Cindy Sherman, a conceptual photographer worked to confront stereotypes of women through her artistic exploration. Her well known work, Complete Untitled Film Stills, (1977-1980), can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sherman, born in 1954 in New Jersey, often is a nameless subject in her pieces. Her work is typically done in series, provoking questions about not only women, but media, society, and the nature of art.

Untitled Film Still #48

Untitled Film Still #58

Untitled Film Still #3

Barbara Kruger is another American conceptual artist who focused on photography to illicit discourse on the topics of political and popular culture, women’s role in society, and pervasive gender stereotypes. Born in New Jersey in 1945, she is well known for her black and white photographs containing red captions with provocative text. Like Sherman, she is recognized as a pivotal feminist post modern artist. She intends for her slogans to ‘shake society’ and these works give insight into Kruger’s time as a magazine editorial designer, early on in her career. As an artist, her work is done primarily in New York, more recently in the form of billboards, slogans and quotes wrapped around city buses, and large scale video/audio installations.


4.Untitled Film Still #58. 1980. Image Retrieved on November 16 from http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/hsct102/sherman%20pages/shermmain.html

5.Untitled Film Still #48. 1979. Image Retrieved on November 16 from http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1997/sherman/selectedworks.html

6.Untitled Film Still #3. 1977. Image Retrieved on November 16 from http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/1997/sherman/selectedworks.html

7. Cindy Sherman. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved on November 16 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sherman

8. Barbara Kruger. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved on November 16 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Kruger

9. Barbara Kruger. The Art History Archive – Feminist Art. Retrieved on November 16 from http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

Early Modern Era

During World War 1, the world was exposed to an International crisis, which brought about hardships and difficulties for most, but also a new found sense of sharing and unity across oceans and throughout various countries. The world saw many new things during this era – a world war, the widespread use of photography, scientific breakthroughs, and many other changes that influenced the way art was created and received throughout the world.

With the ability to capture events through photography came the relatively instant portrayal of various circumstances – specifically, WW1 was documented in part by photograph. http://evanmchnery.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/screen-shot-2014-04-04-at-6-08-39-pm.png?w=500

This picture shows the celebration of Armistice day, on November 11, 1918.

Another main happening during the early modern era was the entering of African Americans into accepted society. While they had been blatantly persecuted, and held on the outskirts of society for so long, they began to create their own niche in the cultural significance of the time with the emergence of Jazz music. Creating and performing Jazz contributed greatly to the normality and acceptability of African Americans in social scenes – they were the leaders of the musical movement, effectively obscuring some of the social and economic lines. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nSFGyipsNsg

American Paul Kelpe painted many of the struggles of the individuals of the Great Depression. He was involved with President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” in which various programs were created to benefit the economy, including the Federal Art Project, intended to create art and to employ artists. Kelpe’s mural History of Southern Illinois portrays some of the struggles individuals faced; hard work, difficult labor, and lack of economic or financial stability. ImageI enjoy the personal aspects of art taking place during this era. There are very strong themes of what is ‘real’ occurring in the works, and how strongly individual identities are woven into these pieces. There is a decreasing focus on the presence of God in art, and an increasing sense of humanness.

US 64th Regiment Celebrate the Armistice.(October 3, 2006). Retrieved November 2, 2014 from



Wikipedia. Paul Kelpe History of Southern Illinois. N.p, 2012. Nov. 2 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_Kelpe_History_of_Southern_Illinois.jpg



Impression, Sunrise Claude Monet, 1872.

The Impressionists state, “The human eye is a marvelous instrument”.

The Impressionists left us with a great number of compelling, if not vague depictions of beautiful things. The era of Impressionism features such lovely scenes, such as the above sunrise, fabulous flowers, lakes, night skies; these paintings evoke a significant emotional response for many. Perhaps it is because with the slight obscured representation, there is more room for imagination, a wider plain upon which the collective whole may relate, and a broader realm for personal interpretation. I find Impressionist art appealing in part due to the featured brushstrokes; they are vivid and noticeable, and it gives me the impression that the artist had a close relationship with the brush, the paint, and the canvas. I enjoy seeing the texture of paint on the canvas, as it provides a three dimensional aspect to a piece. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers gives an example of heavy texture bringing a tangible element to the piece. Monet’s Impression, Sunrise created in 1872 inspired the name of the Impressionist movement. A wide and new variety of synthetic pigments became accessible to the painters of Impressionism, and they made bold use of them, also incorporating the use of natural light – painting outdoors at dusk, or other times when light cast lovely shadows which were then incorporated into a piece.


Salvador Dali’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, pictured above, was painted in 1944 in the style of Surrealism. Dali referred to his paintings as, “hand painted dream photographs”. Dali creates very clear pictures of very abstract concepts. His work features many accurate representations of humans, animals, and objects found in and out of nature, however, with a remarkably surreal focus. Unlike the Impressionists, who painted with blurred lines and clear concepts and who sought beauty – the beauty of light, and color, and lovely things, Dali does not seem concerned with incorporating any pleasantness into his work. Dali delved deeply into the theories of Freud, and the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Many find Dali’s work disturbing and visually unpleasant. If one views it with it’s dreamlike qualities in mind, it may invoke some recognition, or at least some interesting thoughts.

Wikipedia. Impressionism.N.p, 2014.Web. 19 Oct. 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

Wikipedia. Impression, Sunrise.N.p, 2014.Web. 19 Oct. 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impression,_Sunrise

Gérard Durozoi, History of the Surrealist Movement, transl. Alison Anderson (Chicago, 2002), p. 193.

