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Probably Picasso&apos;s most famous work, Guernica is certainly the his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi&apos;s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War. Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world&apos;s attention. This work is seen as an amalgmation of pastoral and epic styles. The discarding of clor intensifis the drama, producing a reportage quality as in a photographic record. Guernica is blue, black and white, 3.5 metre (11 ft) tall and 7.8 metre (25.6 ft) wide, a mural-size canvas painted in oil. This painting can be seen in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Interpretations of Guernica vary widely and contradict one another. This extends, for example, to the mural&apos;s two dominant elements: the bull and the horse. Art historian Patricia Failing said, &quot;The bull and the horse are important characters in Spanish culture. Picasso himself certainly used these characters to play many different roles over time. This has made the task of interpreting the specific meaning of the bull and the horse very tough. Their relationship is a kind of ballet that was conceived in a variety of ways throughout Picasso&apos;s career.&quot; Some critics warn against trusting the polital message in Guernica. For instance the rampaging bull, a major motif of destruction here, has previouse figured, whether as a bull or Minotaur, as Picasso&apos; ego. However, in this instance the bull probably represents the onslaught of Fascism. Picasso said it meant brutality and darkness, presumably reminiscent of his prophetic. He also stated that the horse represented the people of Guernica.
The Glory of the Ruler
Artistic devices used to glorify a ruler’s
image are idealization, symbols, and
Divine rulers and royalty
Objects of royalty and prestige
Contemporary political leaders
n what ways can art be used in the service of the state and rulers?
Menkaure and his
Idealized—young, strong &
Compact pose suggest
permanence befitting the
pharaoh as a divinity and a
descendant of the Sun God, Re.
Justinian, Bishop Maximianus and attendants
north wall apse mosaic, San Vitale
Emperor Justinian and His Attendants, Church or San Vitale,
Ravenna, Italy, c.547. mosaic on north wall of the apse.
Empress Theodora and Her Attendants, Church or San Vitale,
Ravenna, Italy, c.547. mosaic on south wall of the
Crowned Head of an Oni. Zinc, brass. Nigeria, 12-15th
royal portrait—note facial scarification and neck rings)
Jayavarman VII, Cambodia, Angkor region, 12-13th
conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism spread that religion in the area)
Contemporary Political Leaders
Images no longer works of art, but
newspaper or television images
Propaganda glorifies rule
Triumph of the Will
Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003)
Triumph of the Will, 1934
propaganda film for the
Nazi party—friend of
Her propaganda value may
repel but histories cite
the aesthetics as
1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg
The Power of the State
Palaces and palace sculpture
Seats of government and architectural
Monuments and monumental sculpture
How does politics influence the design of architecture?
Palaces and Palace Structures
Importance of height
Art featured prominently to add symbolic content
Royal Audience Hall
Lamassu, Khorsabad, Iraq, 720 BCE Limestone, 14’
Assyrians dominated the Near East for over 300 years
Persepolis, capitol of ancient Persia (Iran), founded over 2500 years
ago by the first kings of the Persian empire.
Palace at Palenque. Maya. Chiapas, Mexico, 514–784.
Center for religious rites, facilities fro astronomical studies and an
Imperial Throne Room, in Hall of
Supreme Harmony. Forbidden
Emperor’s rule as Son
of Heaven, father of
the people and the one
who maintained Heaven
Versailles, France—sign of power and an instrument for maintaining that power.
Built by King Louis XIV—the Sun King (Apollo)—moved his court from Paris to
Versailles in 1682 in order to better control them.
OLOWE OF ISE. Palace Sculpture. Yoruba. Ikere, Nigeria, 1910–1914.
Seats of Government: England’s Houses of Parliament, 1836—Gothic revival
U.S. Capitol, 1793
the Rotunda was intended to recall the Pantheon,
the ancient Roman temple.
