Friday, January 29, 2016

Art

Le Serment des Horaces, Jacques-Louis David (Source)
Art? Really Sarge? Am I going all cultural with my loyal readers?

Well, yes and no.
Oath of the Horatii (French: Le Serment des Horaces), is a large painting by the French artist Jacques-Louis David painted in 1784 and now on display in the Louvre in Paris. The painting immediately became a huge success with critics and the public, and remains one of the best known paintings in the Neoclassical style.

It depicts a scene from a Roman legend about a dispute between two warring cities, Rome and Alba Longa, and stresses the importance of patriotism and masculine self-sacrifice for one's country. Instead of the two cities sending their armies to war, they agree to choose three men from each city; the victor in that fight will be the victorious city. From Rome, three brothers from a Roman family, the Horatii, agree to end the war by fighting three brothers from a family of Alba Longa, the Curiatii. The three brothers, all of whom appear willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of Rome, are shown saluting their father who holds their swords out for them. Of the three Horatii brothers, only one shall survive the confrontation. However, it is the surviving brother who is able to kill the other three fighters from Alba Longa: he chases the three fighters, causing them to separate from each other, and then, in turn, kills each Curiatii brother. Aside from the three brothers depicted, David also represents, in the bottom right corner, a woman crying whilst sitting down. She is Camilla, a sister of the Horatii brothers, who is also betrothed to one of the Curiatii fighters, and thus she weeps in the realisation that, in any case, she will lose someone she loves.

The principal sources for the story behind David's Oath are the first book of Livy (sections 24-6) which was elaborated by Dionysius in book 3 of his Roman Antiquities. However, the moment depicted in David's painting is his own invention.

It grew to be considered a paragon of neoclassical art. The painting increased David's fame, allowing him to take on his own students. W
In the aftermath of the crud I came down with on Tuesday evening last (and suffered through most of Wednesday instant), I found myself rather unmotivated and just a wee bit tired and out of sorts yesterday. I am entertaining the theory that my Muse, horrified by my recent bout of intestinal whatever, fled the scene, thinking perhaps that whatever it was that afflicted me might well be contagious.

I am waiting to see if The Missus Herself shows any symptoms before I can prove or disprove that theory, yes, I know, one sparrow doth not a spring make. One point of data won't prove or disprove anything, it simply indicates...

Let's just say SCIENCE! And leave it at that.

So, in an effort to entertain the readership the thought occurred to me that as I like art, so must the readership. Maybe. Perhaps. And we shall see.

Anyhoo... (and we all know what that means*)

I did a search for classic art. One of the many images provided by Monsieur Google was that one above. That painting was done by one of my favorite painters Jacques-Louis David, a favorite of the Emperor Napoléon hisself. Probably due to efforts such as...

Serment de l'armée fait à l'Empereur après la distribution des aigles, 5 décembre 1804, Jacques-Louis David (Source)

At any rate, it inspired me to do this post on art. I like art, especially that done in the classical or neo-classical style. So...

HA! Take that Muse, I am not completely useless on my own! (Which means of course, that I am semi-useless on my own. I guess.)

Pollice Verso, Jean-Leon Gérôme (Source)

So what say you? Thumbs up or thumbs down as to your feelings about art?

Hey, culture...

For we don't wish to be regarded as некультурный as the Russians might say, do we?

Heavens no. 





* Classic OAFS indication of a digression coming to a conclusion. 

28 comments:

  1. Thumbs up. During travel we will always make time to visit nearby art museums.

    I had not been a fan of the impressionistic art movement until someone explained it was the snapshot of the day, and it was a major turning point of getting artists out of the studio. I look at it now with a different view, although I still enjoy more the larger dramatic works.

    Once in a while when watching TV we will see a reference to a museum we have visited, or a work of art we have seen up close, and that is just flat out cool.

    When we visited France a couple of years ago, among the many highlights were the Louvre and Giverny.

    The two years I spent stationed on a Reserve Can operating out of New York gave me a chance to see a bunch of culture. The USO was great about free tickets, and my ship's welfare and rec fund would reimburse you half the ticket's face value. (yes I milked the system) I got a chance to see the best of New York's ballet, opera, and classical music, and luckily I had matured enough to realize there was more to life than bars.

    I had taken an Art History course at Temple before I dropped out and joined the Navy, and I did get a chance to see in person in the Med some of the things I had seen on the slides in class. Years later and when working for INS I was interviewing a visitor who was coming to Philly in relation to a traveling art show. I mentioned that the art history course at Temple was one of the very few positives about my whole college experience. He asked if I remembered the professor's name, (strangely my memory worked at that second) and when I told the visitor the name he got and odd look and said he would be having dinner with that professor that same night. I asked the visitor to pass on that my desires to see more of life than the norm was a direct result of that class.

    When we are teaching, we do not always realize the influence we are wielding.

    Very good, very thought provoking post.

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    1. Thanks John, thanks for sharing all that. I think art is one of the things that makes life richer. Whether it be painting, sculpture, poetry, prose, music or what-have-you, it entertains, it makes us think (or should), and is a much underestimated form of communication.

