May 28, 2010

fun fact friday! art edition.

Fun Fact Friday!

I love this tradition. It is the greatest. In this week's edition of Fun Fact Friday, I'd like to suck you into the wonderful world that is art. Yes, you could say that I have an obsession. An art obsession. You would be correct. I love art that enriches, that benefits a person. Art that inspires you to do something, or think a certain way, or art that just invites you to look at it with the ability to understand it. I love it! So here's a countdown of my top 10... and so begins the countdown...

10. The Haywain, John Constable.

Why? Why The Haywain? Well. Let me tell you. Constable is amazing. And I love him, obviously. I love his use of color that shouldn't go together, yet it works because that's how life really is. Life is really full of colors that shouldn't work together, but somehow they do, and they're just brilliant together. I also love that he paints landscapes and stipples across the water. It gives it such an English cottage feel, and knowing me, hello. I live for that stuff.

9. Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol

There you are. Staring vacantly at your computer screen wondering what on earth could possess me to love such a thing as this. Well, let me enlighten you, my friend.

Andy Warhol. Small human being, right? Mr. Warhol doesn't come from The Hudson River School, and the Medici family didn't patron any of his pieces. He started out with a simple idea. Simple, yet AMAZING. Look at this picture. Look at it hard. Then, let me tell you that it is a diptych. Now, if you're the general public, you might not know what a diptych is. A diptych, known in earlier years... and by early, i mean as early as the northern renaissance, was used to pay tribute to something holy. It was an altarpiece for worship. For instance, many renaissance painters painted diptychs of the virgin and her child, paying worship and giving gratitude to. Well. This is very much a diptych for the same purpose, although, Mary and Christ are not depicted. However, another woman is painted, a woman who for so long, Americans worshiped. I love what Andy Warhol does. He takes the simplest images and turns them on their sides, making you think. I love intelligent art. This is witty and it forces you to consider where your priorities lie.

8. The Deposition of the Cross, Roger Van Der Weyden

Ohhh The Depostion. I love any deposition, but this one stands out to me. I love this Van Der Weyden. It is just so beautiful. The color is rich, not to mention his lines. They are clean as a whisle. It isn't just the color that I'm obsessed with, but in this period of art history, people were beginning to realize that humans should have emotion in their paintings. Human emotion is real, therefore, our art should reflect that of our lifestyle. What is art if not relate able? How can we even come close to identifying ourselves with Christ's closest friends if they look composed at the time of his death? Would we be composed? I wouldn't I would be a mess. This painting just epitomizes sorrow. It is how I feel when I think of the atonement. I see this painting a lot in my mind when I think of all of the things that Christ has done for me. I am so grateful that he suffered like this so that I may be able to make mistakes and repent for them. Of all of the paintings that you should have sealed into your brain when you think of all that Christ has done for you, this should be the one.

7. The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch

It's possible that you're sitting there, baffled. She stole her tag line from this painting! Why, yes. That, my friend, is the truth. I did steal this title from Bosch's painting. I love this for a few reasons. If you look closely, all of the "humans" are doing weird things. No let me rephrase that, they're doing THE WEIRDEST THINGS ever. There is an egg man, people are twisted in weird ways, I don't know, it's weird. Why do I like it enough to put it on my countdown then? Well I'm going to tell you why.

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a fun place for a while. It's alright. You don't have a care in the entire world, and you're just living it up. You're doing whatever you want to do, and that's fine for the rest of the world. This is a triptych, so like a diptych, it opens up into panels. I stole this title as my own title because it is just wonderful. Though it is bizarre, and we all know that it is, it shows us something as human beings. We are all just in the Garden of Earthly Delights waiting. We're waiting for something to happen. None of us know what to expect because we're all in the same place with the same perspective. I love it because it makes you think long and hard about it, and the best part? When you close the triptych, it is hands. It's like hands are closing it. Showing that there is another being out there, a being that is in charge of us all. Suck on that one for a while...

