Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Reign In Spain Stays Mainly in the Brain

[Or Undirected Blog 3, for those who are keeping track]

Romanticism in Spain! That's what captured my interest in the lectures this week. In particular, I found a painting by Francisco Goya, Family of Charles IV, the...for lack of a better word, funniest of the works shown.


This painting makes fun of the royal family that ruled Spain at the time. Showing a vain and bewildered Charles IV--who looks like a slightly...fuller version of George Washington--and his equally distracted family, Goya didn't try to make them look attractive, or place their heads on the bodies of athletes. The members of the family aren't posed either, with most of the women looking away and one whose face isn't even visible. Goya also placed himself in the painting, behind all the others in the top left hand corner. He separates himself from the useless royals by fading into the darkness in the back. And what did Charles and family do when presented with this painting? They hung it up in their hallway.

Leaders seem to have a habit of hiring the wrong people to present them to the public. Example: George W. Bush. White House Correspondents Dinner. 2006.

Bush hired Stephen Colbert to make a speech at the annual event, probably expecting a performance similar to that of Dana Carvey when former president Bush hired him years earlier. But Bush underestimated Colbert, and got a roast that made a bit too much fun of him, or at least more than Bush expected. Through the speech, the president is clearly annoyed at the comedian, most noticeably when Colbert tells him to "pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty"(when speaking of the president's low approval rating). But honestly, when you hire a comedian who ridicules you on a daily basis, you should expect the worst.

So, in a way, the family of Charles IV in Spain and the current president of the United States have at least one thing in common: they're not very good at choosing those who paint their portraits. Whether on canvas with oil or at a podium with words, these portraits are amusing to the audience, but less so to the subjects themselves. I say they got what they paid for.


Did this make any more sense than last time? I think this connection was more...understandable than previous ones I've made. If it isn't, than...darn. There's always next week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That Darn Prostitute!

[Also Known As Undirected Blog Two]

This week ( I believe on Monday) we discussed the French Sensiliet and English Sensibility movements of the 1700s. While looking through the images from these movements, the works of one particular painter stood out to me: William Hogarth. In class we were shown The Marriage Contract, one in a series of six paintings by the man. I found his work interesting, as it seemed a satire of the other paintings of this period--and I was somewhat correct. Apparently, this man was one of many who believed in marriage for love, and that a marriage without love was doomed to fail. To show his beliefs to the public, he created a series of paintings called Marriage a la Mode, which follows the doomed marriage of a poor aristocrat to a girl equally lacking. Their marriage, created for the purpose of benefiting their families, is loveless. To sum up the entire story, man marries woman, both cheat on each other, man finds out, kills woman's lover, man is hanged for murder, and woman commits suicide. Happy ending! Not. I love Hogarth's storytelling and his sense of humor when displaying to his audience the truth all around them.

My favorite painting in this series is not one shown in class, but the third painting in the series, called The Inspection(above) wherein the husband of the story goes to the doctor to complain about his syphilis medicine not working. At his side is a prostitute, who also has syphilis (As this man has had syphilis throughout the entire story, I believe that she caught the STD from him). I enjoy this painting because of the exaggerated expressions of the characters in the scene, as they remind me of comics in modern day times. In fact, this series is a sort of comic, as it can be viewed as sequential art. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Which then brings me to my Modern Day Connection (capitalized because of importance) of the week! This series of paintings reminds me of...this blog by Bill Maher! Its short and more than a year old, but still reminds me of the paintings. As I see it, both of these artists ( I consider writing and comedy arts) have their own reasons for why arranged marriages are, maybe, not a very good idea. Hogarth believed that if you married someone you don't love everyone will end up dying in the end (like Hamlet but more people and one less war), and Maher sees arranged marriage as leading to Terrorism in some cases. Come to think of it, both artists claim that arranged marriage leads to death. Perhaps humanity will be forever torn on the subject of arranged marriages: they're good for the economy and the social status of your family, but they really, really shorten your lifespan.


