Tour of the Harn Museum

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist:

It is very true that in order to fully appreciate certain art, one has see it in person. It is necessary to see the piece up close to truly recognize the technical finesse of the artwork. One perfect example of this is the collection of nephrite jade sculptures and carvings from the Qing Dinasy. The works dated back to the 18th and 19th centuries. They were beautifully crafted out of jade and had shapes and subjects that ranged from plant life, to fruits, to people. Seeing these works of art in person made me realize how much detail actually went in to these sculptures. I noticed how fine the cuts are, how intricate Chinese jade sculptures really were, and finally how stunning the final work can actually be. What was the most striking to me is how difficult it must have been to create such beautiful and precise pieces of art on such a difficult medium in a time where stone cutting technology was not very advanced. I thought it was a very impressive feat. Overall, the pieces of jade artwork gave me a feeling of awe for the abilities of artists of the world to create ridiculous artwork like these.

Design of the Museum

The wing of the museum I found the most appealing was the Intra-Action section. The Intra-Action section dealt specifically with female artists. While the topic of some sort of gender inequality in the field of fine arts was of no importance to me, the actual wing was very nicely designed. The space was very open and allowed the patron to view the art at many different angles. Other wings felt too cramped and narrow. The Inrta-Action wing also let in a good amount of natural sunlight which complimented the brightly colored room very well. The overall feeling generated by this atmosphere was one of happiness and hope. Perhaps this feeling of hope and glee was intentional, signalling the hope for the future of women in art.

Art and Core Values

Sometimes, a piece of art will speak to me at a personal level. I might identify with the message the work is trying to convey. In these cases, the piece appeals to one of my core values and the message speaks to be at a very intimate level. For me, the artwork that most spoke to my core values was a German woodcut from 1504 made by Albrecht Dürer. The woodcut was entitled "Saints Stephan, Sixtus, and Laurence" and simply showed these three saints. St. Stephan was an apostle of Christ and believed to be the earliest martyr of the Church The three saints were all martyrs of the early Catholic Church. Pope Saint Sixtus II was an early Pope and St. Laurence was a deacon appointed by him. Stephan was stoned to death by a mob of angry Jews, while Sixtus II and Lawrence died under Roman persecution. The three men share this value of absolute commitment to their beliefs and the value of faith in God. This is a value I hold near and dear to my heart and because of that I felt a personal connection to this piece.

Art and the Good Life

For me, the artwork that had the clearest representation of a Good Life was a painting by the German artist George Grosz. Titled "Manhattan", it showed a beautiful view of New York City and demonstrates the American Dream that Grosz and many others had of living under liberty and safety in the greatest country in the world. Grosz expresses his vision of the Good Life by painting the skyline of Manhattan, representing the opportunity, industry, and innovation generated by the American people. This was a topic of personal importance to Grosz, as he himself left his native Berlin after the Nazis took control of the German government. The Good Life depicted by the artist is essentially the America dream: leaving your homeland to become an American. Grosz masterfully paints the boats, towers, and smoke in his expressionist, emotional style. This is all an homage to the grandeur of America, Grosz's new home. This speaks to me specifically because my mother escaped from Peru mainly due to the communist terrorist groups Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. She left to America with her parents to start a better life in America, similar to Grosz. This artwork reminds me of where my family comes from and the American Dream that burns inside of every American.

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