Tuesday, July 24, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #7

Abraham Lincoln Memorial - of all the presidents, he seems to be one of the most interesting. I love looking at his face - craggy with deep set eyes, prominent cheek bones and a strong jaw. His physical presence is reflected so beautifully in Daniel Chester French's sculpture of him. A couple of summers ago I was in Massachusetts and got to visit the studio of the sculptor. This photo shows part of the artist's work space. One interesting feature of his studio was a short railroad track that ran up to the big double doors he had installed. By having his sculpture on a rail cart, he could roll it out onto the tract to see it in natural light. Sculpture is a dynamic art form - viewed from all angles as well as being greatly influenced by its light source. What else can you find out about this monument?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #6

This painting is titled "A Visit From the Old Mistress" by Winslow Homer, painted in 1876. My art question for this post is to find out about Winslow Homer...he is one of the great American painters. I visited the Women's Museum in Dallas last week, wandered into the gift shop (one of my FAVORITE parts of museums!) and found several books on women's involvement during the Civil War. We tend to think of it as involving primarily the men, but aux contrair! This little gem of a book (yes, "little") is from a series entitled Women Who Dare and is about the Women of the Civil War. With brief accounts and photographs of some of the women who supported their husbands, sons and brothers during the conflict, I think you will find it really interesting! Google women + civil war and see who you find!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

07/08 Academic Decathlon Art Selection #5

This is the Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1900, a patinated plaster work of art, through the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. This really goes along with the book I've been Reading "Rebel Private: Front and Rear" by William A. Fletcher. It is one of the few authentic memoirs of a Confederate Soldier. The book has been quite interesting - his language is stiff and formal and seems to be missing a lot of the English conventions such as prepositions and punctuation at appropriate places! I still have not quite gotten used to it, though there is enough language to understand the gist of what he went through. Oh my gosh - what hardships the soldiers, both Rebel and Union, went through. Plundering whatever surrounding area they found themselves in for rations, usable horses and miscellaneous supplies. Anyone else's needs were not important in their eyes, and I just have a hard time imagining people of our own land busting in and taking all of my valuables and resources for basic survival. He was wounded several times, recouperated and then hustled back to the front line of the conflict. Not a long book, though NOT an easy read, you may borrow it if you like. It's an interesting bird's eye view of the civil war.
Back to the Shaw Monument - let me know what you can find out about it! The gold patina over the plaster is a cost efficient way to make a fancy looking monument. What do you think?