Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird - 1940

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo began her painting career after her horrible traffic accident in 1925. “The accident left her in a great deal of pain while she spent three months recovering in a full body cast.” She recovered from her injuries and regained her ability to walk, but also had relapses of extreme pain throughout the rest of her life. 

The Broken Column - 1944

The isolation caused by her injuries, after the accident, influenced Frida’s artworks, self-portraits in particular. She said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” Her husband, Diego Rivera, was also a great influence on her painting style. Kahlo and Rivera had a very unstable marriage, but Kahlo pulled inspiration for her pieces from her experiences with Rivera.  

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera - 1931

Her work is thought to be Naïve art or folk art even though Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition are very important in her works. She created at least 140 paintings, dozens of drawings and studies. “Of her paintings, 55 are self-portraits which often incorporate symbolic portrayals of physical and psychological wounds.” Her paintings were drawn from personal experiences such as her marriage, her operations, and her inability to bear children. Her works are full of ideas of pain and suffering. The pain she experienced in her life translated into several of her pieces. Frida Kahlo was influenced by native Mexican culture, which is shown in her use of bright colors, intense representations and original style. “She combined elements of the classic religious Mexican tradition with surrealist renderings.” Frida Kahlo experienced horrific pain and grief from her accident, but that event transformed her as an artist. She made many inspiring pieces and made a name for herself among modern Mexican artists.

The Two Fridas - 1939

Information courtesy of:
Images Courtesy of:
Google image search, Frida Kahlo

Roberto Montenegro

     Roberto Montenegro was born in February 1885 in Guadalajara and died in October of 1968 in Mexico City. Growing up during the Mexican Revolution he and his family moved to United Stated in 1910, but then returned to Mexico in 1920. Before the move to the United States he studied under Felix Bernardelli and later on he studied history and drawing at Academy of San Carlos. in 1907 he received a scholarship to study at the Academia de San Fernando in FranceThere he meant many people among the many was Picasso. After studying in France he became interested in Cubism. At the Academy of San Carlos Diego Rivera was a classmate of Roberto. Diego Rivera was one of the Mexican artists to be in the Mexican Mural Movement, along with him was Roberto. Even though Roberto was among the first artists in the movement, he spent most of his career making illustrations and portrait paintings.
     One of Montenegro's most popular works of art was a mural located in the San Pedro Y San Pablo College. The "Tree of life" is the the title of the mural and it was created in 1922. The subject of the mural is the origin and destiny of man. One of the influences of this piece was the Guadalajara Tap-Dance.
     Another popular work of art by Montenegro was another mural in the same building called The Festival of the Holy Cross. This murals subject was the Festival of may 3rd, which was a holiday celebrated by bricklayers and stonemasons. This mural was unfortunately painted of and lost. Scholars say that the mural was done in a style that almost directly represents Diego Rivera's style.




Mata Ortiz Pottery

In Northern Mexico, a remarkable ceramic arts revival is taking place. There in the village of Mata Ortiz, in Chihuahua Mexico, master potter Juan Quezada, inspired by ancient potsherds,
is leading a renaissance of the region's native art tradition. The contemporary work which parallels the art of indigenous ceramists to the north, similar to the work of Native American artists in the Southwestern United States such as the Hopi, Zuni, Acoma and others, have come to be known as Mata Ortiz Pottery. Pieces vary from those which focus on traditional designs to pots in which innovative style is featured. Mata Ortiz pottery ranks among the finest contemporary ceramics found anywhere in the world. Collections are seen in museums throughout North America. Each pot is made from locally dug clay. The Mata Ortiz clay is very plastic and has high resistance to the thermal shock during a firing.

There are well over five hundred potters making highly collectible earthenware, including fine poly chrome pieces, black-on-black, red pottery and animal figures. These potters continually experiment with new styles, clays, and paints. All of the ceramic pieces are hand-built, they are coiled pots or ollas. They use brushes handmade from children's hair and this allows for very fine line work. The firing process is a dung firing, cow manure is the preferred fuel for low temperature firings.  How Olla's are made.
Etched and bass relief Olla by Eduardo Olivas Quintana 
Artist Salvador Baca's black on black etched Olla

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bamiyan Statues of Afganistan

Bamiyan Statues of Afghanistan.
Bamiyan Statue before and after Bamiyan ,

Complex painting inside the Bamiyan statue
        According to The Huffington Post, the Hindu Bamiyan Statues in Afghanistan, on the popularly known Silk Road, have been destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The leader of the Taliban at the time Mullah Mohammed Omar had ordered the Bamiyan statues to be destroyed with dynamite. This horrific action alarmed the International Community and started a campaign to rebuild these Hindu statues. The Bamiyan Statues in central Afghanistan where a historic monument in the Hindu religion. These Bamiyan Statues date approximately between 544 to 644 B.C.E. The larger statue is 180 feet or 55 meters tall and the smaller statue is 124 feet or 38 meters tall. Both of these beautiful statues had been in this area over 1,500 years.
Bamiyan statue in winter. Bamiyan Afghanistan.

