Japanese Art of the Edo Period


Japanese art is beautiful and full of traditions and fantasy. Although each era in Japan’s rich art history has many great pieces of art the Edo Period would have to be one of my favorites. The Edo Period was established under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate from 1603 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The art from this period of Japan’s history was simple but the detail they had put into their art is truly a treat for the eye.

DP130155, 2/7/06, 11:18 AM, 16C, 6856x8852 (180+693), 100%, Rona Copywork,  1/30 s, R93.8, G57.6, B56.4  Working Title/Artist: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji)Department: Asian ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: 10Working Date: 1831-33 photography by mma, Digital File DP130155.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 8_17_11

The first piece of art in this exhibit is called The Great Wave at Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai (Japan) was part of a series of his paintings know as the Series of Thirty–Six Views of Mount Fuji spanning the years of 1831-1833. This painting expresses the raw power of the waves off the coast of Kanagawa. Using Mount Fuji as the focal point of the painting really make the wave look like huge towers of water crashing down of the tiny long boats that are desperately trying to maneuver the treacherous waters. I really admire the artists use of color and detail of the waves. The white highlights the blue water giving it motion and outlining the breaks. What really makes the wave almost scary, other than its monstrous size, is how the artist makes the wave tips look sharp like the talons of a carnivorous bird making it feel as though the wave is going to snatch up the sailors and drag them down to the darkest depths of the sea. 

RISDM 20-1251

The piece in this exhibit is called Crane and Waves (Nami ni Tsuru) created by Utagawa Hiroshige (Japan) some time during the 1830’s. This is a simple but beautiful piece of nothing more than a crane standing on a piece of wood in the waves. Just as in The Great Wave at Kanagawa painting, the wave’s beautiful blue color is outlined with streaks of white and the lines created with the blues and whites brings movement to the wave. Their is a good bit of detail in the crane especially in the wings and the legs which have lines to accent the fibers in the feathers and the wrinkled skin on the legs. 

Working Title/Artist: Station of Otsu: From the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (The "Reisho Tokaido")Department: Asian ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: ca. 1848-49 photography by mma, Digital File DP123205.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 4_6_11

The third and final piece in this exhibit is known as Station of Otsu created by Ando Hiroshige (Japan) as part of the series Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido 1848-1849. This piece shows what daily life was like at the shops along the Tokaido highway. The artist uses great detail in his line work and the colors used and flavor to the painting. This painting is like a window of what was going on in Japan during the mid 1800s, from the clothing they wore to the way that vendors were setup as opposed to today’s Japan.

Artist of the Edo period were, in my opinion, some of Japans best. Their line work added so much detail and the colors used added a lot of flavor and feeling to their work. The Japanese culture is a fascinating one and the study of their art work is a great way really get a feel for their compassion for tradition, nature, and their livelihood both past and present.

“Edo Period“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 July 2015. Web. 5 August 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edo_period

“ Meiji Restoration“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 July 2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_Restoration

“Tokugawa Shogunate“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 5 August 2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokugawa_shogunate

“Art of the Edo Period (1615–1868)“. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/edop/hd_edop.htm

“Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 May 2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-six_Views_of_Mount_Fuji

“Station of Otsu: From the Fifty–three Stations of the Tokaido (The “Reisho Tokaido”)“. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/JP804

“Hiroshige“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 July 2015. Web. 5 August 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshige

“Edo Period (1615–1868)“. The Art of Asia. Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2011-2012. Web. 5 August 2015. http://archive.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/history/japan-edo-period.cfm

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Video Game Art


The first video game that wasn’t on a computer, Pong, was released in 1972 by Atari Inc. which had started a radical new twist on the use of computers. Granted this pioneer in the video game world was very crude and simplistic but this game was just the first step in a of many steps that would lead us into the gorgeous looking video game art and graphics that we have today which look so real it’s unreal. This art exhibit will focus on just 2 of the many artists that have been creating video game art over the 43 years that console/arcade video games have been around.

John Liberto

John Liberto, a concept artist in Seattle Washington, has created many beautiful pieces of conceptual art for several video games while working for OculusVR in Irvin, California. While I believe that all of his concept art is among the best, for this exhibit I will focus solely on his art work from his Halo 4 collection.


