Blog # 8 – Non Western Art

Frida Kahlo – Diego and I(1949)

I chose this painting by Frida Kahlo because she has always appealed to me as a Latin woman. I have seen pieces of the movie made about her and it always appealed to me how in the movie she conveyed her emotions effortlessly in such a unique way. I have always found her paintings to be immensely interesting. This particular piece, Diego and I (1949) appealed to me because in watching the film about her, I recall reflecting upon the dynamic she had with her husband Diego Rivera, an artist as well. They had such an interesting, obsessive and volatile relationship. I believe this particular painting conveys her emotions towards her relationship with her husband. This portrait was made in 1949 during the time in which he was having an affair and although they still remained together as a couple, this painting shows the pain she endured.  

Diego’s face painted on her forehead suggests that she always thinks of him – almost as if he is dominant of her thoughts. The tears in the portrait convey the pain she feels. Her hair almost looks like it is strangling her as if to suggest she cannot live without Diego. I love how Frida seems to bluntly express how she feels, even if her emotions are a little contradicting.

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Blog # 7 – Non Western Art

I chose a work of art by Fernando Botero because I have actually had the privilege of seeing his art first hand. My mother is from Medellin, Colombia which is where Botero is from as well. All throughout Medellin you can see sculptures made by Botero. I included a link that shows some of his sculptures in Medellin. Although unfamiliar with his art until now, I chose Botero’s, Abu Ghraib 66, (2005).

I chose this particular painting because it is one of his newer pieces and based on his other works of art, I find it interesting that he would find the Abu Ghraib tragedies so inspiring. In observing his other work, this seems almost out of character for him as an artist. The tragedies and abuse in the prisons of Abu Gharaib deeply moved Botero when The New Yorker first published these accounts in May of 2004. It contained a horrific account of what Major General Antonio M. Taguba described as “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at the prison. Botero began sketching the horrific scenes that he imagined based on what he had read. Botero numbered the works in sequence as if creating a chronicle of his own response. In Berkeley professor Robert Hass, Botero said, “What I wanted was to visualize the atmosphere described in the articles, to make visible what was invisible.” Botero’s interest in art was also inspired early on by works of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Siqueiros mentioning that “they made the reality of the country the subject of their art,” Botero saw in their paintings a “direct way of speaking.”

His reaction to these tragedies drew me to this project of Botero’s and this picture in particular. This picture shows pure torture in detail but only the face. I almost feel he is comparing this torture to the one Jesus is said to faced before he was killed when he was said to have bled tears and sweat of blood. It must have been an immense torture for these prisoners. I also like the simplicity of this piece as it is just a head shot but it conveys so much emotion.

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Blog 6 – Feminist Movement in Art

[T]o be a woman is to be an object of contempt, and the vagina, stamp of femaleness, is devalued. The woman artist, seeing herself as loathed, takes that very mark of her otherness and by asserting it as the hallmark of her iconography, establishes a vehicle by which to state the truth and beauty of her identity.

—Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, 1972

Judy Chicago is a feminist, artist, author, and educator and has been creating artwork since the mid 1960s. In 1970, Chicago founded the first Feminist Art program in the United States at the California State University in Fresno.

Judy Chicago, Dinner Party (1979)

This is an exhibit is a large table in a triangle shape. In previous times, women were not invited to the dinner table.  They were not allowed to be creators of culture and this exhibit made a literal place for women in a table. Chicago took famous, influential women from the past and made a place from them in a table. Woman like goddesses, Emily Dickinson and other amazing woman that were not recognized in their own time. This is my favorite piece of work included in this blog. I love the creativity involved in the project and I also enjoy trying to visualize the conversation I would have with these amazing woman if I were sitting at this table. This is a very profound exhibition.

