Italian Renaissance Artists

May 18th, 2009

Italy is widely considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance.  This time period, which opened the eyes of the world to all of the wonders that science could provide and the beauty of not only the natural world, but of Ancient Greece and Rome as well.  The Renaissance is the time period between the Middle Ages and Modern Europe, allowing culture to take root and the beginnings of technology to flourish.  The art especially began to see new developments, with heavy emphasis being placed on showing things in a natural manner.  More attention was paid to light and shadow, contrasting shapes, and especially to human anatomy.

Some of the greatest artists of all time were from the Italian Renaissance, including both Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.  Their paintings and sculptures have stood the test of time and are considered by many critics today to be the best examples of beauty available in art.  Raphael also made lasting artistic contributions, as his School of Athens is considered to be one of the strongest examples of High Renaissance art, along with Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling.  The Italian Renaissance started before the Renaissance spread to the rest of Europe and it produced some of the strongest and most talented artists that the world has ever known.  If one was looking for an example of beautiful art, the Italian Renaissance period would be sure to deliver.

Helping Children Discover Art

May 11th, 2009

Art is something which enriches our culture and allows us to experience the world and different cultures within it. It is important, therefore, to teach our children about the importance of art for our culture and our world. It is never too early to get children excited about the world of art, for teaching those to have an appreciation for the arts at an early age will help them to stay in tune with their creative side throughout their entire lives. Children often have short attention spans, however, and it is important to present art to them in a way that they can appreciate and not feel overwhelmed by.

One should start by picking artworks which are related to interests that the child has already expressed interest in. By presenting only a few works of art which relate to the interest, the young child can learn that others in the world have an interest in the same topic. It is also important to pay attention to and validate the reactions that the child has to the work of art, as this encourages them to think about the artwork and explore the ideas presented by the work of art more.

The supervisors of the child need to maintain a healthy balance between leading and following however. Knowing when to push a child into exploration is a good thing, but pushing the child too much will make that child feel as if the art becomes a chore. Furthermore, it is a good idea to present something physical for the child to touch that reinforces the work of art being viewed. Touch is one of the strongest sensations of curiosity in a child and being able to touch something to get the same feeling that the artwork is presenting is an important notion to a child.

Photo: Courtesy of New Eyes

Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn Diptych)- Third Most Influential Work of Modern Art

May 4th, 2009


Andy Warhol no doubt has a strong influence on the modern art movement as his works have become some of the classic definitions of what modern art stands for.  His 100 Soup Cans or Marilyn Diptych have taken an iconic place in art history, being easily identifiable as a Warhol piece by even the most casual of observers.  Some pieces, however, have placed more influence on modern art than any of the others and out of all of these, Marilyn Diptych perhaps more than any other.  In 2004, this Warhol piece was named the third most influential work of modern art in a survey conducted between 500 artists and art critics.

The piece was constructed in the four months following Marilyn Monroe’s untimely suicide in August of 1962.  Upon hearing the news of the star’s passing, Andy Warhol began to construct a work of art in dedication to her, which some have come to believe represents the mortality of her glamorous life.  50 images of the actress, all the same, were used in the construction of this piece in a grid of 5 rows and 10 columns.  The single image used was taken from a publicity photograph of Marilyn Monroe from the 1953 film Niagara.  The 25 images on the left hand side of the artwork are all in startling color, dramatized for a loud effect.  The 25 images on the left hand side of the piece are all in black and white, providing a stark contrast to the bright colors of the other side.

It has been postulated that Andy Warhol wanted to touch both upon the frailness of human life and the presence that celebrity can have in the everyday life.  Marilyn Monroe, by and large, was a household name and the repetitiveness of her image in Marilyn Diptych reinforces the fact that everyone knows who she was.  The color scheme reminds us all that she, like all of us, will eventually fade away and that as bright as we may be at one time in our lives, we will eventually fade to black as well.


Technology Inspires Artists

April 27th, 2009

\"Technology Inspires Art\"

What creates passion in People? Inspiration may create passion or vice versa passion may create inspiration.  At any rate we know that people are inspired to create art and art inspires people to look, listen, and enjoy more art.

For many the enjoyment of art, music, literature, even film is not enough in itself, but they also look for other people that enjoy the same type of art and creation. Although, true that we are each individuals, we are also a whole, and as such we look for people with like interests whether we are artists ourselves, or just enjoy art.

The web has changed the way we enjoy and create art, giving us a medium in which we can either share our creativity with other creative beings or in which we can enjoy the same styles and types of art and talk about it with other people who also like the same things we do, and this creates both a maketing tool for those of us that are creative, a support system for artists, and a way of recommending art to friends and family when we enjoy certain types of art.

Photo: Courtesy of Hieronymus

Greek Philosophy & Art: Plato & Socrates

April 20th, 2009

Plato & Socrates \"The School of Athens\"

Plato and Socrates, two of the most famous philosophers of all time, were figureheads with the birth of philosophy, generally claiming to be born in Ancient Greece.  Plato considered Socrates to be his mentor and, thusly, much of what is known about Socrates and his philosophies comes from Plato himself.  These two had a great deal to propound on the nature of the world, not limited to the purpose and functions of art.

It has been proposed that Plato might have been a poet before he came under the influence of Socrates and became a philosopher.  Many of his Dialogues have a very poetic nature to them and he is a wonderfully crafted storyteller.  However, while seeming to hold art in a very high esteem, these two also considered art to be a very dangerous thing.  Art is a strong influence on the character of a man and in an ideal society; the arts themselves would have to be closely monitored.  Naturally, this idea causes a great deal of conflict and strife with artists.