These 3 drawing were created by John Liberto in 2010 while he was at OculusVR in Irvin, California creating conceptual art for the Halo 4 video game that came out on the Xbox 360. The first piece (top left) is of Cortana Vinyl Soundtrack, an image of an AI program, the second (top right) Chief And Warthog is of Master Chief under fire on top of his warthog vehicle, and the final (bottom left) piece Jungle Trunks is of Master Chief walking through a jungle scene. I find that these 3 peices are a great representation of John’s work. The detail in each of the drawings are are incredible from Cortana’s hair showing almost every hair follicle to the battle scares of Master Chiefs armor. The character’s in his art, especially Cortana, are incredible life like and very well proportioned which really enhances the realism effect. John has also made great use of lighting and shadows in his drawing, the 2 with Master Chief anyway, which add more depth and realism to these pieces. These drawings beautiful and express the truly incredible talent that John Liberto has achieved with many hours of hard work and a steady hand.


Another great video game artist is Adam Adamowicz who was best known for his work with Bethesda Softwork from 2005 until 2012 when he had died from lung cancer. Adam has completed works for several game while working for Bethesda Softwork but my favorite is the concept drawing he had completed for the Game known as The Elder’s Scrolls: Skyrim.

NordicBarrowBruinNordicBarrowInteriorRuins  AdluinsWallTemple

These 3 drawing were created by Adam Adamowicz while working for Bethesda Softworks in Rockville, Maryland in 2011. The first picture (top left) is called Nordic Barrow Ruin Exterior,  the second (top right) is called Nordic Barrow Ruin Interior, and the final piece (bottom left) is call Blades Temple. Adam does a great job showing great detail all the way down to the fine cracks in the stone walls. Just as John Liberto had done with Halo, Adam has use the lighting and shadowing to show the depth of the pictures enhancing the 3 dimensional effect. The heavy use of brown coloring really gives these drawings that old world feel which work really well in making the viewer feel like they are looking at a scene from a story of the old vikings. When you combine all the detail and the lighting and shadowing and the use of rustic color, the artist has really done a great job in making you believe that you are there in the age of vikings and knights.

These 2 artist have done an incredible job of creating the ground work of 2 of the biggest games of our time. I have a great deal of respect for video game artist because it takes an incredible amount of imagination and time and effort to create the beautiful art work such as the 6 drawings above. Without the steady hand of these great artist we would still be playing game that look like squares moving around just as they did in the video game pioneering days in the 1970’s.

“A Video Game Timeline (1967-Present)“. Education Database Online. Education Database Online, 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  http://www.onlineeducation.net/videogame_timeline

“John Liberto“. Concept Art World. Concept Art World, 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  http://conceptartworld.com/?p=899

“Oculus VR“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculus_VR

“Halo 4 Concept Art“. Art of John Liberto. John Liberto, 2010. Web. 29 July 2015.  http://www.johnliberto.com/

“Adam Adamowicz“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 May 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Adamowicz

“Bethesda Softworks“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 July 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethesda_Softworks

“Concept Art“. The Elder Scrolls. Bethesda Softworks LLC, 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  http://www.elderscrolls.com/skyrim/media/

“Completely Blue Sky: The Concept of Skyrim“. The Elder Scrolls. Bethesda Softworks LLC, 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.  http://www.elderscrolls.com/community/completely-blue-sky-concept-skyrim/

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The Dada Arts: Inspiration From War


One would think that a war zone would be the last place someone could gain inspiration from but that is not the case. The first World War, which span the years of 1914-1918, was a war that had influence an art style known as Dada. It is believed that Dada had it’s start in Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire Zurich, Switzerland in the year 1916 where anti-war artists, such as Tristan Tzara and Jean Arp, would congregate and it was during one of these meeting that the ideals of the Dada style were born. Dada art was a style created as a means to rebel against the carnage of World War I which had truly disgusted the artist that were driven to the Dada style. This rebellion can be seen within some of the Dada artists works.


The Engineer Heartfield, created in Germany by George Grosz in 1920, depicts a man in a very basic room setting in what appears to be hospital gown and has had his head shaved. These features suggest that this man is in a medical facility and more than likely a psych ward much like the artist George Grosz was in in 1917 with mental instability. I would have to say, given the description of the picture and the history behind the artist, that this picture represents the mental distress caused by the carnage of World War I, known today as PTSD.


The photo above is of the 2004 reconstruction of Preussischer Erzengel (Prussian Archangel) originally created by John Heartfield and Rudolf Schlicher in Germany in the year 1920. The figure is of a pig headed Prussian soldier with a sign wrapped around it saying “I come from Heaven, from Heaven on high” and a sign hanging below stating “In order to understand this work of art completely, one should drill daily for twelve hours with a heavily packed knapsack in full marching order in the Tempelhof Field.” I believe piece describes how the warring countries promised paradise and a better life for the people who fight for them but in reality they were nothing more then beasts of war being led to slaughter on false promises by the very ones who made these promises.

