Come Into The Woods With Me

Into the Woods

Into the Woods, Directed by: Rob Marshall, 2014

A Little Background on the Movie

  • Was It Successful?
  • Into the Woods, overall was a very successful film. It made $31, 021,000 during its opening weekend, and a gross profit of $127,997,349. This is pretty dang good for only having a budget of 50,000,000. The film itself was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture:comedy or musical of 2015. It won the 2014 Satellite award for Best Ensemble,Motion picture. These are just 2 out of the 9 awards it won and 1 out of the 55 awards it was nominated for, and was also nominated for 3 Oscars which is a huge deal in the artist world.Overall, the film got an average rating of 6.1/10, which even though it doesn’t seem like a good rating it really is. It,also got good reviews from most critics from reviewers from The New York Times, and other reviewers of similar status. It is safe to say that Into the Woods is an extremely successful movie.
  • The Screen Play & Its Script

One thing I absolutely love when musicals are turned into films is when the original creators come and adapt their work themselves. This is the case for Into the Woods. James Lapine wrote the original book or script, and he also wrote the adapted screenplay for this film! This was the same for the actual music on the film, as well. Steven Sondheim was the original composer of both music and lyrics for the staged version of Into the Woods, and he too came back and re worked the music for the film like Lapine.

The script of this movie is really interesting, even the dialogue between the songs are very sing songy, and poetic. It’s written in a very storybook/fairytale style of writing the helps to create the essence of the story. There is also the use of overlapping of text throughout the movie. Many of the conversations between characters have them talking over one another yet, maintaining the conversation as if they were talking like normal the whole time. For instance, this happens a lot with the baker and his wife especially, in the forest scene when they were buying the cow from the boy. Their dialogue overlaps creating this sense of tension, excitement, and importance.

  • Symbolism Within The Movie

There is quite a bit of symbolism in this film, of course it helps that Into The Woods is a mesh of Fairytales, and fairytales are known for their symbolism. In Into The Woods, we get the fairytale but we also get this dark undertone with the overall color scheme and cynical music. We also have the symbolism of the Wolf and little red riding hood. There is a very sexual aspect to this story, with the whole idea of the wolf, in this case played by Johnny depp, who although has features of a wolf is dressed more as a man, he follows little red riding hood into the woods trying to persuade her to stray off the path and come with him. This symbol was played even more strongly in the staged version, but was reduced in the movie, but even so the symbol is still very much present.

We also have the symbol of beauty with the shoe, for instance the stepmother cuts off parts of the daughters feet to fit in the shoe for the prince. Also, the beauty aspect with the witch throughout the story trying to get the magic milk to become beautiful, same goes for repunzles long beautiful hair in the beginning, and the getting it cut off.

Also, the woods itself is a depiction of symbolism. When any of the characters go into the woods bad things happen. When they stray from the path, they put themselves in danger. It symbolizes how one cannot deviate from their path, and how easily people can be persuaded to go down the wrong path when enticed to do so.

The Music of Into The Woods

  • Is the Music Original? Who Composed it?

Their was original music for the file, and it was composed by Steven Sondheim .

  • What Songs We’re Added To The Film?

There was no additional songs added to this film, they were all the ones from the original musical. Although there were some songs that were in the musical that were cut from the movie and added just in as instrumental versions like, “Ever After” and “No More”.

The Setting of Into The Woods

The “woods” is one of the main settings of this film, and it really creates the mood of the scene and the overall story. Depending on what is happening in the scene the woods is either dark, light, or a little bit of both. For example, in the scene with Red picking flowers and deciding to talk to the wolf the woods is light with this false sense of “everything is okay”. The we have when the baker is traveling in the woods himself, the woods is dark and gloomy, yet when he sings “It Takes Two” in the woods with the Bakers wife the woods starts dark, but as the song starts lighten so does the woods.

I love how the woods changes with the mood of the story it creates this intricacy to the story, this almost subtext for the audience to watch and listen to, creating their own story as the one on the screen plays out. It’s almost magical.

Technical Aspects of Into The Woods

  • What Camera Shot’s Are Used? 

One example of the camera shots that is used repeatedly in this film are camera angle and camera distance. The camera angle is almost always directly point at the characters speaking or singing, the viewers never see any angle through the characters eyes, but instead always straight on. This gives for a very storybook, fairytale like quality because we are being blatantly directed by the camera angle as to what to look at For, instance during the song “Giants in the Sky” We get a straight on view of Jack in the tree singing about the giants, he is telling us the story. Secondly, most of the footage is shot at a relatively far distance, we normally get the full picture of what is going on rather than a super close up shot. For example, during the song “Agony” sung by the two princes, most of the song is shot from a far distance so we get the whole picture, the princes, the water fall, and them singing on and dancing on the scenery.

  • What Scene Transitions Are Used?

Many of the scene transitions used in Into The Woods, are done through dissolves, jump cuts, and sound overs. In a jump cut, the scene jumps to the next scene pretty rapidly and abruptly, and usually goes take the viewer from one scene to another. This is seen a lot in Into The Woods. For example, in the opening scene there are many jump cuts from one characters location to another, the bakery, the jack’s house, the woods, the stepsister/Cinderella’s house, etc. Also, many sound overs are used during these transitions. Either a sound will happen that is happening in the scene to come will start, or the character in the next scene will begin singing the song while still in the previous scene as it transitions to their scene.

  • What Kind of Foley Art Was Used?

Marko A. Costanzo was the foley artist on this film, and an example of some of the sounds he created the footsteps in the forest, the sound of the stepmother wiping the knife before she was about to chop of the step sisters feet, or the squish sound when Cinderella pulled her shoe out of the mud. All of these are example of sound effects created by foley art, and there are tons more.

  • What Kind of Costumes, Hair Design, and Make-up Were Used?

The hair, costumes, and make-up was absolutely incredible in this film, so incredible it won multiple awards! Although I really love all the costumes, I really loved the which. Her crazy long mangled grey hair, her ragged dress that can be transformed into this almost cape like costume piece, her old age make-up giving her intense wrinkles, her rotting teeth, and her long mangled dirty hands and finger nails, all come together to create this one beautiful artistic masterpiece of a character.

All of the costume, make-up, and hair elements combined together to create a full character that aids in the transformation of the actor to character by creating a whole picture, as seen with the these elements on the witch.

  • What Special Effects Are Used?

    Into The Woods (2014) official Movie Trailer

    ~ In this trailer you can see the example of Cinderella’s Transformation, and the way The witch runs into a sort of tornado.

  • Two special effects that really stood out to me was when the witch dropped down from the tree and swooped over the baker and his wife in the forest. I loved the way the swoop looked, she didn’t just plop down she gracefully, yet forcefully descended, and there was smoke and a spark of light. This special effect really stood out to mea because it added so much to the moment of the play. The witch became this almost tornado covering the Baker and his wife. I was extremely effective.Secondly, I loved the special effects used in both transformations of Cinderella, and the witch to her pretty state. Both these transformation use the special effects of light, and wind, and CGI to transform their appearance. Also, you can’t forget the special effects used to create the crows, the Giant and his beanstalk,and of course the special effects make-up that made Streep into such an ugly with!!
  • What Kind Of Lighting Was Used?

