David Alfaro Siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros was a Mexican painter who lived a very exciting life from 1896-1974. David lived and served in the Mexican Revolution including as a protestor and as a soldier. David developed many strong political ideas from his experiences and was not shy about expressing them. Thus he was not only kicked out of Mexico, but he served time in jail as well.

This painting is called Echo of a Scream and was painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros  in 1937. Although I find the content of the painting almost disturbing I really like this painting. The painting is so sharp and clear and the emotion of the child so obvious the painting clearly and strongly portrays the pain and horror of war. The child is completely innocent and defenseless, but has been a victim of war. The child is wearing red which could symbolize blood loss or hurt. His position and body language also seem to be screaming for help. His arms look lifeless, but they are limp, so someone could easily pick the child up. Where as if his arms were folded or holding himself it could represent the child trying to comfort himself. With this idea I find hope in the painting. Through all of the horror the child has not lost hope in mankind, the child is still looking for love. I do not know if this is an idea Siqueiros intended, but my interpretation.

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Mexican Mural Movement

Jose Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter who lived from 1883-1949. Orozco studied art at the San Carlos Academy for Fine Arts in Mexico City. Orozco lived in Mexico and witnessed some political and social turbulent times. Orozco even lost his right hand and partial eye sight in an experiment at his school in Mexico City! In his work Orozco emphasizes the social ideas and social realities that existed in Mexico.

This painting is called Prometheus and was painted by Jose Clemente Orozco in California at the Pomona College in 1930. This painting depicts the pain and suffering that Orozco saw in the lives of Mexican people. The picture has a very pessimistic view point, because Orozco made mass crowds of suffering. From Prometheus the viewer can see people extending in both directions without end: this represents how pain and history will never stop in the world. I like this painting, because Orozco is able to paint with amazing detail and captures the faces and emotion of the people.

This painting is called The Trench and was painted by Jose Clemente Orozco in Mexico City at the National Preparatory School in 1926. The people in the picture have ammunition on them and are in obvious pain. I like this painting because it is able to show the horrors of war, but there is not very much gore or emotion in the painting. The colors are rather dark and all of the faces of the victims of war are hidden. With no faces showing the audience has the ability to visualize the emotions even more painful than the artist may have painted them.

For more information or paintings of Orozco visit: <http://www.wfu.edu/history/StudentWork/fysprojects/kmason/Orozco.htm&gt;.

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National Parks Exhibit

Art with an emphasis on nature or the environment can have different effects on an audience whether intended or unintentional. In the exhibit I have put together often the art is used as promotional material in ways to encourage people to visit and travel to National Parks. The art can be used in a way to create pride and joy for our beautiful country, to promote Nationalism. Also, art with an emphasis on National Parks can encourage people to take care of our environments whether by being ‘green’ or even by donating time or effort to cleaning up or conservation work.


This mural was painted by Ed Tussey in 2008 and is titled The Kenai Fjords after the Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward. Ed Tussey is a sourdough of Alaska and it shows in his work with his attention to detail and how real his art appears. I love this piece of art, because of the beautiful representation Tussey creates of the Coastal park. Tussey has been awarded recognition on state and national levels and is a popular artist.

This painting was done by Bill Brody in 2009 and it titled Clouds Above Tebay Lakes after the Wrangell Saint Elias National Park. I love the painting: the way the rock stands out against the clouds and the rough terrain makes the colors pop. Brody has used his brush strokes to make texture very apparent in the clouds, fog, mountains, and the ground. Bill Brody is actually an art professor on the UAF main campus and teaches several art classes. Brody not only paints, but also does photography and writes journals when he explores the Alaskan outdoors. Brody loves to spend time outside in both summer and winter and his love for nature is present in his art work.

This painting was done by Mark Gudmundsen in 1997 and is titled Half Dome and the Merced River. This photo depicts a scene from the Yosemite National Park in California. Mark Gudmundsen is a very well known artists and is specifically noted for his work with National Parks. Gudmundsen is a deeply religious painter who finds God in nature and loves to paint and spend time in the outdoors. Gudmundsen has a talent for creating art with a very real look and particular attention to lighting. This painting stands out to me because of the depth and layering Gudmundsen has created.

This painting was also done by Mark Gudmundsen in 1982 and is titled The Secret Fishing Hole. This painting is a scene from the Mammoth Lakes area in the Inyo National Forest in California and is bordered by Federal wilderness areas and the Yosemite National Park. This painting appeals to be because of the light contrast in this painting. The light in the water is shockingly bright next to the dark rocks.

The painting above is by Donald Maier and is titled Buffalo in Yellowstone and was painted in 1992. This scene is based in the Yellowstone National Park, America’s oldest National Park. Maier became interested in the Western landscape when he served in the Navy in California. Now he paints because of the joy he obtains from the process and finished product. I really like this painting because of the vastness he captures. He only uses two main colors of brown and green and still manages to make his work attractive and detailed.

This painting was done by Stefan Baumann and is titled Bridalveil Falls which he painted in 1992. This scene is also from the Yosemite National Park in California. Baumann has created a broad range of artwork from different painting styles to even producing a television series about his art work with National Parks. This painting truly looks majestic with the grand mountains contrasting to the autumn colored trees.

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Early Modern Art

Jacob Lawrence created many pieces of art that were influenced from African American culture and events of that era. Lawrence’s work was influenced by events such as the Civil War, Civil Rights Movement, the Great Migration, and simple daily activities. As such, these were more then influences for Lawrence, most of his artistic style came from his own life and he put his own thoughts and emotions into his work. As someone who lived through a dramatic cultural time period his art evicts a powerful feeling to those who view his work.