Otto Dix, German, 1891-1969 Skat Players (Die Skatspieler) (later titled Card-Playing War Cripples [Kartenspielende Kriegskrüppel]). 1920 Oil on canvas with photomontage and collage, 43 5/16 x 34 1/4

Otto Dix, German, 1891-1969
Skat Players (Die Skatspieler) (later titled Card-Playing War Cripples [Kartenspielende Kriegskrüppel]). 1920
Oil on canvas with photomontage and collage,
43 5/16 x 34 1/4″ (110 x 87 cm)
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie
© 2006 Nationalgalerie. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Skat Players, created by Otto Dix in Germany in the year 1920, is described as three figure playing a card game called Skat. The figure on the left represents finance and capitalism, the middle represent  “old” aristocracy, and the figure on the right is a soldier with an Iron Cross First Class on his chest. The cyborg look to these figures with machine body parts represents man’s faith in technology and progress. This picture, in my opinion, depict the great damages of men, ideals, and social structures caused during World War I and the state of decay that the war had left society in after the war was over.

The Dada art style is tied in deeply with the first world war. Each of the three paintings were inspired by the carnage of World War I witness first hand by the artist either by seeing the veterans returning from the war zone mangled on by being there in the trenches. It was because of these sight that inspired the Dada founders to express their outrage, through art, towards war and those who are driving the war machine.

“Dada“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 June 2015. Web. 19 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.H.O.O.Q.

“George Grosz”. The Collection.  Estate of George Grosz, 2015. Web. 19 July 2015. http://www.moma.org/collection/works/35058

“Dada“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 July 2015. Web. 19 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada

“Dada”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 9 July 2014. Web. 19 July 2015. http://www.britannica.com/art/Dada

“Dada”. The National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, 2015. Web. 19 July 2015. https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2006/dada/cities/berlin.shtm

“Otto Dix, The Skat Players (1920)”. German History in Documents and Images. German Historical Institute, 2015. Web. 19 July 2015. http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=4212

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impressionism 3

The Impressionist arts is a truly beautiful period in art history and one of my favorites. Impressionism was founded by an artist named Claude Monet with his painting of someone boating during the sunrise known as Impression: Sunrise (Impression: soleil levant) which he had completed in 1873. Impressionist art is known for it’s “sketched ” appearance with is is quite literally what the artist had done just with a paint brush instead of a pencil. The reason behind this bizarre method of sketch painting is because most of the art pieces had been completed outside using natural lighting as as you know if are trying to paint a picture using the sun light to light the scene you are painting you have to be quick or the lighting will change before the painting is completed.


One of my favorite artist from this era is Vincent van Gogh. Born in Holland on March 30, 1853, son to a preacher, Vincent van Gogh had moved around Europe to several places such as Belgium, France, Arles, and lastly Gauguin where he had died from what is believed to be a self inflicted gun wound.


Vincent van Gogh is the artist of one of my favorite painting during this era, a painting known as Starry Night created in 1889 at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. I love how the brush strokes in this painting brings depth and life to the scene. The sky looks as if it is actually moving with the swirling of the brush strokes and the hills look as though they are actually rolling and almost put you in mind of waves rolling around in the sea. The dark blues and black paints give the impression of and dim star lit night just as the name implies. This painting really lets one feel the flow of the painters hand as if you were actually sitting there watching him working on it.

I believe that if this painting had been done using a different method such as Hudson River School this scene would lack this visualization of the artist at work and would lack the feeling of movement of the artist brush strokes within the scene. The major difference between Starry Night and say The Oxbow, created by Thomas Cole in 1836 in New York during the Hudson River School period, is the fact that The Oxbow painting has a realistic feel, as was the style of the Hudson River School, and Starry Night looks like a sketching with a paint brush. It is the sketch like appearance that allows one to see each and every brush stroke of the artist with ease so that even the lesser of art enthusiast can visualize the process of creation, whereas The Oxbow painting is more difficult to interpret the creative processes because of its fine and almost hidden brush strokes which gives it its appearance of realism.  To assist in the visualization and feel what I am talking about in reference to the difference between these two styles I have place the painting of Starry Night beside the painting of The Oxbow side by side above.