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Into The Woods (2014)

One scene, that I really paid attention to the lighting of was the scene where the baker, little red, jack, the witch, and Cinderella were arguing about who’s fault it was in the woods. This scene, like all the scenes that take place in the woods, have a really interesting use of lighting. In this scene there is a strong lack of brightness which creates for a very dramatic and eerie effect. There is also, a high contrast of light to help heighten this drama, and the scenes color or hue, is most definitely tinted with shades of blue,and highly saturated colors.

Why Did I Choose Into The Woods?

I chose this film because I am obsessed with the original musical of it. I think the music, and the story itself is so intriguing, and I’m a sucker for fairytales (especially when they are meshed together like this story). Also, I a huge fan of almost all of the actors and actresses that are casted in this film, in particularly, Meryl Streep. She is a huge inspiration to me as an individual, and an artist, and I love to stay connected with all her work. I was extremely excited to see her in the part of the witch and, if I do say so myself, she was absolutely incredible. The cast as a whole just made this movie a huge success, and I was amazed with how well they formed their ensemble.

Comments On a A Supporting Actor, And How They Lent Their Talents

meryl-streep

Meryl Streep takes on the role of the witch in Into The Woods, and although this role is technically considered a supporting role, in my opinion, she really makes the movie. The talent she shows in this role is just absolutely incredible, the way she completely embodies the role of the witch is just amazing. When watching her in the role you completely forget that she is Streep and only can see her as the witch, every movement and line spoken is completely over taken by her commitment to her role. This by no means is the first time that Streep has wholeheartedly and intricately created her role, but I feel like in this role she really goes above and beyond. I, also, just love the contrast she creates between the “ugly witch” and the “pretty which” she uses her talents to complete almost two different.

My Emotional Response of Into The Woods

“Stay With Me” – Meryl Streep, Into The Woods (2014)

Into The Woods evokes so much emotion from me as both spectator, and inspiring artist. While watching this movie I get really tied up with all the stories being intertwined within the story. I begin to really love the characters even the wicked ones. There was numerous times I found myself laughing at comments the baker made, or being mesmerized by the songs of Cinderella, played by Anna Kendrick. One of the most emotional moments for me in this movie was the song Stay With Me, sung by the witch to repunzle. I actually started tearing up during this song, there was just so much passion, talent, and meaning behind the words and the actions, I couldn’t help but getting emotional.

Work Cited

“”Into The Woods” Has Always Been For Adults, Not Children.” BuzzFeed. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/into-the-woods-has-always-been-for-adults-not-children#.rx3M4LRdD>.

“Into the Woods.” IMDb. IMDb.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180411/ Web. 24 Apr. 2015. .

“Into the Woods (film).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_the_Woods_(film)>.

“Marko A. Costanzo.” IMDb. IMDb.com. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0003401/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr118>.

Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/01-introduction-to-film/>.

“2015:Feature Films.” Motion Picture Sound Editors. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://mpse.org/golden-reel-awards/2015feature-films/>.

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A MODERN Depiction of Women

Throughout the Post Modern movement of art, many things are beginning to change. We begin to take steps away from the more conventional art styles seen in previous decades to art styles like deconstruction, environmental art, and street art. It begins to open the doors to a more expressive, non-traditional approach to art, and we begin to see a much wider, and boundary pushing variety of artists and  themes being presented during this movement. This change is easily seen through the way the art within the Post Modern movement depicts women. Women begin to become a central and active focus behind the art of the 20th century, as the rise of Feminism and Feminist art begins to take full stride, the artistic value put on women and all they have to offer becomes more apparent and more popular. Through Post Modern art, women become a symbol of beauty,  sexuality, elegance, strength, power, and creation, all characteristics which begin to not only be seen through the art of this movement, but begin to move through the everyday women living in the 20th century, who eventually evolve into the empowered women we see today.

The Feminine Power of Judy Chicago  SONY DSC

Born July 20th 1939 – Chicago IL to Present

Judy was born Judith Cohen, but after her father and husband died she changed her name to Judy Chicago in hopes to stray away from the convention of male dominating name choices. In 1970, Judy rested the term “Feminist Art” and established the first feminist art program in the U.S. Cohen attended UCLA, where she met her first husband Jerry Gerowitz, and left school to live with him in New York City., returning to Chicago a year later to finish school. After graduating BFA in 1962, her husband died in a car crash, and Judy fell into a major identity crisis. She decided to go back to grad school, where she began developing her own idea of sexuality, and how it influenced her work, beginning to create early works of male and female sexual organs. Between 1963-1969 Cohen created her beginning influential works, Bigamy and Pasadena Lifesavers.  After receiving her graduate degree she started teaching at  Fresno State College, and later moved to yeah at California Institute for the Arts, where she leaded the Feminist Art program. Between 1975 and the early 1990s she wrote her book Womanhouse and create her pieces, The Dinner Party, The Birth Project & PowerPlay, and the Holocaust Project. She married the photographer Donald Woodman, and is currently living in New Mexico. She continues to work on her art, and has broadened her themes and topics, but still focuses on her devotion to Feminist artwork.

Judy Chicago’s Artwork SONY DSC

Birth Garment 2 (1984)

By: Judy Chicago – in collaboration with, Helen Courvoisier,Penny Davidson, and Sally Babson

 Collection of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque

Connection to the Theme

In Judy Chicago’s piece, Birth Garment 2, we get a real sense of womanhood. Just by looking at the piece the viewer is able to see all the elements that attempt to make up the naked womanly form, we are given the bare breasts, with this almost fire looking image coming underneath and between them, and the curved form of a female figure. Birth Garment 2, strips down the female image and depicts a woman in her most natural form , attempting to show what is burning underneath and the beauty and naturalness of it all.

Aesthetic Appreciation 

Personally, I think Birth Garment 2, is an absolutely intriguing piece. There is something so natural about it, with the bareness of the body, and the organic way Chicago depicts the breasts and overall female form. There is also this compelling underlying image of the fire like illustration coming up from within the body that establishes this whole other layer to the piece. Chicago does an immaculate job of really emulating the beauty of women and how, even in their natural state, there is an intense power and elegance to them that can be seen through this work.

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Birth Tear/TearBT ST1Birth Project (1984)

By: Judy Chicago – In collaboration with Pat Rudy-Baese(Macramé)

Collection of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque, NM

Connection to the Theme 

In Judy’s piece, Birth Tear we can immediately see the connection this piece has to women and how strongly it depicts them. Right off of the bat, we see the image of a women giving birth to three children and how interconnected they are. There is this sense of motherhood with the image of the umbilical cord standing out in a bright red color, and connecting to the light pink image of the children, over this shadowy purple glow of the mother. It’s as if they are clasping to her for life, and she is giving them her own. It creates this beautiful sense of strength, dedication, and motherly love.

