Robert Fludd was a seventeenth-century physician and philosopher who wrote an illustrated manifesto that addressed his philosophical theories of the universe, entitled The Technical, Physical and Metaphysical History of the Microcosm and Macrocosm of 1617-1626. Included in the text is a myriad of intricately-detailed engravings, including the engraving entitled The Mirror of the Whole of … [Read more…]
In this paper, I will discuss an Aztec stone sculpture held at the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), a figure referred to by the museum as teomama, or god bearer. The statue portrays a plainly dressed male figure in a loin cloth, his back hunched over as he carries a deity figure on … [Read more…]
During the summer of 2014, we (Ve’Amber Miller, ‘15 and Catherine Quinn, ‘15) worked alongside Art History Professor Ellen Hoobler on a project that involved looking at art history (and archaeology) in a new way by incorporating 3D digital modeling. 3D imaging is currently making a huge impact in multiple fields such as medical treatments, … [Read more…]
Salvator Rosa’s etching Democritus in Meditation appears at first glance to be nothing more complex than a particularly intricate depiction of the vanity of human endeavors, and most scholars choose to analyze it in this context alone. Deeper scrutiny, however, reveals a fertile link to Renaissance notions of the artist and the melancholy temperament, specifically … [Read more…]
Political propaganda in the age of Napoleon Bonapart has long been of interest to historians; however, the investigation largely has been limited in scope to the two dimensional works of art commissioned by this notorious figure. In this discussion, I will extend the examination to include some of the critical architectural works built and commissioned … [Read more…]
Whereas most prominent scholars, such as Fabio Benzi, Paolo D’Ancona, and Julian Kliemann have indicated that the decorations of Rome’s Villa Farnesina were painted in honor of banker Agostino Chigi’s passionate love for his wife and in celebration of their wedding, I will prove otherwise. By looking in depth at the frescoes decorating two rooms, … [Read more…]
The diplomat and painter Rubens identified with the allegorical figure Hermathena, a figure formed from a synthesis of Hermes and Athena. Sculptures of the two Greco-Roman gods stood above the tripartite entryway to his home in Antwerp and their prominent locations call for a cohesive explanation.
Christian Marclay filmed and recorded Guitar Drag in 1999 and released the video installation in 2000. Most critics focus on the work as a response to the racially-charged 1998 murder of African-American James Byrd, Jr., but Guitar Drag is more than a frightening commentary on racism and abuse. Three Anglo men tied Byrd to the … [Read more…]
Figures of the Etruscan underworld and the afterlife appear on funerary mirrors and already have been addressed by Alexandra Carpino and others like Nancy Thompson de Grummond. These characters include Mercury, the Dioscuri, and Eos. Scholars identify these by the attributes associated with Greek mythology, whose myths often are further mirrored in the Etruscan pantheon.
The earliest material on Italian fascist architecture was concerned only with defining a Fascist aesthetic. The same can be said of the research on architect Giovanni Michelucci and Gruppo Toscano’s Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, Italy. Only in the last 30 to 40 years, can we find materials in English that try to … [Read more…]
Tania Bruguera is a contemporary Cuban-born performance artist who attempts to provide an audience with an experience that is politically and socially enlightening. Her work over time has shifted from solo performances which present themes of Cuban political struggle to work which clearly blurs the lines between art and reality.
Hidden behind the masked figures of James Ensor’s The Entry of Christ into Brussels in 1889, from the years 1888-89, lies a spectacle waiting to be uncovered. In a 1932 speech for his exhibition at the Musée National du Jue de Paume in Paris, Ensor eloquently stated, “Witness The Entry of Christ into Brussels which … [Read more…]
George Grosz’s painting Dedication to Oskar Panizza (1917-1918) is part of German political history, but this work also has its own place in the longer history of the iconographical theme “Dance of Death.” The significance of the “Dance of Death” to the meaning of Grosz’s Dedication to Oskar Panizza is often mentioned in descriptions of … [Read more…]
The devotion to the Virgin Mary as the Divine Shepherdess emerged in 1703 in Seville, Spain, and quickly gained a significant following. Missionaries carried this devotion to the Spanish American colonies, where they easily adapted the image of the Divine Shepherdess to various communities by conflating it with other Marian images. The statue of La … [Read more…]
Religious or devotional art is not usually associated with the Surrealist Salvador Dalí; however, there is a place for the genre in his oeuvre. There is a gap in his artistic styles between his infamous Surrealism and his Nuclear Mysticism. His fascination with the developing field of psychoanalytic theory consumed his attention until the late … [Read more…]
Jules Bastien-Lepage was an Academic Realist painter whose life coincided with the Realist movement in France. The epitome of the avant-garde at this time was Gustave Courbet with his strict interpretation of Realism. Although Bastien-Lepage viewed himself as a Realist, the pictorial elements of his work aligned him much more soundly with the English Pre-Raphaelites … [Read more…]
The artwork of Alison Saar is deeply spiritual and personal. Saar is an Los Angelian artist who works with iconography based in her own heritage, European and African-American, as well as learned icons related to Buddhism or urban street culture, for example. While the multitude of influences are readily apparent in her works, there are … [Read more…]
Firing ceramics is an enormous aspect of clay art. The glazing and marking of a piece transforms a raw-looking form into a work of art. Kilns of all shapes, sizes, and types can be built in order to accomplish the finishing touches on a ceramicist’s work.
