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Trevor Talley

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(no subject) [May. 6th, 2005|07:55 am]
Trevor Talley

            When a movie is created based on an artist’s life, there lies a natural temptation to attempt and make the film resemble the artwork.  Now this is a fundamentally interesting and good idea, but it is so hard to make this look good and seamless, as opposed to corny, that it can absolutely destroy the mental reality of the film if it is not done right.  Frida is not such a movie.

            Frida is based on the life of the woman artist Frida Kahlo, and when I say based on, I do not mean that in the very loose sense that most films take it.  This movie was startlingly accurate, even to the point of taking recorded conversations between the characters’ real-life counterparts and turning them into a part of the film.  What really blew me away about their attention to the real-life Kahlo were the details that were barely even seen, much less explained, such as the pictures of Mao Tse-tung all over Frida’s room near the end of her life (Frida was a communist, and near the end of her life she followed the ideas of Mao with a passion).  Attention to minute details such as this makes this movie believable as an actual documentary, rather than just a director’s interpretation of a famous artist. 

Details aside, this movie simply looks amazing.  The sets are infinitely believable, and with many of them filmed actually on location instead of on a lot or a blueroom, the feel of watching something completely real is furthered greatly.  The colors are vibrant and realistic as well, a point on which many art films fail in attempts to make a film more “artsy.” 

The two true shining points in this film, however, are the acting and the scenes where the director took creative liberty and worked in some of Frida’s art.  Selma Hayek certainly deserves her Academy Award nomination, as she is absolutely spot-on in portraying the tortured female artist, but she is just one beautiful performance in a veritable sea of beautiful performances contained within this movie.  Alfred Molina, who plays the artist Diego Rivera, gives one of his best performances to date and captures the womanizing, idealistic Rivera to a tee.  A very hard to recognize Geoffrey Rush pulls off a brilliant portrayal of one of the more interesting figures of modern history, Leo Trotsky, even going so far as to make it feel he (Rush) truly believed the ideas he was spouting on government and society, as he puts so much passion into it.  Main characters aside, this movie contains some of the more well-done and believable cameo appearances I have yet to see in a film.  Most notable are Diego Luna, who plays Frida’s early boyfriend, Antonio Banderas, who gives a refreshing (as opposed to his other recent performances, see Spy Kids: 3d) portrayal of a fellow artist and revolutionary, and, best of all, the great Edward Norton, who plays John D. Rockefeller to absolute perfection (even down to the accent).  I could not complain about any of the acting in this movie, as even the weaker performances seem to be just representing weak real-life counterparts. 

It is the artistic scenes, however, that amazingly make this movie transcend the simply good.  Characters position themselves in such a way in the movie as to recreate the look of some of Kahlo’s more famous works, and when this happened, I found myself nearly unable to distinguish between the painting and the actors.  Unlike most art movies, the transitions were seamless between all art scenes, and even the potentially corny and ruinous ones (such as the use of Mexican skeleton puppets to represent the doctors working on Frida after she has her accident) are given so much attention and contain so much detail that they come off as brilliant.  Especially memorable are the scenes in New York, where a monstrous Diego climbs the Empire State Building as King Kong and where Frida sees images in her bathtub.  The film does what all other art films simply attempt, and the final result is breath-taking.

            All considered, Frida is an amazing movie about an even more amazing person.  The one and only complaint I could make about this movie is that it is terribly long, but for a life so complicated, it pretty much had to be.  This movie does it all right, which surprised me greatly, as I generally go into artistic movies about art with a great deal of skepticism.  However, I am glad that in this case, my skepticism was unfounded, and this film absolutely blew me away.