Aesthetic Appreciation

When looking at Birth Tear, it is really hard for me to actually come up with the right words to describe how it really makes me feel. It completely captivates me when I look at it, and all I can do is keep looking. The contrast of the purple mother, the pink children, and the red umbilical cord simply takes my breath aways. There is this eerie, sad, yet triumphed, and happy feeling that arouses from this combination. Also, the fact that it is set over a black background makes the image even more powerful. It really pushes the message in your face, which kinda leaves you breathless. I really feel that this piece fully captures the strength, love, triumph, and selflessness of not only a mother, but a woman.

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The Crowning-  Needle point #4 (1984)

By: Judy Chicago- In collaboration with, Lynda Healy, and  Fran Lyon Yablonsky

Collection of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque, NM

Connection to the Theme

Like the previous works of Judy Chicago, The Crowning, keeps up her fight for depicting empowered women. In this work we really get this sense of, “bring it on” or “I’m ready for whatever you can throw at me” its this lovely image that depicts the women completely in control, calm, and collected, yet in a situation that could easily be in control of her. This can be seen through the way Chicago places the woman, looking at herself and not only waiting to give birth but almost encouraging it. Also, the way Chicago chose to use pinks, purples, light blues, and light reds, creates a very uplifting mood. Judy Chicago really manages to show the strength and fearlessness of women, as well as, the hope and humor they have with this piece.

Aesthetic Appreciation 

For some odd reason, whenever I look at this piece of artwork it just makes me smile or laugh, a genuine smile/laugh of happiness. When I look at this picture I am just overwhelmed with warmth and happiness due to the warm colors Chicago uses, and the happy mood established with the placement of the woman and the use of flowing lines. Looking at this piece just grabs my attention and holds it. It makes me curious to see what would come next if the painting were to continue to tell it story, how would the woman react? would the colors change? it makes all these questions run through your head and you just keep staring at it to see if any of them will be answered. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful, passionate, and hopeful piece.

The Legacy of Cindy Sherman, and Her Portrayal of Women

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“The work is what it is and hopefully it’s seen as feminist work, or feminist-advised work, but I’m not going to go around espousing theoretical bullshit about feminist stuff.” -Cindy Sherman

January 19, 1954 – Present

Cindy Sherman was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and her family later moved to Hunting, Long Island. She grew up the youngest of 5 siblings. In the early 1970s, despite her parents dissatisfaction with the arts she enrolled at the State University of New York, at Buffalo, where she studied from 1972-1976. Sherman began studying as a painter, but she felt that there were many limitations to painting that irritated her, and she tried photography. The first photography class she took she failed, but shelter repeated the class and sort of found her knack for it.

In 1974, Sherman co-founded Hallwalls Center for Contemporary Art with artists Robert Longo and Charles Clough, which is still thriving today. After she graduated she moved to NYC to pursue her photography. There she began her 3 year-long project, Untitled Film Stills, where she took pictures of herself as different portrayals of women stereotypes. She later created her series, History Portraits and Sex Pictures (receiving the MacArthur Fellowship).In 1977 Sherman her cross to Film where she directed, Office Killer, and starred in Pecker. She recently shot more series of photographs of herself, exploring the “awkward make-up stage”, and had an exhibit in MoMA in 2012.

Cindy Sherman’s Artwork

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Untitled Film Still #3 (1977)

Located in Cindy Sherman’s Exhibit in MoMA

Connection to the Theme

Where to begin with this piece! Untitled Film Still #3 captures so many different fascist of what it is to be a woman. Sherman captures the stereotype of”Housewife” with the clothing and scenery she chooses to place herself in, but she puts a new spin on it. She gives this woman strength. You can see it with the way she positions her arm, how she shows off her muscle, and holds it strong. She uses this arm placement almost as a shield to herself, strong and powerful, yet she doesn’t look away. Her eyes pierce through whatever target she is looking at, almost daring them to approach her… yet it is not harsh it is strong and captivating! Sherman takes these female stereotypes, and turns them on their head portraying what women are really like underneath them.

Aesthetic Appreciation

First off, I absolutely love all of Cindy Sherman’s work. I think it is breathtaking and captivating, but I particularly love this piece. When I look at this piece I see a wall yet an open door. I see the hard stance of the woman trying to protect herself and push things away, yet when you look at her eyes she lures you in as if she wants to bare her soul to you. I just love how it shows both sides of a women, while in these stereotypical conventions. Untitled  Still #3 shows female power, longing, strength, and need all at once, which really blows my mind.

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Untitled Film Still #36 (1979)

Located in Cindy Sherman’s exhibit in MoMA

Connection to the Theme

In Untitled Film Still #36, the woman is depicted in a very intriguing way. Although we don’t see her face or even most of her body in the light there is a strength within the way she holds her body, and the way the light hits her.  If you look at the way she is taking off her top, there is no embarrassment no hesitation, even though the light is shining directly on her, and even though her face is in shadow it seems as though she is smiling. It creates this contrast between what women should be seen as with the light allowing us to see her as a whole silhouette, yet the darkness covers all the intricate details. Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #36 does a beautiful job of portraying female elegance, class, modesty, and even a little seduction.

Aesthetic Appreciation 

Untitled Film Still #36,  is an absolutely beautiful portrayal of how important and unimportant the female body is. Sherman creates this beautiful contrast between what we see and what we don’t see with her light choices. Sherman really creates this image using the light that says, yes the light is on me and my body but the darkness hiding her suggests that it doesn’t have to define her. It’s this incredibly powerful idea and image if you really look at it with an open mind. This image is captivating, intriguing, mysterious, strong and powerful, and it’s just absolutely brilliant.

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Untitled Film Still #13 (1978)

Located in Cindy Sherman’s exhibit in MoMA

Connection to the Theme

Untitled Film Still #13, gives a very unique depiction of the power of women. The way Cindy Sherman portrays this women as both beautiful and intelligent is extremely elegant. The viewer gets to see to different sides of a woman blend together to make on. We see the intellectual side reaching for the book at the top of the shelf, but we also get this fascinating side that is extremely elegant and beautiful. It’s almost as if the stereotypical “beauty queen” is mixed with the “nerdy girl” creating this delicate yet powerful balance.  Sherman’s work pushes for both the intellectual woman and the beautiful woman to be one, which builds this air of power for the female individual.

Aesthetic Appreciation

I really, really love this piece. I think it evokes a lot of thought and emotion from the viewers. It allows them to piece together two seperat halves to make a whole. There is also a really beautiful dynamite the multiple books on the shelves and the individual person.It gives you this sort of feeling of clutter yet space due to the way Sherman is positioned toward the back of the photo. It’s also very beautiful how the girl is looking away from the book-case as she grabs the book from the top shelf, it makes for a very strong image,and the question if the book will fall or if she will hold on to it.  It’s an extremely detailed piece with specific body positioning that creates many different interpretations, making it engage its audience.

Overall, the Post Modern era was filled with many different artistic movements, that not only shaped the art world of the 20th century, but also gave women a voice. It pushed the rise of women in the art world, as both artist, like Judy Chicago and Cindy Sherman, and as the theme of the art itself.

Work Cited

“Body Pixel.” Body Pixel RSS. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://www.body-pixel.com/2010/07/26/judy-chicago-–-when-women-rule-the-world/>.