      Thanks for the kind words too, I have such erudite readers. You guys keep me humble AND you make me strive to improve.

      Delete
  2. Bravo!

    I'm always surprised how some splatters of pigment on a piece of cloth can suck me in and take over my OS for a bit.

    Those bloodthirsty vestals give me the shivers, they do.

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    1. When I first looked at the painting it was all "Cool, gladiators." Then I looked to the stands expecting to see some pudgy effeminate emperor doing the thumb thing, I got the same shivers you did.

      Delete
  3. I am not an aficionado of art, that is for sure, but i do appreciate talent and especially like when these great paintings are explained to me. If you do not already follow the wonderful story telling artist and former winner of the coveted "Walter" the "Chubby Chatterbox" you would like his incite and knowledge of the artistic world.

    http://chubbychatterbox.com/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I checked him out, I think I need to read more, perhaps even add him to the sidebar.

      Pretty good stuff Joe, thanks.

      Delete
    2. The Chubster can spin a pretty good tale... and not just about art.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I saw that.

      (Heh, The Chubster, I like that...)

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  4. I enjoy the classical definition of art. I do not like the modern definition of art. Anything involving Urine or Feces, does not fit in any possible definition of Art that I would be interested in. Throwing paint at a canvas is not art. Art involves effort and talent. On our first visit to Sydney in '06, my daughter dragged me to the Sydney Museum of Modern Art. There was an exhibit there that involved a room with a conveyor belt and suitcases going around in a circle. Somebody got paid for that? I'm in the wrong profession then!
    I like art that tells a story or at least tells of a story. In your first example, at first glance, I understood the basics. Some old Fart was sending some young guys out to do battle and the women weren't happy. Took me a quarter second to find that out and pique my interest, inviting me to do some research to find out the rest of the story (thanks for providing it and saving the time). This however, I could spend the rest of my life trying to figure what the story behind it is and probably finding out that there IS no story. It's whatever I want it to be. BS! Art should have a story, a meaning, a message something. Otherwise it's just wall paint.
    My opinion, YMMV.

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    1. I rather think that we have a very similar stance on what is (and what is NOT) art. One could argue that it's a matter of personal taste, and I would probably agree, but yeah, some things are beyond the pale.

      That link to that piece was a real WTF moment, I've seen stuff like that on a well-used drop cloth, perhaps not as "organized" but a complete messy nightmare nonetheless.

      Then again, some people like that kind of thing.

      Different strokes, neh?

      Delete
  5. I think art is what's in the eye of the beholder.
    It helps if one can get a handle on what the creator was thinking.
    But, yeah, some of that crap out there isn't worth the time of day.

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    1. Well said, Skip.

      All three of your points make a great deal of sense.

      Delete
  6. I like Art, but his website is down. Perhaps his cat, Sox,has finally made his move! www.xbradtc.com

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    1. Ruh roh!

      What has he done now?

      (Yeah, Sox always looked shady to me.)

      Delete
  7. I'm not an expert on art, too much of a redneck I suppose but art like this I do appreciate
    and enjoy. There are some forms of art that I can only look at, shake my head in confusion
    and admit that I just don't get it. Each to his own I guess.

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    1. True. I like something that depicts historical scenes and the like. Well, except maybe Guernica, Picasso gives me headaches.

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  8. NO MORE PUBLIC ART! As a patron of the arts I demand that we spend no more public money on any art of any kind. I mean, srsly, if we want good art again we have to go back to the old ways of doing it and give our ducats to the pope's children and nephews and have them commission great works of art for the greater glory of whossname. I can't abide the stuff lawmakers buy these days and put up in the public square as modern art.

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  9. I'm really glad that we have the interwebs and things like Wikipedia. Soon the refugees in Europe will take over for real and the 2nd thing to be destroyed will be the museums. The first will be the women.

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    1. Yeah, I can see that happening. The barbarians are already through the gate and rampaging through the streets there.

      I'm hoping they wake up before it's too late.

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    2. I'm hoping WE wake up before it's too late.

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    3. True. The disease is spreading already beyond Europe's shores.

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  10. I used to like Art Linkletter. Does that count?

    No, I like art, too, with my taste running to both surrealism and super-realism, somewhat opposites on the spectrum. I do enjoy the occasional gallery full of heroic stuff such as shown here, though. Nice.

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    1. I would also mention Art Carney...

      While I prefer classical, I do enjoy the French Impressionists as well, Monet especially.

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    2. Monet will pull my eyes to look as closely as possible. His art seems to me to be alive in another dimension and he allows you to see into that space.

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    3. Then you may like Saturday's post. Well, part of it anyway...

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  11. Despite being an uncultured redneck, I enjoyed the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam. Spent the better part of two days there.

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    1. Spending two days in the Rembrandt museum disqualifies you from being an uncultured redneck.

      You might simply be a redneck who appreciates art. Or at least Rembrandt.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)