The Impressionism style is far reaching even into more modern art. Take the above painting for example, this painting, known as Grand Canyon at Sunset, was created by Roberto Ruschena, a contemporary artist currently residing in Colorado, in 1997 on the edge of the Grand canyon itself. This painting has several properties linking it to the Impressionism style such as the use of natural sun lighting which can be viewed as the shadows cast over the canyon as the sun descends over the horizon behind the artist. Another feature linked to the Impressionism style is the “sketching” of paint strokes commonly used during the impressionism period, you will notice that Robert Ruschena has used this sketching technique in his painting by the obvious brush strokes shaping the flow of the landscape and the clouds. Granted van Gogh’s paint strokes were larger and wider than Ruschena’s but it is the same style of brush stroke usage.

I would like to end with a film dedicated to the life of Vincent van Gogh. This video describes the life of van Gogh and his art work to include Starry Night. Enjoy!

“Examples of Paintings by Claude Monet“. Artlex Art Dictionary. Micheal Delahunt, 2010. Web. 12 July 2015. http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/ij/impressionism.Monet.html

“Impressionism”. Eyecon Art. Robin Urton, 2005. Web. 12 July 2015. http://www.robinurton.com/copyright.htm

“Vincent van Gogh Biography”. Van Gogh Gallery.  Templeton Reid, LLC, 15 January 2013. Web. 12 July 2015. http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/biography.html

“Top 20 Most Purchased Van Gogh Prints and Posters”. Van Gogh Gallery.  Templeton Reid, LLC, 15 January 2013. Web. 12 July 2015. http://www.vangoghgallery.com/printsandposters/van-gogh-top-20.html 

“The Oxbow“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 January 2015. Web. 12 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oxbow

Roberto Ruschena’s Free Artist Portfolio”. Absolute Art. World Wide Arts Resources Corporation, 29 June 2015. Web. 12 July 2015. http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/i/italianart/additional-artwork/

Source 1 Media. “Vincent van Gogh – The story.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 14 July 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvWHOj79vrw

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The Classical Era

The Classical era is one of the best eras when it comes to music! This is an era that had the greats such as Beethoven and Mozart to name a few of the major players of the era. I suppose it is easier for someone such as myself to relate to the music of these two composer power houses because this was an era where music was no longer controlled and meant for the churches and the upper class such as the music of the Baroque era. The video below has a few samples of music from the Baroque era and as you listen you can hear how the music holds a higher tone and make s you think almost instantly of royalty our of high class stature. You can also tell that the music is very complicated in some of the music making it hard for the average person to follow or try to play themselves.

During the Classical era music was no longer just for the church or upper crust of society, it was for everyone to enjoy from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. The music was much easier to follow along with so a person did have to be a prodigy to follow along and learn to play. It is because of the growing power within the Middle Class as members of society had left their squalor and began to pull in better incomes due in part to the Industrial revolution. The middle class became intrigued by music as music during the Classical era reflected slow to rapid changes in mood as the average middle class persons moods changes. Ludwig Van Beethoven was very keen and put a lot of feeling in his work. Take for example Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 written between 1804 and 1808 in Vienna, this piece gives a person a feeling of excitement with the short occasional period of somewhat relief and a victorious marching beat at the end. This composition has also been referred to as the “Victory Symphony” during WW2 because of the feel it give someone and being able to relate it to a feeling of battle and victory, you could call it a battle rhythm.This in turn is another connection made to the middle class as it was the middle class who were on the battlefields be it war or the metaphorical battlefield of everyday struggles. Below is the full version of  this piece for you to make your own assumption about what feeling Beethoven is trying to convey.

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s symphony no. 14, also known as the Moonlight Sonata, written in 1801 in Vienna, is another great example of the simplistic nature and the changes in musical mood of the Classical era. This particular piece gives the listener a slow escalation in mood from a very calm, slow feeling to a moderate feeling of excitement to a heart racing feeling like as though you were running from danger. A way of relating to the tone of this piece would be to imagine you are taking a late night stroll through the park just drifting along. Then you catch what looks like a shady figure out off the corner of your eye so you pick up your pace a little and your heart rate elevate a little but you don’t want to make it look obvious that you are afraid so you put just a nonchalant skip in your step . As you move along down the path you notice the shadowy figure closing in on your position so you start to run and your heart is beating rapidly with all its got to evade what is believed to be danger. I think this is a situation that everyone has run across in their life at least once regardless of what your social standing is, although the middle and working class is more likely to run across these feelings, whether it was physical danger or running down the clock on an impending deadline. Below is the full version of this piece for you to make your own story.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was another great example of power the middle class had over music by how it’s melody brings light to the everyday mood fluctuations in the average persons life. Take Mozart’s Requiem number, created in 1785 in Vienna,for example. As you listen it puts you in mind of a day in the market trying to sell your goods in an almost begging manner. Then someone comes along and talks down to you or complains.  This part would really pull in the middle and working class as it relates to their struggles of everyday life on the job. As the symphony goes on the tone goes back to the low tone as to say business as usual. The piece continues on in a slowly fluctuating pattern of lows and intermediate tones as to show the mood changes of the average person throughout the day. As with most middle class member, the everyday grind of work and home life struggles is a constant up and down of moods just as Mozart created the fluctuations in this piece. It is these feelings of highs and lows that the middle class want to hear and express as a dedication to their lives. Below is the full version of Mozart’s Requiem for you to draw your own conclusions on the mood behind the music.