“Gender – Boundless Open Textbook.” Boundless. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/global-art-since-1950-37/postmodernism-237/gender-842-7699/>.

“Cindy Sherman Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works.” The Art Story. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.theartstory.org/artist-sherman-cindy.htm>.

“Cindy Sherman.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sherman>.

“Judy Chicago.” Bio » About ». Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://www.judychicago.com/about/bio.php>.

“Judy Chicago.” Birth Project Gallery » Gallery ». Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://www.judychicago.com/gallery.php?name=Birth Project Gallery>.

“Judy Chicago: Through the Archives.” Judy Chicago: Through the Archives. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/exhibition/judy-chicago-through-the-archives>.

“Judy Chicago.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Chicago>.

“MoMA | Cindy Sherman.” MoMA | Cindy Sherman. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2012/cindysherman/#/1/>

“Postmodernism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism>.

“The Influence of Feminism in Art.” Art History Unstuffed. Web. 13 Apr. 2015. <http://www.arthistoryunstuffed.com/the-influence-of-feminism-in-art/>.

Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/03-visual-art-4/>.

Web. 14 Apr. 2015.< https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/post-modern-content/>.

Come on Down To Harlem, and See How The African American’s Influenced Early Modern Art: Virtual Exhibit

Apollo Theater After the end of the Civil war many things changed in the artistic world. There were many political growths and developments at this time, one of which could be considered one of the most influential developments pertaining to art in the Early modern Era. This is of course is, The Harlem Renaissance, and the influence the African-American community and culture had on the art of this time period. As more and more African-Americans traveled north to better themselves with economic opportunity the district of Harlem, in New York City began to grow as a focal point of art throughout the 1900s. Through the Harlem Renaissance numerous new plays, novels, artwork, music, and dance styles were being produced, all of which represented the African-American culture and influenced, as well as, effected the other cultures surrounding them. The Harlem Renaissance helped to lay a foundation for the turning point in the artistic culture of the Early Modern Era, by laying down a foundation for the future African-American artists, and all other artists and viewers, to be inspired by the cultural and artistic revolution that the Harlem Renaissance and the African-American people created.

The Influence of African-Americans on Visual Arts

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Aspects of Negro Life: Song of the Towers By Aaron Douglas (1934)

During the Early Modern Era the African-Americans had a huge impact on the visual arts being produced at the time. It was the beginning of the artistic world in which the African-American culture was at the center of the subject matter being portrayed through paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Art began to start to capture the lives of African-Americans focusing on their history and trying to depict their lifestyle. It started to allow African-American artists to become a prominent figure in the art world of the 1900s as well. We see artists such as Aaron Douglas painting murals depicting the African-American culture, history, and place in the society of the early 19th century. My Reaction to the Artwork, and How it is Influenced by the African-American Culture Overall, I think Aspects of Negro Life: Song of the Towers by Douglas is such an inspirational and beautiful piece. The way Douglas captures the essence of the African-American people and culture through the depiction of the saxophone and the feel of the scenery is impeccable. There is this feeling of triumph when looking at the figure throwing his hands up in the air between these two towering rock structures, yet there is also this clashing feeling of insecurity due to the way the men are merely shadows and not detailed figurines. It as is something is missing, and we are not getting the whole story. It is beautifully off-putting. It establishes the want to rejoice, but  question to if that is possible. This painting is obviously incredible influenced by the African-American culture due to many different facts. First off,  Aaron Douglas was of African-American decent so he had a firsthand understanding of the history and culture of his people. He used this understanding to create morals such as, Aspects of Negro Life: Song of the Towers, that spoke about the African-American history and the issues they faced in the society of the 1900s. In this painting, Douglas brings forth the issue of racism with the African-American man standing in the enter, hands up, yet this almost target like shape cascading over him. The influence of the African-American people is impossible not to see in this painting, and it begins to open up a whole new category to the art of the 19th century.

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Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso (1907)

 My Reaction to the Artwork Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso is an extremely interesting piece. It is hard to put a finger on what stands out to me the most because there is so much going on in the painting. I really enjoy the contrast of the sharp lines and edges of the individual aspects of the picture with the overall view of the painting. For instance, even though Picasso uses jagged edges and sharp lines the bodies of the women still look so curvy and smooth. There is this mesmerizing elegance put on the women that is hard to take your eyes of off. It is also extremely interesting to look at how disconnected the faces of the women are from their bodies even though they are connoted. There is this dissonance between them that establishes this sort of barrier between the two, which is very thought-provoking. Picasso had a strong fascination with the artistic African art that he translated into his own art. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was the beginning to this period of fascination he had with the African art. The two figures on the right side of this painting were directly influenced by the African art that inspired him to begin painting in this style, which lasted for several years and became known as Picasso’s “Negro Period” or “Black Period”

Porgy and Bess 

The Harlem Renaissance, and the African-American culture developed many artistic advances with music, such as Jazz and Blues, and aided in the developed subject matter of paintings and sculptures, but they also had a huge effect on musical composers and theatre performances, specifically musical theatre, during the 19th century. In the Early Modern Era, it was very unlikely to have a Musical, Opera, or theatre performance containing African-American actors and singers, especially not as the leading man or lady, but during this period that changed.

The famous American music composer and lyricist, George Gershwin, was so inspired by African-American Jazz and Blues songs, that he went on to adapt  DuBose Heyward‘s novel Porgy into a folk opera, that would premiere in New York City, September 30th, 1935. Porgy and Bess featured an entire cast of classically trained African-Americans, which was an extremely unusual and risky artistic choice at the time. Porgy and Bess became the best known and most frequently done operas of its time.

My Reaction to the Artwork, and How it is Influenced by the African-American Culture

I absolutely love Porgy and Bess. I think it is a classic piece of musical theatre that has heart and soul, and arouses the audiences emotions even today. The song “Summertime” is one of my favorite songs of a Gershwin musical to listen to. It is so beautifully haunting that the tune seems to stay with you forever. The song it is written just so that it creates this beautiful nostalgic feeling that makes you calm, and relaxed, yet alert and ready to begin. It is a movies piece of music and theatre that really changed history, as well as, change the place for African-Americans in the theatre.

Porgy and Bess was incredibly influenced by the African-American culture of the 19th century , and without it, it is possible that this folk opera might not have ever been composed. Like previously stated, George Gershwin was inspired by the Jazz and Blues music created by the African Americans, and this inspiration lead him to compose this opera. Not only did the African culture influence the creation of the piece but it also influenced the storyline and themes of the piece. Porgy and Bess revolves around the trials and tribulations of African American main characters and their stories, which was an ongoing influence on the art of this time period.

Overall, the art of the Early Modern Era was highly influenced by the African-American people and their culture. Without the Harlem Renaissance, and all the contributions made by African American artists during this time period, its safe to say that the art that is so highly recognized and cherished created in the 19th century would be incredibly different.

Works Cited

“Aaron Douglas, Jazz Roots: Art Gallery.” Aaron Douglas, Jazz Roots: Art Gallery. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~asi/musi212/brandi/douglas.html>.