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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2005|01:04 am]
Trevor Talley

II. Rationalism:  knowledge from data.  Raises individual and minimizes tradition

1.        French Enlightenment

a.        All the lil middle-class frenchies got smart, took out aristocrats

b.        Empiricism (definition): knowledge gained from personal experience

c.        Rosseau-

                                                                           i.      Social contract- men form contract w/ gov, if gov breaks it get rid of gov

d.        John Locke-

                                                                           i.      Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness

                                                                          ii.      If your gov cant give these, find one that will

e.        Founding fathers of USA educated in Enlightenment style

                                                                           i.      Declaration & Constitution very French Enlightenment style

2.        Neoclassical art (all this crap up there caused neoclassical art)

a.        1750’s in france, art of revolution, uncertainty, “liberty,” and Napoleon

b.        people found old greek/roman cities of Pompeii and herculenean and liked the art in em

c.        classical art came back into style

d.        (IMPORTANT) artists and people were scared of the future, so they went backwards

e.        founding fathers used this for art of America

f.         tableau vivant (def.): life-like

g.        Jacque Louis David

                                                                           i.      Most well-known

                                                                          ii.      Liberty, equality, brotherhood

h.        Napoleon-

                                                                           i.      Sold lie to europe

                                                                          ii.      Fucked up in spain and Russia

                                                                        iii.      Got exiled to st. alba, came back and took over again

                                                                        iv.      Got his ass kicked by british and Prussians at waterloo (70,000 dead, beaten by timing)

                                                                          v.      Built neoclassical art

                                                                        vi.      Tricked Europe for a whole generation

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(no subject) [Apr. 8th, 2005|12:48 am]
Trevor Talley

               

1.  Rococo art began in France in the early eighteenth century.

-glitzy, shallow art with very little under the surface

-commissioned by aristocrats in France, wanted art to show aristocrats being happy and nothing else

- sometimes considered an extension of Baroque

art of denial (haha, you wrote “the Nile” on my paper :-p)

named after window dressings

18th century, “ast gasp adorning a dying nobility”

- Watteau:

- “Embarkation to Cythera,” (aristocrats having a good time)

-non-threatening

- Fraggonard:

-“Girl on a Swing.” (the rococo painting)

- Bouche:

-revolutionary

naked bodies like Ruben’s, but pretty

accused of pornography

                -Architecture of rococo was sugary sweet

                -British:

                                not about control

                                free form

                                -comfortable

                                -Gainsborough: most famous portraits, showed brits as they saw themselves

-Hogarth did serialized art making fun of royalty, was very popular, shows brits security w/ themselves

bah

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(no subject) [Mar. 28th, 2005|02:23 am]
Trevor Talley

Sarah Tabor

Period 1

 

                In a time when television and film reigned supreme, Disney was one of the top (if not the top) filmmaking companies in the world.  Instead of producing another easy blockbuster film about talking animals, they decided to create what would become multiple generations’ introduction to classical music and music as art in general.  This idea became Fantasia, animated scenes drawn to describe, depict and enhance what is happening in various classical songs.  Personally, I believed when I was younger that Fantasia was quite possibly “the greatest thing in history,” and now, as an 18 year old about to go to college, I still believe it is a genius piece of film, art and music all rolled into one.  However, there are a few parts of it I am no longer quite so fascinated by and believe could have been done a little better.

                Fantasia begins with Bach’s “Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor,” one of my favorite pieces of music from the movie.  This part I greatly enjoyed, and I especially thought the violin bows-turned-rain in the clouds represented what was happening in the music effectively.  The chaotic, morphing, powerful images of this section feel as though they came straight out of my own mind’s reactions to the music, and thus I say this piece of the film was perfectly produced.

                The second section of the movie contains parts of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” that are various dance sequences in the actual “Nutcracker”.  The first dance I thought was done quite nicely; the pretty colors and the little fairies make a nice change from the typical dance done in the actual ballet.  The Oriental mushroom dance is another favorite scene of mine, because the extreme cuteness of the baby mushroom and the humor of the scene mark it out from many of the others.  Other highlights of this section are the Russian flower dancers and the ocean scene, which depicts how a powerful, dangerous ocean can contain delicate beauty perfectly.  This was another section I believe requires no changes and has no downside, excepting that I would love some of the dances to go on even longer.

                The third movement in the movie is “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas, and it’s a good deal more straightforward than the previous two.  It goes straight at capturing the idea for the work in the first place, but it is no less exquisite in its production as the other two.  The story fits perfectly with the music, and the plot is fully realized and played out in the time the song is played.  Once again, I have no complaints.

