Non-western Art


The Forbidden City, modern day Beijing, is the largest collection of preserved wooden structures in the world.  In addition to the history associated with the buildings, the architecture involved is striking in itself.  Chinese palatial architecture developed over centurys to what we know today as traditional Chinese type buildings.  Although many of the buildings have been lost to decay of the wooden structure, some, including those of the Forbidden City, have been preserved.  The oldest dated back to the first century.


The Chinese palatial architecture is one with distinct lines and attributes.  The raised corners of the roofs are the first thing that catches my eye.  These traits were typical of temples and palaces, but could also be found on the homes of the wealthy.   Mortise and tenon, similar to dovetailing, were used to connect the large timbers that created the spans and load bearing posts.


Nanchan temple


It is unknown when the Nanchan Temple was built, but it was rebuilt in 782 AD during the Tang Dynasty.  The Nanchan Temple is currently the oldest existing wooden structure from the Tang Dynasty.  The first thing that catches my eye is the sweeping roof lines.  The symmetry is also appealing to the eye.


Fogong Temple


The Fogong Temple was built in 1056 AD during the Liao Dynasty.  It stands at over 216 feet, and is considered one of the oldest and tallest ancient wooden structure.  There are two things that I found incredible about this structure.  First is the height, it is hard for me to imagine the support structure the workers had to employ in the 10th century to erect a 200’ building.  Second, the building was assembled without the use of any nails, and it has lasted almost 1000 years.  The secret is the use of the rare Xing’an larch from Northern China.







Post Modern


The genre of street art may be one of controversy, but it is none the less art.  Most often the artists are painting controversial issues that affect them or the people of their community.  Some on the other hand use their expertise to paint images that play on the mind of the viewer.  Some still simply use inspiration of pop art.  No matter what the inspiration, most is still amazing given the canvas on which they choose to paint.



The 6emeia project was begun by Anderson Augusto and Leonardo Delafunte in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  They use items found within every town in an attempt to make art accessible to everyone.  The painted manhole covers, storm drains, light poles, other objects are their way to brighten up the city and provide enlightenment to the masses.  In Oreo, they use pop art combined with a manhole cover to make a depiction of an Oreo cookie.  Augusto and Delafunte also use some controversial topics to attempt to make change to people’s lives.  In Cigarru, the effects of smoking are portrayed.  While the art that the 6emeia does is not the kind that one thinks of as life changing graffiti, the projects are none the less amazing.

meeting mr. frog

pond in the rain

Another type of street art that has garnered more fame is the three dimensional art of Julian Beever.  While his street paintings do not typically show any kind controversial issue, they are an amazing depiction of how prospective can be used on a flat surface.  Beever began chalk art in the mid 1990’s and continues to work internationally today.  This type of art is astonishing for two reasons, the first is the depth that can be achieved on a flat surface.  With his use of colors and shading, one is almost afraid to “look over the edge” for fear of falling.  The second reason is that the art must be viewed from the correct angle or the image is distorted as seen in Swimming Pool in the High Street.  Beever’s art is even said to interact with the viewer, as seen in Meeting Mr. Frog and Pond in the Rain, as a person can almost feel as though they are interacting with the art.


Above is Swimming Pool in the High Street as designed to be seen.  Below is Swimming Pool in the High Street as seen from above, note the distortion.

swimming wrong


6emeia Project

Cigarru – Anderson Augusto & Leonardo Delafunte

Oreo – Anderson Augusto & Leonardo Delafunte

Meeting Mr. Frog

Pond in the Rain

Swimming Pool in the High Street

Early Modern

In the late 1920’s an event began that would change America and the world forever.  Through a rapid change of many things, the world, in particular the United States of America was plunged into what would be later termed The Great Depression.  Prior to studying this module, I would not have coined this era as one of propriety of the arts; it actually made some big leaps forward.  With the onset of the Great Depression, and the creation of the Resettlement Administration, later named the Farm Security Administration, many out of work artists found themselves working for the federal government.


Migrant Mother, Dorothea Lange, Nipomo Mesa, California, March 1936, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Dorothea Lange was one of those who were employed by the federal government to document the conditions of the Great Depression.  In March of 1936 while driving home from an assignment, she happened upon a camp and took a picture that would change the politicians’ view on what was happening.  In the photo, a widowed mother sits with three of her children.  The worry and wonder of what the future holds is evident on her face, as must have been for the thousands, if not millions that were in her position during that troubled time.

dust bowl

Arthur Rothstein, Cimarron County, OK, 1936, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

While the above piece does not have a name associated with it, I believe it shows what anybody with knowledge of the dust bowl would picture it as.  The photograph was taken by Arthur Rothstein in Oklahoma in 1936.  It shows a father and his two sons, in what once used to be a productive farm.  The dilapidated condition of the building and the useless condition of the surrounding land is the essence of what happened to Oklahoma in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Rothstein was also a photojournalist for the FSA and was tasked with publisizing the living conditions of the rural poor in the United States.


Departure of the Joads, Thomas Hart Benton, unknown location, 1939, Image courtesy of

Abstract art was prevelant in the time following World War 1.  This piece by Thomas Hart Benton, Departure of the Joads, depicts a family packing as many of their belongings as they can into a vehicle, intended for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  It shows one of the major reasons that made the Great Depression so painful.  The dust bowl that encompassed the mid west caused many farmers’ fields to wither away.  This resulted in a great migration of people out of the area, many headed to harder times on the west coast.

