Art and Literature 


This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

Art and Literature are bound together in several ways. Great works of art have inspired great works of literature, great works of literature have inspired art, and together art and literature have simultaneously represented similar movements. Art and literature can be seen weaving around each other, influencing one and another, and being used as a tool to teach students about liberal arts and humanity.  Although the works I have selected range from several genres and five centuries, they are related because they refer to great works of literature.  All of these works have been used in my literature classrooms as tools to understand specific works or movements.  No matter how different they are, they aid in understanding the written world through visual imagery. The video that I have chosen shows an artist going through the steps of creating an expressionistic work.  This was important to me because the steps that he was taking reminded me very much of the steps that I as an English literature major were taught in creative writing when working through drafts of a written work.  It also shows expressionism which is still a very popular style and can be seen in my favorite writings, particularly great American plays. 

The Virgin and Child (The Madonna of the Book), Sandro Botticelli, 1480, From the collection of: Museo Poldi Pezzoli
I'v begun this collection of art work connected to literature with a picture of the Madonna. Art work that represents images of the Bible are extremely important to the world of literature because, aside from religious aspects, the Bible is one of the oldest large works of literature that remains for literary study. Many books of the Bible are incredibly poetic and whether it is taken literally or not, should be studied for it's writings alone. "The Madonna of the Book" is an image of Mary and Christ together reading. It is a tempera on panel painted in Milan in 1480. It is one of many images created in response to Biblical teaching and creates a visual representation of the written world, a theme that we will further explore as both art and literature grow in popularity.
Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais, Around 1851, From the collection of: Tate Britain
Ophelia, by Sir John Everett Millais, was created as a visual representation of the character Ophelia depicted in Shakespeare's Hamlet. This scene shows Ophelia singing while floating in the river Denmark before she drowns, a scene well known to those who have read and studied Hamlet.
Procession of Characters from Shakespeare's Plays, Formerly attributed to Daniel Maclise, 1806–1870, Irish, unknown artist, nineteenth century, ca. 1840, From the collection of: Yale Center for British Art
Because Shakespeare is considered to be the greatest poet and play write of all time, it seems appropriate that more than one of my selected works be devoted to him. This, much like the previous painting, is a representation of all of the major characters of Shakespeare's most famous plays. Done on oil and canvas by an unknown artist, it shows how these characters can be imagined and seen on stage.
The Gates of Hell, Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917, Modeled 1880-1917; cast 1926-1928, From the collection of: Philadelphia Museum of Art
This sculpture done by Rodin depicts images from the 14th century epic, "Inferno" by Dante. "Inferno",is a tale of Dante's descent into hell which is depicted as nine circles of suffering on earth. "The Gates of Hell" by Rodin gives life to this image. Those who have read Dante have an appreciation for this work that can otherwise not be fully understood.
The Folly, Arlo Mountford, 2008-09, From the collection of: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
"The Folly" by Mountford is a digital work in which Mountford animated the original paintings of Pieter Bruegel entitled "The Corn Harvest" (1565), "The Hunters in the Snow" (1565) and "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" (c1558. The original "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" is the painting I felt was important to my audience. Unfortunately it is not featured in the Google art gallery and therefor we must settle with the this representation. "The Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" inspired a poem by William Carlos Williams regarding the mythical creature who, after gaining his wings, flew too close to the sun and fell to earth drowning when he reached water. I have here included this famous poem by W.C. Willaims as the poem is always discussed in Literature classes alongside this painting. "According to Brueghel when Icarus fell it was spring a farmer was ploughing his field the whole pageantry of the year was awake tingling near the edge of the sea concerned with itself sweating in the sun that melted the wings' wax unsignificantly off the coast there was a splash quite unnoticed this was Icarus drowning"
Merry-Go-Round, Mark Gertler, 1916, From the collection of: Tate Britain
"Merry-Go-Round" by Gertler is perhaps his most famous work. This painting shows a stylized image of soldiers from WWI. This painting is often discussed along side the great literary works of WWI which also depict many authors views of the war and the young men of the lost generation following their pointless lot in life that was given to them as if placed on a magical Merry-Go-Round with no end. Gertler is often also placed in relation to the famous American writers in which he was acquainted. D.H. Lawrence referred to "Merry-Go-round" as being "the best modern picture I have seen: I think it is great and true." Along with this compliment, Lawrence created several characters in his novels that are based off of Gertler. This was Gertler's protest against the war. It was considered a modern work and goes hand-in-hand with the rebellious literature of the time that expressed similar understanding of the war.
The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1910, From the collection of: The Munch Museum, Oslo
"The Scream" by Munch represents a very important movement in literature and painting, expressionism. Expressionism was a movement in literature that consists of a large shift away from realism. The goal of expressionistic writers was to find a way to express emotion so that the reader could better understand the human condition. Realistic representations could not meet this goal and therefore works were created that had dream-like qualities, unrealistic settings, usually centered on one character that represented an entire kind of people. As can be seen "The Scream" also shows one central image, dreamy and unrealistic, which represents an emotion, fear, in a way that moves the audience. This work is shown a long side expressionistic works written by artists such as Eugene O'Neill and Sophie Treadwell as a visual example of the modern expressionistic movement.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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