Harn Museum of Art Michelle Ruggiano

Medium/Technique of the Art and Artist

Myself with a piece called "Idyllic Landscape" by Maurice Brazil Prendergast

One of the pieces that I saw in the museum was this one that is pictured above which is named "Idyllic Landscape" by Maurice Brazil Prendergast. This piece was one that stood out to me because of the texture that it had and the the technique that the artist used. It was cool to see this piece in person because over the internet, one could not see the detail and precision that the artist used when making it. I saw the piece in a different light because I could see it in person and really pay attention tot he little details in the work. The reason that I found this certain piece so interesting was the way that it wasn't smooth and clean like other but rather it had a rough finish on it. There was texture in the work and makes the viewer notice it since it is so different from the others. He applied many layers and the paint was thick, making the art have a 3D like effect which caught my attention initially. When I looked at the piece, I got to see what it would have been like in the early 1900's and get an idea of what people would do in their free time. The effect that it had on me was that it put me in a peaceful mood because the people portrayed in the painting are very relaxed and comfortable in their environment.

Design of the Museum

Asian art wing in the Harn Museum of Art

Pictured above is the Asian Art Wing at the Harn Museum. This is my favorite wing of the museum because it is so different from the rest of the museum. It had a lot of natural light because of the large windows on the back wall that lead to the gardens. It had an interesting layout with larger sculptures being the focal point of the room. Since there was a lot of larger sculptures and art pieces, the room was more open and spacious than the others and really allowed me to focus on one art piece at a time. Many of the other wings of the museum had paintings as the main type of art whereas this section is mainly artifacts, sculptures and statues that represent Asian history. I liked that it had many different types of art included and that through the exhibit, I could take a closer look at Asian culture. The gardens in the back of this exhibit really caught my attention because it was unique to the exhibit and something so different from your typical art and was very relaxing. This added character to the exhibit that I really enjoyed and made the space seem even more open than it already was which I personally like. When I was in this particular exhibit, it made me feel calm and happy because of the type of art, the gardens and getting to experience something different from the more stereotypical art museum wings.

Art and Core Values

Myself with a piece called "Funeral" by Stuart Robert Purser

One of the most important things to me is family. This art piece caught my attention because it portrays something so personal to many people, funerals. This is a painting titled "Funeral" by Stuart Robert Purser. The subject of the painting being portrayed is something that evokes so many different emotions for many people and reminds people of some of the hardest times in their lives. When I saw this piece, it allowed me to appreciate the value of family and keeping your loved ones close because any day could be the last for anyone that you know. The artist painted a subject that many wouldn't because of the personal emotions and solemn mood that it depicts. As I looked at the piece more and notice the small details of the painting, it made me feel sad and solemn since this was something so sad and deep that the artist chose to show. For many, including me, losing someone that they knew, and possibly the closest person to them, is one of the worst thing that could happen and is something that is not even imaginable. This artist reminded me that people lose someone they love everyday and allowed me to reaffirm my belief that funerals are something very sacred and special and that I should not live such that I do not cherish the ones I love every day. Nobody ever knows when they could be just like the ones standing around the coffin in the painting.

Art and the Good Life

Myself and a art piece depicting a "Seated Bodhisattva" from the Joseon Dynasty

The good life is different depending on who you ask and what that person believes in individually. In the Asian Art Wing of the museum, there is a sculpture of a Bodhisattva which is someone who is a Buddha-to-be but does not reach enlightenment because they have compassion for those around them who are striving to reach enlightenment also. This certain piece reminded me of the good life because each Buddhist that is trying to reach enlightenment, in a way, is trying to reach their own version of the good life. Just like the example of Siddhartha, the people that are represented by the statue in the museum are trying to rid themselves of superficial items and thoughts in order to better themselves and live their best life. This shows the theme of going out and trying to accomplish the virtually unobtainable in order to make yourself happy and live the life that you truly want to live. Although the art piece is very subtle and is there to convey a part of Asian culture, it will show many people that going after what they want and the life that they think is important and right is something that anyone can do. This Bodhisattva, with his hand positions representing fearlessness and gift-giving, communicates to anyone who sees it that their good life is right around the corner, they just have to be fearless and have courage to be a better version of themselves in their own light.


Photo credits to myself and Michael Ruggiano (who took pictures of me)

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