Monday, June 17, 2013

Denver Art Museum Visit Final Paper - Benjamin West's painting Mrs. Benjamin West and Her Son Raphael

July 17, 2011  
            An American painter Benjamin West's painting Mrs. Benjamin West and Her Son Raphael presents - the love of a mother to her child which is so pure that her own identity has become her child. The child is open to all the challenges as well as the great moments; life has to offer with the support from Mrs. Benjamin. This representational Art form depicts a strong relationship between a mother and a child.

            This painting grabbed my attention right from the very start when I looked into it. I saw an innocent child looking at me and a mother - very calm, satisfied and respectful to grab her child. I see the beauty in this painting as a human form of a child who is yet to discover life and a mother who surrender her life to her child. The color is used very diligently to give the effects of emotion - love, temperature, religion etc. The detailed display of human form is at its best by the use of color that gives the sense of depth and organic shape. As a primary means of visual communication, line is used to depict the shape of nose, lips, cheek bones, ears, eyebrows, eyes, hair, hands, fingers, tongue, designs on the scarf, robe, swaddling cloth of the baby etc which helps to give the adorable characteristics of the painting.

            Overall, Mrs. West seems to be at the front in respect to her son Raphael. The overlapping of her hands and half of  her body with respect to her son gives us the complex overlapping of her son being in the middle of her overall body because we can see parts of her leg on the left side of the painting. This gives us the feeling of closeness and love between them with the feeling of space in two dimensional planes. When I closely observed the circular form of the overall panting, it made me perceive the human life in a cycle - a new born, maturity and death. I can feel the excitement towards life of Raphael with the implied motion - wide spreading his arms and communicating with me by looking straight to my eyes - giving myself a feeling that he wants me to hold him for a while.
           Key principles of design are used boldly and intelligently in this painting. I can see the unity of light-warm skin color that gives the sense of pleasure to our eyes which is so soothing to the two characters in the painting. The background apart from the two subjects has variety in the forms of sky and the opaque color used to give more emphasis on the subject matter. Asymmetrical balance between the two subjects is achieved intelligently. Raphael is shown smaller than his/her mother but with the use of light skin color and the implied motion, it balances the larger form of Mrs. West who is wearing dark-green robe and dark brown scarf and not looking at the observer unlike Raphael. This gives emphasis to both the subjects in this painting. The directional forces on this painting made me follow the path from Mrs. West to Raphael and eventually to me in the sense of Raphael willing to play with me. It uses the repetition of visual elements as skin color, eye color or more generally, an overall detail attention to human form that gives us the sense of unity, continuity, flow and emphasis (Frank, 69). The painting is on canvas whose scale is approximately 3'' times 3.5'' in comparison to our height. We can closely look at the details as eyes, nose, lips, hands etc which is so neatly painted. It is one of the best paintings I've ever seen to depict the human beauty with every attention to details. The composition of a child in his mother's lap is much easier than showing an adult person in this position (Frank, 73). The proportion of Mrs. West and her son seems to have perfected with beauty.

            The form in Mrs. West and Raphael of this painting which covers approximately 90 percent of the picture plane gives the content to the viewers - the emphasis of human being as the most incredible Art to be appreciated. I feel the combination of human mind for intelligence (Raphael) as well as emotions for love, sacrifice and respect (Mrs. West). The philosophy of objectivism reflects that faith, belief and emotions shouldn’t be the source of reason in man’s philosophy because it would hamper man’s productive achievements (Enright, Marsha Familaro). But, this piece of Art that grabbed my attention is completely opposite, meaning - it depicts emotional attachment in between a mother and a son, a traditional belief that a mother should devote her life to her child and a faith in the views of the art piece being religious. I tend to follow Rand’s philosophy but not on this aspect which I realized after I encountered with this painting. Even though I try my best to keep myself far from these three sources that hamper man’s productive achievements and keep myself to reason and logic, I tend to fall for faith, belief and emotion.