“Aaron Douglas.” Virtual Exhibition. 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <https://art257virtualexhibitionyb.wordpress.com/aaron-douglas/>.

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.biography.com/people/aaron-douglas-39794#later-career>

“Black American Artists – Harlem Renaissance – Artist Value.” Black American Artists – Harlem Renaissance – Artist Value. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.askart.com/AskART/interest/black_american_artists_1.aspx?id=33>.

“Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.” African Influences in Modern Art. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aima/hd_aima.htm>.

“Picasso’s African Period.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso’s_African_Period>.

“Pablo Picasso.” ‘s African-influenced Period. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <http://www.pablopicasso.org/africanperiod.jsp>.

“The Harlem Renaissance – Boundless Open Textbook.” Boundless. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/europe-and-america-1900-1950-36/america-1930-1945-228/the-harlem-renaissance-809-10846/>.

Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/03-visual-art-2/>.

Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/04-music-5/.

A Thumbs up for Impressionism

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The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse)“, 1873–1876, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas

What is Impressionism All About

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“Impression: Sunrise” (1872) by Claude Monet

The Impressionism style began in Paris, France during the last part  of the Romantic era.  This style began the idea of capturing a”fleeting moment or an impression”, which was aroused by the painting by Monet that is seen above. Impression:Sunrise by Monet was hanging in a salon and when one of the critics saw the piece they said it looked “unfinished, and like a mere impression,” thus how the Impressionistic style took off.

Impressionism focuses on the technique the artists used rather than what it was depicting, and was characterized by its loose brush strokes, heavy paint application, and dabs of color that blend together. It’s subject matter focuses on transistor effects of light and weather, the pastimes of the middle/upper class, pleasant subject matter, while straying away from subjects focusing on history,classical antiques, and religion. This style was highly influenced by Japanese prints, which also used bright colors and bold composition. It wasn’t until after the 1890s that Impressionism really started to catch on without getting overly criticized like it did when it first started.

My Reaction to Impressionism

Personally, I find the artistic style of Impressionism absolutely beautiful. The way the colors are not blended on the palette beforehand, but rather on the canvas, and then molded together to capture a specific moment in time is absolutely breathtaking and utterly intriguing. For instance, if you look at The Dance Class by Edgar Degas (located above) you can see this “on canvas blending” technique. If you look at the picture up close it seems very blurry and hard to  put together, but if you step back and look at the picture from a far all of the loose brush strokes seem to blend precisely together, and you are able to see all of the intricate details of the ballerinas dresses, and the way the light reflects on the class through the window. It’s just absolutely stunning! This same thing happens with Impression: Sunrise by Monet when you look far away you are able to see how the strokes blend to create all of the background landscape, like the little islands and the sunset, as well as, how the light is reflecting off of the water. Impressionism is such a beautiful style it is like a puzzle piece that you have to step back and put together, to truly see the moment it is capturing without missing it.

Impressionism Vs. Romanticism

IMPRESSIONISM

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A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884, France) by George-Pierre Seurat

ROMANTICISM 

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The Death of Sardanapalus (La Mort de Sardanapale) by Eugene Delacroix (1827/1844, France)

Although happening in a relatively close range of years both the Romanticism style and Impressionism style are both two very different art forms. For instance, the Romanticism movement was a reaction against Neoclassicism art. Romanticism focused on emotion and feelings by using the subject matter of Mists, fantastic, exotic, world of dreams, fabulous landscapes, tragedies, injustices, and other theatrical subjects. Romanticism painters were seen as creators, that directly reflected God. Impressionism differed from this in many ways, such as, they way it was technically created. Impressionism focused on heavy brush strokes and dabs of color that blended together, when you looked at the whole picture, unlike the Romanticism paintings which were pretty seamless when it came to brush strokes and intricate detail.

Also, the subject matter was very different between the two. Romanticism still used religion to propel its fantastic, subjective paintings, whereas Impressionism moved away from using religion as the focus of art, and instead focused on enjoyable, real life moments of the middle class/upper class, and light and weather.  For instance, we can see these differences between the Impressionist painting ,A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George-Pierre Seurat (one of y favorite paintings of all time), and The Death of Sardanapalus (La Mort de Sardanapale) by Eugene Delacroix. In Seurat’s painting you can see the Impressionism technique of using dabs of color that blend out to create the big picture in the way the park scene is captured, almost as if it is a blurry photograph, whereas Delacroix’s Romanticist painting uses extremely clear strokes that are very smooth, seamlessly connected, and that one could view from up close or far away and see the same image. I think Seurat’s painting is intriguing, and exquisite to look at with all its pastels and simplicity, whereas, Delacroix’s painting is very interesting too look at and beautiful, to me it feels almost too perfect.

Lastly, the subject matter of both these paintings differ greatly due to their style, for example, in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte you can see that it is an Impressionist painting because of how it is depicting a moment of life, specifically that of a pleasant, leisurely moment of the upper class, compared to how The Death of Sardanapalus (La Mort de Sardanapale) reflects the Romanticist style of focusing on a religious (the power of God) subject matter, yet pushes the boundaries to make it subjective and mystical.

Although both the Romanticism movement and the Impressionism movement are both different from one another, they could not live without each other. Without the Romanticism movement it is safe to say Impressionism would not have thrived as intensely as it did, and we would not have some of the most influential and breathtakingly beautiful paintings of the artistic world.

Work Cited

“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sunday_Afternoon_on_the_Island_of_La_Grande_Jatte>.

“Edgar Degas.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Degas>.

Esaak, Shelley. “Romanticism – Romantic Art History(1800-1880) – About.com.” Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://arthistory.about.com/od/renaissancearthistory/a/Romanticism-101.htm>

“French Impressionism.” What Is Impressionism? Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.drloriv.com/Tips/ID/22/What-is-Impressionism>

“Japonisme, Waves from Japan.” Japonisme, Waves from Japan. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://gallery.sjsu.edu/oldworld/asiangate/bridgingtheocean/jap/gogh_ume.html>.

“The Death of Sardanapalus.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_Sardanapalus>.

Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/03-visual-arts-3/>.

Web.22 Mar. 2015.<https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/romantic-era-content/>.

Web.22 Mar. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/05/05/533-impressionistic-painters/>.

“Welcome to Impressionism.org.” Impressionist Art & Paintings, What Is Impressionist Art? Introduction to Impressionism. Web. 22 Mar. 2015. <http://www.impressionism.org>.

Thank the Middle Class for the art of the Classical Era

Where Would The Classical Era Be Without The Middle Class?

The Classical era paved the way for the rise of the economic and social power of the Middle class, and their influence on society and the art within it. During the Classical era there was a huge power shift of who was controlling, and ultimately, paying for and supporting the arts. It no longer was dominated by the power of the aristocrats and the royalty of the time, but instead started to become influenced by the wants and needs of the middle class.