                The fourth movement, Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” is where I start to have problems with this movie.  Despite the boldness of Disney for showing evolution in a major motion picture and the way the images skillfully fit the music, I do not think this part should have been included in the film.  From an adult’s standpoint it could be interesting, but this is basically a film for children at heart, and this scene is far too long, drawn out, and partially terrifying for children to pay much attention to.  Most kids are going to stop the VCR and fast-forward through most of this, so I don’t believe this part was done right at all.

                After some well-placed comic relief, the next song is “Pastoral” by Beethoven.  This section is one of the best and longest in the film, and the only very long one I believe should not be changed.  Bacchus is a hilarious drunk, the landscapes are stunning, and the whole thing is just a great way to introduce kids to Greek mythology.

                After the mythological romp comes “La Gioconda,” my favorite scene despite the extremely arrogant ostrich.  The use of hippos and elephants in putting a dance to an operatic song was absolute genius and is as thoroughly entertaining to me now as it was when I was a child.

                The final two songs are “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Ave Maria,” and I group them together because their scenes in the film are linked.  The first is a straight-up terrifying bit on Satan and the underworld that I did not remember seeing as a kid, and upon further investigation I decide my parents must have turned the movie off before this part, and for good reason.  This would produce bed-wetting for weeks in most children I’m guessing, though it was done to absolute perfection.  In the context of a children’s film I think this was a terrible addition (though I can see with all things I disagree with what they are trying to teach children), but as an adult viewing a film I can see it was done with great skill and craftsmanship.  “Ave Maria” I have a vague memory of, but I   believe I got bored quickly of it as a child and wandered off.  It is a very beautiful, serene bit of animation put to a very beautiful, serene song, and it provides a perfect counterbalance for the Satan bit as well as a great close for the film…to an adult.  For a child, this part of the movie will probably not even be seen.

                In the end, my opinion of Fantasia depends on who is viewing it.  For a child, this movie can provide wonderful dreams and terrible nightmares if watched straight through, but for most it will probably end after the hippos and will involve much fast-forwarding.  However, for older audiences, this is an absolute masterpiece that I have very few complaints about.  Apart from teaching classical music to the modern world, this film lives on as one of the highlights of movie-making history, and I hope it continues to be played until movies no longer exist.

 

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(no subject) [Mar. 8th, 2005|02:44 pm]
Trevor Talley

The Spanish artist Francisco Goya was the link between the old and the new in the world of painting. His paintings were emotional, subversive and deeply intellectual, and he was the first artist to make the subconscious of great import in his creations. The Spanish movie Goya in Bordeaux is an attempt at capturing the genius of the man through exposing his life story and the terrible conflicts it involves, and it succeeds in this, but only to an extent. With moments of brilliance and moments that contain and almost ridiculous lack of finesse, the film overdoes itself into mediocrity.

Goya in Bordeaux was an extremely popular film with the Spanish audiences, winning four of the Spanish equivalent of an Academy Award (ironically called "Goya’s"), and despite its flaws, there is some reason behind this. Much of the acting in this movie is phenomenal, with particularly skillful performances put forth by Francisco Rabal and Jose Coronado (who play Goya at different times of his life), Maribel Verdu (the Dutchess of Alba), and Dafne Fernandez (Goya’s daughter Rosario). Each actor fully embodies the character they set out to play, and their skill is easily seen in the more dramatic scenes of the movie (such as Goya’s first viewing of Velasquez’ work, the love scenes between Goya and the Dutchess, and Goya’s more intense moments of imagination with his daughter). The idea behind the movie is also done quite well, as by the end the viewer has a vastly greater understanding of the slightly mad genius of the man, and when it ends it leaves you with a sort-of sad respect toward him. However, despite these moments of excellence, the movie begins to fail when it attempts to recreate the works of Goya on screen and put them into the plot of the film. Throughout the movie there is an obvious theme of color and art, and in many scenes this is played off well. However, it takes this idea a little too far, and many scenes become downright corny and ring of fakeness. For instance, when Goya visits a town to gather information on a painting, the director uses a painting from the time period turned into a backdrop instead of an actual city in an attempt to use a little creativity. Instead, this produces the exact opposite effect of making the whole thing seem very low-budget and almost like a set in a play. The viewers of a film should not have to force themselves to believe in a scene’s reality, and this movie absolutely forces them do so on multiple occasions. Every once in a while this attempt at art in the film does work well, such as the paintings on Goya’s wall coming to life, but for the most part it tends to clutter the film and make it seem rather pitiful. This added to the confusion of skipping between ages without explanation steals away the brilliance of the film and makes it irritating and tiresome instead.

