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.
For the first part of the Assignment, I decided to enter the Ancient Korean Exhibit. I fell in love with these art pieces. This was my 3rd time into the museum. Everytime I go to the museum I check on this section because everything seems so expensive. From what I noticed about each art piece, one thing that all stood out about all of them were there sizes. They were all small and in my mind this means something of a decoration or tool. A figure such as the mini Buddha was considered to be both a religious piece. you can tell it was a religious piece by the position it was in. It was in a position of meditating and you can also make it out as religious because the hands are clasp together in a way that shows prayer. Like a divine being. it also looks decorative because it was made of gold, either owned by a wealthy family or an Emperor. The snail art piece looks to be a kettle. This kettle was a special kettle because of the designs it held that had drawings and other symbols. The museum didn’t provide any information on the kettle, but like the Egyptian makeup tool we discussed in class, this was probably just an everyday item that is considered a work of Art in today’s world. One thing I can say about it is that it seems to be representing someone because of the braided hair roped down it’s back. Finally my favorite piece of all, the Dragon holding what I think is a bucket. This Dragon was most likely a decorative piece because it doesn’t have any sign showing that it would mean anything more than just a Dragon holding a vase. It was most likely owned by someone wealthy because it’s made up of gold. In my opinion and best guess, I would say that the winding of the Dragon serves a purpose of showing immense strength by holding up the vase. Korean history is very rich. One important thing I must point out is the feeling I felt in this exhibit. These different pieces all brings out a tranquil mood because everything looks peaceful and clean. It just doesn’t show a history of battles. It shows a history of peace and tranquility.
This art piece was at the entrance of all the exhibits. I don’t know what exhibit it belongs to. But one thing to point out is the obvious symbolism of what innocence is. This picture uses a clear sky to symbolize freedom and uses the white clothing to symbolize innocence. One look at this image and it creates a warm and nice feeling to accommodate the innocence and beauty of the women in the picture. The 3 women all look away to make you feel and ask what are they looking at in the distance. The way the lighting is in the picture create the women to look like angelic figures.
Part I: Ancient World Exhibit
This is a pair statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta. In the statue, I see two individuals that are are linked together by their left and right arms, hence why it is called a “pair statue.” I don’t exactly know if the two individuals in the sculpture are, but I am assuming it can be a man and woman of high power sitting holding hands. It can also be a husband and wife, two siblings, mother and son, or father and daughter. My assumptions are based on the distinct gender difference between the two individuals. The one on the right has pronounced breasts and larger eyes and the left person has a more structured jaw. Also, the person on the right has a black outlining around her eyes and is more indication the right individual is a female. Some other things I have seen is that the man has a different headset than the person on his right. Actually, the women has no headset and only has visible hair and only a necklace. Looking at the larger picture, both individuals are sat on top of a throne or maybe just a regular chair. The linking of arms indicate the two individuals are very close to each other, both physically and spiritually. The physical dimensions of the sculpture according to the catalogue description is: 15 7/8 x 8 9/16 x 9 1/4 in. (40.4 x 21.8 x 23.5 cm). The medium seems to be limestone. There are engravings on the “skirts” of each individual. On the sides and back of the throne/chair, there are more hieroglyphs.
Part II Museum Assignment: Soul of a Nation Exhibit
One Soul of a Nation art piece has particularly grabbed my attention and it is Wadsworth Jarrell’s Black Prince. What caught my eye is the myriad of colors used, but the colors that caught my attention first were red, blue, and yellow. A bulk of the artwork is red and white. Half of Malcolm’s face is mostly red and the other half is white with a few other colors such as yellow, red, and green. The overall theme of Soul of a Nation is Black excellence. The words painted on this piece are: “To correct unjust conditions,” “I Believe in Anything and Everything,” “As long as it get results,” and “Political, Economical, Social, Physical, Anything Necessary.” This painting is similar to the other paintings in the Soul of a Nation exhibit in that the paintings sheds light on Black power and Black artists in the 1960s to 1980s. It brings a large population of black artists to collaborate and share their ideas. As for the formal properties, the painting is acrylic on canvas, measures 44 cm by 64 cm. The artist painted this in 1971 which is, as mentioned before, a prominent and flourishing time for black power and black excellence. This was also a time of the Civils Rights movements which is why Malcolm X is present in this painting. The emergence of black leaders and movements during this time period inspired these paintings.
My experience at the Brooklyn Museum was quite informative and interest. Specifically, I spent the majority of my time at the Ancient Egyptian exhibit. The unique forms of art on display were quite different from many of the other pieces within the museum. Additionally, one piece caught my eye when I walked into the exhibit. The “Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpare” is placed directly in the middle of the room and in many ways serves as the main focus. The relatively dark room is awakened by the multiple single lights which bring this piece to life. This piece has such extensive detail which is can be thoroughly explain through formal analysis. Through the various elements within the piece, one aspect immediately stood out to me. The color truly brought this piece to life and proved to be its defining factor. Created with the use of linen mixed with plaster, the texture of the piece is quite evident. A rigid surface featuring quite curvaceous lines. In fact, the piece as a whole is quite rounded. With it being quite large, all the surface area is taken up by some sort of painted image, design or color pattern. The color scheme is on the darker side with plenty of oranges, blacks, greens, browns. This seems to be a common theme among ancient Egyptian pieces. However, the bright orange is very different from other pieces. The images on the piece seemed to be of women and also human bodies with animal heads. Compared to concepts discussed in class, it is important to continue to understand the historical background with works of art. This may very well be considered art now but at one time held a truly holy meaning and served as a significant portion of the transfer to the after-life.
