Monday, September 30, 2013

Gustave Moreau by Sharrin Manor

Gustave Moreau was a prominent French artist during the 1800s. Moreau produced more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings in his life. A museum in Paris, the Musée national Gustave Moreau, is dedicated solely to his work. Born in 1826, he belonged to the 19th century movement known as Symbolism. Other Symbolist contemporaries included artists such as Gustav Klimt and Edvard Munch. The main tenet of the literary counterpart to the Symbolist movement was that art should represent absolute truths that could only be described indirectly. Thus the Symbolist writers and poets relied heavily on metaphoric language and the use of objects as symbols with deeper meaning. Similarly, in the field of visual arts painters focused on mythological and dream imagery. Moreau in particular painted many biblical and mythological scenes in his work. What I love about his work is the dreamlike edge he creates with colors and his use of intensely detailed style. He would fill his canvases to the brim with objects and figures that all symbolize something deeper. He painted with various vibrant colors to create an eerie and truly dreamlike atmosphere in his works.

This piece, titled "Jupiter and Semele," draws its subject from classical mythology. Jupiter (Zeus) fell in love with a mortal woman. When he revealed his true form in all of his godly splendor, Semele instantly died. This is the scene we see here. The legend continues that Jupiter rescued Semele's unborn son and raised him. His name was Dionysus.

 I love this painting because of its sheer exuberance. Brilliant colors fill the every corner. The only open space (painted a beautiful ominous blue) surrounds Jupiter's body and because of this I am first drawn directly to Jupiter sitting upon his enormous throne. Then my eyes travel downward to all of the winged, angelic women, picking apart the meticulous detail and constantly discovering new figures in every inch. Finally my eyes wrap up the side columns which are covered in colorful exotic flowers. Spots of bright blue around the whole piece keep my eyes darting. I love the cramped feel of the work because I doscover something new every time I glance at it.

This piece, "Europa and the Bull," is also drawn from classical mythology. With its blurred, rapid paint strokes, this piece certainly possesses impressionist aesthetics. I love the transition across the bull from forest green to light open sky. Though not as filled with figures as the first work I presented above, this one still has exciting, intricate details that I find beautiful.  I especially like the various colors apparent in the shading of the bull's neck and the way Moreau painted the ground (there are no distinguishable real shapes yet it has the texture of a forest floor).

In this painting we see Phaethon and  his chariot falling from the sky. This again comes from classical mythology. The twisting dragon and the blue hues at the top of the piece are my favorite parts. The piece is full of energy.

This is piece is a Pietà that Moreau painted towards the beginning of his career. It is more dark and ominous than typical works of the same theme that I have seen, which is why it is interesting to me. The dark shadows and orange sunset help cast a dark mood. 

Moreau was more than just a painter, as evidenced by this beautiful drawing, "The Inspiration of the Poet." Using only a pen he created a kinetic piece that has strong, realistic values. 

As I mentioned earlier, Gustave Moreau made over 8,000 pieces in his lifetime. Unfortunately I cannot present them all here. I hope you will look further into the life and work of this incredible artist!

               Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s by Julian Phillipe, translated by Robert Baldick.

Eiichiro Oda by Roland Huang


Eiichiro Oda

 Eiichiro Oda, born January 1, 1975 in Kumamoto CityKumamoto Prefecture in Japan, is a Japanese Mangaka, best known as the creator of the "One Piece manga".  I have always been fascinated by the excitement this manga has been creating for me since i was very young. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since August 4, 1997; the individual chapters are being published in tankōbon volumes by Shueisha, with the first released on December 24, 1997, and the 70th volume released as of March 2013. One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy whose body gains the properties of rubber after unintentionally eating a Devil Fruit, and his diverse crew of pirates, named the Straw Hat Pirates. Luffy explores the ocean in search of the world's ultimate treasure known as One Piece in order to become the next Pirate King. The plot was created in a way that reflects the importance of pursuing one's dream and also the treasure of friendship( "Nakama" in Japanese). Below is some example of his work: