Steel Drums – A Caribbean Legacy

The Exodus Steel Orchestra
Practicing for one of their annual panorama competitions in 2006 on the island of Trinidad Continue Reading »


Ming Dynasty Art

Title: Wanluan Thatched Hall (婉娈草堂图)
Artist: Dong Quichang (董其昌)
Created in 1597 during the Ming Dynasty

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Street Art

When I was young, I had the luxury of a small concrete driveway and some sidewalk chalk.  I would make all kinds of masterpieces (at least that’s what I called them) that generally consisted of nothing more than a few stick figures.  I was generally under the impression that not much could be done with chalk.  This impression stuck with me until I saw the work of Julian Beever.  This extraordinary artist takes chalk to a whole new level.  I have shared three of his works below, but I encourage you to look at his website (Reference 1) and see the rest of his work.

Title: Make Poverty History
Artist: Julian Beaver
Created in the Edinburgh City Centre Continue Reading »

Perhaps one of the greatest things to emerge from an era filled with war and poverty like the Early Modern era is Jazz music.  Louis Armstrong was a Jazz musician during the Early Modern era who truly left his mark in musical history.  Born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans Louisiana, he became an influential voice for Jazz musicians everywhere.  One of his most popular works, which actually was not recorded during the Early Modern era was “What a Wonderful World.”  This hit was recorded in 1967 but was not released until January 1, 1968.  To enjoy hearing one of his most recognizable songs, please check out the video below.

Performing Artist: Louis Armstrong
Writers: Bob Thiele and George David Weiss
Title of Work: What a Wonderful World
Recorded as a single in 1967 and released January 1, 1968 Continue Reading »

Blog Assignment #4

Impressionism is truly a unique style.  It aims to capture a fleeting moment, or impression by using color and brush strokes in a special way.  I cannot say that Impressionism is my favorite artistic style, but on the same token, I cannot say that I hate it either.  So to answer the question we are supposed to answer in this blog, I am somewhere in between loving and hating Impressionism.

To begin my discussion, I will take one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most well-known works entitled The Starry Night.  This piece shows towering, dark cypress trees blocking a portion of a midnight sky.  The star-filled, moonlit heavens illuminates a small town below in a piece where  Van Gogh contrasts life and death.  More specifically he contrasts his own mortality with the immortality of the celestial bodies of the night sky (Reference 2).  Had it not been for the research I did on this painting, I would have never understood the symbolism behind it.  It is difficult for me to interpret Impressionism on my own, but once I learn of the symbolism in a piece, I can appreciate it.  Until that time, however, I have a hard time appreciating it aesthetically.

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Title: The Starry Night
Likely painted in Saint Rémy in June of 1889

I have a much greater appreciation for the Post-Impressionistic style than I do for the Impressionistic style.  Post-Impressionism contains more form and seems more orderly than Impressionism.  For example, the piece below entitled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte (translated) by Georges-Pierre Seurat is one Post-Impressionistic piece that I deeply admire.  It is not so much the content of this painting but rather the way in which it was created that causes me to admire it.  The amount of foresight it would require to paint a piece consisting of only dots is astounding.  One could also argue that Pointillism was the forerunner of modern digital photography because it is made up of a bunch of points or “pixels.”

Artist: Georges-Pierre Seurat
Title:  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte
Painted between 1884 and 1886, location could not be determined

Finally, to contrast Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to another artistic style, I will take Caravaggio’s David and Goliath as an example (shown below).  This piece was painted during the Baroque era and has nearly photographic realism.  I personally prefer works of this nature.  I admire the artists capability to portray something so realistically.  To me, this is the major difference between Impressionism/Post-Impressionism and most other artistic styles, and that is why I have a more difficult time aesthetically appreciating Impressionism.

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Title: David and Goliath
Painted in Italy in 1599


1. http://christineparkdesign.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/vangogh-starry_night_ballance1.jpg

2. http://blogs.princeton.edu/wri152-3/akburges/archives/002009.html

3. http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/godwin/hoen_l/artinsight1/art1projects/PointalistFruit/A%20Sunday%20on%20La%20Grande%20Jatte.jpg

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sunday_Afternoon_on_the_Island_of_La_Grande_Jatte

5. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/caravaggio/david-goliath.jpg

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_and_Goliath_(Caravaggio)

Blog Assignment #3

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Title: Symphony No. 5

Written intermittently between 1804 and 1808 near Vienna

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 clearly illustrates how the patronage of the arts changed from being aristocrats to the middle class.  Although there are parts in the symphony that are certainly polyphonic, he breaks away from polyphony for the most part and instead uses a homophonic style in this particular piece.  This piece is less complex than many Baroque pieces and is melody driven.  These features made it much more appealing to the middle classes (broadening its popular appeal), which demonstrates the middle class rising to the level of art patronage during the Classical era.

I like this work because it is simply a masterpiece.  Beethoven was surely a masterful composer.  The four movements of his symphony are very clear and distinct, and the music seems to move you along with it as it’s played.  I hope you can take the time to listen the piece and enjoy it for yourself.

Blog Assignment #2

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Title of Work: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Created between 1601 and 1602 most likely in Rome, Italy

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