As the idea of Enlightenment began to spread so did the thought of individualism and self-governing, which was taken on strongly by the middle class of the era. The once considered, peasants of the era began to take control of their lives, becoming skilled workers. This not only aided to the Classical era’s economic standing but it also gave the middle class more economic power, and therefore more influence on society and the arts. Due to their new-found increase in income the middle class was able to partake in more leisurely activities that the before could not afford, and began to enjoy the music, art, and theatre of the time period. This provoked the change and focus of art to start to move away from pleasing the higher social class individuals to the middle class, reforming  the content and style of much of the Classical art styles.

The Middle Classes Influence on the Music of the Classical Era

5th Symphony by Ludwig Van Beethoven

One of the greatest influences on art the rise of the middle class had during the classical era, was their impact on the change of music styles, and the “role of the composer”. With the change in social power of the middle class also came the change of the role of the musical composer, which then changed they style of music being created. In the Baroque era composers were looked at as servants of the elite, and were required to only create music that the aristocrats wanted to hear. Although this gave a strong amount of power and accreditation to the title of a musical composer it limited the range of creativity from them, due to their music being so heavily influenced by the rich and powerful.

This completely changed during the Classical era. Music became no longer was limited to only the influence of the socially and economically elite, but started to become appreciated by the middle class. As the musical audience grew so did the range of music, and composers began to create pieces that captivated a larger and broader subject matter. Not only did composers begin catering to the middle classes need to listen to music but they also started to create pieces that were easier to play. The mood of the composed musical pieces changed either gradually or suddenly, with a much more flexible (less complex) rhythm, that made it easily accessible and recognizable to the middle class patrons.

Above you can see, the musical composition The fifth Symphony, by Ludwig Van Beethoven. This piece demonstrates many of the newly influenced composition tools aided by the middle class.  For instance the gradual and sudden shifts of “mood” through the tempo and rhythm of the piece, making it easy to follow along with emotionally.  There are numerous changes of beats and pauses, to allow a middle class audience to take in and catch up to the music. Lastly, although the piece is of high compositional standards it is driven with mood and emotion, an a storyline that can be used in many scenarios, thus allowing the middle class to connect and be interested in the piece itself.

The Middle Classes Influence on Art of the Classical Era

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“L’atelier de Houdon” – Louis Leopold Boilly

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The Arrival of a Mail-coach in the Courtyard of the Messageries by Louis Leopold Boilly

Like Music, visual arts of the Classical era were also heavily influenced by the rise of the middle class. In the beginning of this era visual arts was focusing on the Style of Rococo art, which was highly influenced by the aristocrats of the time. Although Rococo style was beautiful to look at and brought forth curvy lines, pastel colors, and light subject-matter, it also focused on the tastes and reflections of the aristocratic society. This focus leaded it to be rejected by the middle class, causing a transfer of artistic styles to the Neoclassical style of art.

The Neoclassical art style was in high demands, and well supported by the middle class because it reflected moral virtue, self-sacrifice, and heroism, as well as, the middle class denial of aristocratic power. The middle class wanted painting that stood for something, and ultimately represented “the middle class lifestyle”, which the Neoclassical painters attempted to do.

For instance, above you can see two examples of Neoclassical paintings done by the artist Louis Leopold Boilly. In both of these paintings we can see examples of either the depiction of daily life of the middle class, or the rejection of aristocratic power. In  the first painting, “L’atelier de Houdon”, we can see the rejection of aristocratic power by the way Boilly paints the “power figure” sitting down watching all the women paint, yet the women sort of subtly almost refusing to do so. In the second painting,The Arrival of a Mail-coach in the Courtyard of the Messageries, Boilly depicts the life of the everyday sort of middle class chaos. In this he paints multiple different scenes in one painting depicting the intricate lives of the middle class.

Paintings done by  Louis Leopold Boilly and other Neoclassical painters show the influence the middle class had on the art of the Classical Era. They represent the change of demands and wants of the middle class and how the painters of the Era were impacted by their demands, and began creating art around them.

The Middle Classes Influence on Theatre of The Classical Era

The Beggars Opera by John Gay

During the Classical Era, Theatre moved away from being only a form of court entertainment, and a peasant playhouse, and instead became focused on its middle class audience by becoming more political and more realistic. Theatre began to focus on political satire, which was the middle class was extremely fond of and helped to influence.

We start to see theatre play with themes like the triumph of the middle man, and the need for social reform, and the movement away from only using religious material, all of which were provoked by the middle classes new found place, economically and socially within the society of the seventeenth century. Theatre also begins to incorporate the use of popular folk tunes and just changing the lyrics to the attraction of the middle class.

Above is an example of one of the Classical eras greatest developments of theatre’s new genre of Ballad Opera, The Beggar’s Opera, by John Gay. In this new form of theatre we see the combination of music and spoken word to create a comedic opera.  This genre moves away and satires its counterpart Opera Seria, which is an Italian dramatic Opera. In the above scene, of The Beggar’s Opera you can distinctly see impact the middle class has on the overall feel of the atmospheres well as the back and forth of the middle class depicted as having a great time, whereas, the female character that is supposed to be representing the aristocrats is having a terrible time and is sticking her nose up at all the other characters. It is moments and representations like these that we can see the huge impact the middle class played in influencing the themes and characters of theatrical pieces of the classical era.

All in all, without the middle classes influence during the Classical era we might not have had the beautiful, influential, and crucial music, art, and theatre of the Classical period.

Works Cited

“Age of Enlightenment.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment>

“An Analysis of Classical Era Music: Middle Class Economic Growth.” Dlfitzpatrick. 3 Mar. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://dlfitzpatrick.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/an-analysis-of-classical-era-music-middle-class-economic-growth/>.

Estrella, Espie. “The Role of Composers – Baroque and Classical Periods.” Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://musiced.about.com/od/medievalto20thcentury/a/The-Role-Of-Music-And-Composers.htm>

“Louis-Léopold Boilly.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis-Léopold_Boilly>

“The Beggar’s Opera.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beggar’s_Opera>.

“The Classical Period.” The Classical Period. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.u.arizona.edu/~douglast/Pages/The Classical Period.html>

“The Effect of the Middle Class on Art of the 1700s.” Alexs Awesome Art Blog. 19 Oct. 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://alexsherk.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/the-effect-of-the-middle-class-on-art-of-the-1700s/>

“The Growing Economic Power of the Middle Class in the 1700’s-Visual Arts, Music, & Theatre of The Classical Era.” Fishing with Jeff. 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://fishinginakwithjmk.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/the-growing-economic-power-of-the-middle-class-in-the-1700s-visual-arts-music-theatre-of-the-classical-era/>

Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/03-visual-arts-2/>

Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/05-theater-3/>

Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/classical-era-content/>

Royalty, Religion, Science, Hypocrisy and Theatre of the Baroque Era

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                                 Tartuffe by Moliere, presented by Theatre UAF

Theatre of the Baroque Era

The Baroque Era brought forth a new found sense of theatre for not only the European people of the Seventeenth century, but it also helped to shape and drive the theatre that is to be seen decades and decades to come across the world. The theatre produced during this era created not only many structural theatrical changes, but also brought forth new innovations within the technical aspects of the theatre, changing the way theatre was physically and technically created and watched. For instance, because of all the new scientific developments happening during this time, this was when the idea of establishing a permanent location for plays, operas, etc., to take place was created. This establishment of a permanent location for theatre to be performed allowed there to be a stronger focus on set design, and technical elements of theatre. With this focus came the creation of the Proscenium Arch,  high-tech mechanical devices (Flying apparatuses, waves, pop-up devices under the stage,etc.), moving sets, new lighting techniques (footlights, colored lights, Dimmable lights), as well as, painted sets/backdrops, and elaborate costumes.