Goya in Bordeaux is a film that attempted to do something very hard, represent the mind and life of one of the more eccentric and complicated artists in history. While it made a valiant attempt, and is somewhat deserving of its awards, in the end the film fails by trying a little too hard to be creative. If they had left the artistic representations to a little bit more real of a representation, the film would have been excellent indeed.

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(no subject) [Mar. 7th, 2005|01:41 am]
Trevor Talley

            A plethora of the artists and musicians we considered today to be of the highest form of genius were born into (and from, in a metaphorical sense) distressed family situations.  This often forms a catalyst for an intelligent or gifted mind, catapulting it from mediocrity into legend.  One such genius is Joseph Mallord William Turner.

Turner came into being in the late 1700’s (around April 23rd 1775) in Covent Garden, London.  His mother was a mentally unstable housewife, whose insanity grew as the years went on.  This instability stemmed from the death of Turner’s sister at a young age in 1786, which in the end sent his mother to an insane asylum, where she died in 1804.  Turner’s father was but a wig-maker and a barber, so the family was not particularly affluent either, and due to this strain, Turner was sent to live with his uncle (brother to his mother) in the town of Brentford in 1785.

Brentford was the place that Turner discovered his love for painting.  After a year of dabbling with untrained art in Brentford (the results of which were often displayed in Turner’s father’s shop window), Turner went to school in Margate in Kent.  Soon after this he was sent to the Royal Academy of Art at the young of fifteen due to the help of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the president of the academy.  Here Turner absolutely flourished, having a watercolor painting exhibited at the Summer Exhibition of 1790 after only a year.  Six years later in 1796, Turner’s oil paintings began to show up in exhibitions at the academy, and it was for these he would become famous.

After he finished his founding in the arts, Turner traveled widely around Europe, always studying and expanding as an artist.  He visited France (especially the Louvre, where he studied), Switzerland and Venice especially, all centers of the arts where he gained much skill and knowledge.  In his later years he became increasingly more eccentric, as is typical with a person of his background and mettle.  He never married, though he had two daughters with his mistress Sarah Danby.  His only real close friend became his father, who lived with him for 30 years, and after his father died he became prone to depression.  Turner died on December 19, 1851 in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, and he was buried at his own request in St. Paul’s Cathedral next to Sir Joshua Reynolds, the man who helped him become an artist.  In true genius fashion, Turner created up until his death, and his final exhibition being shown the year before he died.  Due to his popularity in England, Turner died wealthy, and it was his wish that his money be used to support “decaying artists,” as he called them.  His own paintings he gave to Britain, and he asked that a special gallery be built for him.  As is common with humans, however, there was a dispute with his descendants over the legality of his will, and the paintings were given twenty years later to the British Museum.  They are still displayed often at events around the world.

Turner’s genius is typically considered to be his ability to use oils and light perfectly.  His painting The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken Up is considered one of the more beautiful paintings of the time period, as well as a very skillfully wrought criticism of the British government of the time.  Turner’s paintings are very unlike his recent predecessors from the Rococo and Neo-Classicism schools, as he most definitely relies on emotion for his works.  The lights and colors and general beauty of them wring out a reaction from the soul, and this is what is important about them generally, not the subjects specifically.  He uses far more of a blurred, almost abstract style in many of his works, having blobs of color and a few simple brushstrokes invoke an idea or a connection rather than making a detailed representation.  Also a master of watercolor landscapes, Turner’s genius in these fields is considered by some to be unmatched.

