“The Scream” by Edvard Munch
-This is the latest of 4 versions of this painting which Munch created between 1893 and 1910
-Munch described the inspiration for this painting in 1895: “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream”
-The gently but grotesquely curving lines of the water and sky mimic the grotesque form of the screaming humanoid, mirroring his terror and instilling unease in the viewer
“Yarra Flats” by Louis Buvelot
-Painted in 1871, depicts the Australian countryside
-Buvelot was a Swiss-born artist who is most well-known for his paintings of the Australian bush. He was a major influence on the “Heidelberg School” of Australian painting in the late 19th century.
-The painting is realistic in its depiction of the Australian landscape, but uses Impressionistic blending of colors along with light tones and a lack of animal life to emphasize the peaceful, idyllic qualities of the land.
“TE Reinga, Falls of the Wairoa. Hawke’s Bay” by Te Papa
-Painted in 1867, depicts the Wairoa Waterfall and Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand
-Similar to Buvelot, Richmond was a London-born artist who emigrated to New Zealand in 1842. Richmond was a lifelong artist, but also had a fairly successful career in New Zealand politics. He is one of the few notable artists hailing the nation in the 19th century. He is most well-known for his depictions of New Zealand landscapes
-The painting reserves the majority of its detailed strokes for its foreground waterfall, drawing the eyes toward the churning drop. The bright whites and blues of the waterfall contrast with the dull greens of the plants, further drawing the eye to the waterfall.
“Prometheus Bound” by Thomas Cole
-Painted in 1847, depicts the mythical Greek Titan Prometheus, bound to the mountainside by Zeus. Prometheus created mankind from clay, and later defied the Gods by stealing fire from Zeus and giving it to humans. As punishment, he was bound to the side of the mountain, where every day an eagle would attack him and eat his liver, only for it to regenerate.
-Cole is a highly influential American artist. He founded and was the primary influence over the Hudson River School of painting, a movement that is most famous for hyper-realistic portrayals of the American wilderness. Though this painting’s subject matter differs from the typical Cole painting, it still features his distinctive style.
-This painting is perhaps best described as a realistic depiction of a fantastical scene. The plants, mountain, and Prometheus himself are all drawn in exquisite detail. However, Prometheus surreally large, bound to the face of a mountain as if it were a post. The sky is largely pitch dark (with even a star), but the lower-left hand corner contains a sunrise.
-Prometheus blends into the mountainside, forcing a viewer to rigorously inspect the painting in order to uncover its fantastical elements.
“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
-Painted in 1563; depicts the Tower of Babel, which, according to the Biblical narrative, was built when all people were united and spoke the same tongue.
-Bruegel was a Flemish painter and printmaker who is best known for his landscapes and paintings of peasants. Bruegel was religious, and depicts Biblical scenes or proverbs in many works.
-The crowd of people in the left foreground of the painting are typical of Bruegel’s work. Figures are generally drawn in close proximity, often crowding together in the wake of some leader or inspirational. As is typical of paintings of the Tower, it is a twisting, labyrinthine honeycomb, evoking its encapsulation of all of humanity under its banner.