Granted the descriptions of each of the 3 symphonies is my own personal thoughts but that is how I feel when I listen to the piece of music. I am of the middle class and can relate to the mood that the composers are trying to convey in their music because most of the moods produced from the tones in the musical numbers relates in some fashion to my everyday, well almost everyday, life. The first piece from Beethoven created a battle rhythm that can be related to the soldier or the everyday working man battling with tasks and obstacle of the hard working middle class until the battle is finally completed in victory. The second piece from Beethoven created a mood of being relaxed to a some what gradual sense of urgency as to evade a stalker or to the work day winding down to the end of the day and you have a deadline quickly approaching so you start to panic. Lastly the final piece by Mozart that give the feeling of the pitiful middle/working class struggling to make money to make ends meet and dealing with the rude upper crust of society looking down their noses at them and dealing with the highs and lows of everyday life. Each of these pieces were created as an influences of the growing power of the middle class to describe the feelings and moods of the average man. With the middle class gaining ground on the social stage and have more say in the art pieces such as these were created as an expression of the middle class and as a means of relating and bringing meaning to the middle class. The middle class also influence the way in which the musical numbers created by making the music easier to follow and making it possible for most middle class member to learn to play the music on their own accord.

“Elvira Madigan”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15 May 2015. Web. 01 July 2015  http://www.britannica.com/topic/Elvira-Madigan-by-Mozart

“Industrial Revolution“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 July 2015. Web. 01 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution

“Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 May 2015. Web. 01 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Beethoven)

“Piano Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 June 2015. Web. 01 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No._14_(Beethoven)

“Piano Concerto No. 21 (Mozart)“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 January 2015. Web. 01 July 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_No._21_(Mozart)

“The Role of Music and Composers During the Baroque and Classical Periods“. About Education. Espie Estrella, 2015. Web. 01 July 2015. http://musiced.about.com/od/medievalto20thcentury/a/The-Role-Of-Music-And-Composers.htm

101ClassicsDE. “Best of Classical Music – Baroque Era: Top Hits With Bach Handel, Corelli, Vivaldi (Excerpts).” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 July 2013. Web. 01 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk8rIEhwziM

Romano, Andrea. “Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 (FULL).” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 07 May 2012. Web. 01 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z4KK7RWjmk

Romano, Andrea. “Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata (FULL).” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 December 2010. Web. 01 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU

The Myth of Multiculturalism. “Mozart – Requiem in D minor (Complete/Full) [HD].” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 February 2012. Web. 01 July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPlhKP0nZII

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The Baroque Flavor

Bernini's David

My favorite piece of art during the Baroque era is Bernini’s David created in 1623. The Bernini’s David is based on the David and Goliath story in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible when the Israelites were in conflict with the Philistines who had a giant of a man named Goliath and the only person who was willing to face the beast of a man was a Shepard named David. Armed with only a rock, sling, and his faith in God David had struck down Goliath by hurling a rock at the giants head killing Goliath. Bernini had capture this story of David just as David was building up all his strength on the back swing to sling the rock at Goliath forehead. You see in the detail of the sculpture that David is at the peak of his strength. David has a strenuous expression on his face, he has shifted all his weight to his right foot, and has twisted his body back as far as physically possible. All these features give the sculpture a feel of extreme energy, power, and the feel of what it was like to have been their with David on that day of victory! Of course it was Bernini’s intent with this sculpture to make a person feel this as a way to bring the people back to the Church.

