Representationalism, Abstraction, and Non- Representationalism
Here I am again, flipping back and forth thru our book. I am still amazed to find pictures I have never noticed before. On page 422 there is a remarkable mural by Jose Clemente Orozco called “Gods of the Modern World”. At first glance, I noticed these skeletons and in my mind assumed this picture possibly has to do with Dia de los Muertos. It only took a second to realize how completely wrong that thought was. My thought process, as I inspected this picture, was very comical actually. In my head, I was thinking, “Holy Cow! That skeleton is giving birth…to a skeleton!” The strangeness was intriguing! The other skeletons viewing this event are all dressed in academic robes (cap and gown). The skeleton giving birth is lying across stacks of books. Everything about this picture is bizarre to me. It’s not difficult to realize this is abstract. Just by looking at this picture, I’m baffled as to what Orozco was trying to portray. I analyzed the possible meaning for quite a while before I gave in and read the description. The book explains that, “this painting is a warning against the academic who is completely occupied with sterile research or learning that has no value outside of academia” (p 423). I knew something about this abstract painting captivated me, but the message intended by the artist makes this strange skeleton mural even more alluring. As a student, I think I just might have to keep a copy of this painting and its meaning with me until the day I graduate.
Unlike Orozco’s “Gods of the Modern World” that is abstract with symbolic meaning, Rembrandt Van Rijn’s “Self-Portrait” on page 341 is representational. He painted himself as he saw himself. I think it takes a great amount of emotional strength to do a self-portrait. We are our own worst critic. No one sees our flaws as clearly as we do. I admire Rembrandt for including the bags under his eyes, the wrinkles on his...
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