I enjoy looking at the historical photos and paintings from this and most eras because the show events that for one reason or another we should not forget.  All three pieces show the people during the worst economic time, and yet they prevailed and came out for the better.  The artist also did what they were hired to do, to publicize what Americans were going through at the time to provoke change.




When it comes to figuring out my level of appreciation for the art from the Romantic Era, Impressionism would not be my favorite.  To me, the lines, colors, and themes are too much of an …impression, when compared to perhaps the more beautiful and simple genre of Realism.  But as doing as the assignment says, I found an Impressionism piece of art that made my previous thought irrelevant.  Claude Monet’s Cliff Walk at Pourville (1882) forced me to rethink how I had previously thought about Impressionism art.  Cliff Walk at Pourville was painted by Monet in 1882 in France.  It is a unique piece for Monet in that it includes people in the image.



Cliff Walk at Pourville

Immediately upon finding this piece, I related it to the area of art that I am most drawn to, marine landscapes.  The image the viewer is given is a gorgeous day on the coast where two women are on a walk on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  The sailboats in the distance and illusion of blowing grass on the cliffs give the viewer the feeling they are on the cliff as well.  The piece is to be viewed from afar, to allow the bold brush strokes to blend the colors together and make an appearingly moving scene.  The contrast that Monet uses between the bright and colorful grasses and the cliff face give the illusion that if one wanted to they could peer over the edge to the sandy beaches below.

So in the end, my feelings towards impressionism have been swayed.  The illusion of a moving image has caused me to take a closer look at the Impression artists work.

Classical, or rather, Neoclassical

The 1700’s was a very dynamic time for the western hemisphere.  Most notably was the American Revolution in which the American colonies were attempting to gain their freedom from the King in England.  Many great paintings came from this conflict, showing many people the hardships that were faced.  While conflicts the world over have led to paintings that communicated the perils of war, the conflict that led to the independence being one for America is one of the greatest.  The incident that most believe was a precursor to the Revolution also produced one a piece of art that was as much propaganda as true classical art.

boston mass.

Henry Pelham 1770 Boston Massacre

Henry Pelham’s engraved depiction of what would become to the known as the Boston Massacre uses the traits of self-sacrifice and linear perspective to paint the scene of the King Street incident.  The piece was originally engraved by Pelham in 1770 in Boston, but was copied and mass produced by Paul Revere before Pelham was able to do the same.  Revere was long believed to be the original engraver of the piece.   I think this engraving shows that art was often used to show the happenings in a time before the photography that we take for granted today, especially in times of turmoil like revolutions.



John Trumbull Declaration of Independence (1795)

Another piece form the era of the American Revolution is John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence.  I enjoy this piece because it shows the making of what became one of the most important documents in American history.  The connection is shows to neoclassical art also connect it to the classical theme.  The Democratic idea that was born in ancient Rome and Greece were carried into the later part of the 18th century with the help of Revolutionaries from both America and France.


Francis Holman Moonlight Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1780)

The Final Piece that drew my attention from the era was Francis Holman’s Moonlight Battle of Cape Vincent which he painted in 1780 in England.  Not only does the linear perspective trait dominate this painting, but it shows the heroism that was present in a time when nighttime naval battles were not common.  My attention was caught by this piece simply because of the maritime theme, which was Holman’s main field of work.



Boston Massacre –

Declaration of Independence –

Moonlight Battle of Cape St. Vincent –


Baroque Blog

I have selected David by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.  The statue was constructed in 1623-24 (smart history) and was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese.  The piece is made of solid marble and was constructed in just seven months (Wikipedia).

I feel the piece relates the Council of Trent in that while art was becoming more available to the general population, it was still necessary for the church to commission art with a biblical background.  The sculpture shows that a young man, In this case David, can have the ability to battle giants and become victorious as long as he has the hand of God by his side.  The church had to market itself to compete with splinter denominations “…the path of God in the Baroque era is much more direct, more emotional, more bodily, and that of course relates to the embattled position of the Church, which felt as though it needed to appeal very directly to the faithful.” (smart history)

The sculpture is the essence of the Baroque era in that David is in action versus other statues of David by Donatello and Michelangelo, which show a stationary David both before and after the legendary battle.  The detail in the piece also shows the importance of the contrasts between light and dark.  Depending on the lighting of course, one can see how the sculpture casts its own shadows and has the brightness.




Image courtesy of Smarthistory (

Blog #2

The piece I have chosen is Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.  Part of what I find interesting is the use of Greek mythology in a time when art was gaining a more realistic genre.  I also enjoyed the piece due to its relationship to the sea, Zephyr, the Greek god of wind and his wife Flora ensuring Venus makes it to shore by blowing the wind in that direction.  The painting was completed in 1486 under the assignment of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici (  Not only does the painting show the relationship between the Medici family and the arts, but the fact that Sandro Botticelli studied under Lorenzo de’ Medici only emphasizes that relationship.

Birth ov Venus

Image courtesy of Wikipedia,