Classical Era

Francois Boucher is well known for his paintings in the Rococo style, and developing the Rococo style in Paris and throughout Europe. He was from France, and lived in the 18th century, and one of the most popular artists of his time, he has been praised for his highly decorative scenes, depictions of voluptuous and beautiful women, in classically themed contexts.


This piece, Dianna Leaving Her Bath, painted in 1742, demonstrates some of Boucher’s fine work, along with specific features of the Rococo style of painting. The subjects of many of Boucher’s paintings and others in the movement feature a porcelain doll like quality; incorporating mythology with well adorned and luxurious everyday happenings. The Rococo period reflected some of the preferred lifestyles of the time, with an emphasis on pleasure, luxury, and beauty.

While the Classical period visual art genre began with Rococo, it did transform over time, as political and social changes were underway. The middle class grew disconcerted with the frivolous and extravagant lifestyles of French society, and viewed Rococo artistry as a reflection of this, and a flaunting of extravagance in the face of all others. The shift took place in the form of a refocusing on classical ideals, art of a more serious and refined nature. The Enlightenment along with a focus on scientific and rational thinking influenced this change, and Neoclassical art dominated the rest of the Classical period.

The Rococo style brought about some fanciful works of art – great pieces, by superb artists, but with such a strong emphasis on elaborate decoration, and gilded…everything. This takes away from the simplicity of beauty, wherein lies the true nature of most things.

The Neoclassical style presents an entirely different agenda – there are depictions of the scientific thought that was prevalent at the time. Such as in Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting A Philosopher Giving A Lecture at the Orrery (1765). Wright pioneered this genre of painting – preserving the experience of experiments, and new scientific discoveries. It does draw upon some of the techniques of Baroque art, with the noticeable detail to light and dark.


Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G Minor, composed in 1788, is an example of Classical era music. Mozart is one of the most recognized composers of his time – and of all time. This piece is written in the classical symphony style of four movements – fast, slow, minuet, fast. This generally considered to be an intense, and passionate piece, a commonly admired and performed work.

Pomarède, Vincent. Diana Leaving Her Bath. N.p, 2007.  http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/diana-leaving-her-bath

Wikipedia. François Boucher. N.p, 2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Boucher

“1700-1800 The Age of Enlightenment” Smarthistory.org,  http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/1700-1800-Age-of-Enlightenment.html

“Symphony No. 40 (Mozart).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.                       <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._40_(Mozart)>.

The Return of the Prodigal Son is an iconic representation of Baroque style painting. The theatrical lighting is painted in, contrasting light and dark, with an overall feeling of darkness in the painting, but with a spot light of sorts on the focal point of the piece. This technique brings a calming presence to the piece. Not only is Rembrandt portraying a tender moment, a reunification between father and son, with much grace and vulnerability present, but also Rembrandt’s use of light and shadows invokes a feeling of tranquility in the work. Many who view this painting at the Hermitage, in Saint Petersburg, come away believing it to be the best painting ever created. The Baroque influence is present also in the subject matter of the piece; the Catholic Church created artistic regulations following the Council of Trent, to determine that the creation of art was to be with the intention of bringing focus to Biblical events and fundamental ideals. Rembrandt created many works with a very clear Biblical focus.

1. Rembrandt Life and Work


2. State Hermitage Museum


King Henry VIII



The Portrait of King Henry VIII is a piece commissioned by King Henry VIII, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger. This work was done as a palace mural in 1536. The English Reformation was taking place during these years, and when King Henry determined to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, he also left the Catholic Church as the pope refused to grant his annulment. Embracing Protestantism, King Henry also embraced forms of Renaissance art, including employing artists in court. Hans Holbein the Younger was affiliated with humanism, and painting in the style of the Northern Renaissance. when hired by King Henry as the King’s Royal Painter. Holbein is known as one of the most celebrated artists of his time. Holbein furthered the realism favored by Renaissance artists with clear and precise likenesses of his human subjects. Many historical figures, such as King Henry VIII, are remembered by the portraits drawn and painted by Holbein.

Although The Portrait of King Henry VIII was lost in a fire in 1698, it is an example of how the Reformation influenced the Renaissance, as there were great changes taking place in Europe, as religious loyalties were dividing. Royals were great commissioners of fine art, and their religious leanings were guaranteed to influence the nature of art.

I find this painting specifically, and other works by Holbein to be persuasive, as though he was painting with the intention to give one an impression of the subject’s character. I believe this was a notable feature of Holbein’s portraits, and it is quite evident in this painting of King Henry VIII. The portrait strikes me as astute and formal.

Works Cited

Hans Holbein the Younger’s, Portrait of King Henry VIII






Sweet Sisters

My name is Katie, and I am taking this required course with anticipation – I am looking forward to new perspectives on the arts. I have used this blog in the past, both for school assignments as well as personal blogging. I will only be posting updates that relate to this course, for the semester. I have two little girls pictured above, and we live in Homer, Alaska. As the summer comes to an end, I am looking forward to settling in for the winter.

I play the violin, and enjoy the experience of music in various forms, but as far as my own relationship to ‘art’, I consider it to be very tangible and accessible. I find that art holds the most value when it is an innate aspect of our daily experiences; when art is essential to the business of living. For instance, preparing a meal, picking an apple, or lighting a candle. Life, along with art, is about truth, goodness, and beauty, and these ought to be found in the most simple and sincere moments. When it comes to high forms of art, I am receptive as a reader, and am interested to learn how art reflects humanity. This is a splendid source for relevant insights on the existence of art in all aspects of life.


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