            The subject matter of this piece of Art is so lost in today's modern world. Relationship between a mother and her child is the greatest of all the relationships. A child's future life is so dependent on mother because a child is closest to his/her mother. A mother becomes a sacrificial being for her child.

            Time is also the subject matter of this painting. I saw a new generation evolving and an older generation in the form of mother guiding new generation with the culture, objectives and love to enjoy the life, so beautiful.

Time from other perspective is the relationship between a mother and a child that was so pure and on top of everything, which has now degraded with modernization. I appreciate the work of West that he depicted this pure relationship in the form of painting that is very valuable and should be preserved for the next generations to feel the subject matter and try to emulate it. I think her intensions for creating this piece of Art would be fulfilled if every child loves his/her mother indefinitely and every mother can do anything for her child. This piece of Art has great a value which needs to be practiced regardless of any culture. These days when I hear the sad news about the degrading relationships between a child and a mother, I feel very saddened, and this may be the reason why I chose this painting out of so many other piece of Art I could have appreciated. I have a reason to appreciate this Art piece and I hope I would be successful in portraying the subject matter to people at large to enhance this relationship. 
            If we observe this piece of art critically then we can also see this piece of Art from the philosophy of individualism. The child has his/her arms wide open giving us the feeling of his/her willingness to freedom and individualism - to explore what he wants and find out his own goals in life and work for it rather than being grabbed by his/her mother or any other that would stop him from being himself and be able to do what he/she likes to do. The child is open to this world. But, the mother has seen quite a life and she wants her child to be always with her which is very unpractical. Her life in some sense is complete, meaning her life has no more objectives to fulfill rather than to love her child. It portraits very complicated subject matters even though it seems very simple. It depends on the viewers of the painting how they take it. But, overall, this piece of Art needs to be seen and be appreciated by as many people as possible.

            BenjaminWest was an Anglo-American painter born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, in 1738 and he was encouraged by his parents to draw as well as lighted his talent to paint in a very early age of his life (Benjamin West). He was an autodidact until he got the formal education in Classical Art, Literature, and History as a non regular student with the invitation of Dr. William Smith of University of Pennsylvania who saw the talent and creativity in West's first historical work, The Death of Socrate (Benjamin West). He was very creative and dedicated to his interests in Arts and he spent a year painting portraits in New York to save money so that he could go to Italy for his studies. He is the first American painter to study in Italy in 1760, and, took the Neo-classical and Romantic style (Benjamin West). In 1763, he moved to England, got married and decided to settle down for the rest of his life (Benjamin West). He made a great deal of contribution with his painting depicting religious, classical, historical subjects as well as continued to paint portraits of many Royal family members until he died in 1820 (Johnson, Bruce). He was second president of the Royal Academy from 1792 to 1805 and, he was re-elected in 1806 (Johnson, Bruce). Overall, his life as a lucky child from his great parents and his travel to Italy and his settlement in England is what helped him to be a great Artist. I believe his painting Mrs. Benjamin West and Her Son Raphael in 1967 has all of his experience put into it to make it a great work of Art that we need to appreciate in the ages to come.

            Basically, West's painting Mrs. Benjamin West and Her Son Raphael changed my perspective of faith, belief and emotion as necessary elements to be human. It would not hamper man's productive achievements but rather if we take it positively then it may act as an catalyst to be even more productive. I feel that the love between a mother and a child is very necessary and important in today's modern world for our next generation to have a better life. I think West felt this change in this relationship, and wanted to preserve the purity and beauty of it. To myself, this painting is inexhaustible. The more I look into it, the more I feel the pain of those people who are not as lucky as me to get a good culture, education and most important - a love that drives me still today, to achieve my goals and objectives in life. This painting motivates me to work hard and achieve as well as enjoy one life that I got to make a difference in this beautiful world with so many beautiful peoples.

Works Cited:
"Benjamin West." The Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Web. 16 July 2011.             <>.

