Art is often very personal. It can evoke many different emotions in its viewers. A work might have a profound effect on one individual but not on another. When walking through the museum, there were only a few pieces that caught my eye and made me interested to learn more about them. I am not sure why, but I was very entertained with the Latin American art depicting skeletons (which are the bottom two pictures of me above). Rider of the Apocalypse (from Apocalypse de Saint Jean) by Rufino Tamayo is based on the Book of Revelation. In the last book of the Bible, John of Patmos describes the end of the world, and this lithograph illustrates the fourth and final horseman of the Apocalypse who represents Death and ultimately devours the world. Calaveras del monton (Skulls from the Heap) depicts a skeleton leaping out from a graveyard populated with tons of skeletons. These illustrations were fascinating to me, as they were so basic and, in a sense plain, but have to do with death and destruction. It made me feel as though death and destruction was almost calming. Another piece of artwork that reached my core values because of the calm it showed was St. Jean's Bay by Leon Kroll. This oil painting represents a composite of several sites and is not a direct representation of a particular place. I found this soothing, like putting all of your favorite places together. It shows four people on the shore of the bay, three of them on a picnic while the other fishes. I just picture myself having a picnic and relaxing, watching the sun set over the bay.
Art and the Good Life
Robinson, Boardman, Excavation, 1926
Pavilion-Form Confucian Altar, Joseon Dynasty, 19th century
Art can help us think about the Good Life, what we want to achieve, what we want to protect, or whom we want to help. Excavation by Boardman Robinson shows people striving for the Good Life. Some Good Life values portrayed in Robinson's work are seeking and constructing. Excavation depicts an industrious working class and celebrates the rise of the modern American city of Pittsburgh. The men pictured in the artwork are hard at work, seeking to build an incredible city. The value of constructing can be taken in a literal sense here, but they are building more than a structure. They are building a city, a community, a part of the economy, and a place for people to live. They are constructing everything that will ever be in the city by building the city. The Good Life values associated with the Pavilion-Form Confucian Altar are embodying and seeking. The reason that the Pavilion-Form Confucian Altar evokes embodying is because the ornamented pavilion most likely served as a household's ancestral altar. Housed within the structure would have been an ancestral related object, most likely a tablet on which was written the names of departed family members. According to aspects of Confucian conduct, filial duties called for a pious reverence for ancestors. The Pavilion-Form Confucian Altar evokes seeking because it has to do with religion and seeking out the Good Life. Religion is a very integral part of the Good Life, and this structure served a religious purpose to a household, as it was the ancestral altar.