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Art Appreciation Thread

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This may be a morbid way to start the thread off, but I found this not-quite-anatomically-correct statue of Death to be pretty haunting.

It is on display at the Louvre:


I won't veto the inclusion of postmodern art in this thread. Hell, if you can make me appreciate that genre, then more power to you.

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Zāl and the Simurgh.


In Iranian folklore, Zāl is a hero most notable for being Rostam's father, but he was also a hero in his own right.  Zāl was raised by the Simurgh, a magical bird.


I can see the Simurgh; it's kinda hard to miss, but I have no idea which one of the dudes is supposed to be Zāl.  Zāl is supposed to be an albino, so he shouldn't be hard to pick out.

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Here's something that's always bothered me. You hear about how in the Middle Ages, art was in the doldrums. Artwork was flat, stale, and they didn't even know how to proportion shit properly! Everyone looks like a dead fish with weird expressions on their face, and how stupid do you have to be to not understand perspective! I mean, jesus!

This argument comes in a time when cubism, impressionism, modernism and oh dear lord postmodernism were invented and perfected to ever-more-baffling degrees of navel-gazing retardation. Make no mistake, I'm not apologizing for the decidedly uninspiring and silly-looking artwork from the Middle Ages. It does look like all those things above, but somehow we as a society manage to apologize for Picasso, or Michelangelo's tiny-dicked David, all the while pretending that the Medievals simply must have been too stupid to know how to draw someone properly. Hey, genius! Maybe they didn't want to!

I don't know that for sure. Maybe they did lose a degree of learning that later generations re-learned. But certainly in the High Middle Ages, you can't say there weren't learned people.

There are other arguments for the "Style Theory". One, Medieval art tends to look similar within its respective periods. Early Middle Ages art has that sort of bold, simplified Norman/Bayeux style that has no respect for perspective and scale. If it were simply that the Medievals were bad at art, wouldn't we see a bunch of different kinds of bad art (like we see in pomo lol), and not what appears to be a clear style that everyone is copying? Second, realistic art existed in Classical antiquity, so in the very early Migration period, obviously they would have known about it, and in the High Middle Ages they would have, too. Logically, they probably knew about it in the roughly 500 years in between those two, as well. Third, drawing and painting realistically doesn't take special technology or even particularly special technique. Speaking as someone with a modest background in fine arts, painting realistically is mostly something one acquires through practice - and not even that much practice. This has been repeated over and over: The apocryphal (and probably misattributed) line of Michelangelo's "you just chip away everything that isn't David" comes into play (which, besides being something ol' Mikey probably didn't say, is excellent art advice) comes into play, and often one of the first things art students are taught is to turn off their brain when drawing - to draw abstract shapes so their software can't get in the way and turn it into a comical mess.

Basically, it's a really, really, simple principle, and it's one that's so easy to learn that I did so by accident as a five year old who was frustrated with drawing. You're telling me that of all the art made in the Middle Ages that still survives, NOBODY at the time figured this out?


I don't know if any serious art history academic actually argues that in the Middle Ages art had simply not "advanced" to where it would be in the Renaissance, but it's something I see commonly argued on The Internet. Somehow, there's a cognitive dissonance there where they managed to bitch about how stupid the Medievals were, all the while probably also bitching about how head-up-ass pomo artists are these days.

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Depictions of the human form were not really a big part of Migration Period peoples art forms and what they did create tended to be pretty crude. Sculpture did regress quite a bit from classical antiquity but If you look frescos, the images of people tend to resemble the same flat images the continued on through the middle ages. On the other looking at  jewelry, gold work, and other such "tangible" items, you'll find really stunning works. 

It really wasn't until the very early Renaissance that we start seeing "real" looking people.  


Picture of Winged Victory I took at the Louvre. 


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A painting of Liza Minnelli in the nude sold at a Christie's Auction for $175 million dollars.




What? That isn't Liza Minnelli? You mean this is a 100 year old painting by Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani for a Paris art exhibit in 1917? 




That means the only logical explanation is that Liza Minnelli is confirmed as being a nude time traveller!

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