01 December 2008

Best art?

A couple of weeks ago, Disco asked what we consider to be the best art. It got me thinking...

When I was a kid, I loved to draw. I didn't have a whole lot of creativity with regards to subject matter, but I was pretty good at drawing objects from life (I learned in high school that it's called "classical" drawing). I loved art class in elementary school and junior high. I didn't learn a whole lot in those classes, but being in them allowed me to express myself on paper, which is always a good thing for an adolescent.

It wasn't until high school that I started taking art classes "for real," i.e., as a vehicle for learning drawing/painting skills, as well as studying certain specific artists and their styles. I really loved those classes. My teacher was tough, but she knew her stuff and I learned so much. For a time I even entertained the idea of majoring in fine art in college. However, life had different plans for me and after high school, I would never draw or paint again like I did in my high school art classes.

I returned to my love of art in my sophomore year of college. I found myself needing to change my major, and after much consideration, I narrowed my choices down to English and art history. After taking an amazing short story class at the local community college, I decided on English, but took as many art history classes as my schedule would allow. That same community college offered two comprehensive art history classes that I took to feed my art-loving soul. The instructor was excellent. The material she covered spanned the history of art from prehistoric cave paintings through modern art. I was afforded the opportunity to study the amazing works housed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as well as the equally stellar, though much smaller, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and also the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

In the process of studying the various forms, styles, and movements of art through the ages, I came to love Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance (both Dutch and Italian), Mannerism, and Baroque paintings and sculpture. Though I am not a particularly religious person, I am intrigued by the depth of religious emotion depicted in many of these works. There is passion in these paintings and sculptures, and it is expressed so richly, with such depth.

This is my favorite painting at the Nelson:

The Penitent Magdalene --El Greco (1580-85)

So I guess if someone were to ask me what I consider good art, I would be quick to point to the aforementioned genres as my favorites. However, I really do love all art, even if I don't particularly like some pieces. Having suffered through the creative process, I understand how hard it is (or maybe it's just hard for me because I'm not especially creative). I respect all who endeavor to express themselves through artistic means. I may not love the outcome of that expression, but I respect the process that brought them to that outcome.



Blogger TechGirl said...

When I look at that painting, I can't help but notice how disproportionate her various parts are.

8:14 AM  

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