The Good Life My trip to the harn museum

During my experience at the Harn Museum of Art, I developed a more compact understanding of what exactly embodies the good life. I was intrigued by several art pieces that could be interpreted several ways, but that I saw exemplified the good life. Here are pictures I took of the pieces that spoke to me and allowed me to understand the different aspects of a good life.

This portrait of a young girl called "Tiergarten, Berlin, July 1" by Rineke Dijkstra caught my attention specifically because it reminded me of the time my humanities class studied a portrait of a young girl taken by Dawoud Bey. In our class discussion, we examined the girl closely and identified how innocence is one aspect of a good life. I detected the same concept in this portrait of a young and vulnerable girl. The technique of the artist includes photographing her subjects during transitional moments in their lives such as infancy or adolescence. The girl in the picture chose her pose and I could see how she still seemed to be vulnerable and self conscious. Through her transition of adolescence, innocence is lost and the struggles of society appear to conflict with her image. Even in nature, her pose is not natural and doesn't seem comfortable. The good life includes going through these transitions in our lives because they are only natural and human.
This slideshow was in the "Fallout of War" wing in which contained pictures of the aftermath of war all over the world. This wing intrigued me because of the pieces of art that illustrated how war affects people and the environment. The slideshow displayed several pictures that were the environmental impacts of war. This was disheartening due to the fact that every picture shown looked the same and every picture of the nature shown seemed desolate and dry. When I think of war, what usually comes to mind are the people affected by the war, but never the destruction of the Earth. This exhibit opened my eyes to how destructive war is not only to people, but to nature.
I connected with this still life painting in the sense of immediately understanding the message it conveys. The painting is called "Bodegon" by Armando Morales and the fruit is symbolic of women in society. I've always heard people compare women's figures to fruits like pears and apples which I take as flattering but also offensive in a way. The artist depicts women as voluptuous and soft like fruit, along with the weight and sensuality of women. In today's society, women compare themselves to other women all the time and feel that being too skinny or too fat is not accepted by others. I think it's a compliment that the artist compared women to fruit through the message that they are beautifully constructed. The painting can also be seen as offensive because women are merely seen as "fruit" and nothing else. It's easy to see the weight, voluptuousness, and softness of the fruit, but the painting does not embody what a woman is, but merely her image. One of my core values is to always look past what society thinks is perfect or acceptable. Observing this painting, I know that people are not defined by others, but are defined by themselves.
I found this sculpture refreshing, empowering, and a great example of one of the themes of a good life. The sculpture is called "Islandia, Goddess of Healing Waters" by Audrey Flack. This piece is of the Goddess of Healing, Islandia, who extends her arms in social healing and regeneration of society. I find that inner peace within oneself is important in living a good life. Moving on from the hardships of reality is the next step to healing and regeneration like Islandia depicts through her open arms. She is seen as strong and powerful, yet gentle and kind. She is symbolic to what I aim to be in my version of a good life which is finding peace through struggle.
Created By
Lily Smajdor

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