Mexican Artwork

I have selected Mexico as the country I am featuring this post on. Maybe it’s my desire to visit Mexico that helped me make this choice…I’m not really sure. I think I just enjoy their artwork. All the pieces I have selected were painted in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

The first artist I am displaying is Frida Kahlo. She is a Mexican painter who is known for her self portraits. She has been quoted as saying “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”                                                                            “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter. ”

I really enjoy artists who do self portraits. I believe it really shows how they feel about themselves, their self-esteem and overall views. The paintings below are 2 of her self portraits from different years. Notice how different they are. In the first painting, she painted herself smaller than in the second.


Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait (1926, Private Collection, Mexico City)


Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait (Dedicated to Leon Trotsky) (1937, National Museum of Women in Arts, Washington)

Another Mexican artist I enjoy is Diego Rivera. He became an established painter at the age of 26. He is known for the painting of his murals. I love murals. I love how they tell a story. The mural below is the first piece in a collection that was painted at The Museum of Modern Art. The museum brought Diego in to paint the mural that was so popular, he ended up added 3 more murals to the museum.

Agrarian Leader Zapata 1931

Diego Rivera, Agrarian Leader Zapata (1931, Fresco)


This mural was painted in Detroit between April 1932 to March 1933. It is a 27 panel piece that Diego painted as a tribute to the city’s manufacturing base and labor force.


Diego Rivera, East Wall (1933, Detroit, MI)


Post Modern Women

The theme I have chosen for this assignment is Women from the postmodern era. Women in this era all came from very different backgrounds.

The first artist I have selected is Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman was born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. She was the youngest of 5 children (which is something I have in common with her, except I am the oldest of 5 children). Cindy wasn’t interested in arts as a child. She was first introduced to the artistic world when she was in college. She began exploring art when she was enrolled at State University College at Buffalo. Cindy is well-known for her photography, which is mostly photos of herself. I enjoy that she wasn’t afraid of he camera, and was able to be herself in her photos. Her photos are all listed as “Untitled” with the number of photo she was on. It was her way of de-personalizing them.


Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #2 (1977)


Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #8 (1978)

The next female artist I have selected is Betye Saar. Betye was born in Los Angeles in 1926. She is an assemblage artist, who calls herself a recycler. She began her assemblage art in the late 1960’s when she began collecting different images of African-American figures fro advertising or folk culture (Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, Little Black Sambo)  Her style is a little different than I would normally like, but there is something about it I am drawn too. I just can’t put my foot on what it is.


Betye Saar, Survival of the Spirit (1993)


Betye Saar, Eye of the Beholder (1994)


My final artist is Judith (Judy) Baca. Judy is a world-renowned painter and muralist. She has been teaching art for over 28 years. Her murals are absolutely breathtaking! I especially enjoy her murals because of her use of vibrant colors. It just pops out at you! This mural is located at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in Los Angeles, CA. The second piece is a painting she completed in 2009.

Miguel Contreras Mural 2011

Judith Baca, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex Digital Mural (2011)

AbsolutelyChicana 2009

Judith Baca, Absolutely Chicana (2009)

Early Modern Era

Originally called “The New Negro Movement”, the Harlem Renaissance was when African-Americans creativity began to shine. During the 1920’s-1930’s, African American’s began to produce more art, music, and theatrical performances.

The first  African-American artist I want to focus on is Palmer Hayden. Palmer Hayden’s artistic ideas came from his surroundings. He painted in both oils and watercolors. He painted in Paris for 5 years, then returned to the United States, where most of his work for focused on his African-American experiences.


Palmer Hayden, Nous Quatre a Paris (We Four In Paris), Date unknown

Midsummer Night in Harlem

Palmer Hayden, Midsummer Night in Harlem (1938)


Archibald Motley is another African-American artist from the Harlem Renaissance. He is considered one of he major contributors to the Harlem Renaissance. He is known for painting portraiture. His reasons for painting portraiture was because he saw it “as a means of affirming racial respect and race pride.”