Joseph Mallord William Turner was one of the great English artists of all time, and one of the best of the Romantic period.  His troubled life was difficult to say the least, but he left behind a legacy of beauty that will not be and has not been matched easily.  Through his use of colors, lights, and oils, Turner brings out emotion in the viewers of his works, and the experience is one not easily forgotten.

 

Works Cited

 

Engels, Andre. (2002). J. M. W. Turner. Wikipedia. Available: URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner. Last accessed 06 March 2005.

 

Ross, Derek. (2004). Turner, J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam). Biography on AE. Available: URL http://www.biography.com/search/article.jsp?aid=9512128&search=j.m.w.+turner. Last accessed 06 March 2005.

 

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(no subject) [Feb. 28th, 2005|07:38 am]
Trevor Talley

          The man Ludvig van Beethoven began life in the town of Bonn, Germany sometime around December 17, 1770.  His parents were Johann ban Beethoven, a man of Flemish background who worked as a musician at the Electoral court at Bonn, and Magdalena Keverich van Beethoven.  Beethoven’s first music teacher was his father, who tried to present him like Mozart as a child prodigy.  Being a drunk, however, Beethoven’s father was unsuccessful in this endeavor.  Eventually others noticed Beethoven’s immense musical talent however, and he was given employment and instruction by Christian Gottlob Neefe and financial sponsorship by the Prince-Elector.

          After the death of his mother (which resulted in Beethoven having to take care of his two brothers by himself for a few years), Beethoven moved to the music capital of the world, Vienna, in 1792.  Here he studied with Haydn and other such masters of his craft and set up a reputation as a piano virtuoso.  Slowly, he also built up his reputation as a composer, but instead of working for the royals or the church, he worked as a freelance composer, putting on public performances, selling his works, and accepting only donations from nobles.

          In Beethoven’s early composing years he is said to be basically copying the styles of Haydn and Mozart while slowly exploring new directions and expanding his works in terms of ambition and scope.  Later, in his “middle” period, he became deaf, and his works are noted for the heroism and struggle they present.  Many of his most famous works came from this time period, despite his recent deafness.  The late period of Beethoven began around 1816 and lasted ten years until his last work.  Admired for their highly personal, intense expression and intellectual depth, these final works include the famous Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis.

          Beethoven led a very troubled personal life.  Due to his deafness, Beethoven contemplated suicide for a long time.  He was always attracted to women he could not have, thus he never married.  This realization (that he would never marry) is thought to have produced a four year span in which he produced very little due to depression.  Beethoven had financial troubles, quarreled with others often, moved about almost as often, and had poor health, which is thought to have killed him eventually by means of a liver disease.  This chaotic personal life is thought to show through in his music by its depiction of struggle followed by triumph, with the triumph being his final works of genius.

          Beethoven was a man of singular genius and unimaginable skill.  Despite an extremely troubled and difficult personal life, he managed to bridge the gap between Classicism and Romanticism in music, build upon the foundations of music, and write some of the most widely-recognized songs in history.  His influence in the musical world is comparable in terms of greatness only to that of Mozart, and his works are likely even more widely-known than Mozart’s.  Without the work and life of Beethoven, music today would not be anywhere near the same

 

Works Cited

 

Robert Mentler. (1998). Beethoven. Beethoven-Work. Available: URL http://www.beethoven.ws/biography.html. Last accessed 27 February 2005.

 

Stirling Newberry. (2002). Ludvig van Beethoven. Wikipedia. Available: URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_van_Beethoven. Last accessed 28 February 2005.

 

 

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(no subject) [Feb. 14th, 2005|07:37 am]
Trevor Talley

          Flowers I Would Bring by Aubrey De Vere is a sonnet in which a woman is semi-sappily compared to the riches of the earth, and the riches are found wanting in light of her.  De Vere flatters this woman immensely throughout the sonnet, at first comparing her to gifts usually reserved for lovers and then saying everything on earth is trying to praise and woo her as well as him.