Art is something, which imitates reality. While Plato believed that the world itself is an imperfect copy of the true Ideal, art is an imperfect imitation of that original imitation.  Now, while art can be an inspired, great work, it can also be incredibly dangerous.  Art is something, which stirs the senses and brings emotion about in the viewer. Since it makes such an influence on a man’s character, it must be carefully monitored toward exactly the type of art that a man ingests.  At least in the early stages of the life, Plato was a staunch believer that only “good” forms of art are presented for consumption.

Painting Develops Artistic Ability

April 13th, 2009

Kid Creating Art

Children often take after their parents.  This sounds like a very basic, obvious statement, but it is still often incredibly true.  In the early stages of a child’s life, the opportunities that their parents or caretakers present to the children will help to shape and define those children.  Often, those guardians will present opportunities to those children who match the interests of the guardians themselves and in this way; the children are guided in their development.  Unfortunately, this often comes into play in terms of creativity that becomes repressed.  If the children are not given opportunities to explore themselves through drawing, painting, and other artistic forms, they will quickly learn to believe that they have no skill or interest in the endeavor.

This is unfortunate, because no one is born without the ability to express themselves in a creative way.  Without the opportunity to express that creativity, however, the flame will quickly grow dim and eventually die.  Children need the opportunity to express and explore that creativity and it is imperative of the guardians in their lives to encourage that exploration to happen.  If the children are criticized with their creative expressions, those children will quickly learn to stop that behavior.

Once the creativity and curiosity of painting and art is squashed in a child, it is very hard to get that to blossom again.  They are prone to feelings that they have no talent in that area because, from an early age, they were told that they did not.  This is a tragedy for every child has the potential to explore themselves and their own creativity.  They just need to be given the chance and the encouragement to do so.

Photo: Courtesy of Etamil

German Expressionism

April 6th, 2009


Perhaps being the birthplace of the more expansive Expressionist art movement, Germany was the early parent to a type of art form which placed a higher emphasis on the emotions and philosophical implications behind a work of art than on the reality it was trying to recreate.  Germany played a large role in the early 20th Century in challenging the academic traditions which had been put forth regarding art.  Expressionist movement and German Expressionists especially were heavily interested in producing art which expressed communication through a use of intense emotion.  Bold colors and two-dimensional distorted forms are a general trademark of Expressionist work which was born in Germany.

Franz Marc was one of the leading German Expressionist artists.  His work would often display animals in natural settings but through his use of bright primary colors and outstanding simplicity, his work would often produce a strong sense of emotion which German Expressionism is known for.  Erich Heckel was another strong example of a German Expressionist, one who sought to build a bridge between the traditional neo-romantic German art and the new German Expressionist works.  He, along with artists Fritz Bleyl, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, formed the group Die Brucke, helping to provide a major impact on the world of art and helping Expressionism to take its roots around the world.

Arts for All to Enjoy

March 30th, 2009


In many cultures and places, art has come out of the galleries, museums, and homes, and been put out in the open where we can all enjoy it. Artists have unified art and nature together and as examples we have many different art parks in many of our major cities.

Artists create these wonderful sculptures in parks and make the beauty of nature blend in with their own creativity.  The artists sculpture, fountain,  or monument seems to blend in with its natural settings and allows people from all walks of life to enjoy art.

In New York there are many of these parks, take the New Yorks Hudson Valley, with its soaring red elephant made by Alexander Calder, among other master sculptures and all of these sit at the PepsiCo, gardens.  These corporate gardens house works by Giacometti, Miro, Rodin, and Henry Moore, all masters in the art world, and all placed in plain view for all observers.


Painting Helps Develop Coordination

March 23rd, 2009

Drawing is a skill which helps children begins to perfect the usage of their hands.  Using a crayon, colored pencil, or even a paintbrush, the children have to use their hands to begin to make shapes which will translate into the picture they want to make.  This allows them to begin to use their hands in a carefully detailed way.  It teaches them to gain a level of control over what their hands do so that their pictures will turn out accurately.  It helps the concentration of the children, giving them the dedication to work on a project until they are satisfied with the work they have put into it.

Learning to color within the lines is another important detail that coloring and painting at an early age helps children to comprehend.  Normally, when coloring, children will simply rush to fill in the space with whichever color they choose, using wide strokes to fill in the space.  This often makes the colors run over the lines defining the image as well as leaving gaps in the space.  By learning to color within the lines, children learn the ability to work more slowly, taking their time to ensure that a good job is completed.  They learn to finish a project by filling in all of the space and to be careful while doing it, ensuring that nothing outside of the lines is errantly colored.  The skill of judging with their eyes on the work their hands are doing is important and painting is one of the easiest ways to get children to master this skill in a way that they find entertaining.  They will be learning without ever realizing the fact.

Photo: Courtesy of Barelyfitz

Art is Provocative

March 16th, 2009


Art is designed to stimulate the senses, to excite people and get them talking and thinking.  Some art will do this loudly and some art will do this more subtly, but unless art evokes some reaction in the viewer, it cannot properly be considered to be art.  Whether it’s love or hate, art should make the person looking at it feel something.  Some art, though, is specifically designed to ensnare the senses, exciting and stimulating the viewer.

If an artist is working correctly, their work will be able to reach out and grab the person viewing their work.  There may be an undercurrent to the work with which the person looking at the art can identify with and it is this undercurrent which will make that person be arrested by the art.  The artist making this provocative art can be doing it intentionally, trying to shock and excite the viewer, or it can be a natural by-product.  Any artwork which resonates truth, however, will naturally be able to carry that effect.  Truth is the highest standard of all and any work of art which is truthful will accomplish many things at once.


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