The Migration of the Negro (Panel 1)

Jacob Lawrence

1940-1941  New York

The above painting by Lawrence shows a massive crowd of African Americans immigrating to northern cities: Chicago, New York, and St. Louis. One of the elements that I really like is that Lawrence left the faces off of the people in his painting. Lawrence only used six different colors, but he arranges them in a way that makes the painting appealing and bright. He also created a sense of unity in the painting as the whole crowd seems to be going in the same direction and there is no chaos.

The Migration of the Negro (Panel 3)

Jacbob Lawrence

1940-1941 New York

The above painting is also included in Jacob Lawrence’s series The Migration of the Negro. In this painting Lawrence shows a tight nit family meeting- the group of people are all close together and there is no open space. Again, there are no facial expressions shown and Lawrence leaves this aspect for interpretation.

For more information: http://whitney.org/www/jacoblawrence/index.html

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Impressionism

Artists of the Impressionistic age created some beautiful pieces. The thick and loose brush strokes make the paint vibrant and the colors rich. The brush strokes give the painting a very relaxing and soothing feeling. Many of the art pieces I have looked at almost have a dream like quality: the paint is not clear, it is rather undefined and sometimes blurs together. Berthe Morisot was a very talented artists and one of my favorite artists from the Impressionist era.

The above painting is The Cherry Picker by Berthe Morisot. This painting was painted in 1891 in France. I love the beautifully mixed paint stokes that make the background blend so richly. The dresses and the ladder really stand out because of the pattern of the brush strokes and because of the colors Morisot uses. For example, the background is not defined, but it is composed of green and blue as opposed to the white and cream of the dresses.

Another beautiful piece is Red Boats at Argenteuil by Claude Monet painted in 1875 in Argenteuil where he lived for a period of years. This piece clearly shows the Impressionist style of painting with the thick brush strokes and nature scene.

This painting also shows Impressionistic subjects such as the transitory effect of weather: the clouds look rather promising. The colors blend in Monet’s painting that captures the beauty of a day at the harbor.

I have really grown to love Impressionistic art as I have researched into looking at the art and the lives of the artists of that time. Impressionism depicted scenes from ordinary life or pleasant moments in nature or living. For example, Morisot was well known for a majority of her work having a domestic influence. She painted women in most of her work and they often were shown doing work customary to their roles in society.

Post Impressionism on the other hand was a more structured and formalized then Impressionism. Post Impressionism tried to convey more emotion in the art pieces then the ‘quick impression’ of a scene in Impressionistic art.

Maison Maria on the way to the Chateau Noir by Paul Cezanne is a Post Impressionism painting. Cezanne painted the picture in 1895 in Provence, France. This painting shows the difference of the Impressionistic paintings of other artists and the Post Impression style. For example, although Cezanne’s colors are still a little mixed the brush strokes are more defined. The house and trees actually have shape and lines to define them from the rest of the painting. Cezanne’s painting has structure to it, the house is defined and separate from the sky and ground. Although the Post Impression style is still nice, I prefer the Impressionistic style. Impressionism seems more natural and pleasant and smoother then the sharp structured paintings of Post Impressionism.

 

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Classical & Rococo Era

Symphony 29

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

April 1774

Salzburg (Austria)

Symphony 29 is one of Mozart’s beautiful pieces of classical music. It is written in four movements: Allegro moderato, andante, menuetto, and allegro con spirito. Mozart would have been 18 when he composed this piece of music- a remarkable feat.

This piece would have greatly appealed to the public and the common masses. During this time composers broke away from the aristocracy and performed in public places such as public halls or opera houses. Although they commonly had wealthy patrons, they enjoyed a different audience then composers had enjoyed previously. This music would have had a broad popular appeal because the song has a less complex style then music of the baroque era had. This music was appealing as well because of a strong and apparent melody that even people uneducated in music could identify.

This song is absolutely beautiful with the strong, clear melody. The song is played very clearly and lightly and the mutes the orchestra is playing with adds a resonant tone to the song. The french horns and violins seem to echo each other and take turns playing the melody. The dynamics make listening to the song very interesting as the movement starts out very soft and crescendos louder and louder. Mozart was a truly talented and inspiring musician who continues to inspire musicians today.

To listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_othnl8OPI&feature=player_detailpage

For more information: http://www.classicalarchives.com/work/18630.html#tvf=tracks&tv=about

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Baroque: Peasant Wedding

Peasant Wedding

Peter Bruegel the Elder

1568 Vienna

There is an element of simpleness and cheerfulness in Peasant Wedding that I really like. I love the rich colors and lighting that characterize this piece as Baroque. I am also curious if the triangle composition is present in this piece like the triangle appeared in still life paintings. I noticed a lighter triangle area that encompasses the man in the blue shirt and his tray-is this coincidence? It is also interesting that this piece is about a wedding, but there is no one in particular who really stands out as a bride or groom (I assume the women with clasped hands and shut eyes is the bride). The focus of the artwork is also not a couple or the religious promises they make, but rather the celebration of family, friends, and community. The painting shows everyone sitting together around the table as one happy group, symbolic of the union of a couple forming one happy family.

Peasant Wedding by Peter Bruegel emphasizes the theme of the rise of the merchant class during the Baroque era. This art piece demonstrates the shift of artists work from showing the wealthy/royal class to representing the common average Joe. This painting represents the merchant class in many ways from the colors of clothing, the style of seating and eating together, and even the dog under the table or the child eating on the floor. I love the colors and lighting in this painting that make the picture so appealing to the eye.

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