Marriage Today

How does the marriage institution stand in today’s society? I find that there are many similarities between how Hogarth portrays it, in Marriage a-la-Mode, and how many view it today.

Firstly however are the differences. Most marriages today are not arranged. One could argue that the characters in Hogarth’s painting were not in love and that’s why they didn’t respect each other or their marriage. But today, it’s rare for someone to have no say in whom, or for what reasons they marry. So it is really his/her own fault if it does not turn out.

However, as mentioned above, there seems to be a lack of respect in the marriage relationship in both Hogarth’s time, and our own. I believe it can be somewhat attributed to our instant gratification society. Virtually anything we want is available to us instantaneously. Most things can be obtained without ever leaving the house. I also believe that no matter how the media tries to portray it as being the opposite, the majority of society views pre-marital sex as inappropriate. So, given the other societal conditioning with which we have been treated, if one decides they want to have sex. They should be married first. There seems to be a lack of understanding that marriage is not about ones selfish desires, but about putting the other person in the relationship first. Also, I am unsure about the list of causes in marital problems, but I’m fairly certain that finances are higher up on that list than infidelity in our day. But again, it boils back down to the lack of patience. Instead of working hard together to obtain a nice house, and all the toys, young married couples want all of the things their parents have, and they want them now. They spend money irresponsibly which leads to defaulting on loans, and greater stress in their relationship.

Either way, I think Hogarth’s representation of marriage is a valid one. The causes may vary, but the attitude seems to be the same, that people take those marriage vows lightly, which brings a slew of other problems to themselves.

Bernini and Why He is Baroque

            I will attempt to compare Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini’s respective David sculptures, and how Bernini’s is a reflection of the Baroque period.

            The first thing that strikes my eye is the pose the artist chooses to place his figure. Michelangelo depicts David before the battle with Goliath, and he’s just standing there (like a pose of a model for the cameras). Donatello chose to depict David after his great victory, hence David resting his foot on the head of the giant, but it also seems very posed. Then we get to Bernini. His David is right in the middle of the battle. The artist attempts to transport us right to the moment of action. Like we discussed in class, he’s asking the viewers, “What would it have really been like to be there?” His David is not posing for the camera, like a portrait, this is more like a picture a sports photographer would take in our day. It’s candid.

            Aside from the pose, the figures from both Michelangelo’s, and Donatello’s sculptures do not elicit a very strong emotional response. They also don’t try to depict much emotion. The facial either preparing to do battle, or one who just came off conqueror. Bernini’s however, if full of emotion. David is expressing the effort it’s taking him to sling the stone; you get the sense of focus and determination from the furrow of his brow and the clenching of the jaw. The entire piece is sculpted with curved rather than straight lines, naturally drawing your eyes into the piece. Bernini also uses a lot more environmental elements in his sculpture portraying the armor David refused to wear, thus adding to the reason David was heroic, unafraid, and full of faith. All in all, there is much more detail to Bernini’s David. Again, like we discussed in class the author is saying, “Look at me, look how good I am.”

Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo’s David
Donatello's David
Donatello’s David
Bernini's David
Bernini’s David


Calamity of Calamities!

Calamity of calamities! O the vainness and the frailties and the foolishness of men! The hope and faith I had once placed in the American people has vanished. It was severely misplaced. I had hoped that we could recognize the good and the bad, the moral standards and the deceit, the integrity and the fragility of the candidates. Measure it, and choose the best one. Granted, the popular vote came in favor of Romney. I just can’t believe we are stuck with four more years of Obama. Disappointment and grief are all I can feel with the outcome of this election.

I had hoped that Americans would stand up for the right (no pun intended), to reclaim their autonomy and independence from the federal government, but it would seem that too many people prefer welfare over prudence.

I had hoped that we could shed the feelings of entitlement and place value on personal integrity and work. That what a man does and how he does it should be the decisive factor in his life, rather than his lack of doing, and lack of contribution to the betterment of society be rewarded with government handouts.

I consider more and more the idea popular in the Renaissance that man has the ability to improve himself, to move up the "Chain of Being" to become like God: intellectual, and powerful, etc. or to move down the chain and degrade himself to be as the animals: dumb and prodded by the herdsman. It’s sad to see that many have chosen and many will continue to choose to inch their way down that ladder.

Everyone hassled Romney about his comment regarding the 47%, but apparently his comment was slightly underestimated, as the percentage who feel the way he described was high enough to continue our downward spiral, on the slippery path to further financial and ultimately national ruin.

A world reminiscent of "Atlas Shrugged" here we come. The educated and driven people will move on or give up, and then who will fund the Democrats handouts?! A system built upon a minor percentage paying into it with the majority getting paid from those funds will never last. When it comes to that, those who are able will leave, those who must stay will capitulate to said system and request the same handouts everyone else is receiving. I recently read in the New York Times about fraudulent hoarding of monies and properties by the government in China. The same thing will happen here, the elite will line their pockets while redistributing everyone else’s hard earned wealth. Eventually you will have a huge rift between the lower-class (almost everyone in the country) and the few upper-class (government officials) while successfully eliminating the middle-class entirely. The future does not bode well for us now.

The School of Athens

Raphael’s The School of Athens is a remarkable painting that really epitomizes the idea of Renaissance art. The use of linear and atmospheric perspective makes the wall on which it’s painted seem almost non-existent. It’s as if the artist opened up a portal to the Classical world, to the very places famous ancient philosophers walked and talked. The subject matter alone argues its place in Renaissance art. If you are very interested in something, what do you do? Personally, I become absorbed in that thing. Raphael not only painted architecture from the time period in which he had interest, he included the great thinkers and philosophers of the time. Many were pondering on the ideas of man’s goodness, and one of Raphael’s central figures in the painting is Aristotle who’s theory on happiness we studied earlier in the course posits that man is happy when he does the thing that will bring the greatest good. Raphael’s use of perspective is quite a mathematical one. All figures are in the correct proportions for their respective positions in the painting, meaning those in the foreground are larger than those in the background. But not only amongst the human characters does he do this, for all of them are in correct proportion to the high arches and steps and statues within the painting. We talked in class about Baroque art showing more candid scenes while the Renaissance used more posed and symbolic representations, however, I feel that Raphael balanced these two ideas quite well in The School of Athens it is evident that thought was put into the placement of his figures with Aristotle and Plato at the center where the vanishing point draws your eyes, however the other figures in the painting seem more naturally placed as if you truly are viewing what it might have been like had you stumbled upon this place in ancient times. Some are in their groups discussing and philosophizing while others are writing or just sitting on the stone steps. Others still are even walking away from the viewer for they certainly have better and more important things pressing on their mind than to sit and be ogled all day. On another note, Raphael’s use of light and darks suggest realism, with shadows in all the right places. Most of his figures are fully clothed hiding the body sufficiently, but those who are not, are expressed as idealistic which fits the art form for the time period as well. It seems that all elements used in the painting follow the style and views of the Renaissance period.