Archive for the ‘Grade 10 Visual Cultural Studies’ Category

Egypt Geography History Mythology
Egyptian Art and its Formal and Symbolic Qualities
The Style of Ancient Egyptian Art
Early Christian Art Catacombs and Sarcophagi
Early Christian into Byzantine San Vitale
Early Christian Art into the Byzantine Hagia Sofia
Transitions into Late Gothic to Proto Renaissance Art
The Development of the Human Figure in Greek Art
Classic Greek Sculpture to Late Hellenistic Era

Roman Sculpture by Kenney Mescher

Painting Pompei

Here is a great series on Baroque and Rococco Art by Kenney Menscher







French Baroque and Rococco

Baroque at Versailles

Tony White’s Hokusai: An Animated Sketchbook.

Mono no aware, can be translated as the ‘sensitivity to things’. Mono means things, and aware comes from the ancient Japanese exclamation ‘Ah(a)!’. In early Heian times (794-1185) aware became a noun designating a profound and individual emotion that one experiences in communion with the fleeting beauty of a person, an event, a natural object or a work of art. Aware is sometimes called the ‘ah!-ness of things’ you feel when confronted with beauty and at the same time are conscious of the transience or incompleteness of this beauty. Aware transcends the feelings of sadness and joy and merges these into a new, profound emotion.

Birds and Flowers of Spring and Summer,' one of a pair of six-fold screens by Kano Eino with various symbols of nature (Edo Period, 1603-1867)

Birds and Flowers of Spring and Summer,’ one of a pair of six-fold screens by Kano Eino with various symbols of nature (Edo Period, 1603-1867)

The sound of the Gion shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sōla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind. (McCullough 1988) –  Heike monogatari (The Tale of the Heike Clan)

We can discover aware in the feelings inspired by a bright spring morning and also in the sense of sadness that overcomes us on an autumn evening. Its primary mood, however, is one of gentle melancholy, from which it can develop into real grief. Awarewas, and is, a feeling reserved for delicate and sensitive people. It never turned into a wild outburst of grief and has therefore nothing in common with the turbulent romantic emotions we know so well in the West. The ability to understand this type of aesthetic emotional experience became a defining trait of a refined character and was referred to as mono no aware wo shiru. It was limited to the upper classes and can be regarded as the equivalent of moral virtue in other societies. To say of someone that he does not ‘know’ mono no aware is a serious defamation of character. The concept of mono no aware has a great influence on thinking of Japanese culture to this day. (Ref)

Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period (1868–1912), ca. 1872–91  Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)

Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period (1868–1912), ca. 1872–91
Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)

holding back the night
with its increasing brilliance
the summer moon
– Yoshitoshi’s death poem

 Japanese film director, Ozu Yasujirō, films are seen as a series of exercises expressing mono no aware.  Ozu, often expresses feelings through presenting the faces of things rather than of actors. A vase standing in the corner of a tatami-matted room where a father and daughter are asleep; two fathers contemplating the rocks in a “dry landscape” garden, their postures echoing the shapes of the stone; a mirror reflecting the absence of the daughter who has just left home after getting married—all images that express the pathos of things as powerfully as the expression on the greatest actor’s face.

Possibly the best known Ukiyo-e print is the The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai.

Katsushika Hokusai self portrait

Katsushika Hokusai self portrait

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Hokusai who was in his 70’s when he produced it. First published in 1832, it was an instant success and continues to transfix artists and historians the world over.

This BBC documentary explores the life of the artist and discusses the masterpiece itself, looking at how it was produced and what it might represent.

A thought provoking and inspiring documentary for artists and anyone with an interest in the culture and art history of Japan.