Essay On Visit To Museum Of Art

Essays on museum of art

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Essays on museum of art

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My Trip into Art

Peter Hall

On my journey, I traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum. The museum was huge

and spacious. Most of the floor plan was dedicated to a luxurious walkway, with a

water fountain for people to throw in coins. Also, there were a multitude of cafes, and

vendors on the site.

The museum had many exhibits ranging from Modern to African, Greek and Roman,

European, Egyptian and Persian. I saw all of the exhibits, but my favorite was the

European, especially art from the Renaissance and Classical eras. The detail, intricacy,

and realism, despite the works often depicting fantastical and surreal events, rival

anything today's artists may come up with.

It is my opinion that many of today's artists are being unduly and even inappropriately

lauded. Many of their works are just splashes, globs, and strokes on a canvas that a

preschooler could do. Although some modern pieces are extremely impressive,

especially the ones that capitalize on visual illusions and get people to think about

how they perceive reality.

I walked slowly around the museum, carefully examining the various works of each

and every exhibit. By doing this I selected four works of art that I thought were

exceptional. That does not mean that I necessarily liked the art because a few of the

pieces were not in my taste, but despite this I recognized that these artists struggled

and took great pains to make their visions a reality.

One of the weirdest and most disturbing works that I have ever seen was done by

Victor Brauner, who was born in 1903 and died in 1966. His work was titled "Suicide at

Dawn," and from far away it looks as if a man is engaging in a homosexual act with

The Devil. However, up close it becomes even more sickening. The man is as the title

explains, committing suicide. He is ripping himself out of his own skin through his

stomach. I don't have any idea what it could mean, so I will not attempt to interpret it.

Another weird but not as unpleasant piece was done by Pablo Picasso. His piece was

titled "Minotauromachy." This work was done as a pencil sketch, and it is a surreal

world depicting a little girl and a Minotaur. The little girl is not scared of the beast, but

appears to be talking to the creature.

One of my favorite pieces was done by Johann Heinrich Fussli. He was born February

7, 1741 and died April 16, 1825. His painting was inspired by Book Two of Paradise

Lost, written by John Milton. The work is titled "Satan and Death with Sin Intervening."

It depicts Satan and Death fighting with each other, while Sin is trying to push them

apart.

The last is a sculpture that was done by John Graham Lough, who was born in 1789

and died in 1876. The sculpture is inspired from MacBeth Act II Scene IV. It depicts a

stable of horses fighting each other in a savage frenzy. It is supposed to foreshadow

the murder of Duncan, King of Scotland.

For the second half of the assignment I visited the online site for El Museo del Prado,

one of the worlds most famous art galleries. El Prado is located in Madrid, the capital

city of Spain. It was established in 1819, and houses the largest collection of

European art ranging from the 12th century to the 19th century.

This is not to say that the digital images of art works online are not beautiful. El

Prado's online site has many beautiful images of their most famous artists' works.

Because El Prado is in Spain, and focuses primarily on European art from Medieval

times to the 19th century, many of the paintings and sculptures showcased are of a

very religious content. One of the artists that I have focused on is called "El Greco" he

was born in 1541 and died in 1614.

One of his most famous pieces is christened "Cristo con la Cruz," "Christ with the

Cross." It shows Jesus with the crown of thorns on his head walking with the cross,

about to be crucified. What is remarkable about this piece is that Christ does not

appear to be experiencing pain and fatigue as he must have surely been before his

crucifixion. He was tortured and mocked by the guards, hours before he was crucified.

He is also smiling and looking up to Heaven, evidently communing with "God the

Father."

The second artist that I am interested in is named Brueghel The Elder. He was born

in1525 and died 1569. A very pessimistic man, most of his paintings focus on the

subject of death and suffering. The one that I will discuss is called "El Triunfo de la

Muerte," "The Triumph of Death."

It was common for people to die early in life, the oldest age many people achieved

was around 50. So we can't blame him for focusing so much on such a somber subject.

This painting shows Death riding through town on an emaciated horse. The town is

littered with dead bodies and refuse, the living are fleeing death, many of them are

taking cover under coffin lids.

After visiting The LA County Art Museum and going onto El Prado's online site, I have

concluded that between actually visiting a museum, and going to an internet site,

there can be no contest. Looking at something on a computer is completely different

from actually looking at it with your own eyes, being able to touch it with your own

fingers. (Although museums and art galleries do not want you touching anything in

their exhibits, unless you are going to buy it. However it is a good probability that a

museum will generally not let you buy any of its pieces.)

Both have their advantages, if you are planning to go to a museum, then you should

probably do a little research first by going online and identifying what exhibits the

museum has, whether or not it will be doing promotional offers on the day of your

visit, if the museum has a special guest speaker. By doing this you will ensure that

your trip will not only be educational, but also fun. However, going online is no

substitute for actually being there, and experiencing first hand everything that your

senses and your heart can tell you.