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Proscenium Arch

Theatre of the Baroque Era took the newly developed technical devices, and mixed them with plays revolving around the “tragedies” (mostly problems of state: marriage/war) of noble characters, or comedies dealing with the trials and tribulations of love. Another main part of Baroque theatre was the idea of Classicism, which deals with the Three Unities, the Unity of time (the play takes place in 24 hours), Unity of place (the setting should not change), and the Unity of action (only one central plot with smaller plots linked to it). When these things are combined successfully,  we have the theatre of the Baroque Era.

Moliere and his play Tartuffe

The Baroque Era brought forth a number of incredible playwrights, such as Pierre Corneille, Miguel de Cervantes, John Dryden, and one of the most influential comedic and dramatic playwrights of the time, Moliere. Moliere is referred to as, “The Father of French Comedy”, and has become on of the nations dramatic icons. Moliere was inspired by the italian craft of Commedia dell’arte, and began his theatrical career as a actor and director, later turning playwright.

Moliere used the influence of the stock characters from Commedia dell’arte, and his views on the stereotypical characters found in social life and politics (lovers, over barring fathers, and controlling husbands) to create his masterful plays, one of his most influential being, Tartuffe. 

Tartuffe by Moliere uses the structure of the Three Unities, but plays against the time periods demand of Neoclassicism. Moliere’s Tartuffe plays with the idea of hypocritical religious beliefs, with his character Tartuffe, and highly intelligent and outspoken servants like his character Dorine. Although Moliere was thought a master of comedy, and Tartuffe was incredibly popular amongst educated audiences, and even secretly among royalty, it caused a huge controversy amongst the churches.

The influence of  Royalty and Religion on Tartuffe

Royalty:

“I await with respect the judgement which your Majesty will deign to pronounce on this matter, but it is very certain, Sire, that I must no longer think of making comedies if the tartuffes have the upper hand; for they will feel authorized thereby to persecute me more than ever and will try to censure the most innocent things that may come from my pen.”

-Molière‎’s Second Petition to the King, 1667

Above you can see a section of Moliere’s Second petition to the King after Tartuffe had been banned from being produced. As you can see, Royalty had a huge influential hold on Tartuffe, and theatre of the Baroque Era in general, so much so that after its first, extremely successful, performance at the gardens of Versailles, it was banned for 5 years by the churches, even though the king supported it.  Just like the hypocritical acts brought up by Moliere’s characters in Tartuffe, there was a huge hypocrisy in King Louis XIV actions. This is so because he actually thoroughly enjoyed Tartuffe, and, like the rest of the court, found it entertaining. King Louis XIV was worried that if he didn’t put a stop to the production immediately before it expanded throughout the french theatres he would risk facing political, religious, and social issues that were to be created due to the religious hypocrisies talked about within the play. Theatre was an important social and political gathering place, during the Baroque Era, for court (royalty) and the socially high ranking, knowing this King Louis XIV gave his support to Moliere and Tartuffe, and in 1669,  Tartuffe was allowed to be performed again.

Religion:

Religion had even a stronger influence on Tartuffe then royalty did. It was because of the religious hypocrisies presented in Tartuffe that the church felt so threatened by Moliere’s work that not only was the play banned from being performed, but the Archbishop threatened to excommunicate anyone who acted in, performed in, or even read the play.

Moliere’s Tartuffe vs. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

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Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night produced by  Shakespeare in the Park 

Although it is quite common to compare the works of  Moliere to the works of William Shakespeare because they both wrote about human life,  and were extremely skilled with their use of word play and verse, there is one main difference when comparing their comedic pieces. This difference is that many of Shakespeare’s comedic works were written to be comedic, they played with story lines and situations to be found easily entertaining, and somewhat of a comedic spectacle, whereas Moliere’s comedies were not only funny and farcical but they also intertwined the use of satire and not only “pokes fun at”, but criticizes society.

For instance, in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night we see the comical plot of this sort of Love triangle, with the twins Sebastian and Viola ( Sebastian lost at sea), Viola dressed as her brother Sebastian (who she names Cesario), in love with Duke Orisino, but Duke Orisino is in love with Countess Olivia who is in love with Cesario (Viola dressed as Sebastian), which turns into one comical mess, only to be happily fixed in the end.

When we compare this plot to the plot of Moliere’s Tartuffe, we see the similarities with the farcical intertwining plots, such as, the cross of the plot of Orgon and Tartuffe with, Tartuffe and Elmire, also connecting to the sub plots of the Lovers (Mariane and Valere) and the relationship of Dorine with Orgon. The combination of these numerous linked plots creates a similar premise as the one formed in Twelfth Night, but instead of ending with just that, there is a heightened sense of satire and critical analysis of society within the humorous lines of the characters. This difference, of course, stems from the difference of time period and type of audience the show is being played to.

In the Northern Renaissance, there was a more leveled playing field for the arts, meaning, that the audiences ranged from groundlings (common people) to the socially elite. This range of audience members made there be less of a focus on intensely thought provoking materially (although there was still a large amount of witty text that only the educated portion of the audience would catch), and focus more on the slapstick and an overall story that the general population(uneducated) could follow. On the other hand, the Baroque Era in France, did not start as excited about theatre as the Northern Renaissance did, and it took a long time of failing playwrights to build up the love for theatre that was already established during the Northern Renaissance. Moliere helped to establish this enjoyment of theatre with Tartuffe. The focus audience of the Baroque Era was, in particular, the aristocrats and many of the actual theaters were built into the homes of royalty, for example, Cardinal Richelou’s Palace Royale. This difference in audience, impacted the theatrical material that was favored, thus why Tartuffe uses the favorited comedic plot structures seen in Twelfth Night but combines them with a heightened sense of critique to the social latter and all that is going on politically, and religiously.

Overall, Tartuffe by Moliere is a piece of theatre, created during the Baroque Era, that is absolutely unforgettable, and still flourishes today. Its’ witty use of language,  Commedia dell’arte style of physical comedy, and it’s intellectually inquisitive manner of challenging social and religious issues makes it a work that never fails to enlighten, provoke, and humor any audience.

Fun Tartuffe EXTRAS!!

Here is a Link to the “Mariane and Valere: The Lovers Scene”  of The University of Alaska Fairbanks, Theatre UAF”s 2014 production of Tartuffe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnRoZ9shoaM

Works Cited 

“Anne Hathaway in ‘Twelfth Night’: What Did the Critics Think?” Anne Hathaway in ‘Twelfth Night’: What Did the Critics Think? Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/06/anne-hathaway-in-twelfth-night-what-did-the-critics-think.html>.

“Elizabethan Playwrights and Authors.” Elizabethan Playwrights and Authors. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-biography-elizabethan-playwright-authors.htm>.