6. Slave Ship, Joseph Mallord William Turner

All right. Well, here's the part where you call me an art snob. This painting moves me. It actually depicts (though you probably couldn't tell right from the get go) a slave ship, hence the title, right? It depicts a slave ship, but not just any slave ship. Now, keep in mind that this is an impressionist painting. There are very loose brush strokes, and you're not exactly supposed to be seeing clear lines. I love this painting because it lets you see what you don't want to see. It informs you about slaves passing over the sea. In all actuality, it depicts a tragedy in history. This tragedy was slavery. Not just slavery, but the cruel and awful things that would happen as people were forced from their homes into a foreign land. Little do they know that there's a high possibility that while they're traveling to this land that they know nothing of, they stand the risk of grabbing diseases which would kill them and force them to be thrown into the open waters of the deep blue. I love this so much because it shows horror. REAL horror that most painters didn't have the courage to paint in a time so accepting of this horrible tradition of slavery. I am proud of those in today society that depict such content. Thank you to those loud enough (ehem, Glen Beck) to depict the things that no one wants to hear. Thank you for standing in a place that masses of people are too scared to stand in. Thank you for being the Joseph Mallord William Turner of our day. I raise my glass to you.

We're halfway through!

5. The Kiss, Gustav Klimt

What can I say? I love this piece. It epitomizes that feeling. Don't pretend like you don't know. Now, this isn't the full version. I zoomed in on the facial expressions of the woman. She is stunning. Look at her. She is completely absorbed in him. Whoever that guy is, she wants more. I would like to think that they're in love, but I'm not sure. Look at the man. He is kissing her, because look at her! She's hot! Though I'd love for him to be completely wrapped up in her love, I'm just not convinced that he is. Maybe he wants to be, but I think he's just playing with her because the guy likes to kiss. Then move your eyes to her. She is loving this kiss! I love her face. It shows so much. She is in love with him. It's like she can't resist him! Her arms are wrapped around his neck and she could stay there until she dies.

I love this piece because it's open for interpretation. Your interpretation is possibly a little bit different than mine. Maybe you're not so cynical...

4. St. Joachim and Anne, Arena Chapel, Giotto

Call me hopeless. This is St. Joachim and his wife, Anne. These two love birds are the loving parents of The Virgin Mary. They are frozen in fresco at the Arena Chapel and painted by Giotto. THESE TWO are in love. Just look at them. I am in love with this because it's the cutest. You know it's true. Though their eyes are a little bit open, don't judge them. They just love each other too much. Look at Anne's hand on Joachim's face. I just can't get enough of this. Let's also not jump over the fact that this masterpiece was painted by Giotto. I love him. He plays with perspective in a time so new to it. He was a truly brilliant human being who contributed so much to the world of art and religion. Where would perspective have come from if not from him? He depicts great emotion as well as rich color. Love him.

3. Woman with her Dead Child, Kathe Kollwitz

This drawing just breaks my heart.
Kathe Kollwitz created in a period in art that can be classified as expressionism. There are many different types of expressionism, but one specific to her is German Expressionism. Talk about expression! Goodness sakes. Having lost children herself, she is able to identify with the woman in this drawing. This image is just haunting, yet I love it. Said of Kathe Kollwitz, the German artist, "Her silent lines penetrate the marrow like a cry of pain; such a cry was never heard among the Greeks and Romans." How true is this. While the Greeks created wonderful works of brilliant art, Kathe Kollwitz captures what it's like to be human. When tragedy strikes you, there's nothing to do. When your child is lying still and cold, you can't help them. What is there left to do? You hold them and you cry. You break down. She does such a good job of ripping your heart out and bringing you back to what it's like to hurt. It has also been said that her work offers and eloquent and often searing account of the human condition. She created masterpieces in the earliest hours of the 20th century when people didn't know where to go. They didn't know what to do when their lives fell apart. She relates so well with the agony that we all will feel as human beings.

TOP 2!