          In the octave, De Vere says he would bring her flowers if they could make her any fairer, which implies that she is so beautiful flowers would pale compared to her.  He claims music is nothing to her as well, but he would have brought it to make her love him if she loved it.  The next two lines say that songs would lose their melody and flowers would just conceal the wearer, by which he means no one would hear a song when she’s around (because they would be paying attention to her), and flowers would just serve to cover up her much greater beauty.  De Vere’s little story about a rose that comes next uses personification and imagery (a blushing rose) to further flatter his lover, saying that a beautiful flower would beg not to be given to and thus compared to his love, for she is too beautiful.

          In the sestet, De Vere drops his comparisons to unworthy gifts and instead cries out in despair over what to give her.  He uses the words gifts, offerings, and treasures, saying that no item or concept on earth is worthy of her.  This inability to give any worthy gift he claims comes out of the fact that the entire earth’s purpose, every bit of nature (floral train), is to flatter and woo her already.  He adds to this by saying that all the old poems and songs written about love were written for and about her, making his most flattering statement yet.  He is saying in this last bit that his love is so unimaginably great and beautiful that love and everything connected with it must have been created just because of her.  In the last two lines he says that love is nothing to her anyways because this great, overabundant amount of joy in her name has given her plenty of love already.

          The sonnet Flowers I Would Bring is an extremely flattering cry out by De Vere to the woman he loves.  The poem aches of a longing for what he cannot have, which he says is because he can give her nothing beautiful she does not have, and on top of that she has all the love in the world already.  His poem captures very well the yearning a person can feel for another, as well as the grandness loved ones can hold in the mind.

 

Flowers I Would Bring

Flowers I would bring if flowers could make thee fairer,

And music if the Muse were dear to thee,

(For loving these would make thee love the bearer);

But sweetest songs forget their melody,

And loveliest flowers would but conceal the wearer:

A rose I marked, and might have plucked; but she

Blushed as she bent, imploring me to spare her,

Nor spoil her beauty by such rivalry.

Alas! and with what gifts shall I pursue thee,

What offerings bring, what treasures lay before thee,

When earth with all her floral train doth woo thee,

And all old poets and old songs adore thee,

And love to thee is naught; from passionate mood

Secured by joy's complacent plenitude.

 

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(no subject) [Dec. 13th, 2004|04:24 am]
Trevor Talley

Christian Art

            Religion and spirituality have always had extremely close ties with the art world.  Massive amounts of paintings, sculptures and architecture have been created in the name of or have been inspired by religious icons and their beliefs, and in no time period was this more apparent than that from the late Roman Empire to the Dark and Middle Ages.  During this time, nearly all art was entirely Christian in design, and this would continue on at least to some degree for many hundred years even after the Middle Ages.

            The art of the Christians began in the Catacombs, which were the tombs under Rome where Christians were forced to meet in secrecy due to Christianity being illegal.  The original Christian art was very abstract and linear, and it showed a great likeness to that of the Sumerians and Egyptians.  It was infused with the Christian focus on the next world, a theme which would continue on into the next thousand years of Christian (and world) art.  After Constantine passed the Edict of Milan (making Christianity legal), the supporting of Christians became popular, thus much money was given for churches.  These churches were built in the old Roman Basilica architectural style, which consisted of a central nave with aisles on the side and an apse at one end on which the clergy would sit.  From this style of church-building the architects of the Dark and Middle Ages would conjure up the ideas for the soaring cathedrals they would build in abundance.  Later, when Christianity was made the only legal religion in Rome by Theodosius, a great deal of the literature and art of ancient times were destroyed in Christian “purges,” which remains a great blow to the arts to this day.  This focus on purely Christianity in not only religion but all other aspects of life set the tone for the next thousand or so years, and it would spread all over Europe very soon.

            As the Western Empire waned in importance and power, the Eastern was just getting into swing.  The Byzantines were rich, powerful, and extremely Christian-based.  The architect Anthenius created the beautiful Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom) during the reign of Justinian, whose groin vault topped by a dome, intersected-pendentives, and stunning mosaics would set the standard for church-building in the futures.  Another important church of this time was the San Vitale, which had an octagonal shape as well as mosaics and icons, and it too would help further the architecture of the time.  The art and issue of icons, artistic depictions of Christian holy men and women, also arose during this time, as many believed they were idols and turned worship from God to the icon itself.  These icons became such an issue that there was even a successful revolution staged in support of them, thus many Christians use icons to this day.  The art of the Byzantines, especially the architecture, set a foundation for the Dark and Middle Ages, upon which some of the most beautiful buildings in existence would be built.