Monuments—Arch of Titus, Rome, c.81; Grand Army Plaza, Bklyn.; Washington
Square Park, NYC
Stanford White, dedicated in 1895 the centennial
of George Washington’s inauguration in NYC
John Duncan, Soldier’s and
Sailors Arch (recalls Arc de
Triomphe) 1889 (bronze statues
Art in the service of war and reflecting
attitudes toward war
Art depicting warriors
Fortifications, armor, and weapons
War scenes and 19th century battle scenes
Twentieth century images of war
Tula Warrior Columns. 16’ to 20' high.
Toltec. Mexico, 900–1000.
They once “supported” the temple roof.
The warriors’ attire is functional and
aesthetic to increase their power and
Stylized butterflies—symbolize souls of past
Verrocchio’s Equestrian Monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni, c.1483
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, Roman
Begun 206 BCE, Qin Dyn., 1,500 miles “a wonder of the world”
Palette of King Narmer, Egypt, c. 3000 BCE. Slate, 25” high. c. Jurgen
Burning of the Sanjo Palace. From the Heiji Monogatari. Hand scroll (detail), ink and
color on paper; 161/4" high, 22'9" long. Japan, Kamakura period, late thirteenth
century. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Shows the disorder of warfare—contrasts heighten the chaos—jumbled shapes
vs. clean lines of palace
Matthew Brady, Dead Confederate Soldier with Gun, 1865—staged scene
U.S. Civil War—note the parellels of body and guns and the horizontal tree in
Battleship Potemkin is an important film
because, even though it was made a long time
ago, it is such a strong modernist statement. I
expect that when people think of silent films
they imagine slapstick comedy or something
boring with no dialogue. But Battleship
Potemkin is a very exciting, very moving film
and it looks beautifully fresh. I've always felt that
silent films are pure cinema and that, in many
ways, adding words is cheating. Film at its
purest is putting images together to tell a story,
which is why it's not television or theatre. And
Battleship Potemkin is a groundbreaking
example of that.
"The Battleship Potemkin" af Sergei
By now, the editing style of Sergei
Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin is the
textbook example of montage, and
deservedly so. Eisenstein more or less
invented the use of quick cuts of several
pieces of ongoing action, reaction shots,
and close-ups, all spliced together to tell
one complete story.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals,
particularly innocent civilians. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in
a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour helped bring the Spanish
Civil War to the world's attention.
Picasso, Guernica, Spain, 1937 Bull—onslaught of Fascism
Horse—people of Guernica
In 1981, at age 21, Maya Lin won
a public design competition for
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
beating out 1,441 submissions. A
black cut-stone masonry wall,
with the names of 58,261 names.
The wall is granite and V-shaped,
with one side pointing to the
Lincoln Memorial and the other
to Washington Monument.
Ross Perot called her an “egg
roll” after it was revealed that she
This picture is the most
famous of all picture taken
from the Vietnam War. The
girl running in the middle is
named Kim Phuc, at the time
9 years old. The American
planes dropped napalm on
the town, and it hit the girl,
burning her flesh.
By most accounts, the
Tet Offensive of 1968
was the beginning of the
end of America’s
positive outlook on
Vietnam, not because
American soldiers were
defeated, but because
of the way the Tet was
portrayed by the press.
Eddie Adams, General
Loan shooting a young
Nick Ut, June 8, 1972,
Children running from
burning napalm droped by
S. Vietnamese fighter plan
Ut photo helped push
the Vietnam War into
the realm of the
disasters of all time.
Art about peace
Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks
Peace offerings and peace monuments
Believed to have belonged to the last Aztec ruler
Presentation Pipe Tomahawk
Ara Pacis Augustae
Ara Pacis Augustae,. Rome, 13-9 BCE. Marble; outerwall, 34’5” X 38’ X 23’.
Why do governments and rulers support or
suppress art and architecture project?
What other institutions have the significant
resources to commission large-scale works of art?
What are some contemporary examples of art that
promotes the power of the government?
Is all art that is government funded intended to be
used as a propaganda tool? Do you think artists
involved in creating state-sponsored art think they
are creating propaganda?
In what ways can art be used in the service of
the state and rulers?
What kinds of art/architecture have been so
Why have the designers of objects of war
included aesthetic considerations?
How has war influenced the form/function of
How has art documented both war and
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