Harnessing the energy of the Harn Museum Experiencing Art With My Imagination


The Harn Museum is host of an incredible number of paintings, pictures, sculptures and more. I am person who enjoys art in the form of both music and plays; however, the type of art that is present in the museum isn't one that I would go out of my way to look for. I have the mentality that a high quality picture of a painting, commonly found on the internet, can grant a person a large part of the experience that a piece of art has to offer without needing to look at the actual painting. This is one of the reasons why art museums are always be the last places I visit whenever I travel to a new country; I know that if I am short on time, I can always rely on my friends to Google a picture of the artwork that I want to see. In light of the fact that paintings and drawings have existed since the beginning of human history, I am open to the idea of enjoying the presence of art. As such, I cannot help but be a little excited to visit the Harn Museum, and see if it has what it takes to change the way I look at art.

Cage of Illusions

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

It’s been several months since I last visited the Harn Museum, and I do not have any lasting memories of my first visit; while I do enjoy seeing a number of beautiful paintings and sculptures, I didn’t think I would see anything that would make me reflect on my past actions. That all changed when I looked at Gate #2. When I first saw the painting, it gave me the impression that there was something trapped behind those bars, something that I really wanted, and something I felt wouldn’t be there for much long. I started walking slowly towards the piece of art, fighting the urge to run at full speed. When I was finally two feet away from the painting, I realized that the bars seemed to have disappeared along with the content that I was yearning for. I was surprise by my own actions, so I decided to look around for information this painting; I learnt that the name of the painting was Gate #2, and that it was created by an artist named Ross Bleckner, who grew in popularity in the 1980s due to his use of optical illusions. This short piece of information allowed me to fully understand my reaction at seeing the painting. When I look at it from afar, I am reminded of a time difficult time of my life when I would pursue material things under the belief that obtaining them would grant me the happiness and fulfillment I yearned for; this was the reason behind the sudden urge to close the gap between me and the painting as fast as I could. But looking at it closely reveals why that period of my life is now over: the goal that I believed would changed my life for the better was nothing but an illusion. I was very happy when I had realization several years ago, and this painting helped me relive that precious memory. The pictures that I took of painting cannot capture any of the feelings that accompanied my journey through the museum, in light of the fact that the illusion cannot be conveyed through a simple photograph. If in the future I find myself back at the museum, I’ll make sure to take another look at this picture to experience the blissful that I felt when I looked at it for the first time.

Surrounded by Stories

Design of the Museum

This was probably my favorite section of the museum. I’ve always been an admirer of Italy, a country with a complex history of political conflict, renaissance literature, and economics prosperity. Sitting in the middle of the many paintings depicting the old nation allowed my imagination to wonder through time and space. As I’m reading about Giovanni Battista’s travels to Paestum in 1777, with the purpose of capturing the monumental character of the structure, I being to imagine myself going to city of Pompeii along with Battista’s family. I’ve read many stories about the place, of how prosperous it was oh so many years ago, and of what fate had in stored for the small town-city. When I look at his painting of the Tomb of Mamia, I try to imagine myself as a peasant living in that city, walking along the main street to see if my cousin had some food to spare. While I’m struggling to remember where his house is located, all of the sudden a roar like that of a lion is heard throughout the city, and it damages my inner ears; before I can feel anything but confusion, I am covered in tons of ashes. Once my mind was brought back to the 21st century, I decided to turn around and look at some of the other paintings. The wall that got my attention was the one covered with paintings of Venice in the early 20th century. I decided to imagine myself in a gondola, riding along the water channels of the city. Just the other day, Germany declared war on the British Empire, and I am worried that my children, along with my nation, will be drag into a war to protect the honor of the rich and powerful. As I step out of my boat, I contemplate the possibility of visiting my uncle in America and asking him to care for my family when I’m gone. All of these stories entered my mind while sitting in the middle of my favorite section of the museum, and I hope that the pictures can help me stay in touch with those stories.

The City of Dirt

Art and Core Values

I believe the reason why this painting caught my eye was because I recently visited the city of New York, and I got to experience what life is like in this historically important city. The painting was created by artist George Grosz and it depicts the city borough of Manhattan in 1946. This section of the city is known throughout the world as one of the most economically and culturally developed in the world, with a long history of migration and integration. And yet, the picture seemed washout and dirty; the sky filled with clouds of smoke. As I get close to the picture, I’m all of the sudden reminded of Mark Twain and his novel “The Gilded Age: A Tale Of Today.” I’m reminded that the city was enchained by organized crime syndicates back in the 1940s; both the mafia and the corrupted politicians exploited the city’s most value resource: the people. I also remembered an event that illustrates my dislike for urban cities. Because my family did not have a car to move around on our trip to the city, we decided to call a taxi in order to reach the airport for our flight back to Orlando. The taxi driver, a man from Egypt, seemed like an average guy at first. Throughout our journey to the airport, though, he proceeded to tell me about his life in the United States, how he arrived here and what challenges he had to overcome; he was once a man of riches and influence, but his carelessness and self-indulgence led to him losing all that he owned. While he attempted to teach me the importance of improving one’s character, I found that there were a lot of contradictions in his words, one of them being his apparent deep love for the American values of freedom, diversity and respect while at the same time loathing all immigrants from South America because his wife refused to allowed herself to be domestically abused. The thoughts that I derived from this painting reminded me that humbleness can easily be lost when surrounded by affluence. Not everything is truly as good as it looks, so keeping in mind what’s truly important (in my case, friends, family, and knowledge) is essential to maintain a clean conscious.

Desire for Order

Art and the Good Life

It may seem odd that I decided to take a photo of another picture of New York City after my mostly negative outlook on the last one; I also did not expect to find any interest on a picture of the same city with a focus on the Brooklyn Bridge. What I found intriguing about this picture created by Martin E. Newman, though, was the highway on the center of the picture. When I look at the roadway, I do not see deterioration or misplacement; instead, I’m filled with a sense of safety and order. I believe this sentiment is derived from the flow of cars that so peacefully and orderly move along the road. I also believe that it is this sentiment that a lot of people wish to acquire. What’s wonderful about the modern era is that we can feel safe walking around a park, a plaza or a neighborhood; we do not have to live in constant fear of what may happen to us. A part of us will always seek a comfortable life that is detached from stress and worries, and our modern societies can fulfill that desire. While the city of New York may have its shortcomings, it has historically provided a lot of people with the freedoms that they couldn’t enjoy anywhere else. As such, I fully support the idea that people have the right to defend the lifestyle that provides them with the opportunity to keep their children well fed and to give a nice gift to their parents on Christmas. While it is important to accept the existence of other cultures, it is just as important to hold on the values that allow the mixture of different languages, traditions, and views of the true meaning of the Good Life.

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