Judy Chicago, Birth Tear/Tear (1985)

Chicago’s Birth Project was made of dozens of images on the subject of birth and creation and embellished by needleworkers. This was a collaborative process that grew out of Chicago’s philosophy that people can be  empowered by art – through making it, viewing it, and owning it. Exploring the  subject of birth brought her face-to- face with the fundamental cause of  women’s oppression – as soon as one gives birth to a child, one is no longer free. I have to agree with these statements in a sense. Giving birth is female empowerment. Showing is in an exhibition is powerful. I think the use of color in this particular piece shows the pain, power and peace that comes from giving birth.

Judy Chicago, International Quilting Bee (1980)

This exhibit by Chicago commemorates over 700 individual women and women’s organizations standing as a monument to womankind by  honoring the accomplishments, personalities, individualism, and importance  of women throughout history and the world. This idea is very similar to her Dinner Party exhibition in which it honors and commemorates powerful women. I like this piece because it was woven by different woman and brings a sense of culture and feminism into the project.


Miriam Schapiro is a Canadian born artist based in America. She is a pioneer of feminist art. She is also considered a pioneer of the Pattern and Decoration art movement.


Miriam Schapiro, The Poet #2, 1984

The textiles are used as symbolism of feminine labor. Schapiro coined the term “femmage,” which stands for the female laborer’s hand-sewn work. Schapiro comments, “I felt that by making a large canvas magnificent in color, design, and proportion, filling it with fabrics and quilt blocks, I could raise a housewife’s lowered consciousness.” She is known for her involvement in encouraging women to form support groups and emerge from isolation. I like the use of textiles as a creative and feminine form of art. I like that Schapiro included it in her works and made it such a beautiful form of femal expession.

Cindy Sherman is an American photographer, film director and best known for her conceptual portraits. Sherman has sought to raise challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society.







Sherman’s Untitled # 132 (1984) and Untitled # 138(1984) represent a fashion victim. She models in fashionable clothes by top designers. These clothes do not seem to feel comfortable and attractive. The woman is forced in a role where she loses her self-confidence and cannot bear the pressure of her forced role. Sherman’s choice of colors emphasizes the character of the woman. Therefore, in this feminist context, colors suggest pain, frustration and even threat. I find Sherman’s work to be very different. I enjoy viewing her photographs as they make me ponder what the meaning is behind them. Her photographs are art in pictures as she uses color and poses to convey feelings.

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Blog # 5 – Early Modern


Surrealism is a type of art that delves into the psychological
states of the world of dreams and fantasies. The word ‘surreal’ meaning ‘above
reality’. The artists who depicted this movement were all influenced by the
science of that era. The psychological research and analyses of the
significance of dreams and the subconscious by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung
inspired these artists to portray these ideas. They believed there was an
element of truth revealed in our subconscious minds.

In Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) painted
in his hometown of Spain portrays the timeless mythological story of Narcissus
as a beautiful young man who admires his own reflection in a body of water. As
he falls in love with his own beauty, he turns to stone. Dali, considered to be
the Master of illusion, creates a double-image, where the boy’s form is
repeated as an enlarged hand holding an egg which bursts forth with a narcissus

Dali reveals the human drama of love, death and the transformation
known in psychoanalysis as “narcissism”. In his Introduction to Psychoanalysis,
Sigmund Freud defines the term as “the displacement of an individual’s libido
towards that individual’s own body, towards the ‘ego’ of the subject.” Freud
later remarked about the painting: “Until today I had tended to think that the
surrealists, who would appear to have chosen me as their patron saint, were
completely mad. But this wild-eyed young Spaniard, with his undoubted technical
mastery, prompted me to a different opinion. Indeed, it would be most
interesting to explore analytically the growth of a work like this …”In this
painting Dalí successfully linked the classical tradition of Greek mythology
with the latest investigations of psychoanalysis, through the myth of

I find this work appealing because it is such an interesting
portrayal of how he viewed this classical myth in a subconscious way. I also
find his freedom of expression very different and interesting. I think it
leaves a lot of room for interpretation and analysis and I find this very





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Blog # 4 – Impressionism

Impressionism I feel was the start of something radical and remarkable. It’s so interesting to see the change between the previous periods and the Impressionist period. It was the beginning of freedom in the arts. The artists of the Impressionist period painted to their own gratification. The artists of the Renaissance and later periods defined art through specific techniques and these techniques had continued to be learned and used. There was
always a moral for these paintings instead of painting just to paint. Impressionists
had their own definition of art, as it should be. It’s almost like they questioned everything they had known and learned and just starting different techniques. I find the technique of the use of color to reflect images from a distance very unique. I also enjoy the undefined and relaxed structure – the soft brushstrokes and color schemes.

