Stanford Museum Paper
1) Artist unknown Male Head
This sculpture was made of terracotta in Cyprus in about the second century BCE. This head is quite a primitive depiction of a human (one eye is slightly lower that the other and eyeballs are not indicated at all), but at the same time it is a very precious object that offers much valuable information about the cultural level of ancient European society. This sculpture proves that the society who created this object was developed enough to pay much attention to art. It also means that human nature was treated as rather important because it was considered a worthy choice for a sculpture.
2) Artist unknown, Roman Torso of Dionysos (or Apollo?)
The whole sculpture did not survive and the part displayed in the museum shows only the torso of some ancient male god. It was made of Parian marble in the Roman Empire circa 50AD. The Roman art was largely based on the traditions of ancient Hellenistic culture, and this sculpture is not an exception. Despite its religious theme, it is an impressive tribute to the beauty of the human body. While looking at the sculpture, it becomes evident that Roman artists paid much attention to the study of human anatomy, so the sculpture appeared to be very realistic and expressive.
3) Artist unknown The God Vishnu with Lakshmi and Sarasvati
This sculpture was made in India in the approximately twelfth century. It is a good example of the Hindu religious art. The sculpture was probably used for decoration of the temple or similar place for worshipping. The figure of Vishnu is done according to the classical Indian tradition. It is surrounded by elegant bas-reliefs that often can be found in various temples in India. In this century, India witnessed a period of social and religious unrest, so this sculpture belongs to the transitional time between the fall of the old empire and new Huna invaders (Berkson 78). However, despite these difficulties Hinduism did not lose popularity among the Indians, and this sculpture remains topical and important even nowadays.
4) Jan Baegert St. Catherine, St. Barbara
This diptych painted in Germany at the beginning of the sixteenth century is a good example of the religious art. Baegert portrayed two female saints located at the two panels framed in wood. In the background, the artist depicted a simple landscape that was characteristic of the Renaissance paintings. He also paid much attention to rendering the texture of the saints’ clothes. It means that the material aspect of religion was quite important for Catholicism of that period. The objects painted here are very symbolic, for example, the feather in the hands of the woman means that she is considered a protector of scholars.
5) Carlo Dolci Madonna in Glory
This portrait of Madonna was created in Italy circa 1670. This painting is done in rather dark colors, and only the face and the hand of Madonna seem to be lightened from within. The artist paid much attention to the rendering of the contrast between light and dark areas of the piece. Although the seventeenth-century art witnessed new tendencies and techniques, the impact of the Renaissance style was still evident, especially in the Italian art. Dolci’s painting is similar to many classical examples of Renaissance art by Michelangelo, Raphael and others.
6) Theodore Caruelle d’Aligny View of the Bay of Naples
This magnificent landscape was created in France circa 1834. The balanced composition and soft warm colors allowed the artist to convey the atmosphere of a sunny day at the seaside. Although the figure of the woman occupies the central place in the painting, the landscape also plays a very important role. It is clear that the artist admires and glorifies the beauty of his homeland’s nature. However, the painting evokes a feeling of uneasiness and danger as the smoke over the volcano in the distance makes the viewers realize that this summer day may not remain as peaceful as it seems at the beginning.
7) Richard Parkes Bonington Boat Beached in Port at Low Tide
The canvas was done in 1825 by a famous English artist who was mostly engaged in painting landscapes. He spent most of his life in France, so his style combined the artistic traditions of both countries. The brushstrokes in this painting are quite large and visible. One of the most interesting elements here is the canvas and their reflection in the water. The piece is symbolic and metaphorical as the artist draws obvious parallels between the fate of the boat and a human. In the background, Bonington depicted several typical English houses where probably the sailors from this boat live. Therefore, this landscape can have a social meaning describing the working conditions of ordinary Englishmen.
8) Seymour Joseph Guy Unconscious of Danger
This painting (oil on canvas) was created by an American artist in 1865. It is quite moralistic, as the painter depicted a boy standing on the edge of the cliff, and a little girl who tries to take him away from this dangerous place. The values of the Victorian Britain still had a significant impact on the US, and it can be seen in this painting (Groseclose 102). The girl warns the boy not to come close to the edge. This principle of “respectful and calm” life was very important both for European and American societies.
9) Jean-Jacques Henner Penitent Magdalene (Large Replica)
Henner was a well-known French painter who often painted nudes, portraits, and different religious subjects. Although this painting shows one of the most famous Christian saints, it is evident that the artist admires the beauty of the human body. The artist used the chiaroscuro techniques to create impressive contrasts between light and shadow, thus making the figure of Magdalene the central object and the logical focus of the picture. Henner also used sfumato for the outlines of Magdalene’s body, so the painting looks quite mysterious and enigmatic.
10) Auguste Rodin Seated Female Nude
This elegant bronze sculpture was created in France before 1887 (the exact date is unknown). Rodin is one of the most famous European sculptors whose works (such as The Thinker or The Kiss) combine elegant plasticity and expressiveness. Seated Female Nude is a very interesting sculpture where Rodin contrasted soft forms of the woman’s body to the clear-cut cube on which the woman is sitting. Rodin’s ideas about sculpture had a great impact on the modern art. Moreover, he also was a prominent teacher and helped many sculptors to study this type of art in his workshops.
11) Jacques-Emile Blanche Portrait of Miss Florence Pash
This portrait was painted by a French artist at the end of the nineteenth century (1890). At this period, women exerted every effort to get the same rights as men. The suffragist movement was very active in all parts of the world, so women voiced their desire to stop being only decorative objects. It resulted in many new portraits where women were shown as, first of all, strong personalities, as in case of this painting. Miss Florence Pash is elegant, but the attention of the viewer is drawn not to her clothes, but to her emotional and open face that shows a determined and sophisticated nature.
12) Pablo Picasso Courtesan with Hat (Courtisane au Chapeau)
This early painting of Picasso was created in 1901. The style of his work is slightly different from Picasso’s later works where geometrical shapes and pure colors became much more important. This piece shows some impressionistic techniques as at the time it was created Picasso lived in Paris and obviously interacted with the representatives of this art movement (Cowling 35). The painting shows a courtesan and tells much about the role of such women in the society. It also tells about the liberalization of ethical principles in the European society at that period.
13) Edward Hopper New York Corner (Corner Saloon)
This urban landscape was painted by an American artist in 1913. The right part of the picture is occupied by a dark red building with the saloon on the corner, and on the left in the distance the artist depicted the factory. The major meaning of the painting is based on the relations between the cultural and the industrial aspects. These two concepts, according to the painter, constitute one of the most important characteristics of the modern urban life. There are also several human figures in front of the saloon, but their faces are too small to see. It makes the viewer think that in modern cities people become less significant than buildings or industries.
14) Milton Avery Woman Ironing
This art piece (oil on canvas) was painted by an American artist in 1945. The colors and the shapes used by the painter here are quite simple. This work is not abstract, but representational, clearly portraying a woman ironing the clothes. However, it is not possible to call this painting realistic as it lacks any depth. The figure of the woman and the space of the room are absolutely flat. This approach to depicting people becomes quite popular in American art in the second half of the twentieth century.
15) Roy Lichtenstein Peace through Chemistry I
This thought-provoking lithograph and screenprint was made in the USA in 1970. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed a rapid development of science and technologies. The new discoveries made the life of people significantly easier. Lichtenstein did not mention the disadvantages of the scientific progress, focusing on its positive aspects. For example, the human on the right part of the lithograph holds a tube – it looks like a prize or something very important symbolizing the achievements that the scientists bring to the society.