Demonstration of status and symbolism in art

Art can be used for many different reasons. Sometimes it can be used to express the artist's personal feelings and ideas or it can express the feelings and ideas of the person(s) who the artist is depicting in the work of art. Other than expressing feelings and ideas, art can also be used in order to portray and demonstrate the artist personal/religious/social status or the personal/religious/social status of the person who's being depicted in the artwork. In order for the artist to get his/her message to the audience, the artist uses different methods such as symbolism. The use of symbolism to express the artist ideas and feelings can be successfully seen in the works of art that our group has chosen. In our presentation we will reveal aspects of different works of art that may have not been noticed at first, but actually play a significant role in the process of understanding and appreciating the work of art for the reasons that it was made. Examining and interpreting the reasoning for even simple things such as color, texture, and even perspective can change an audiences understanding of the work of art. Our goal today will be just that, we will interpret and examine different aspects in different works of art, and hopefully change and or help you obtain a better idea of the work of art we will display before you today.

This painting is really about things you can’t see. It was painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in the year 1533 in England. On the left is an Ambassador from France, Jean de Dinteville; who commissioned this painting and lived in England at the time. On the right Georges de Selve is a bishop who is also an Ambassador. This painting has many references to the turmoil that was taking place in England. On the left, the Ambassador is represented as more of a wealthy man, with the fur lining cloak and the velvet satin clothing that he is wearing. He is also holding a dagger that has his age inscribed (29.) On the right, the Ambassador is dressed a little more modestly. The Ambassador on the right also has his age portrayed in the painting on the book he’s leaning on (25.) The dagger on the left and the book on the right, both with the depiction of the age of each of the Ambassadors, show a great idea of contrast: Active vs Contemplative life. In the middle of the painting, Holbein brilliantly renders with intense detail the textures and material of the objects. The top shelf symbolizes the heavens with objects that are used for the study of astronomy, and the measuring of time. The Lower shelf symbolizes things that are more earthly: terrestrial globe, book of arithmetic and hymns, and a lute. If the painting is looked at from a grid point of view, the left portrays an act of life, the right portrays contemplate of life, the top portrays the celestial sphere and the bottom portrays the terrestrial sphere. Then there is also a very detailed and foreshortened lute on the bottom shelf. It is much shorter than it should be because it is seen on end. If the Lute is looked at very carefully, one of the strings are broken (snapped), which is referring to the “discord” in Europe at the time. The book of hymns on the same shelf also has a symbolic aspect related to the turmoil in Europe. If the detailed musical notes are examined, the musical notes depicted in the book of hymns are musical notes of a song by Martin Luther King, the head of the Reformation at the time. Then if the painting is seen from an angle, a skull can be seen. The skull is something you can’t see, when you see other things. The skull serves as a “momentum mori” in the painting, a reminder of the inevitable death. For a moment when it seemed like Holbein was celebrating the earthly achievements of human kind, he undercuts it with a reminder of the inevitable. Also, in the extreme upper left corner, there is a sculpture of a crucifies. The crucifies in the painting also serves as a symbol, to remind the audience that as much as you achieve in life, and as much as you try to hide religion or the higher power as the reason for achievements of human kind, it will still “peak through the curtains." Although at first Holbein’s painting might seem a little overwhelming, if it dissected, and examined closely it serves as a very symbolic piece of art, portraying different events, social classes, humankind’s acheivements, and different elements of the life and even death.
The Painting of a Young Knight in a Landscape by Vittore Carpaccio is showing a man standing in front of a well active background and is about to pull his sword out. This man is painted with stele armor on to show he is a knight, and to prove that he is a knight on the floor of the painting by the weasel is a note that say “Moto Malo Mori Quam Foedari”, it mean better to die than be defiled. The background of this painting is showing there is a good path and a evil path, such as the dying flowers and the black bird showing a evil path and the white birds and the other animals is showing a good path for the knight to choose his life.
Judith Leyster Self Portrait 1633 Romel: Judith Leyster self-portrait is one of the first paintings to be done by a woman who painted herself using oil on a canvas. In this painting Judith Leyster is showing everyone that she is painting herself on to the canvas as a musician, but she made it seem like she is being disturbed due to the angle of her body. Dr. Harris, and Dr. Zucker said that her body is in an uncomfortable angle, and you can see that where her “elbow is resting on the point of the chair”. Judith Leyster wouldn’t of wear this fancy clothing while painting, but she painted herself wearing these rich fancy clothes to show her importance, and position of being a virtuoso painter while painting herself on another canvas of her being a musician. She painted herself as a musician to show that she can paint a different genre.