It is pretty obvious that the Counter-Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church and The Council of Trent, whom the Church created to return people to the Christian faith through the direction of inspiring  and emotionally grasping art such as Bernini’s David. Bernini created the statue of David as a means to inspire the Catholic people and to cause an emotional response in an attempt to bring back followers who had lost their faith in the Roman Catholic Church due to Protestant Reformation during the Renaissance era. When people would see David about to release the sling they would think back to the the story of David and Goliath imagine they are their on the battle field as David finally releases the sling and slays Goliath. They feel the rush of victory and a renewed faith in God to give them strength and courage in the face of even the biggest and fiercest of enemies. It was because of Bernini’s David, and other art pieces from other artist of course, that the people were able to reestablish the lost connection to the Catholic Church and that the Counter-Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church along with The Council of Trent were successful in gaining back at least some of the power they had lost.

B and M David

Bernini’s David is one of several statues made of David one of which was created by Michelangelo, the statue pictured to the left of Bernini’s David, between 1501 and 1504 during the Renaissance era. The major difference between the two is the stance in which each is posed and what influenced each piece. Bernini’s David, which was created under the influence of the Counter-Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church and The Council of Trent, is in mid-action and was created to inspire Christian followers and cause emotional responses from those who viewed it to regain a sense of faith renewal. Michelangelo’s David is created with a humanist influence posing with no action because it focuses more on the man David instead of the power and strength David was granted by his faith in God.

“Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)”. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-2015. Web. 19 June 2015.  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bern/hd_bern.htm

“Council of Trent”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 9 November 2014. Web. 19 June 2015. http://www.britannica.com/event/Council-of-Trent

“Gian Lorenzo (Giovanni) Bernini (1598-1680)”. Encyclopedia of Sculpture. Neil Collins MA LLB, April 2008. Web. 19 June 2015.                                                             http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/bernini-giovanni.htm

“Michelangelo’David”. Accademia.org. Elena Fulceri, 2014. Web. 19 June 2015.  http://www.accademia.org/explore-museum/artworks/michelangelos-david/

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GP’s Art Connection

Temptation of St. Anthony

The Isenheim Altarpiece is one of my favorite paintings during the Renaissance era. This piece was created between the years of 1512 and 1516 by Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grunewald and used in the Antonite Monastery. The altar stands today at the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar of France. Before I get into why I enjoy this particular piece of art I will breakdown the 3 different scenes the altar displays.

There are 3 scenes painted on the altar piece that are visible depending on which wings of the altar are opened.

Isenheim altarpiece - First view

The first scene of the altar is visible went the wings are closed. The painting in the center displays The Crucifixion of Christ with Jesus’s mother, Mary, to the left in a white rob and John the Baptist of the right. The painting to the left is of Saint Sebastian and the painting to the right is of Saint Anthony the Great.

Isenheim altarpiece - Second view

The second scene is visible when the outer wings are opened. These wings are usually only opened for special occasions in honor of the Virgin Mary mother of Jesus. The outer left painting is of the archangel Gabriel telling Mary she will give birth to Jesus. The inner left painting is referred to as The Concert of Angels and is exactly what it sounds like, a scene of angels in concert. The painting on the inner right is of Mary and the baby Jesus. The outer right painting is of Jesus resurrecting from the grave.

Isenheim altarpiece - Third view

The third and final scene is visible when the inner wings are opened. In the center is Saint Anthony and to each side is an offering bearer. Saint Augustine is the figure on the inner left with Guy Guyers kneeling on the ground to his right. Saint Jerome is the figure on the inner right. The figures on the bottom piece is Jesus, in the middle, and the 12 disciples. The painting of the out left is Saint Paul and Saint Anthony in the Theban Desert. The painting on the outer right is of the demons that had tormented Saint Anthony.

The Isenheim Altarpiece, in my opinion and after much thought and study, is influenced by The Protestant Reformation. Matthias Grunewald was a supporter of Martin Luther during this time which greatly influenced him in his religious art work.

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying this piece of art. The bright and vibrant coloring are a real treat for the eye. The story and symbolism are very interesting and is a brilliant interpretation of the event in the birth of Christianity.



“Grunewald, Matthias”. WebMuseum, Paris. Nicolas Pioch, 27 July 2002. Web. 10 June 2015. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/grunewald/

Hayum, Andrée. “The meaning and function of the Isenheim Altarpiece: the hospital context revisited.” The Art Bulletin 59.4 (1977): 501-517.

“History of Europe”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15 May 2015. Web. 10 Jun. 2015

“Isenheim Altarpiece“. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 October 2014. Web. 10 June 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isenheim_Altarpiece



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