<   aeb3-3dadeb61fe55%40sessionmgr15&vid=12&hid=21>.

Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4       June 2011
Johnson, Bruce, and Bobbie Johnson. "Benjamin West." Bruce and Bobbie's Home Page. Web.    16 July 2011. <>.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Discussion 8

I can see the colors - Blue, Orange, Red in the work of Art, Blue, Orange, Red by Mark Rothko and it just wants us to see the form as color and enjoy it rather than concentrate on the subject of this piece of Art.
But, if subject matter is what is being depicted in this work of art then I can think of its subject matter broadly in many ways. I can sense the subject matter in this painting as a earth, moon and sun in this infinite universe. The universe is as diverse as the background color of red that represents infinity to me. The earth and moon are alike except the fact that their size differ in proportion with each other which is represented by the same blue color that matches the atmosphere of earth and moon. Life on moon is very interesting subject to me as there are traces of water on the moon that the scientists have studied over the past years. Moon may be the destination for humans if we sense the end of the earth in many years of life on earth. Similarly, Sun represented by the little orange rectangular color at the bottom is giving light to moon and the earth. The form of geometrical shapes with colors combinations help me to figure out the content and eventually the subject matter so diverse to depict the functioning of our solar system.

Similarly, if I have to extract the subject matter out of Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm then I would say -  I saw many dots that are inter-connected which makes me think of the subject matter of this piece of Art as our world that has now been interconnected with the innovation of technology that makes us possible to connect from one part of our world to the other. This led the diversity of our world as there are dots and dots following other dots in many colors as black, white, brown, blue and many other colors of skin which is so beautiful in its own way. This diversity in culture of many colors in our society is always beneficial. We can learn for each other and gain knowledge of many different cultures and stay together happy. 

Abstract forms of Arts

Abstract/non-representational/non-objective art can be painting or sculpture that doesn't represent a person, place, or thing in the natural world which is completely based on what we see - color, shapes, brushworks, size, scale and, in some cases the process ( Mondrian from 1917 to 1944, reduced paintings to four elements: line, shape, color, and space which can be seen in his painting Tableau 2 which is an excellent example of non-representational art.

In 1910, Kandinsky changed the most important rules of Western Art to - "concentrate on the expressive potential of pure form by stating - Art need not be a picture of anything" (Frank, 258). In his painting, Blue Mountain, he focused on form rather than the subject matter and hoped that "abstract art could provide spiritual nourishment for the modern Art" (Frank, 360).

I like the quote by Brancusi, "Simplicity is not an end in art, but one arrives at simplicity in spite of oneself, in approaching the real sense of things."

Abstract Speed - The Car Has Passed by Giacomo Balla is an excellent example of an abstract work of Art. When I see this painting for the first time, I noticed the green color and the distracting curves in blue that overlaps the green spherical objects. It caught my eyes and my mind wanted to know more about it as I was only looking at it form. I couldn't even guess what this piece of art all about, until, I see the title of the piece of the Art. Then, I related the artists work to speed and now, I would see the road, green mountains, blue sky and most definitely - the speed!

To appreciate the work of art, I don't think we actually need to have its title. But, saying that I would also like to take into account - the incident, that happened to me when I looked in to Giacomo Balla's Abstract Speed - The Car Has Passed by. I appreciated the art piece in its forms and content but, for the subject matter and meaning, I had to look at the title of the Art to actually, fully, appreciate the piece of Art.

When I went to Denver Art Museum, I appreciated a lot of art and many of them - I even didn't bother to look at the title. But, with the non-representational Art, after looking at the Art piece, my eyes were following quickly to the title.

Therefore, as far as by experience with the process of appreciating Art so far, I would like to have title of the abstract piece of art to fully appreciate the work. For other forms of art, it would not matter as much for myself but definitely helpful to see from the artist's eye view!

