The lines of the artwork Hole with Rowan Leaves by Andy Goldsworthy are actual lines with undulating edges like bold strokes. There is a distinct border to each of the objects in the creation of outer, inner rings of the petals. The lines do not merge at any point. The entire artwork is a combination of geometric and organic shapes. The inner section of the petals is created in a complete wavy organic shape whereas the inner circle is created in geometric form with similar swelling mode. The central black circle in the artwork is beyond any definite organic form; however, the distant figure of the outer petals with dim colors is geometric creations with minimal use of shape.
The mass in the artwork is definitely bottom or centre, it is heavy with the use of deep and dark colors at the bottom encircled by bright yellow and orange, whereas the middle outer part is painted in light color. The entire artwork is in monochrome with gradual darkening of paints towards the centre. This provides a sense of gravity or pull towards the central part providing the artwork a real heavy mass.
There is a significant dept in the use of space within the three-dimensional parameter of space, but it acts a two-dimension when viewed from above – the natural viewpoint of the artwork. There is an illusion of diminishing size in context of shape from outer to inner circle in the ascending pattern. The linear perspective in outer-inner order of the artwork makes it spacious; however, in the context of geometrical accuracy, it is faulty because the background lacks any specific clarity (Thurber 37).
The general tendency of the contemporary culture is to accept the objective truth only. One of the important aspects of it is to be suspicious of the basic global cultural narrative, which is known as meta-narrative. Thus, it can be safely said that the entropy and the ephemeral in Goldsworthy’s work Hole with Rowan Leaves is as a safe departure from the earlier dominant modernist approaches. The approach is a combination of a number of social constraints and hence it is always changing (Lovett 44).
One of the main characteristics of this art form is that it goes to attack the stern classifications like male and female, white people and black people, differences based on sexual orientations etc. and, as per the postmodern ideas, realities are always both plural and objective at the same time with entropy and the ephemeral. As per the concept, there is no absolute truth present, and hence different people have different concepts on a same thing. Here the idea will be heavily based on the concerned person and what the interest of the person is. Thus, this work is an exploration of instability and transient existence.
The Night Cafe by Vincent Van Gogh is ranked among his best paintings. The scene is inside Café de la Gare – a tavern that remained open through the night. In the picture, Van Gogh has tried to focus on how this place leads to ruination, insanity, and crime. The gentle shades of green combined with malachite contrast with yellowish green and loud bluish green to produce the effect of it being the pale sulphur reminding one of the furnaces of the devil. In a lowly public joint, the forces of darkness seem to hold sway (Uitert 229).
The viewer of the painting is overwhelmed by the stark lines that create an atmosphere which is simultaneously desperate and lonely. The oppressed feeling is conveyed in the slouch of the drinkers while the lone figure of the owner stands over the quiet billiard table – fearful of business running dry. The circular rays of the lamps give a feeling of never ending cycle of night taking over day.
The disarray of the chairs and the shadow of the table on the stark floor reek of hopelessness. This oppressiveness is evocative and stirring as is the gesture of the stretched out leg of a drunk and the hand of another drunk placed on his head in a gesture of despondency. This is a complete painting where Vincent Van Gogh used lines and colors to create an atmosphere of fear, illness, and oppression in Night Café (Hulsker 711).
In The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, the artist Faith Rinngold has used colors and symbolically placed images to narrate her own life story and cultural experiences. Her medium of expression has been done through the sketching of quilts. She used to make quilts for her masters who were White.
The painting shows some Afro-American women displaying their sunflower quilt in the middle of a sunflower field. Van Gogh stands unobtrusive in the rear clutching a bunch of his beloved flowers – the sunflowers. In the background, one can see the houses of Arles village with yellow and blue colors dominating – the favorite colors of Van Gogh (Venezia 87).
Quilts served a double purpose – it signified warmth to the slaves while preserving their memories in its patterns and appliqués. The bold shapes placed geometrically were the symbols of spiritualism. Sometimes, these carried hidden messages of how to escape to the North were expressed literally as well as figuratively. She battled against race in a male-dominated society. The women’s group is representative of her protest and leanings towards feminism. In Africa, it was men who did the weaving but, after coming to America, it was the women who carried on the tradition. Her leaning towards Van Gogh indicates the freedom of art over petty discriminations of race, class, and gender (Turner 114).
Constantin Brancusi was exclusively focused on the theme of flying birds for two decades from the 1920’s. He did not concentrate on the physical features of the species but on the movements of the bird – tried to capture the essence of its flight to freedom.
