures that I have used in my project. He also discusses the male body and how it is portrayed with ideal athleticism in Greek art.

Final Project Outline

Topic: The Significance and Differences of Female and Male Nude  Sculptures

Thesis: When examining sculptures throughout various eras of art, it is evident that many are are nude. The nude is a significant part of art and it’s implications are just as significant. However, it appears that more often than not, there are more male nude figures than the female figures, which poses the question of why this is. Further exploration of nude sculptures from the time periods prove that there are in fact many differences between the nude sculptures of men and women.

The artworks are related to my topic because they can all be used to compare the similarities and differences in the design of the statues based on gender.

(All the art I will be using is from The MET)

The Marble Statue of Diadoumenos: youth tying a fillet around his head (69-96 A.D); Roman; Attributed to Polykleitos 
Marble Statue of a Seated Muse (1st or 2nd Century AD); Roman copy of a Greek of a 3rd century statue
Marble Statue of a Wounded Amazon; (1st or 2nd Cetury AD); Roman copy of a Greek bronze statue of ca. 420-425 B.C 
Marble Statue of Aphrodite (3rd–2nd century B.C.); Greek; Artist Unknown
Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1804-6); Italian, Rome; Artist: Antonio Canova

 

 

The MET Visit

The MET has always been one of my favorite places to visit despite the long lines and large groups of tourist. Its size makes it is easy to get lost in, however, you still find something to look at and admire even if you can’t seem to figure out which part of the museum you are in. I have been there numerous times yet still find many things I have never seen before. The art from various cultures and eras makes it so that every corner of the museum has something that will pique someone’s interest, even those who aren’t fans of museums and find them boring. This visit was particularly fun because I saw many pieces that we actually studied in class, such as the sculpture of the Roman man’s portrait.

When examining the differences in Renaissance and Baroque art I focused mainly on paintings. At first it was difficult to tell the difference between the two eras because there are so many similarities. For example, in both Renaissance and Baroque art there was an emphasis on religion and religious figures. However, after looking for a while, it became more apparent that Baroque art was more dramatized and depicted scenes of chaotic emotions and actions. Meanwhile, Renaissance art, mainly from Italian origins, was much more natural with clear linear perspective and a focus on still life.

For the Renaissance era I used Fra Angelico’s “The Crucifixion,” dated to the 1420s. This is a great example of Renaissance art because it focuses on a violent religious event, however, the artist manages to make the scene appear delicate. The picture depicts Christ crucified on the cross with people surrounding him and angels in the background. Some of the men appear to be holding spears that have caused the wounds on Christ. There is blood coming out Christ’s chest, but true to Renaissance qualities even that appears still and light, like the other hues of red in the painting that are also light. Even the Virgin Mary passed out on the floor lacks the dramatic chaos of what would be seen if this were to be a Baroque painting. 

 

“The Rape of Tamar,” by Estauche Le Seur from the 1640s, is the Baroque painting that caught my attention because of what was being shown. Although there are only three people in the painting, it seems like there is a lot happening. At the forefront is a man with a dagger held high, aimed at a woman with her breasts peeking out of her disheveled dress. Both of their faces show fear, which adds to the mayhem surrounding them. True to Baroque era qualities, there is real sense of dramatic disorder, especially upon looking into the context of the story which is one of a man named Amnom- the son of David- raping his half-sister. This action in the painting is illustrated through the running maid in the background, the vases scattered on the floor, and the flying sheets and clothes. Despite being a painting, there is no stillness to the painting and the audience can practically feel the urgent emotions that are being shown.

Unit 2: The Ancient World

In unit 2, we explored art within Ancient civilizations, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Much like everything else, the history of their art also provided us with insight into the state of their society and environment, as well as their beliefs and values. These civilizations had many similarities and differences in their art, which also reflects what they considered to be of importance.

One of the most common theme amongst the art of the ancient world was religion. The Mesopotamian’s and the Egyptians were similar in the fact that their “Gods” often had animalistic features. This was a way to create obvious distinction between the power and status of the Gods and humans. We can also see the blatant socioeconomic differences between rulers and common civilians in both of these civilizations art. The Standard of Ur, from the Royal Tombs at Ur, is a good example of Mesopotamian art that depicts this. With two sides to the “standard” we can see the two sides of life at the time: peace and war. Not only does the standard depict order and chaos but it also makes the concepts of the class and hierarchal system of the society more evident. The people (and animals) on the bottom level, who are the common people are less detailed, while the people on the top who are royalty are much more detailed. This is similar to the Egyptian Palette of King Narmer, because it also portrays scenes of war, power, and hierarchy. Narmer, who was royalty and the Falcon, who was a God are both the biggest and most detailed are in the top level, to show their importance. Meanwhile, those on the bottom are much less important as they appear dead. This kind of art was common and showed that the people during this time valued royalty and religion. It also allows the audience a peek into the significant details and lifestyles of the civilizetions.

the standard of ur
Palette of Narmer

 

 

Doryphoros

 

 

 

The Greek and Romans, unlike the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, embraced humanist concepts more frequently. They believed that embracing the human qualities was important and portrayed their Gods to have such qualities. While the Greeks used their ability to illustrate motion and stance in their more idealized versions of the human body, the Romans on the other hand chose to make their sculptures appear more lifelike by focusing on the details of the human body and face and not shying away from the “flaws” of humans. For example, Polykleitos’ Doryphoros represents the Greeks’ idealistic image of the male body. Doryphoros’ contrapposto stance, with his weight resting on one leg and his shoulders more balanced, provided a more realistic stance than those of sculptures from earlier civilizations. Nevertheless, where his body exuded strength, power, and athleticism, his face lacked any distinguishable features.

