Thursday, January 28, 2010

Neolithic art is purely fascinating.

Human figures from Ain Ghazal, Jordan
6750-6250 BCE, plaster, size varies
Some are located at the Louvre 

So I am taking ancient art history this semester and honestly I never thought that I was all that interested in ancient art... but I most definitely am. I have posted only one super old dating post (Lascaux) but as I am outlining chapter one of my textbook and I had to stop to tell you all about these crazy human figures found in Jordan. 

I am already finding that what I love most about studying ancient art history is that the descriptions in my book aren't like a million pages long. Now I don't mean this in the "I am such a slacker student and I hate reading" type of way, but I LOVE the fact that these things are so old that no one can really come up with an agreed upon explanation of everything. Additionally, every time some archeologist finds something new, every single thing gets re-questioned. I assume this would start to get annoying because they can never say things like, "We did it! We solved the mystery of Paleolithic and Neolithic art!," but for someone who is just studying it, it's really amusing. 

Anyways, these human figures were found buried beneath these really old settlements (and by really old I mean like 6500 BCE old). The figures are made of white plaster and the eyes were made with this tar-like substance. Some of the statues suggest gender, but for the most part they aren't gender specific. For the most part it is mostly assumed that these figures were ritually buried and had some purpose. So what's the big deal? Well, some of these statues are pretty large for being so dang old (like 3 feet) and most importantly, they establish the beginning of monumental sculpture in the Ancient Near East. That's a pretty big stinkin' deal if you ask me. 

Okay I realize that my whole purpose of this blog is to make (cough, normal) people in to art history. I understand that Paleolithic and Neolithic art are the hardest types of art to get people interested in, but here's the thing; it's cool because it's so old. It's so old that people debate if they even should be considered art. I just love to marvel over the fact that people a million zillion years ago created these things of art. They inhabited this sense of artistic ambition. They had the desire to create, and that's extremely fascinating

Neolithic art is purely fascinating.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I just love Vincent Van Gogh.

Shoes by Vincent Van Gogh
1888, Oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches

I feel like I apologize for disappearing way too often, but I swear I don't neglect Inadvertently Art on purpose. If things went my way, I would have a specific allotted time each day to write in here, but I am human therefore, I must maintain a busy schedule. Anyways, I am in the processing of moving/setting up my new place so it's pretty hard to find a spare minute, but alas! Here I am.

I just finished putting up a lot of art in my room and I stumbled upon a bunch Van Gogh prints that I have and noticed Shoes. I don't know how I have ever over looked this, but it's brilliant. As many of you know, Vincent was a troubled man and the more I learn about his life the more I am amazed at his ability to still see the beauty of the world.

He painted a lot of different works depicting shoes and honestly I love them all. Shoes first caught my eye because it's not a typical Van Gogh. I always love when people think they have pin pointed an artist and then they are thrown off by a piece like Shoes. Secondly, the premise behind the piece is beautiful. I am always amazed at the difference between an unartistic mind and the mind of an artist. Artist's are mentally able to see beauty in everything... even a pair of shoes.

The truth of the matter is quite simple. While there is no denying that there is beauty in the sky, trees, flowers, and ocean there is also this unmistakable beauty in ordinary everyday things like shoes. There is so much to learn from this, but I'll just leave that up to you. 

I just love Vincent Van Gogh.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Norman Rockwell was just simple, straightforward, and honest.

Triple Self-Portrait by Norman Rockwell
1960, Oil on Canvas, 44 1/2 x 34 3/4 in.

Before I write an entry, I always do some research on the artist and the piece and let me tell you, I have learned so much in that past couple of months.  It's amazing how many random facts I have learned about all these artists. For example, Norman Rockwell's son, Thomas Rockwell, wrote the children's book How to Eat Fried Worms. I LOVED that book! I just really enjoy this blog. My hope is that other people enjoy it, but for the most part, I will always continue writing in this just for my own selfish pleasure.

Norman Rockwell has always been one of my favorites. I love artists that portray simple things and simple times. But on top of that, Norman was extremely talented. I mean, he left his school at age 14 to attend art school and everyone always knew he had potential. He couldn't escape his artistic destiny. When he tried to join the military for WWI, they made him a military artist. He is most known for his illustrations for the magazine The Saturday Evening Post where illustrations like Triple Self-Portrait frequently made the cover.

Triple Self-Portrait remains my all time favorite Norman Rockwell. It's just so darn clever. He is looking in he mirror and seeing what he really looks like, but drawing the man he wished he looked like. My favorite part are the other self-portraits that are in the upper right corner of his canvas. He has included a collection of self-portraits from many various art periods. The first is a self-portrait of the Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer who was from the late 15th to early 16th century. Next to Durer is Dutch artist Rembrandt, beneath that is an abstract Picasso, and the bottom piece is a self-portrait of Van Gogh. Each of these artists created a large body of self-portraits and were essentially known for some of the best self-portraits.

You know, self-portraits are a funny thing. I mean, if someone asked me to draw myself I think it would be really hard. One, because I can't draw but more importantly because I wouldn't know how or where to start. If I made myself better looking than I really was, people might think I was vain. If I made myself seem over confident, I would seem self absorbed. If the expression on my face was a little stern, I might seem too angry. I mean, it just seems so hard. What facial expression do you choose? What clothes do you choose? What position? How big? It really seems a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Norman Rockwell chose to go about his self-portrait with humor as he was a funny guy. It's really brillant actually. He painted himself three times. One in the mirror, one painting himself, and of course one of the canvas. In doing this he not only creates a triple self-portrait, but a strong statement. Self-portraits are usually never all that precise. There is just something about someone painting themself that is hard to accomplish. People always paint the person they want to be, adjusting details to their standard. Norman gives the viewer himself as he wishes, and himself as he is and in a way, this is the most honest self-portrait there is.

Norman Rockwell was just simple, straightforward, and honest.