Claude Monet, considered to be a vital pioneer of the Impressionist era, painted many landscapes and pass times. In Monet’s Jeanne-Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden Sainte-Adresse (1867) You can see the vibrant use of color and her white dress radiates so brightly in this painting. You can also see the undefined lines, as this painting is better enjoyed from a distance.

Edgar Degas,
although he often considered the anti-Impressionist, he depicted the effects of
light in his paintings. In The Dance Class,1876, his use of line and
light is seen very clearly. He also painted a lot of paintings of dancers which
is also an Impressionist characteristic.

Lily, Lily, Rose
(1886) by John Singer Sargentbut painted the effect
of the most perfect sunset has, in terms of color, shadows and light on a scene.



Impressionism, in comparison with other styles and artists like Jan van Eyck from the
Renaissance, is very free. In his painting for example of The Arnolfini Portrait you can see the definition of lines and his Renaissance techniques. Although he plays with light in this portrait, it is precise, polished and almost militant. It conveys no emotion to me. There
was also a lot of symbolism included in this painting whereas I feel Impressionist paintings leave more room for individual interpretation that leads to creative stimulation.








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Blog # 3 – Classical Era

During this era, the rise of the middle class mirrored the changes going on in the world. The revolutions during this time, the fierce opposition of aristocracy and this new period of Enlightenment gave way to a rise in the middle class. The middle class felt empowered and they wanted their music to demonstrate that. The middle class demanded  a new form of music and symphony music that was anti Baroque. Ludwig Van Beethoven composed the 5th Symphony between 1804 and 1808 in Vienna, Austria and successfully responded to this new movement.

The middle class yearned for music that was simpler and easier to follow yet lively and dramatic and Beethoven achieved this with the 5th Symphony. This symphony is organized and lively. It was simple and elegant. It’s in sonata form and contains four movements that can seamlessly be heard.

I have always found Ludwig Van Beethoven very inspiring because he created beautiful music even though lack the only sense thought to be needed to compose music which was his hearing. His amazing talent resonates past his disabilities. It such a lively piece of music that can still be enjoyed today. It’s such a passionate and inspiring symphony with many layers.

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Blog Assignment #2

This portrait, Rembrandt van Rijn’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp is a great visual example of Holland’s firm Protestant stance. Although Rembrandt painted some biblical images in his lifetime, he was known for his portraits and his landscapes.During and after the Thirty Years of War there was a great and distinct separation between the Protestants and the Catholics.  In Protestant Holland, where this portrait was created, paintings were not being commission by the church. There was a different, more expressive subject matter being painted. As Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker discuss on their blog post on, Rembrandt ‘reinvented what art can be’. These were not portraits that were being exhibited in a church, but rather in common places, in the living room of the middle class and in secular institutions. He depicted a part of the Baroque period that expressed this reinvention and discovery. This is the first time that people started to take notice in portraits, still lifes and landscapes. It’s interesting that he chose to paint a doctor and his students learning about the anatomy of a cadaver. Science was a very popular subject at the time. As we have learned, many important scientific discoveries were made in the Baroque period and it’s interesting to see how this subject influenced him to paint this portrait. People were anxious to expand their scientific knowledge, showing their scientific curiosity and you can see the excitement on the students’ faces as they learn about this cadaver.

You can observe from the portrait that they are interacting, it’s a natural, realistic setting. You can also see his amazing use of light and shadow that control your eye to look where the artist wants you to look first. You also see the chiaroscuro technique being used in this portrait.

It’s interesting to see how whatever is going in the world has such a huge impact on how artists express themselves and how they are inspired to paint their masterpieces.

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