A small, seventeenth-century oil on copper painting of Danaë appears on the walls of the Saint Louis Museum of Art. In 1999, Jeanne Morgan Zarucchi brought this 16″ X 20.5″ work to the attention to the larger feminist community with her Women’s Art Journal article “The Gentileschi Danaë: A Narrative of Rape,” where she argues … [Read more…]
George Grosz is described as the saddest man in all Europe. As Uwe Schneede argued in George Grosz: The Artist in His Society, Grosz’s work cannot be placed into any clear category.
Astraea is the virgin goddess of justice. Prophesized by Virgil to return with the new golden age, her image became one of rebirth, prosperity, and peace. Modern spectators may find the figure of Astraea; however, during the seventeenth century, it was even more obscure to find a painting cycle based on the life of a … [Read more…]
With her Earth-body Art, Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta created a language that escaped the common narrative of her time. During the sixties and seventies, the postmodern narrative influenced artists to find a sense of meaning within a larger global context.
One would imagine that a work as famous as Raphael’s School of Athens would have every figure established. Nevertheless, Daniel Orth Bell’s article entitled “New Identifications in Raphael’s School of Athens” of 1995 proposed a radical reinterpretation of two figures.
In a day and age where each individual seems to be constantly bombarded by attention grabbing images trying to sell us one product or another, people have begun to notice with particular attention those few images that are not related to consumerism or some political campaign. Despite our familiarity with images such as the artist … [Read more…]
This presentation is based on two months of ethnographic field research in the village of San Vicente de Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, during which the current state of the community based museum called the Ecomuseum de la Cerámica Chorotega that opened in May of 2007 was studied.
Depictions of the banjo in the visual arts and literature of the Harlem Renaissance are reflective of both the banjo’s painful associations with black-face minstrelsy and its importance as a source of reclaimed heritage for Afro-Americans of the time.
The stories told through the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel have been long debated.
The copious amount of racial mixing in Colonial Mexico first became corporeal to Colonial Powers with the emergence of casta paintings during the 18th century. These paintings, which represented scenes from everyday life, documented the different racial mixtures found in Colonial Mexico at this time, and began a system of race classification and designation based … [Read more…]
The popes of the 17th century faced one of the worst crises since the Great Schism divided the church between East and West.
In confronting the mirror in their photographs, contemporary women artists have addressed the boundaries that have historically limited women to over-sexualization or objectification. These artists have not only confronted the mirror but also the male gaze.
The work of the early fifteenth-century artists collectively called “the Limbourg Brothers” is neither unknown to scholars of medieval history nor fully understood by them.
The image of the female heroine in early modern art is one that varies greatly depending upon the artist portraying her. However, some of these works move beyond simple variation and into the exception.
Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Irises of 1889 has gained international attention for its beauty. Often described simply as a study, Irises seems to capture the essence of life through vivid colors and a mysterious sense of movement.
The tendency of postmodernism to redefine art historical works is evident through the work of contemporary artist Dotty Attie.
John Currin’ s works have inspired outrage. Kim Levin, art critic for the Village Voice, encouraged readers to “ boycott” John Currin’ s “ awful paintings” roughly a decade ago; however, the New York art world did the exact opposite.
In 1306, the renowned Florentine artist Giotto di Bondone was called to Padua by Enrico Scrovegni to paint the interior of the Capella dell’Arena in expiation of the crimes of Enrico’ s father, the infamous usurer Reginaldo Scrovegni.
There is certainly no shortage of information on Gianlorenzo Bernini. Rightly considered to be the most gifted sculptor of the Italian Baroque, Bernini’ s lyrical, animated style set the precedent for more than a century’ s worth of sculpture.
Scholars often discuss the persuasive iconography that decorates the walls of the Vatican’ s Room of Constantine as well as the patronage, but most neglect the unusual ceiling program.
Potters for Peace (PFP) is a U.S. based NGO consisting of potters, educators, technicians and supporters who work intimately with potters in Nicaragua to alleviate difficult social conditions related to the country’ s political and economical instability.
Scholarship on Grant Wood has, for the most part, described an artist submersed in a cultural resurrection of national identity. The overwhelming consensus is that Wood based his art on a Regionalism that is defined as a Midwestern movement seeking a truly American art.
Multiple publications include illustrations of Woodrow Wilson Crumbo’ s Land of Enchantment (c. 1946), but few go into depth about its satirical commentary.
Edgar Degas was a painter during the nineteenth and early twentieth century who created works of art that intrigued a great many of his generation and those to follow. Interior is one such piece; surrounded as it is by mystery, it remains topic of discussion to this day.
Crafted by the painter and wielded by the affected viewer, painting is a weapon of war.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who liberated herself and her beliefs though her paintings. Her works are often discussed in terms of the pain and anguish she suffered throughout her short life-from her birth in 1907 to her death in 1954.
In 1621 Marie de’Medici commissioned Peter Paul Rubens to complete a series of paintings celebrating her life for Luxembourg Palace, known as the Medici cycle.
There have been mixed views on whether Norman Rockwell should be considered an artist or illustrator. Rockwell’s autobiography was entitled My Adventures As An Illustrator. However, this is not consistent with the view he expresses in a later interview, where he states that he is no longer an illustrator, but that he is a painter … [Read more…]
As a photography intern assisting artist-in-residence Bob Campagna, I worked for three weeks with Grant Wood fifth graders to teach them about photography and how they could make excellent photographs.
Images of Cleopatra often emphasize elements of sexuality, decadence, and the cool, calculating nature of the ancient Egyptian queen.
Jan Sanders Van Hemessen presents a muscular, nude figure wielding a sword as the chaste widow of Judith with the Head of Holofernes of 1540.
The New Art History has begun to examine an aspect of Surrealism rarely discussed by art historians under Modernism-the overall misogyny of the movement.