Art History Museum As a student of art history, going to a museum is the only way to fully experience a work of art. By only looking at a painting or sculpture in a book or on a slide, you cannot fully experience the work of art. By going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was able to look at paintings that dated from centuries old, to recent times. Bruges, The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve, 15th Century, Tempera on wood The Proto-Renaissance alter piece, The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve was done by the artist Bruges. This piece is very typical of its time period.
The title alone, summarizes what art was in this period, religious. The painting itself is not proportionate, has no vanishing point, and the saints have a globe-like halo. All the faces look the same, if you walked down the street, you would not be able to pick out an individual model for this painting, because there probably was no modeling done. Raphael, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, 1504, oil on wood The Raphael alter-piece, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, was painted in 1504. The surface is very smooth, you cannot see any brushstrokes.
The figures are placed in a pyramid shape, with the Madonnas face as the center, and the viewer as the worms eye-view perspective. The faces still all look the same, but there is much more detail in this piece than in The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve. The bright colors, details, size of the alter-piece, and what we now recognize as halos on the angels make this work a typical Raphael. Designed by Francesco di Giorgio, Gubbio Studiolo, 1476, wood trompe-loeil The Gubbio Studiolo is amazing.
At a first glance everything looks real. But then at a closer look, you realize the benches and cabinets that are there, are not real benches and cabinets at all. Its all wood inlayed on a wall. To create shadows, the artist used different types of wood. It is supposed to have the effect of having the viewer think everything is three dimensional.
Even the ceiling is part of this effect. The scene this work depicts has all aspects of learning portrayed; religion, science, music, and literature. The artist places items symbolizing these different parts of learning by placing them into the “cabinets” that are all around. Bronzino, Portrait of a young Man, 1550, oil on wood The mannerist work, Portrait of a Young Man was done by Bronzino. The painting contains aspects conveyed by the mannerist period.
The young man is holding a book, which leads the viewer to make the assumption that he his very learned. The man conveys an attitude toward us, as if he is the best. The composition itself has “hidden” grotesques all over. The mans eyes are purposely distorted, one eye is looking straight out, while the other is looking towards the side.
His long fingers are placed in very odd positions, making this piece very mannerist. Rubens, Wolf and Fox Hunt, 1615-1621, oil on canvas Wolf and Fox Hunt by Rubens was created between 1615 and 1621. This extremely large painting has very soft colors. The painting is light and airy.
To look at it, is like looking at a real scene through an early morning mist. This mood is created by the soft brushstrokes that are used. For example, in the horses tail, you can see all the brushstrokes, which gives the hair depth. Rembrandt, Self-Portrait, 1660, oil on canvas Rembrandts Self-Portrait, done in 1660, creates a dark, unpleasant mood.
Rembrandt looks worn out, tired, and very unhappy. All of his paintings in the museum portray this darkness. There is one light source that casts a gloomy shadow over everything, which in his Self-Portrait, tells the viewer, that at this point in his life, he was very unhappy. Rembrandt does not enhance his features, but instead, makes them worse. Boucher, The Interrupted Sleep, 1750, oil on canvas The feminism, and almost gaudiness of the Rococo period is conveyed through The Interrupted Sleep.
This painting is very small in size like many of the paintings done during this time. The composition itself is very sensual, with the soft pastel colors and the soft, pink bodies of the woman. The use of the dogs show the richness that ran through this period in history. Lepage, Joan of Arc, 1880, oil on canvas The 19th century painting Joan of Arc was painted by Lepage. What makes this my favorite 19th century painting is the realness of Joan of Arc. It looks as if the artist took a snap shot of the model, enlarged it and placed it onto a painted background.
Also, the size of this painting is unbelievable. It is disputed as to which period Joan of Arc belongs to. Some say it is part of the Romantic movement and some say it is part of the Realist movement, and still, others claim it is part of both movements. Georgia OKeeffe, Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow, 1923, oil on canvas The 20th century work, Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow by Georgia OKeeffe is nothing like what has been done before it. There is no subject matter, except how the different colors are used.
This painting is a picture of nothing. The artist uses gray, teal, lavender, pink, yellow, and blue to portray something that is not real. She wants the viewer to use the mind and imagination to make up their own composition. Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow helped break the idea that art had to be a painting of something. To fully experience a work of art, you must go see it in person.
Studying them in class should not be the only time you see them. To be in a room that is filled with paintings by Raphael and Rembrandt is quite an experience that everyone at least once in their life should have a chance to do.