 

Despite taking inspiration from the Greeks, the Romans looked past the practically unattainable “perfect” male bodies, choosing to focus more on the imperfect human aspects. They even made sure their Gods were portrayed wearing clothes rather than complete nakedness. The Romans chose to go with the concept of portraiture because it reflected their goals as a Republic. They were eager to represent themselves with balding heads and wrinkles which they viewed as a way of showing wisdom and hard work rather than flaws.

 

Unit 1 Summary

Throughout Unit 1, we focused on types of learning, which is something that comes in handy for an art history class since we are required to both examine different pieces of art and think about them critically. First we learned about critical pedagogy with Paulo Freire’s Banking Model of learning. Freire’s theory discussed the issues with teachers merely “depositing” information into their students, which is impacting students ability to learn and truly think critically. I think learning about this “model” was imperative, especially because as a student I have experienced this numerous times and it has impacted both my understanding of a subject, as well as my interest in it. Examining Freire’s criticisms of the education system as one of the first things we did in this class was necessary because it put into perspective how inefficient learning can be if students are not thinking for themselves. Thinking for yourself is crucial in art history since we are required to analyze different forms of art to get a better understanding of them.

The need to analyze pieces of art becomes much easier once the concept of formal analysis comes into practice. Formal analysis is used to comprehend art work by using what the artist provides us with. We can thoroughly look at the artists use of color or lines and use it to interpret the intentions behind those techniques. Putting this to to the test in class when we looked at paintings was very helpful. For example, when we looked at Titan’s Venus of Urbino, I found myself paying attention to and actually thinking about minuscule things that I normally would not have, such as the different hues and types of lines. Formal analysis allowed us to take simple things and think about them at our own pace rather than being told what we should think, which is something that can be difficult in other subjects.

Formal Analysis

In our day-to-day lives we see various images that we glance at and rarely think about ever again. However, these images and other pieces of art that we come across usually have something specific that they are trying to convey. To maintain a better understanding of an art-piece, people often use a technique referred to as formal analysis. This method is used to analyze only what the artist provides the audience with visually in their piece rather than also referring to outside information or historical context. Instead of simply describing what can be seen, formal analysis requires interpreting an artist’s choice of colors, lines, space, scale, modeling, etc. These things and the various ways they can be used let the audience know what the artist wants to get across. These things can help us see what the artist is emphasizing, what the mood of the piece is, and what kind of emotions they wanted to evoke. In a way, using formal analysis can help a person to really think about and appreciate something they normally may not.

Pedagogy and Power: Freire’s Banking Model

The banking model of education is Paulo Freire’s take on the version of education in which teachers play the role of a “narrator” that simply “deposit” information to their students who are their information “containers.” To Friere, this type of education is damaging to students since they become conditioned to listen, memorize, and repeat everything they’re being taught instead of truly grasping the concepts behind the topics that are being taught. The students also often end up not having the right kind of experience when it comes to the so-called “real world” after graduating.This form of education empowers teachers, as they are the ones in positions of authority, sharing the knowledge, and disciplining, whereas the students are the ones complying with sitting back, taking in the information, and being disciplined. This happens at the expense of the masses and society as a whole due to people’s lack of interest in asking questions and sharing their opinions since they have become so used to a certain method of only taking in the information that seems necessary.

In today’s education system, I think experiences with this model are inevitable. With the push for standardized exams and “Common Core” in elementary, middle, and high schools students are becoming more and more inclined to just take in information that is being provided to them without bringing up any questions. Much through my years as a student, especially in science and history classes, I felt as if I couldn’t do much but memorize certain things to actually pass a class. I could tell you that “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” but ask me if I actually understand what the means and I wouldn’t have a clue. The constant need for memorization led me further away from the actual information and more towards Robot-That Must Pass The Class. To me, this is one of the main reasons why I (and other students) become disinterested in topics that could have actually been interesting.

My Art Story

The definition of “art” depends solely on the person who is defining it. When asked about art, most people will immediately think of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. The first thing that might come to their minds when they hear the word are things such as Monet’s Water Lilies, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or Michelangelo’s David. However, art doesn’t have to stop there. There are no limits to art because art is everywhere. It’s in the pictures we take, the songs we listen to, the books and poems we read, the films we watch, the clothes we wear, the buildings we walk past. Art is anything that helps us express ourselves.                                                                      ..               

Growing up I’ve always appreciated art in all forms, or at least, I’ve tried my best to. I think it’s important to sometimes look into things that you personally may not understand or even be too invested in, just to get a sense of it. When I was younger I used to draw often, I even went to art classes outside of school. I eventually stopped, not for any reason other than the fact that I was 7 and couldn’t care to focus on one thing for too long. Over the years I have found myself becoming more and more interested in things that can be considered art. I enjoy photography the most because it relies mainly on real life things that catch your eye at a specific moment. Photography led me to my interest in Photoshop and editting, especially because I find the ability to change a picture into something different fascinating. I’ve also always been into books, music, and films/cinematography because the way stories are told through these can be so different yet similar and intriguing at the same time.Visiting museums is always fun for me, which is something I’m looking forward to in this class. It’s interesting discussing the history, the intentions, and the meanings of pieces in large groups because everyone interprets things differently and this is a great way to expand both my knowledge and appreciation of art.