            The Dark Ages were some of the most utterly miserable years in recorded human existence.  With chaotic anarchy, roaming tribes of barbarians, and the black plague all following the fall of the Roman Empire, people turned to religion and the after-life to save them from their horrid lives.  They believed that if they could touch or see a holy relic, an item related somehow to a holy person in Christianity, they would surely be saved, so churches were built to hold these holy relics.  The more important the relic was the more important the church was, and soon thousands upon thousands were making pilgrimages to visit these places.  This tide of humanity soon became too much for the meager church buildings, so they were forced to expand.  This expansion became an architectural style called Romanesque, and this consisted of interior supports, chapels radiating off of ambulatories, barrel vaults, and asymmetrical steeples on a crucifix floor plan that consisted of a nave, a transcript and a high altar at the end.  It soon became more important to have a large, high church than to have valuable relics, and the height of a church quickly became the measure of its importance.  One church, Beauvais, was built 158 feet high in an attempt at prominence, but this proved too high and the building collapsed.  Another famous church of this type was St. Denis, built by Bishop Suger in Paris.  In a twist, the English favored length of building instead of height, creating the strainer arch and fan vaulting for their purposes of extended length.  Soon, even more architectural techniques were discovered and the Gothic method of building was introduced.  Gothic churches were similar to Romanesque in their steeples, ambulatories and crucifix-shaped ground plans, but they expanded on the beauty and strength of the structure of a church by bringing in flying buttresses, ribbed vaults, pointed arches, outside décor and by having the walls no longer bear the heaviest part of the load, freeing them up to be used for openings.  These openings were filled with stained glass windows, illuminating the church and “creating a unique place of light between heaven and earth.”  Now, the amount of luminosity became more important than height, and the cathedral was born in all its glory.  The final improvement on the church came with the Rayannont style, which introduced floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, as seen at St. Chappelle.  With the rise of the cathedral came the rise of the university, and with the rise of the university came Goliardic literature.  This was literature written by male students, and, as in modern times, its fixations were those of sex and drink.  Carl Orff collected many of these into the Carmina Burama, which is listened to widely today.  Religion, unsurprisingly, also made its mark on music, with song after song composed in the name of God.  The composer Hildegard wrote in this time, becoming the first female composer in history.  Also, the monks of this time contributed to music through the chanting they frequently used in their religious ceremonies.  All of these massive and very Christian contributions to the arts would be long considered perfection, and it would take a very long time for secular art to rise.

            Religion has often been the muse of artists of every ilk, and in no time period was this more so than in the years between the late Roman Empire and the Dark and Middle Ages.  With the rise of Christianity came a boom in art of all manners, though architecture was definitely the most greatly benefited of the time.  Though much was destroyed in the name of Christianity, and though the Christian mold was hard to break once it sat into the arts, it is indisputable that this time was a time of great advances, and without it art would be at a great loss indeed.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Durant, Will (1980). Story of Civilization, Vol 3. : Simon & Schuster. 772-814

 

Kenney, John. (2001). Charlemagne. Wikipedia. Available: URL   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne. Last accessed 28 November 2004.

 

Turner, Samuel Epes (1880). Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne. New York: Harper & Brothers.

 

 

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(no subject) [Dec. 10th, 2004|01:46 am]
Trevor Talley

english

 

 

Lust

Sexual desire is an incomprehensibly strongly rooted base to many human emotions and reactions, and because of this it is one of the most powerful tools that can be used in manipulating humans through media.  Probably nearly half of every advertisement for any product out today uses lust, or sex, in some form to try and sell their product.  Some are very subtle about it, playing on the subconscious levels of desire, but most nowadays just come right out in the open and use sex very obviously and openly.  When Britney Spears put out her new perfume, Curious, it came as no surprise that she should attempt to use such methods in her advertising as well.