Non-Western Art

Non-Western art is different from Western European art with many perspective as culture, religion, materials used in the making of art, form, purpose and many other aspects. The structure of temples, stupas, mosques, houses etc in the non-western art is completely different than the structure of churches, buildings, houses etc in the Western European art. The design concept and the purpose seems to be different as well. For instance, if we go inside Kandarya Mahadeva Temple and so many other temples then we could see hundreds and thousands of erotic scenes in the form of sculptures (Frank, 276). In Hindu belief, spirituality of a man and a women is intact with the joy of sensual pleasure of erotic love (Frank, 276). From the ancient times they were sculptured in certain temples of love in Nepal, India and many more other non-western countries. I have seen these temples in Kathmandu, Nepal which is the world's officially Hindu country ( I haven't found any of these forms of art in a worship place in the Western European region.

Since, there is difference in belief with the religion in western and non-western region, this belief has created a lot of difference in the arts, its forms and its purposes. For instance, the western art seem to have emphasized in figurative art of their beliefs in God but the Islamic world seems to avoid creating those figurative art with their set of beliefs, unlike, Hindus whose majority of the art seems to be figurative art of lord Shiva, Ganesh, Laxmi, Swaroswati, Mahadev, Parvati and so many Gods. They seem to be more in motion as the art piece of Nataraja, Shiva as King of Dance (Frank, 277). For example, the bright red and blue colors that was used in "The Approach of Krishna" symbolizes the emotional states expectancy and desire that western artist used 
in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, without knowing of these early examples(Frank, 278).

Hence, with these examples we can conclude the importance of studying non western art as it only increases the knowledge, and get to appreciate the art, and, at the same time, learn the civilization from the perspective of our world as one. It would definitely broaden our way of looking at things, and I believe makes us creative and more human or say a real artist. I believe creativity comes from our wide variety of knowledge and, learning the non-western art would increase our knowledge which would indeed increase the likeliness of being creative as an artist!

There is a huge difference in the Non-Western and Western European architecture with its form as well as the purpose. For example, the Kandarya Mahadeva Temple is considered one of the world's most distinctive architecture (Frank, 276). It has a porch and a womb chamber. It has stairways that lead to many porches and allow access to womb chamber for the people to worship God - Mahadeva. The outside of the temple has many sculptures that displays erotic reliefs. The architecture is more open and people can commonly enter the temple without opening the doors. It has the feeling of anyone can come to this building and either, see the reliefs from outside or, go inside to worship lord Mahadeva.

The architecture of Norte Dame de Charters is very huge and its purpose serves more variety than just to worship God. It can hold all of the townspeople at once whose purpose were also to conduct meetings, concerts and religious plays apart from worshipping God (Frank, 244). It looks modern in compared to the architectures from Non-Western region as the Kandarya Mahadeva Temple. There are statues of the Old Testament Prophet Kings, and Queen at the west entrance unlike the erotic reliefs in the Kandarya Mahadeva Temple.

Generally, the major difference I noticed in Hindu and European religious architectures is with its structures, purpose, materials used to construct and the sense we get out of the piece of art.

Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Realism and Idealism

In today's world, one of the examples of the artwork that utilizes idealism can be the painting of Michelle Blade: Cast & Cascade and Jose Lerma: The Lightweight.

It uses materials like Durta-lar, lace, wood, paper, wooden selves, etc, that has a mystical presence and absence of a different form of arts. The painting would mean different for different individuals and their meaning can vary in great range. For myself, the meaning of this painting is the women and her characteristics of shyness, calmness, and purity that can only be framed in a wooden frame, these days. 

Jill Harrison Nichol’s paintings of the sea and shore present the love of the sea and the environment you get when you are actually enjoying the sand and the seawater.

The classical Greeks basically focused more on individuals and the ideals an individual should portrait in society. They focused on the achievement of individuals and what they can do for the community. Their main focus was human beings as the superior of all the being and nature as well, and, focused on its characteristics to create many sculptures and other forms of arts (Frank, 227). But, today's idealistic art doesn't seem to be constrained only to this aspect of idealism as far as my understanding.

