Art For Pete’s Sake — Part One

Several years ago I set out to read the classics, and I’ve since accomplished my goal. Then I decided to watch the great movies, and I’ve pretty much finished that list. So what’s next?

What about works of art? I could find a list that was compiled by somebody in the know and work my way through the paintings and sculptures, studying the background of the artists and the periods, reading up on what makes them great, considering the works on my own and writing down my reflections.

I found a list. It was compiled by a man with a PhD in art who has served as a curator at a major art museum and edited a major art magazine. There were 111 works on the list, organized chronologically.

Fantastic. Not too many. If I take one work of art a week, I could finish the list in just over two years. I decided to start with the earliest work, a small figurine known as the Venus of Willendorf.

OK, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. At least not where my blog is concerned. This particular work is a small limestone sculpture that could fit in the palm of my hand. It’s a woman, unclothed except for what appears to be a beaded hat. She’s decidedly rotund. The web site that discussed the sculpture went on for several pages, pointing out the various features, attempting to identify and date the culture from which it came, analyzing the degree to which it reflected the role of women in that culture and how accurately it depicted the way women of that time looked. Did an actual woman serve as the model? Was it a representation of the “mother goddess”? And so on and on. And then after all of that, there was this sentence (and I quote): “If we … assume an objective response to what we see, she might be identified as simply a Stone-Age doll for a child.”

And that pretty much sums up my thoughts on art in general.

But enough for today. More on this subject tomorrow.

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1 Response to Art For Pete’s Sake — Part One

  1. james says:

    As someone who endured Art History classes on my way to a degree in Fine Art, the key phrase to remember is “Your guess is as good as mine.”

    I like to think some Fred Flintstone type just grabbed a rock, whacked it with a hammer a few times and gave it to his kid to quiet her down.

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