Old Snuff Dipper (1928)

Archibald Motley, Old Snuff Dipper (1928)


I really, really like impressionistic style! I would have to say that it, up to this point in our lessons, is my favorite. I can’t decide what I like most about it, but I really like how real it is. It’s not fictional paintings, but paintings based on life. The colors of this style are bright and cheerful. For me, at least, the colors and detail is amazing. I much prefer brighter colors over darker colors. In comparison to the Classical Era, Impressionistic style is much more appealing to me. The Classical Era feels so dark and serious in most of the paintings I have seen. The Classical Era is when scientific discoveries was huge. The pieces that are focused on scientific discoveries would be dark and serious because it was a serious, important discovery in that era. The piece that stands out to me the most as dark and serious (from the Classical Era) is An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by John Wright of Derby (1768; London, England). This painting is an experiment of a bird being deprived of air, and the audience is having a difficult time watching it.

My favorite impressionistic style painting I have seen would be Bridge at Villeneuve-la-Garenne by Alfred Sisley (1872, Paris). The painting is of a bridge with the town in the background and canoes floating on the water. It is such a peaceful, relaxing painting, almost calming.


Classical Era

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is one of the most well known scientists of all time. Isaac Newton’s founding of the laws of motion and universal gravitation during the Classical Era is what scientists built off of for the next several centuries. Among many inventions, he invented the first reflecting telescope. He was the beginning of scientific discoveries during the 1700’s.



Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton by John Vanderbank (1725; Cambridge, England)

One of the most important English painters associated with new science was Joseph Wright of Derby, also referred to as Wright of Derby. Joseph Wright was known for his contract of light and dark, and for his subjects being lit by candlelight. In the painting below, titled A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on the Orrery (1766), he is portraying an orrery to an audience. (An orrery is defined as “an apparatus showing the relative positions and motions of bodies in the solar system by balls moved by a clockwork.”). In the Classical era, science really began to emerge.  I chose this painting because I love the intrigued look on the faces of the children.


A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on the Orrery (1766) by James Wright of Derby

This is another painting by Joseph Wright of Derby, named An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump. This painting represents a natural philosopher who is recreating an experiment that was originally done by Robert Boyle. In this experiment, a bird is deprived of air. You can see in the painting that the audience is concerned for the birds well-being. The woman in the back can’t even watch, and is covering her eyes. I chose this painting because it was a real experiment, showing real emotions by the audience.


An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by John Wright of Derby (1768; London, England)

Baroque Era

The piece I have chosen is a painting by Rembrandt titled Bathsheba at Her Bath. This painting features a story from the Old Testament. In the story, King David sees Bathsheba bathing. He thinks she is beautiful. He summons her to come to him, regardless of the fact that she is a married woman…to a General name Uriah. King David seduces Bathsheba and they begin having an affair. Bathsheba becomes pregnant. King David wants to marry Bathsheba to hide their affair, but can’t do so as she is still married to the General. His way of controlling the situation and fixing the problem was by ordering Uriah into battle and him being killed. Bathsheba then delivers a stillborn child.

The influence of royalty was why King David was able to send Uriah into battle to be “killed” without repercussions or anyone realizing what has happened. He was he King. He placed an order and it was followed out, with no questions asked.

File:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 016.jpg


The Renaissance

I chose a painting by Giorgione Bellini, The Tempest . This painting interests me because of the pure natural state of the woman in the painting. In this day and age, people view the human body in its natural form, as sexual. I love that back in the Renaissance period, paintings like this were viewed as beautifully portraying the human body, and not portraying something sexual. Specifically in this painting, I think it is a beautiful way to show a woman feeding her infant child. Woman now are looked down on for nursing their children in public, even using a nursing cover. This painting gives me hope that one day we can view nursing an infant as a natural thing our bodies are meant to do, instead of sexual.

This painting is a move away from religious themed paintings, and onto a new form of humanism. Giorgione Bellini was a leading painter in Venice in the early 1500’s. He was a mysterious painter, and historians had a difficult time interpreting his paintings, which he often didn’t sign. His subjects are usually in an all natural form, which makes his paintings non-religious themed. In The Tempest, the main subject is a woman who is naturally nursing her infant child. There is a man off to the side gazing with interest, with a beautiful view of Venice in the background. This painting is how Giorgione Bellini used humanism to form a new way of introducing different themes of art that wasn’t centered around religious and biblical beliefs.

Giorgione_The Tempest

The Tempest by Giorgione Bellini