Romans were practical, less idealistic than the Greeks (Frank, 232). They had people from different cultures living together and it was more practical and beneficial for the Romans to be realistic rather than idealistic, which would develop their community (Frank, 232). They encouraged an even higher degree of individuality than Greeks which helped them develop as a nation with many contributing individuals. They contributed a lot to civil engineering, town planning, and architecture (Frank, 233).

The oil on canvas painting of Marina by Igor Babailov is of an individual innocent girl whose smile is like of my little cousin - reminds me of her.

If it is only the ideology perspective of what I would prefer to follow then I would say, I prefer realism over idealism. It may be because I see the objective reality more than idealism. It is my individual way of taking things. But, saying that, I would also like to follow the idealism for the innovation aspect of the concept. I think there must be a third term that I don't have a knowledge that would integrate both the concepts into one.

Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Art Critique (Form, Content, and Subject Matter) : Hunters in the Snow By Pieter Bruegel

June 24, 2011
Form, Content, and Subject Matter
            Pieter Bruegel's painting Hunters in the Snow presents in depth vision of everyday living and the different way of life people are leading at the same time frame. It co-relates the nature with living beings. This painting is large enough for us to look very closely to visualize parts of its form and combine it to come up with more detailed content.          
            A form is what we see – materials, color, shape, line, design etc (Frank, 52). Bruegel's painting uses the primary means of visual communication in the forms of straight stick, the trees and its branches, the grasses on the snow, to create the shape of the objects as houses, ladders, rope, tables, roads, hairs and tails of the animals and much more things. It uses implied lines to connect mountain and the valley below.

            We can see a lot of geometric shapes - triangular roof, rectangular windows, sphere and square shape of the houses. In my view, there is a presence of organic shape almost everywhere in the painting - semi circle and circular trees, rectangular skiing area, triangular mountains, curvy roads, infinite sky etc. Since we are dealing with two-dimensional media, mass is implied very smartly by the combination of colors. The use of dark colors in contrast to white show everywhere to represent objects as dogs, houses, playing space, birds and even the infinite sky is very impressive. Space is implied with the combination of colors and the overlapping of objects in two dimensional plane. We can see the front tree that is implied to be before the hunters, some of the dogs and rest of the objects in the pictures by overlapping the dogs, houses, snow on the ground, trees on the mountains and of course the infinite sky. Diminishing size of the trees to imply the depth as well as the vertical placement of the four trees back to back, gives us the illusion of depth. It uses atmospheric perspective to create depth by using dark colors for the near objects and lighter colors for the distant objects. We can see the difference in color of snow in the distant mountains and the one near to our view. People are smaller in play ground and bigger near us.

            Time and motion is evident in the forms of implied motion. The hunters and the dogs are walking to go down the valley. People are playing, burning fire, moving tables, pulling rope etc. Value is used by painting the near objects with dark colors and distant objects with much lighter colors. The mountains are shaded with dark colors where sunlight would not reach. The color of the distant sky as bluish green is a smart move to represent the feeling of an afternoon winter time. The implied texture of the closest tree seems to be rough. The snow seems to be very soft because we can see some footmarks. Woods used in the houses seem to be strong.

            The painting also uses seven key principles of design. The unity aspect of the painting is the use of white color to imply the effect of the snow. The color of the houses, birds, and the sky represent the unity as well. The variety in the art is the different levels of depth it portraits and, the different subject in each depth. It has asymmetrical balance. The light colors used as white for snow and green for sky balances the dark colors used as black for trees and dark orange for house walls and peoples. The height of mountain from where the hunters are walking balances the distant mountain above the valley. Bruegel creates emphasis and subordination to draw our attention and neglect some of the others. The size of the hunters creates emphasis with the distinct visible trees that are in certain line. Small sized people who are playing down the valley has subordination impact on the painting. Therefore, the focal point of the painting is most likely the hunters going down the valley which is emphasized.