In Bird in Space, he has done away with the wings and feathers even not depicting them. It has all been blurred into one streamlined motion of flight. The head and the beak have been shrunk to an oval plane that was slanted. The upward push of the figure is based on the slim cone like footing. The abstraction of the concept is Bracusi depicting the concept of this bird cutting or slicing through space. This is the first one of a string of seven sculptures notched out of marble; nine of these were made of bronze rendered smooth and polished (Norton 240)
Hailing from Romania, Brancusi, during the period of the late 19th and mid 20th century, has been central in a modern move relating to abstraction; he is one of the pioneers. His elegant use of materials has been sensitive. His works combine the peasant directness with Parisian sophistication. As he progressed, his works became more and more abstract (Lanchner 40).
Nishimura Shigenaga's Beauties is an ukiyo-e painting of the 17th century Japan – a famous school of art in Edo that is Tokyo of today. The culture is bourgeois but full of originality. The happy pleasures of life are depicted vividly and that is why it is known as ukiyo or “pictures of the floating world” (K%u014Ddansha 141). Nishimura Shigenaga is known for having lavishly experimented with many modes as well as subjects. He worked with lacquer and rose prints. His art not only depicted beautiful women but also nature – its flowers and birds. He tried his hand with stone-rubbing prints.
Generally, these are wood-block prints. The craftsmen chiseled it out of woods based on the originals that the artists had painted. The scenes are from daily life in Edo showing historical sites, animals, flowers, and people at different seasons and times of the day. Some are erotic. All aspects of life have been covered. There was a great demand for scenes from the brothels where the bourgeois sought pleasure with the waitresses of the tea house.
In the picture, a buxom woman is depicted with no details left out. Meticulous attention has been paid to the branches of the plant she is holding in her slender hands as well as her hairstyle and the intricate patterns of her tiered costume. The angle of her standing is evocative and seductive (Paine 278).
Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet (1996) is a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s classical version. Much of the original text backed the screen adaptation of the play. This film is regarded as the most successful among the screen adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. The result of this experiment by the director was not well received by the audiences and though it was, as mentioned earlier, highly acclaimed by the critics and the spectators alike, this fact of using a female newsreader as a voice over did not turn out to be the most artistic approach by this director. However, this approach reflects the manner in which the director presented the aspect of gender power over the male-dominated vibe of the original Shakespearean play (Martin 42).
In order to mach this derivation, the director used color, light, line, pattern, proportion, and scale to create symbolic imagery in Romeo and Juliet. The movie presents scenes in vibrant color with bright and warm lights. In the context of line, pattern, proportion, and scale, it should be noted that, in audio and visual medium, such elements are ever shifting, but, in this movie, the director created the frames that balance each of the above factors (Lehmann 204).
The audiences expect a movie with classical expression as it is performed on stages. Nevertheless, as soon as the movie starts, this vibe is broken with the modern interpretations of the play. However, the movie maintains this pace of modern ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and the audiences are soon acclimatized with this form of adaptation. Soon, the endnote arrives with another news report or speech delivering the epilogue by the reader. With this off screen narration, the bondage between the movie and the audiences is broken once more . However, though it is a significant drift from the original, it is relevant that it does propose the flavor of feminine view of the incident, and thus the visual elements of line, pattern, proportion, and scale are presented in a curved and stylized form to suit its feminine vibe.
In this context, it should be mentioned that the age of Juliet is never mentioned in the movie thus it was evident that the Juliet in the movie adaptation was more mature than in the original play, and this justifies the aspect of pre-natal sex in modern terms. As per the age-old sexual role, gender division has enforced the compartmentalization of male-female functions in society, at home, and at the work place. While in sporadic places women have benefited form the liberal movement, in most developing countries, women have taken a step back. As the movie is set in Mexico, the aspect of anti-prenatal sex is taken into consideration, and underage sexual acts are not considered. Thus, the visual appeal of props and costumes is all exotic and warm colored.
If economy was taken into account, we would see that poverty is tightly associated with unemployment, which is out of control through the lack of basic amenities and services, hunger and death. Women became inadvertently the worst sufferers, because they not only have to care about themselves but most of the times about their children too. Here, one should be able to observe the inter-play between the wider social activities and the local ones. It is imperative to understand that science is canalized through the basic political and economical fiber of the nations at large, first individually and then collectively. The doggedness of the local cultural and societal pull should not be ignored in the face of science. It is significant to record here that there is very little doubt that gender inequity is prevalent throughout the world, and misinterpretation of science only aggravates it. As a result, there are scenes that come out of the usual warm and curved features and present the audience metal effects like grey and bright metallic colors.