            This advertisement is again very simple with many undercurrents and symbolic messages in it.  It shows Britney in a very tight, form-fitting night gown with a sultry look on her face in a very dark hallway with the silhouette of an attractive man in the background behind her (blurred) with the text “Do you dare?” written in pink over the dark hallway.  The blackness suggests a mysterious and classy yet slightly dark one-night romance, which apparently the consumer will have if they use Mrs. Spear’s perfume.  The text is very confrontational, almost telling the reader that they probably aren’t enough to use the perfume, that the experience would overpower them.  It attempts to so appeal to the lustiness of all humans that they are overpowered and forget completely and moral misgivings they might have about meaningless sex.  Mrs. Spears herself is a symbol, as she has since the beginning of her career been a sex symbol in the nation, thus anything she is associated will automatically be associated with sex no matter what.  This ad targets girls who are fans of Britney as well as women who want to have quick, steamy sexual relationships (or the boyfriends of such females).  To someone who doesn’t fall into these categories, the ad comes off as tacky and whorish, but for its target audience it likely does a very good job.  Mrs. Spears probably would not have had to do much at all to sell her perfume, but the “sexiness” of this ad will definitely help her sell even more bottles of perfume. (People 37)

            Resisting the temptations of lust is probably one of the most difficult tasks for a human being to undertake.  In prior days, when sex was taboo and ads such as this one would not be tolerated, it was far less easy for a company to prey upon the sexual desires of its society.  However, as this ad pretty much proves hands down, in the current society it is so common that no one even bothers to think of the negative side to advertisements showing sex and are focused only on their own desires being fulfilled.  This is probably likely to only grow worse, and Britney Spears will probably sell many, many perfume bottles before her run is through.

 

Gluttony

            Gluttony is one of the most commonly practiced of the seven deadly sins, making it one of the most widely accepted as well.  “Indulge yourself” is a phrase heard all too often these days, and the general culture of the nation has adopted this ideology as its own.  This deadening to the idea that to consume in excess is wrong is due in great part to the media justifying and even glamorizing greed and gluttony, especially when related to alcohol.  This is shown to great affect in a recent advertisement for Ketel One, which attempts to lure in consumers by making drinking not seem quite so bad.

            The first thing to notice on this ad is that it is very bare, just a black text message on a bare white background with the text only in the top third of the page.  However, the design is deceptively simple, as the advertisement speaks volumes with what it does.  The black on white set-up with a very sophisticated, European-style font serves to make the ad seem classy, implying that those who drink Ketel One are classy as well. The attempt at European class is shown even further on their website, which attempts to associate Ketel One with a European vodka tradition “loved by discerning critics and consumers alike” (http://www.ketelone.com).  The text itself says “Dear Ketel One Drinker:  On those awful days when you’re feeling your age, just remember, we’re 314,” adding another layer of supposed class and sophistication to the alcohol by implying that it’s been around for a long time, making it better than the other alcohols.  It also gives the ad a target audience of older people who probably lean more toward upper-middle to high class, for they would be the ones wanting to feel sophisticated instead of old.  This ad makes drinking Ketel One seem like it’s a sign of sophistication and grand old age and attempts to make the consumer ignore the fact that drinking, no matter what you are drinking, is still drinking.  The page does a very good job at doing this, as it does come off as very classy and elegant, especially compared to other alcohol advertisements.  It seems very innocent and not at all like it’s trying to sell you something you might not want or need, which it is. (Men’s Journal 56)

            As gluttony becomes more accepted among the masses as a minor fault instead of a deadly sin, the media who attempt to sell gluttonous products will get better and better at helping people justify their greed.  As this ad shows, it’s not hard to trick the human brain into forgetting all the long-term bad effects and focusing only on the short-term immediate “good.”  No matter what or how many words are said about it, Ketel One is still alcohol and will still hurt the body to drink.

 

Works Cited

Curious.  Advertisement.  People.  29 November.  2004.

Ketel One.  Advertisement.  Men’s Journal.  January 2005.

Ketelone.com. “History.” 5 August.  2004.

            09 December 2004 <http://www.ketelone.com>

 

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