“Issue 82Molière‎ and 17th Century French Theatre.” Molière‎ and 17th Century French Theatre:: Spotlight: E-News from Theatrefolk. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <https://www.theatrefolk.com/spotlights/moliere-and-17th-century-french-theatre>.

“Tartuffe.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartuffe>.

“The Baroque Period – Music Appreciation Web.” The Baroque Period – Music Appreciation Web. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <https://sites.google.com/site/musicappreciationweb/the-baroque-period>.

“The Theatrical Baroque: European Plays, Painting and Poetry, 1575-1725.” The Theatrical Baroque: European Plays, Painting and Poetry, 1575-1725. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://fathom.lib.uchicago.edu/2/10701023/>.

“Theatre in France–1500-1700.” Theatre in France–1500-1700. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.cwu.edu/~robinsos/ppages/resources/Theatre_History/Theahis_8.html>.

“Theatre of France.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_of_France>.

Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2014/04/30/05-theater-in-the-northern-renaisssance/>.

Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/24/05-theater-2/>

The Art of the Northern Renaissance

Throughout the Renaissance there was a need for new developments and the pushing of the boundaries of the visual arts. During this time the science behind oil painting was beginning to be perfected, and it was starting to become the most preferred medium when creating visual art, as wells, the focal point of paintings being focused on humans and themes/symbols that attracted an educated and courtly audience. The Northern Renaissance brought forth many innovative painters, such as, Durer, Bosch, Bruegel, Van Eyck, and many others. Out of all the paintings that were created by these artist there is one that I will always find captivating. ghent Altarpiece

The Ghent Altarpiece( Adoration of the Mystic Lamb/The Lamb of God, wings open) By Van Eyck

ABOUT THE GHENT ALTARPIECE

The Ghent Altarpiece was created by Van Eyck, and is a panel painting using 20 panels. Some of the panels are hinged shutters that allow two different painted stories to view based on whether you are viewing the panels when they are opened or when they are closed. The individual panel paintings were completed by Jan Van Eyck between 1430-1432 for the parochial church of John the Baptist (today Saint Bavo Cathedral), although it is said that his brother, Hubert Van Eyck, was the mastermind behind the overall design of the panel design. The Ghent Altarpiece is Van Eyck’s most famous and controversial work. ghentcls

The Ghent Altarpiece( view when wings are closed) By Van Eyck

outer wing

The Ghent Altarpiece( Outer wings; Adam left, Eve right) By Van Eyck

white-red

The Ghent Altarpiece( Lower central panel ) By Van Eyck

worshippers

The Ghent Altarpiece( Lower central panel) By Van Eyck

THE INFLUENCE OF HUMANISM AND THE REFORMATION

The Influence of Humanism:

Although it is obvious that The Ghent Altarpiece, in no way, is rejecting religion or the belief in God, like Humanism caused, you can still see aspects of Humanism influencing the piece. For instance, the beautiful way Van Eyck captures the humans in his paintings has a real depth and detail to them. If we look at the panels of Adam and Eve we can see how severely realistic they are. They aren’t given this “god-like” depiction like seen in any other religious drawings, but instead, are given a completely realistic version. If you look closely at these paintings you can see the intricate detail Eyck has worked into their face and body, the bags under their eyes, the definition of their collarbone, and the realism of their skin. Even though this piece is dealing with religious matter it is almost more so focusing on a humans need for religion, like the Greeks need to please their Gods. Also, The Ghent Altarpiece takes on a much more of an educated route.  Van Eyck also pays close attention to earthly items in his paintings, like a persons clothes, their jewelry , and the nature/landscape surrounding them. There are many symbols throughout this piece, like the fact it holds multiple points of view based on the ways the panels are set up,and how a viewer has to piece the story together and interpret it for themselves.

The Influence of The Reformation:

Although The Reformation did not directly influence the creation of this piece, it greatly influenced what happened to it afterwards. For instance, as The Reformation began to come into full control and iconoclasm, or the opposition of religious icons in art and culture, became more prominent it started to effect art pieces like The Ghent Altarpiece. Such outbreaks of iconoclasm caused many of the panels of this piece to come very close to total destruction. Not only were the panels almost completely destroyed, but they were also the cause of a huge back and forth stealing battle.  There are many theories that have been developed dealing with whether the church was involved with this battle or it was just a who wanted it most deal. The masterful work of Van Eyck captivated everyone who saw it and it caused strong need to obtain it by other countries and other people. Even today it captivates everyone who sees it, due to its intricacy and use of metaphorical themes and symbols. Overall, The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck is a piece of artwork of the Northern Renaissance that changed not only it’s time, but the future of art to come. Its exquisite detail and use of different view points, and human depiction creates a piece of work that was extremely ahead of its time. It was able to undergo the trials and tribulations of The Reformation, still coming out strong, and still being a widely important piece of visual art even today.

Work Cited:

Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/humanism

“Eyck, Jan Van.” WebMuseum:. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/eyck/

“Ghent Altarpiece.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent_Altarpiece

“Iconoclasm.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iconoclasm

“The Ghent Altarpiece: The Truth about the Most Stolen Artwork of All Time.” Theguardian. Guardian News and Media, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 1 Jan. 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/dec/20/ghent-altarpiece-most-stolen-artwork-of-all-time

Web. 12 Feb. 2015. https://art-mus-thr200.community.uaf.edu/2009/04/30/02-influences-on-the-northern-renaissance/

Hello Lovelies

Well, hello everyone! How’s your day? I hope its going great! Let me begin to tell you a little bit about myself. Well, for starters, my names Katrina but I like to be called Trina. I moved here from a small town in Connecticut because my husband is stationed here with the Air force. It’s been an adventure so far, and this is my second winter here. I am a theatre nerd, and am currently a Junior theatre Performance student a the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I’ve been in a couple of their MainStage productions like Nickel and Dimed, Tartuffe, An Inspector Calls, and I am currently beginning to work on this years spring production of Ashgirl ( Which I am super excited about) ! I live in North Pole, and have two cute little puppies and a small apartment thats home away from home. I’m a netflixaholic and the occasional bookworm. I live off of caffeine and hard work, I’m extremely excited to begin this journey with you all over the next few weeks, and am ready to dive on in!
Art has been apart of my life since I was a baby. I grew up singing and dancing, finally landing my way in many a voice lesson, dance lessons, guitar lessons, and musical and theatre production. I did children’s theatre growing up, and later attended a performing arts high school in Hartford, CT where, for my first three years, I studied Musical Theatre and then finally found my true passion of straight theatre my senior year.
Theatre, and all art in general, is so much apart of my life that I really can’t remember a time I wasn’t involved in it in some way. I love going to art museums, music concerts, theatre productions. I’ve seen both Wicked and Peter and the Star catchers on broadway and too many to count of other professional theatre productions. I’ve gone from playing in children’s roles when I was a child to taking on many intricate, and personal theatre roles as an adult, to simply learning about art history and other informative artistic classes. I live and breathe for the art world, and couldn’t live a day without it present in my life. As the great William Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage.”

~ Trina