Leonardo Vinci’s rendering of the The Last Supper to many is the final word on the subject. But Tintoretto presented another version, and his painting is laced with spiritualism while Leonardo takes a more historical approach. In Leonardo’s work, the apostles are lined up neatly. The table thus had to be long to accommodate the long line. It was a compromise. But the focus is on the apostles.
The colors are nothing but pretty, they have nothing to do with the theme. Could not have Judas be placed in the dark? Then, the banquet does not look like a common man’s feast replete with fine clothes, tablecloth of linen, and a dining hall fit for a palace. There are no cheap stools kept against a wobbly table as it should have been (Cross 932).
In the Renaissance humanist painting of Leonardo, there is a restraint coupled with realism. The apostles are sitting sedately with Christ in the middle. The mute colors are highlighting the humanity in Jesus instead of the drama. But, in Tintoretto’s painting, dynamism is the key factor. The disciples are animated while angles are coming down. Christ is the central light illuminating the entire canvas. The humble origins of the apostles are focused upon. The servants are in front while the table and the central characters are pushed to the left. The moment is awesome (Hahn 94).
The burial customs of the Egyptians of ancient times were elaborate as they believed in immortality following death. There were rituals and many protocols – the most important being mummification, the use of magical spells and burying the body with material goods that the dead would need in afterlife. After the mummification, the body had to be re-animated by the priest symbolically. For this, a copper or stone blade was used to touch the mouth so that the dead could speak while breathing in life after death. In the same way, the limbs too were animated (Faulkner 11).
In Mayan religion, there was great fear of how destructive the gods could be. Rituals performed after death were very important for them. It included not only traditions for the newly departed but for the ancestors also. Some deaths they thought to be nobler than other demises. Those who died suddenly and traumatically went straight to heaven. The dead followed many routes. The ashes of the dead were worshipped. Maize or a jade was placed on the mouth of the body signifying food and currency respectively. The burial rituals differed according to the rank of the person (Foster 116).
The common factor in the burial customs was a strong belief in afterlife and immortality. However, the burials differed according to the rank and position of the dead person in both cultures. It should be noted that the Mayan were more interested in burial that makes the dead comfortable in their last journey whereas the Egyptians believed that the dead will come back to life, and thus there was a need of earthly materials.
Roman technology and artistic processes had their roots in the civilization of Greeks and Etruscans and never broke ties with this classical link. But there were differences. The basic ethical aspects of the Greeks and Etruscans were absent from the application of the Romans. The fundamental focus was too materialistic to be associated with the arts and technology practiced by the Greeks and Etruscans. Classical art glorified man, but Roman art glorified God and the demi-gods along with their political leaders and generals. The political lords were also crowded in and became the main and sole focus of Roman Art. Thus, the icon came to dominate Byzantine art. Icon generates reverential worship which is the link between God and man (Pollard 324).
Political and military leaders in the Roman Empire found a new source of power during this era, and this power was religion and faith in classical Roman gods. The common people of the region were thus influenced by religious art making them more stable believers of faith. It was essential to show the common that this empire was powerful by the dint of its faith. As a result, art became a weapon or tool of extreme propaganda.
From the ancient ages, art has always been a free expression. But now, the perspective changed, but it was controlled by the empire and the subject of this control was the general population by the use of faith. Thus, to show the value of faith, both in religion and leaders, it was necessary to manifest the might of the empire through art. Under such conditions, there was a distinct function in the use of the technology and art forms of Greeks and Etruscans in the forms of Roman art during this era.
This aspect of using art and technology through architecture as commemoration and propaganda in the Roman Empire was applicable throughout the entire history of the Empire that exhales the essence of strength, sustainability, and power in the form of the ‘Ficorini cist’, the walls of Norba, Corbelled gateways and arches such as the gate at Falerii Novi and Fortuna Primigenia and Ardea at the initial stages and Forum Julium, Basilica Sempronia, Temple of Mars Ultor, Temple of Castor, Apollo in Circo, Forum Augustum, and several aqueducts in the later stages (Osborne 283). All these are found to be rooted in Greek and Etruscan artistic and technological sensibility.
It is true that the formation of Greek and Etruscan ethnic and artistic identity has much to do with its history and culture particularly in the form of its contribution to the Roman world. Rome has been considered as the cradle of modern civilization for long. The Hellenic perception of life controlled the basic concept of Roman art and technology since the age of early Greek thinkers and philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristophanes, and Herodotus to name a few. Later, during the Roman period, this same conception was injected into the roman way of life. Thought, it should be mentioned that this infiltration of ideas originating from Greek and Etruscan ideology was more or less distilled to suit the Roman mind. At the later stages, this Greek and Etruscan perceptions were furthermore transformed into military philosophy.
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