            The trees, hunters walking with the dogs and their direction certainly create a path for our eyes to follow down the valley where people any playing and working. The smaller people down the valley and the hunters above is one of the best use of contrast. It has the repetition of houses, birds, trees, people etc as well as the rhythm of dogs and three hunters going downhill. The scale of people distant and near gives us the implication of depth. The size of painting is 46.4'' times 63.75''.  The observer can view the painting with ease and feel it, if allowed. The proportion of the first tree in the painting is the highest than any other objects in the painting which effects how we see the picture starting from the tree.

            The use of lines, geometric shape, organic shape and mass attracted me to appreciate this painting in the first place. I got the sense of valley in the picture with the visual elements - overlapping objects and atmospheric perspective. I sensed the time and motion by the movement of objects in the picture, even the birds flying. I can feel the roughness of the trees and the cold weather. The picture is not boring, simply because, it has many contrasting characteristics that the painter used in its design. I followed the hunters and the four trees consequently one after another. It gave me the direction, down the valley. Then, I sense the people playing, working, and the distant mountains. After that, I sense the birds and the infinite sky.

            Basically, when I observed all the forms in the painting by Bruegel, I felt the winter season with snow all over the painting. Even though, the weather is challenging, the people on the painting are moving and adapting to the change by engaging themselves in the fun activities as hunting and playing games. Therefore, I made a meaning out of this painting which is very positive. We keep on working; we keep on burning fires, so that, we won't feel the cold or the pain. It's not only us who keep on moving; even the birds and the dogs do the same. Hence, the painting Hunters in the Snow connects nature with living beings and sends us a positive message of how we should look at our life, and enjoy every moment, despite of the obstacles we are facing, or, we would be facing. 

Works Cited:
Frank, Patrick. Prebles' Artforms. Tenth ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2011. Web. 4 June 2011

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scale of Sculptures

The scale of a sculpture is the size of the sculpture in comparison to the viewer of the sculpture. We can come up with the ratio of scale (sculpture size / viewer size) which would be very important how we see the sculpture and how we would respond to it - in respect to how we see it.

We tend to have a different form when we look at the different sizes of the sculpture. If we see huge sculpture that has the same message by the artist as compared to the small sculpture by the same artist, we are most likely certain that we would have a different content as well as the subject matter for that piece of Art. We see the sculpture by the lights reflecting back from the object. If the object is huge, you have many more rays of light reflecting back to your eyes and it may, in general case, have a better and greater impact to you. But, we can't undermine the fact that if the sculpture was small enough to see it as well as feel it very closely would have better impact on how we respond to it. Hence, it is a matter of an individual and how he/she perceives the piece of art - big or small.

In my opinion, whether it is a large sculpture or a small one, they both have an equal probability of attracting the viewer and grabbing the attention. Large sculpture tend to seem more important that smaller one if we see from the perspective of its display in the common areas and accessible by many people. But, we can't undermine the importance of small sculptures with its mobility and closer look that give an opportunity for the viewers to feel it and get into that piece of Art. Therefore, both - small and large sculptures have its importance in their own way.

Viewing a sculpture is in itself an Art. Size really affects how we see a sculpture. The larger sculptures tend to have a larger impact on us in general term but, not always true. If we would have to view a large sculpture then we would have to walk around to different parts of the sculpture to see its form. We may observe one piece of the sculpture and certain content about the piece may come to our mind. And, after looking over all the parts of the huge sculpture, we can add up the form to make a combined meaning for the art piece. This may include us to drive around the sculpture or walk around it. But, if the sculpture is small, we can have a lesser time in observing its form and can make a meaning of it more quickly. We can feel the sculpture and see it clearly. We can make a holistic view of the sculpture and make a meaning which is one of the advantages of observing the small sculptures. 

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