The painting The Vicomtesse de Vaudreuil is a clear indication of the importance of education to accompany a womens statues in French Enlightenment circles. This painting by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun is only one of the 660 portraits that she painted. The style used to create this portrait is Rocco a style used primarily by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun as a testimante to her own social status, after climbing her way to the top of the ranks of the elite painters in France after joining the the Académie de Saint Luc in 1774 and graduated in 1776. Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, career blossomed, and was invited to the Palace of Versailles and granted patronage by Marie Antoinette. The queen decided that for six years, Vigée Le Brun would paint more than thirty portraits of the queen and her family, leading to her being commonly viewed as the official portraitist of Marie Antoinette.
The Librarian belongs to Giuseppe Arcimboldo after he moved to Habsburg court in Prague. Arcimboldo created it as part of a series of portraits in the early 1950’s that was suppose to be depictions of the Emperors entourage. Arcimboldo had a unsual style of painting that landed him in a spot light of his own with his unconventional use of fruits, vegetables, plants, and animals as objects for the compilations in his paintings. This painting The Librarian is of Wolfgang Lazius (1514-1565), a scientist and collector employed by Ferdinand I Holy Roman Emperor of 1558, as his official historian and director of the Kunstkammer and the imperial library. This painting is a lover of books made up of books, the trick was to use the shapes of the books to create the appearance of Lazius showing his cultural importance as well as his political status as a high council member of the times. If you’d like to see this painting still existes in the National museum in Stockholm
Certain symbols in art are used to show statues. These clues that show status vary with the time and style of art. The Alexander the Great coin was made around 286-281 B.C. We do not know who made this coin but it was made in Greece. Alexander the great was the king of Macedonia and conquered many parts of the known world. This unknown artist made this coin in honor of Alexander the Great. This artist puts horns on the head of Alexander the Great to show that he was a god. That was the highest form of status you could reach. On the flip side of the coin it shows Lysimachos. He ruled a part of Alexander the Great’s land in Northern Greece. On the back side where Lysimachos is seen there is writing showing his status as well. The writing says Basileus Lysimachou which is saying that he is a King.
Another work of art that shows status is the Buddah Head. This was made in 500-600 A.D. This work of art is a statue; there is no known artist for this piece. This was made in India and was one of the best statues ever made. The Buddah Head statue later on influenced art in the northern part of India. Throughout history we see certain details in the artwork that show status but this piece is a little different. This statue of Buddah shows Buddah in deep concentration and thought. During this time not all people could afford a statue like this. Many people sold statues like these and only the wealthy could purchase them. A lot of times in history we see that those with more money are higher up in status. So, in this case those of high status were the only ones who could purchase this.
The Dresden Triptych by Jan van Eyck consists of two double sided wings and a central panel. It is the only existing triptyck that has been signed by him and is also dated 1437. This piece has incredible detail for its size measuring only 13 x 10.8 inches. Triptychs this small were used as portable devotional pieces and can be seen as a status symbol. Only members of the upper class and nobility were given these to use for travel purposes and pilgrimage. In the main panel, we have the virgin and child which are of the most importance and thus have the most space in this work of art. On the right side of the panel we have Saint Catherine of Alexandria and on the left is Saint Michael alongside a kneeling donor. The olive green clothing the donor is wearing and the gold ring on his finger are an indicator of class in the Burgundian Court.
The portrait of henry vii is a work of art relived by its many copies. The original was destroyed in a fire in 1698 and depicts the most iconic image of henry. Holbein was appointed henrys painter in 1536 to transform the palace of whitewall that had been seized from cardinal wolsey. Everything about this painting depicts status. The clothing is painted with such striking detail. The original had even used gold leaf to highlight his massive wealth and reputation. Unlike most paintings of royalty here henry does not wield any scepter or sword. Instead he showed off his majesty with his body posture and the heavily padded shoulderpieces in his clothing help bolster it. He also wears a noticable amount of jewelry including many rings and a pair of necklaces alongside a gold ornate dagger. many believe that this painting was made as propoganda used to enhance Henrys reputation as a majestic figure.
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