That said, I'm done for this week. I have also consistently misspelled marriage in this post. Anyway, until next week, beware of stray marriages! They're deadly!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tarzan: The Later Years

[aka Undirected Blog One]


After seeing The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard (above) for the first time during Wednesday's lecture, and failing to see both the swing and the woman that are the focal point of the painting, I googled it. When that same painting came up on my computer screen, I instantly saw both woman and swing. Staring at this, I wondered how I could have possibly mistaken this woman in her frilly dress for a bearded, white haired Tarzan figure. I'll blame this on the projected image seen at school, and move on.

According to Cynthia, this painting is 18th century Pornography. Failing to see how this ordinary scene of a man waving his hat at a swinging aged Tarzan (later revealed to be a young woman) could possibly be considered pornography, I was reminded of those optical illusions which change their subject matter depending on how you focus your eyes (and sometimes mind), like the old woman/young woman image (below).
Look at it one way, and its an older woman with an unusually large nose. Glance at it again, and the picture's changed to show a young lady in a large hat looking away. Perhaps Fragonard's intention when creating The Swing was to make pornography with a twist: viewed one way its a romance between a young woman and her mysterious lover; in another glance it seems to show Tarzan's never ending love for the jungle.


I realize that my connection of this painting to an optical illusion seems random, but in the strange workings of my mind these instantly clicked together. Maybe next time the connection between the past and present will make more sense (come to think of it, that optical illusion is pretty old...), or maybe not. Welcome to the mind of Liz.

Friday, September 5, 2008


[Also known as Directed Blog One]

Five pieces of art that define me! Ready? Set? GO!!

NOTE: for these pieces of art, I pretty much just raided my photobucket account and folder of 'Stuff That's Awesome.' Which means that I don't have the names of artists for them...or any sources for that matter. If any pictures shown belong to you, please tell me so I can give you the credit you deserve!



For those of you not familiar, this drawing takes characters from the Pokemon series of games and animation and places them in a scene from My Neighbor Totoro, an animated film. This piece embodies my love of combining different...things, for lack of a better word. Whether characters from one story exploring the land of another or a combination of all the sodas at a dispenser, I enjoy the unusual results that come as a result. I suppose this art is related to my love of postmodernism, as well. There's no 'high' or 'low', just art!



Crazy carved crayons? Liz! These represent the 'crazy' in me...I'm random, colorful, and unique, just like this crazy set of crayons. I also believe that art is art no matter what media and what size...which again links to my postmodern beliefs. And every time I've typed the word 'crazy' in this paragraph, I've accidentally slipped a 'Y' between the a and z.



[EDIT: You may (or may not) have noticed that this is a different picture than previously posted. The reason is that I finally found the picture I like best of hers, and HAD to slip it in. Also, the size fits much better into the blog...]
I actually have the name of the artist for this piece, Camille Rose Garcia! I was fortunate enough to have a school trip to see her exhibit when it came to the San Jose Museum of Art last fall, and I was stunned. Her combination of the morbid and cute is a great way to describe my own personality as well--I'm usually bright, happy and can be a bit of a goof, but I have a serious side as well. That seriousness is rarely seen when art is involved...



This is another artwork where I know the artist! Bansky! Simply put, the existence of this piece of graffiti in my list of art that describes me shows my view on the graffiti: art or vandalism conflict. I understand that graffiti is vandalism, but I still think of it as art. Illegal art, but art nonetheless. Should I describe how it describes aspects of my personality? Ok then...the rat pouring toxic waste in a sewer can be connected to my sense of humor and love for ridicule of the government. All good? Great. Moving on...



This final piece, one I most definitely know the creator of, displays what I love and hate about my favorite form of art: comic books. This was drawn by the late Michael Turner, a man who drew women as something OTHER than breasts on legs--something that seems to be everywhere in comics today. I cannot stand seeing women portrayed as such, especially when its almost always men drawing them like that. What I also like about this piece is that he gives his women believable muscle mass, something that many comic artists have...issues with. If you haven't already guessed, my passion lies in comic books and animation, and I hope to work in the field one day. So this is the most important one of all, the piece of artwork that shows what I strive to be in every art class I take.


That said, I'm done! I hope that by completing this assignment I've helped my classmates (and anyone else who happens to be reading this) to better understand myself and my writing style. Because you're going to be hearing quite a bit more from me...