Art 623 Aesthetics - Modern Art (1860-1945)

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    Modern Art (1860-1945)

  • "I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain" by Emily Dickinson

    "I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain" by Emily Dickinson
    Emily Dickinson is regarded as one of the most important poets in American history. Here, she uses the imagery of a funeral to address the topic and feelings associated with mental health. Of course, as is the beauty of most art, the meanings within the words are often left up to the individual reading. Her words evoke images and action and tell a story.
  • Palais Garnier aka Paris Opera House

    Palais Garnier aka Paris Opera House
    Charles Garnier is responsible for this structure, which is thought of as one of the most famous opera houses (perhaps due to its connection to the novel The Phantom of the Opera). It’s an impressive building with its columns and various statues place throughout, so many details to take in. Furthermore, it’s a work of art that houses other art, and some of the bronze statues are of composers like Mozart and Beethoven. So, in that way, it’s a work of art that’s an ode to other art.
  • The Thinker

    The Thinker
    Auguste Rodin’s statue is one of the most recognizable with its iconic position of a man sitting in contemplation. There are great details to appreciate, from the muscles of the form to the roughness of the rock he sits upon. This, along with The Gates of Hell, are said to be based on Dante’s The Devine Comedy. It’s interesting when different forms of art, centuries apart, are connected. That’s part of what makes these works endure, they are constantly relevant and worthy of discussion.
  • The Starry Night

    The Starry Night
    Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh gave us one of the most recognizable paintings in the realm of fine art. The night sky, with its glowing moon and stars and swirling movement, hover over an idyllic village. There’s a richness of shadows in the foreground and background, giving the work depth in the sky and on the ground. It’s the type of work where you can really escape in the curves and lines.
  • The Scream

    The Scream
    Norwegian artist Edvard Munch gave us one of the most iconic images in fine art. The swirling background captures the essence and idea of a sunset. The frightened and distorted face…is it a person? An apparition?...leaves open plenty of room for discussion on meaning. I think it’s that type of uniqueness and openness that allow art to transcend time and remain relevant.
  • Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge

    Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge
    Claude Monet did a plethora of these Impressionist paintings featuring water lilies. It’s a stunning series, but also an interesting perspective, with the images seeming to convey a certain haze or blurriness (perhaps connected to Monet’s suffering from cataracts late in life). These paintings aren’t like photographs, or seeing these landscapes in person, but instead there’s a softness and beauty to them that’s unique to the Impressionist style.
  • Casa Mila

    Casa Mila
    This structure was designed by Antoni Gaudi and built in 1906 in Barcelona, Spain. It’s a unique building with its creative curves (an example of Bell’s Significant Form) and interesting balconies. It’s locally referred to as “the stone quarry”, because of its rough (not flat or traditional) exterior.
  • Symphony No. 9 by Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No. 9 by Gustav Mahler
    This was Mahler’s final symphony and one of his most popular. To this day, he’s one of the most performed composers. Fellow conductor Herbert von Karajan is quoted as saying about the symphony, “It is music coming from another world, it is coming from eternity.” That connects with what Schopenhauer stated about music, and its ability to connect with people and their inner spirit, the way it makes us think and feel.
  • Woman's Head

    Woman's Head
    Picasso is perhaps best known as a painter, but his early ideas of Cubism can be seen in this statue. There are really interesting details and curves here, from the neck all the way up to the hair. It’s not meant to mirror a face, but instead approaches it from various angles and perspectives. Picasso uniqueness and variety (in terms of mediums and content) is part of why he’s still so worthy of discussion and admiration today.
  • Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright

    Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright
    The Robie House is a historic landmark, and one of Wright’s best-known achievements, located in Chicago. He’s credited with creating the architectural style called Prairie School, of which this is an example, and often said to be uniquely American. Like with many of his works, he also decided on the interiors, from the rugs to the furniture to the lighting. The buildings are his canvas, and his art exists throughout. I find the layering style of the exterior to be especially captivating.
  • Unique Forms of Continuity in Space

    Unique Forms of Continuity in Space
    Umberto Boccioni, an Italian painter and sculptor, created this in the style of the Futurist movement. It’s a statue meant to capture movement and action, or at least the essence of those things. Its formation isn’t an exact replica of a person or position, instead opting for a more general and fluid form. It’s the unique form that isn’t trying to capture something exactly, but the idea of something.
  • Hot Fives & Sevens - the jazz music of Louis Armstrong

    Hot Fives & Sevens - the jazz music of Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong is one of the greatest jazz musicians, showing his trumpet and vocal skills through several years of work. This collection covers some of his work from 1925-1930. Similar to the symphony, jazz can be a full body experience that makes us think and feel. It’s also a form of music that is often changing. A song on a track from a record in the 1920s might be played differently by a musician today. There’s a sense of freedom and playfulness that goes with this music.
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc

    The Passion of Joan of Arc
    Car Theodor Dreyer's silent film is often heralded as one of the greats of the era. I find silent films to be particularly interesting because they are so centered on the image and the framing, with several shots have the look or feel of a painting. Plus, the music would be played live during viewings, making it a unique artistic experience involving several mediums.
  • City Lights

    City Lights
    In 1931, Charlie Chaplin directed and starred in City Lights, one of his most beloved works. Chaplin continued to work with silent cinema, even after the introduction of sound started to become standard by the late 1920s. The use of music and lack of sound/dialogue help make these films accessible to a larger audience, able to emotionally engage without issue of language barrier. This film manages to be both beautiful in look and story, while still maintaining Chaplin’s signature comedic style.
  • The Persistence of Memory

    The Persistence of Memory
    This is perhaps Salvador Dali's most recognizable work using his trademark Surrealism approach. It's visually stunning and interesting as it challenges our concepts of time, texture and reality. There are elements that appear to be from this world, while also being a part of something other-worldly.
  • Jimson Weed

    Jimson Weed
    This is one of Georgia O’Keeffe’s most famous works, and she’s one of America’s most well-known artists, certainly from this time period. She was known for her floral work, though as is the case with great art, sometimes a flower isn’t always just a flower. Here, she captures a few flowers in different points of bloom, and also plays with light and shading.
  • Guernica

    Guernica
    This is one of Pablo Picasso’s best-known works, and one that critics note as having an anti-war theme. It depicts action and violence, to both humans and animals, and does so in a way that leaves things open to discussion with so much activity on the canvas. Picasso doesn’t paint traditional looking figures, he’s not trying to recapture reality, but instead gives us something that’s visually interesting and emotionally charged.
  • Of Mice and Men

    Of Mice and Men
    John Steinbeck captures a piece of American history through the lens of two ranch workers in his 1937 novella. The way it describes the American countryside, and its hardships, especially as it’s wandered through looking for work during an era of Depression, lead to its continued use in classrooms around the country. It also deals with relationships and bonds between people, and the difficult decisions we’re sometimes faced with. So while the times may change, the human aspect still resonates.
  • The Two Fridas

    The Two Fridas
    This is one of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s most famous works. On the surface, it’s a dueling self-portrait, with Kahlo dressed in different outfits connecting to her multi-cultural background (her father was German and her mother was Mexican). Besides the dueling images and different dresses, there’s plenty to discuss in the depiction of two hearts in different states. It’s a rich painting, full of dark and surreal details that separate it from more traditional self-portraits.
  • Nighthawks

    Nighthawks
    This painting by Edward Hopper captures an era, a time and a place. Viewers can engage with the work, creating a story for the people pictured. It also plays with shadows and lighting, juxtaposing the dark city streets with the bright lights inside the diner. It also connects to a film style popular at the time, with it's noir look and feel.