        Within and around the Bamiyan Statues were some of the oldest known to date oil paintings. These paintings were very distinct with the use of metallics, Goethite, hydrocerussites, resins and varnish within the oil or layers within these historic paintings. Paintings from the Bamiyan land mark offer some of the most complex paintings from ancient times, and now they have been damaged or destroyed completely. Researchers now want to attempt to rebuild this site that was viciously destroyed. German researchers are deciding which building strategy to go with, sending some 1,400 original pieces to Germany to rebuild the tallest Bamiyan Statue, or build a facility on site for reconstruction?
        Some Hindus and Afghans are against the restoration of the Bamiyan site, calling the destruction of the statues an historical event as well. This Hindu site offers many historical values and differences between Hindu, Muslims and of course Taliban and Al-Qaeda, thus this site has become a very delicate debate. What are your feelings about this Historical site? And do you think the Bamiyan Statue should be rebuilt?
Imformation courtesy:
Huffington Post.
AOL News.
ESRF News.
Photography courtesy of:

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Stupa

The Great Stupa in Sanchi is a breath taking Buddhist structure. The structure was constructed in 3rd century BCE and designed by Ashoka Maurya. Ashoka was a newly transitioned Buddhist from India. This explains the outer walls of the dome. The geometric shape and perfect consistency of the wall is a good example of India architecture. One of the amazing parts of the structure is the gate. The gate is filled with carvings of Buddhist symbolism.
The Great Stupa is 120 feet across and 54 feet at its highest point. Originally a Stupa was a mound of dirt thats purpose was to cover the relics of Buddha and his followers. The Stupa then became a representation of the Buddha. The Stupa also symbolizes the World Axis. The wall around the Stupa is actually called a Vedika and is made to resemble a railed wooden fence. In all the Great Stupa is an amazing place filled with Buddhist symbolism and history.


Ananda Temple of Pagan, Burma

The temple pictured above is the Ananda Temple, dedicated in 1090. The Ananda Temple is located in Pagan, Burma and is “the most famous and venerated shrine among the roughly 2000 Buddhist monuments in this area.” (ABTW pg. 74) The intricate designs and ornaments on the temple are from the Brahmanic architecture of Bengal, India. The temple is located in what looks like a vast prairieland surrounded with trees. The temple was damaged by an earthquake in 1975, but was restored and has been well-maintained.

 The temple is made up of solid stone. The central point of the temple stands 165 feet tall. Surrounding the central point there are different levels with smaller towers on them which lead the eye to the peak of the temple. On the bottom layer of the stone walls there are vertical lines that seem to have been made over time by weather or wear. The central peak is supported by four statues of the Buddha that stand about 34 feet tall. There are so many forms of line in this temple. Straight vertical lines make up the shape of the main body of the temple and the smaller decorations and statues on the different platforms are formed by curvilinear lines.

Information courtesy of:
Art Beyond The West
Michael Kampen O'Riley
and the following link

Photograph courtesy of:
Roger Price

The Shah Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

During one of our Non-Western Art history classes our professor showed the class a video called "Isfahan" by Crístobal Vila. Since watching the video I started to wonder which mosque Crístobal looked at while making this video. I was extremely intrigued by the architecture especially the Entrance Arcade. I was also intrigued by the brightness of the tile work and the dome. After talking to the professor I finally found out that it was based off of The Shah Mosque. 

After further researching The Shah Mosque, I found that this mosque goes by many different names such as Shah Mosque, Masjid-e Shah, Masjid-e Imam, Royal Mosque, Mehedi Mosque, Masjid-i Shah, Mosque of Shah Abbas and Imam Mosque. The Shah Mosque of Isfahan is one of the everlasting masterpieces of architecture in Iran. Its construction began in 1611 and was completed in 1629. Much is known about the people who were involved in the mosque's construction from the inscriptions installed on the building, identify Badi' al-Zaman Tuni as responsible for the building plans and site arrangement, 'Ali Akbar Isfahani as the engineer, and Muhibb 'Ali Beg as the general contractor.  Its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions that is throughout the whole Mosque. I also discovered that the designs in entrance of the mosque is called Muqarnas, this was a very decorative device in traditional Islamic and Persian architecture.

Post Research

My reaction after completing my research of The Shah Mosque is still pure amazement of the beauty and intensity of such a religious foundation. After researching I am now more informed of The Shah Mosque, and learning of the architecture and intense color. I am still extremely intrigued by the Entrance Arcade and the mosque as a whole and not a few sections. It is truly one of the many masterpieces of Islamic architecture.

Information courtesy of the following link:

Arch Net - Masjid-i Shah
Information on the Muqarnas
Photograph courtesy of:
Landscape view of The Shah Mosque
Muqarnas In The Entrance