Art From Around The Globe

This past trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art went better than I expected. Something happened that I wasn’t sure would happen; I was interested.

We began our journey into the African Art exhibit. It was amazing abstract art in the exhibit. Apparently African art was unknown to many artists until an exhibit was showcased in the early 1900’s. Then the interest in African Art exploded. In African Art, people aren’t always people. Sometimes they are spoon-like figures. Sometimes they are deformed. Sometimes they are creepy. In my opinion, the creepy ones were the best. Now after the exhibit in the early 1900’s, African abstract art began to influence more modern artists like the famous Pablo Picasso.

I had two favorite pieces from the African exhibit. The first was this piece.

Unidentified Fang artist (Betsi group); Lower Ogooué River Valley, Gabon, Sculptural Element from a Reliquary Ensemble: Head, before 1915, Wood, brass, resin, oil, H. 27 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950 (1950-134-202), © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Honestly, it’s pretty scary and I like it. The wide jaw and hairline lead me to believe that it is of a man. Now onto the creepy parts. The eyes are big, glossy, and black. They give off a sense of being spaced out. I am not exactly sure. The forehead is large but the part that stands out the most is the jaw. The teeth are thin, long, and spaced out. The lips are pursed, almost as to kiss someone/something. Then the neck is thin and long, disproportionate to the rest of the head. And that’s another thing, the piece is just a head. Maybe the eyes have the spaced out look because the person is dead. Maybe there are no pupils because then it would look too alive. It is very interesting and like I said before, it freaks me out; which is awesome.

The second piece that I found interesting and creepy was this one.

This one is called the Maiden Mask. I would assume from the word ‘maiden,’ it is a woman’s mask. Supposedly, these masks were used in some kind of African performances. Which would lead me to believe that people would put this on their faces, which is obvious because of the word ‘mask.’ It is a cool piece, and the elongated face, small beady eyes, sharp teeth, and big mask freak me out. I like this one the best.

After the African exhibit, we visited the Matisse—In Search of True Painting. Matisse also had abstract tendencies, but they did not seem to have African influence. However, if we say that all ‘modern’ art can trace it’s roots to African Art, then maybe Matisse was influenced by the Africans.

Matisse had painted doubles and triples of most of his work. He seemed to be in search of the painter that he was. He was just conflicted. He used different styles, colors, and techniques to create different works of art from the same subject. He did a triplet of Notre Dame. They were all similar, but all different. Here is one of the triplets.

During his later life, Matisse delved into more and more attempts at the same work. He went from doubles and triples to painting the same subject around 15 times. So I guess instead of finding himself as an artist, Matisse got more lost in himself. Either that, or his ‘true’ painting was his love to see the same work differently. He was a confusing man.


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One Response to Art From Around The Globe

  1. Professor Bernstein says:

    I like your comment that perhaps Matisse, at the end of his career, loved to see each work differently. No longer pairs and triplets but instead a series of works.

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