2. The Nike of Samothrace, Hellenistic Greece

The Nike. She's majestic, she's vibrant, and she's beautiful. Just take a look at her. Look at the way her clothing adheres to her skin because she's depicted as a wet figure. She used to stand at the front of a ship and lead it. She is just incredible. She looks like at any moment she could just lift right up off of the base that she stands on and gracefully fly away. I've always thought that the athletic company, Nike, should use her in their logo. I can just picture it now, "The Nike of Samothrace. She's going to do it. Shouldn't you?" Instead of "Just do it." Lame. But oh well. Nike is classier than any athletic company anyway. I mean honestly, she comes from Hellenistic Greece for crying out loud! How much more "classic" can you get? Hahahaha... get it? Because she is a classical piece of art? Get it? Ohhh art history jokes... Anyway. I think she is wonderful. She is a breath of fresh air when I need it. In all honesty, looking at her calms me down. I love her that much. She lets me breathe, because she breathes. Well, she looks like she's breathing. She's that real.

Drum roll, please.......

1. The Pieta, Michelangelo

Wow. To see this marble sculpture in Florence. Now that would be the trip of a lifetime. I'm determined to do it. It's on my bucket list. Words can not describe the extent to which I feel for this piece. First of all, Michelangelo. Hello Sistine Chapel, hello David, hello Florence really. Anything that he touches turns to gold, I am convinced. He is one of the first people that I will meet in Heaven. It's like I'm secretly in love with him. Okay. Back to this piece of genius. The Pieta. No. Not "A pieta". "THE Pieta". Pronounced (For all that don't know, I'm saving you embarrassment in the future.) Pee-Eh-Tah. Don't say, "Oh yeah, we just got back from Florence where we ran into the Pee-ett-a." Michelangelo would roll over in his grave if he heard that. Okay. So what do I love about this? Well, let's start with the fact that it was one of Michelangelo's earliest. Earliest? Are you kidding me? This is just incredible! Michelangelo was such a prodigy. he was a gifted, GIFTED human being. I love him! Sorry. Sidetracked again. I love this because it's emotional. I love pieces that make you feel a certain way. Any depiction of the death of christ, oil on canvas, or marble carving, I get emotional over it. It gets to me. I love that this art inspires me to be grateful for him. I feel like it's serving its purpose. It is creating a better person. This art makes me want to be better. Other things that I love about this, on the physical side of life, are the following:
1. I love that when you get close, you can see the carved veins in Christ's arm. (Not that I've ever been that close, or even in the same room or anything... not bitter at all...)
2. I love Mary's facial expression. To me it is a look of complete devastation. She is broken hearted. Her son has just passed away in the worst way possible. She holds his cold body as if to say, what now. I think that's the way that most of us feel.
3. I love that this piece has not only inspired so many to be better people, but it also became the model for sorrow. Earlier, back at my third favorite, Kathe Kollwitz' drawing has been modeled after The Pieta. It is wonderful that so many can get one emotion through it. I love it.
4. A funny story comes from this piece. Picture this:
It is the high renaissance. A room is dark, cold, and marble. The Pieta stands on a base that is sturdy and up high. Michelangelo wanders the hall of this room in Florence where he is getting ready to leave. Two scholars approach the Pieta. Michelangelo is interested to hear their critiques.
"A depiction of the Virgin Mary and the Dead Christ, how marvelous," one states. Michelangelo smirks in the quiet distance.
"Yes! Admire its brilliance!" The young artist's smile grows with every comment. "But wait! Who could have painted this?" Michelangelo's face wiped clean of the glow that once emanated there.
"I don't know. Whoever it was, they're quite good!"
The young and inexperienced artist is fuming.
Later that night, he sneaks back into the place where his masterpiece is held. He climbs up and carves his name across the sash on Mary's chest that reads, "MICHELANGELO"
Now the world will never forget.
Oh to be young and fearless.

So... now that you know which art gets me, you're most likely set for the day. If there are ever any doubts that I am obsessed with art and art history, refer back to this post.


  1. Courtney! You would write about ART! =) this is why I love you!

  2. I like The Kiss and, unlike you, I see love and devotion, tenderness and belonging, as well as passion and dezire. So you were right, everyone can project their own feelings and thoughts in this picture, like in every other work of art. Maybe this is the essence of art.


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