I believe that museums are both a place to store valuable artifacts, and that they are

a place to have a positive experience. However I also believe that many of the

artifacts in a museum would lose their value if they were removed. Most people don't

have the money or the desire to own such artifacts, and some of the artifacts in

museums are little more than junk. Modern artists have a tendency to use pieces of

junk in their works, as I learned when I went to the LA Museum. One such modern art

piece even had a piece of a credit card as part of its art, among various other bits and

pieces of rubbish. Many great sculptures that were chiseled long ago have been

reduced to rubble. Sometimes, the damage is so severe that the sculpture cannot be

restored.

Another interesting fact about museums is that they often hide their most valuable,

and interesting objects in the back. Sometimes, these objects are pored over, and

studied; however most of the time these objects that have the ability to transport us

to another place and time just collect dust.

In response to the quote "Museums preserve, collect, and educate the public and

convey standards about art's value and quality-but whose standards and how?" I

believe that museums collect pieces of history, and attempt to take each individual

who crosses their thresholds on a trip through time.

Unfortunately, we can never actually experience what life was like for people who lived

ages ago. Even worse we tend to focus on the lives of people who were rich and

important members of society in their time, we really don't care about the lives of the

poor. Many museums, especially the very first ones reflected the artistic standards of

the rich, especially those who were white and male. Now there are museums for

everything and everyone. These museums are dedicated to those who have

established them, often the people who established these museums belong to a sub

culture that is going against the mainstream.

Museums have long been places where only the wealthy and influential could go. Many

museums, until a few decades ago prominently featured exhibits about European art.

They also had ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman exhibits, but they did not have any

art from minority groups, they weren't representing everybody. As a result newer

museums emerged which catered to minority groups, or even to individuals. In order

to stay in business, older museums broadened their collections, and tried to tailor fit

their exhibitions to as many people as possible. The more famous and renowned

museums may even have pre show entertainment such as cultural music that may

feature African drummers and dancers, or cultural exhibits from other countries and

nationalities. "Money, markets, museums: Museums and the Millions." p. 93.

Cyntia Freeland the author of Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction makes many

references to an article written by Arthur Danto. The article is titled "Museums and the

Thirsting Millions," and Freeland uses this reference to explore the chronology of how

museums started. The first public museum was established in 1793, after the

overthrow of the French Monarchy. The Louvre, like a few royal palaces in other

European countries was converted. "Money, markets, museums: Museums and the

Public." p. 96.

Likewise Mr. Danto refers to another's work, in his article he references The Golden

Bowl. A novel written by Henry James, and though it is a work of fiction, the scenario is

all too real. In the novel a wealthy American collects European art to bring home for a

private museum. With this collection he plans to educate and civilize the "urban

barbarians." "Money, markets, museums: Museums and the Public."p. 98.

I believe it is plainly evident that Ms Freeland shares many viewpoints with Mr. Danto,

who also agrees with Mr. James. They are detailing that many museums are started as

private collections by wealthy owners, and they are asserting the belief that the rich

who start these institutions for public benefit, look down on the very people that they

are trying to help.

They also believe that many of the wealthy who have such grand collections do not

really appreciate what they are collecting. According to John Dewey who was quoted

for this article, "The typical collector is the typical capitalist."

I encountered a real life example at The LA County Museum. Many of the pieces in the

Roman and Greek exhibits were actually part of William Randolph Hearst's private

collection, who donated the pieces after his death on August 14, 1951. William

Randolph Hearst was the biggest publishing tycoon of the 19th and 20th centuries,

and is best known for his self named "Hearst Castle" which he designed himself. He

based his castle on those he had seen in Europe, and brought over countless works of

art from Greece, Rome, and the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Most of these

priceless pieces can still be viewed at his historic home. Hearst Castle Hearst San

Simeon State Historical Monument: .

Another tycoon and art collector, J. Paul Getty is described by an anonymous

biographer as buying only pieces that he thought were good bargains."He would

study the X-rays of a painting to determine its origin but reject it if the cost per square

inch seemed too high." J. Paul Getty the founder of Getty Oil Company, is said to have

had a very high image of himself, to the point of narcism. Getty is quoted as saying "I

feel no qualms or reticence about likening the Getty Oil Company to an Empire-and

myself to a Caesar." He also referred to common people as "barbarians" and stated

that they could not become civilized unless they acquired an appreciation for art.

This statement is completely insensitive and ridiculous, and yet it is also correct in a

sense. Art exposes people to new ideas, new ways to perceive reality. As Pablo

Picasso stated "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life." Art is one of the

universal modes of expression, and it is one way to achieve immortality. If your art is

exceptional, if it speaks to others, then your name may be able to speak from the

grave long after you have drawn your last breath.

Works Cited Page

Freeland, Cyntia. Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction: "Money, Markets, Museums"

Oxford University Press, 2003

Hearst Castle Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument: .

I did this for my "Art History" class, it was the only homework I had to do. I finally got my essay back. Out of 100 points, I recieved 85. That's pretty good, but I

think I should have earned a higher grade. Oh well, my teacher took off 15 points becauses she didn't believe that I cited everything properly, and because I

forgot to double space it when I turned it in. If I had double spaced it, I would have gotton an A-.

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