The Soul of a Nation was one of the more modern exhibits which featured concepts which are quite familiar. Black history is excellently represented in an artistic manner within the exhibit. Moreover, with all of the interesting pieces, there was one which truly caught my eye. “The First One Hundred Years,” is a dark yet beautiful painting which highlights many of the significant struggles the African Americans faced in the time period. The one aspect which caught my eye was the unique blending of colors. The dark purple and the lighter blue combine to create a barrier within the painting. It is almost as if it symbolizes the evil present and the good which is still possible but is far into the distance. Overall, the color scheme is quite dark but yet also cool. Additionally, the shading used gives a smokey effect in the lower middle portion of the painting. This acts as the foundation for the many different symbols within the piece. For example, bright red of the confederate flag is highlighted behind the dark smokey purple. Images of the devil, skulls, KKK members, all stand out. Another important detail is including the large dark tree in the background. Notice there are no leaves on it and it in many ways looks quite dark and evil. A corpse is hanging on the branches which attributes to the evil theme this tree holds. Compared to the rest of the exhibition, there was no other image which clearly and confidently laid out the evil in America during this time period. The dark and yet necessary images of corpses and KKK members represent the time period perfectly. Additionally, it is not often you see dark colors, especially within artwork. This was especially the case within this exhibits. Color schemes ranged from being either very bright with oranges and reds. Others were either completely black, white or both. Yet, nothing was really in-between those colors except for this piece.
For Part I of the assignment I chose to dive into the Egyptian Art exhibition at the Museum. As soon as I saw the sculpture showed above I was interested to analyze this particular work of art which is called Pair Statue of Nelson and Never-ta. Using Formal Analysis I immediately noticed that the sitting couple is made out of Limestone. As I looked around I noticed that the bench where they are sitting on has writing all around it and not only in the bench but also in the persons clothing. This makes me think of the art work we saw in class and how sculptures from all other places in the wold also had writing during those times. This means that they all had their own language and similar ideas when it came to language. Their clothing and neckless have an appearance of people who are in high level society which made me think that they are a married couple from the royalty. What makes me come to the conclusion that they are married is that the are both have one arm being each other’s back and not only that but the artist made their arm unnaturally long and if looked closer on the sides they are holding each other with affection. Their body posture is stiff and everything seems alined. There is parallel lines in every section of writing. Furthermore this writing and the limestone is painter with different colors of blue, red, brow, and black. Furthermore the volume of hair in each person is large and it makes their faces look smaller, specially the woman whose face is smaller and has a larger neck. It seems that they both are wearing some sort of make-up in their eyes which makes those look bigger and angled. the size of the Sculpture is a small. I love what it represents and I love looking at it. Using formal made me understand in a deeper way what the sculpture represented in Egyptian times.
For Part II, in Soul of a Nation, after looking around the exhibit I found my attention to be caught under this amazing yet horrifying painting, The First One Hundred Years by Archibald Motley 1891-1981. As you can see in the pictures I took, the painting seems to be oiled based. Also the use of dark and cold colors is very mesmerizing because it helps the viewer feel what is going on. In the painting I feel that the artist wants the viewer to focus on the two faces that hang on the tree (Martin Luther King Jr.- J.F.K) and one from the house (Abraham Lincoln). Those are the faces of important activist and presidents of the United States. The main thing they all have in common is that they were all assassinated. I chose these particular painting because it summarizes everything bad and wrong that happened during African American slavery and when the confederate flag was wave by the prosecutors and the “pure” white people. All this horrendous events took place under the times of those three individuals’s faces. To me the painting is very sad and scary. When I saw the painting, it made me feel anger. To the whole exhibition this work of art in particular shows what African Americans had to go through before they obtained freedom. The Exhibition is about the Soul of a Nation, it has work of art that represent the time where Blacks resisted oppression, and the time where people made a difference. Basically the exhibition as a Then and a Now. The painting above is very powerful and meaning full and the way it was painted with different colors, scale and dimensions make the viewer to want to see it. After Motley concluded this work of art, he never painted again.
This artwork seems to look interesting to me somehow because of its colors, lines, and shapes. However, this artwork was by William T Williams was an American abstract geometric painting. Williams included the colors red, blue, yellow, pink, purple, green, black, brown, and orange. Not only his colors were outstanding but also the shape of the line, such as thick and thin line, big and small shapes. The line of the shape or sharp edges were all connected together. Mostly, the shapes were squares and rectangles.
I can compare the artwork to another famous painter named Pablo Picasso. He was spanish painter and I used to learned about him in my art class. This artwork was called”Girl Before A Mirror” Although he uses different techniques to design his artwork. However, he drew a mirror reflection with some black line pattern, circles as the body parts, black and white triangles as the chest and all different colors on the faces, hair and body. It actually shows a figure of a girl with an emotional feeling while the other artwork does not but only with a geometric shape.
P.S — The picasso painting was not in the museum, I just wanted to talk about the connection between them that I found it interesting.