Art History Museum


     As a student of art history, going to a museum is the only way to
fully experience a work of art. By only looking at a painting or sculpture in a
book or on a slide, you cannot fully experience the work of art. By going to the

Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was able to look at paintings that dated from
centuries old, to recent times. Bruges, The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve,

15th Century, Tempera on wood The Proto-Renaissance alter piece, The Life and

Miracles of Saint Godelieve was done by the artist Bruges. This piece is very
typical of its time period. The title alone, summarizes what art was in this
period, religious. The painting itself is not proportionate, has no vanishing
point, and the saints have a globe-like halo. All the faces look the same, if
you walked down the street, you would not be able to pick out an individual
model for this painting, because there probably was no modeling done. Raphael,

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, 1504, oil on wood The Raphael
alter-piece, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, was painted in 1504. The
surface is very smooth, you cannot see any brushstrokes. The figures are placed
in a pyramid shape, with the Madonna’s face as the center, and the viewer as
the worm’s eye-view perspective. The face’s still all look the same, but
there is much more detail in this piece than in The Life and Miracles of Saint

Godelieve. The bright colors, details, size of the alter-piece, and what we now
recognize as halos on the angels make this work a typical Raphael. Designed by

Francesco di Giorgio, Gubbio Studiolo, 1476, wood trompe-l’oeil The Gubbio

Studiolo is amazing. At a first glance everything looks real. But then at a
closer look, you realize the benches and cabinets that are there, are not real
benches and cabinets at all. It’s all wood inlayed on a wall. To create
shadows, the artist used different types of wood. It is supposed to have the
effect of having the viewer think everything is three dimensional. Even the
ceiling is part of this effect. The scene this work depicts has all aspects of
learning portrayed; religion, science, music, and literature. The artist places
items symbolizing these different parts of learning by placing them into the
"cabinets" that are all around. Bronzino, Portrait of a young Man,

1550, oil on wood The mannerist work, Portrait of a Young Man was done by

Bronzino. The painting contains aspects conveyed by the mannerist period. The
young man is holding a book, which leads the viewer to make the assumption that
he his very learned. The man conveys an attitude toward us, as if he is the
best. The composition itself has "hidden" grotesques all over. The
man’s eyes are purposely distorted, one eye is looking straight out, while the
other is looking towards the side. His long fingers are placed in very odd
positions, making this piece very mannerist. Rubens, Wolf and Fox Hunt,

1615-1621, oil on canvas Wolf and Fox Hunt by Rubens was created between 1615
and 1621. This extremely large painting has very soft colors. The painting is
light and airy. To look at it, is like looking at a real scene through an early
morning mist. This mood is created by the soft brushstrokes that are used. For
example, in the horse’s tail, you can see all the brushstrokes, which gives
the hair depth. Rembrandt, Self-Portrait, 1660, oil on canvas Rembrandt’s

Self-Portrait, done in 1660, creates a dark, unpleasant mood. Rembrandt looks
worn out, tired, and very unhappy. All of his paintings in the museum portray
this darkness. There is one light source that casts a gloomy shadow over
everything, which in his Self-Portrait, tells the viewer, that at this point in
his life, he was very unhappy. Rembrandt does not enhance his features, but
instead, makes them worse. Boucher, The Interrupted Sleep, 1750, oil on canvas

The feminism, and almost gaudiness of the Rococo period is conveyed through The

Interrupted Sleep. This painting is very small in size like many of the
paintings done during this time. The composition itself is very sensual, with
the soft pastel colors and the soft, pink bodies of the woman. The use of the
dogs show the richness that ran through this period in history. Lepage, Joan of

Arc, 1880, oil on canvas The 19th century painting Joan of Arc was painted by

Lepage. What makes this my favorite 19th century painting is the realness of

Joan of Arc. It looks as if the artist took a snap shot of the model, enlarged
it and placed it onto a painted background. Also, the size of this painting is
unbelievable. It is disputed as to which period Joan of Arc belongs to. Some say
it is part of the Romantic movement and some say it is part of the Realist
movement, and still, others claim it is part of both movements. Georgia

O’Keeffe, Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow, 1923, oil on canvas The 20th
century work, Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow by Georgia O’Keeffe is
nothing like what has been done before it. There is no subject matter, except
how the different colors are used. This painting is a picture of nothing. The
artist uses gray, teal, lavender, pink, yellow, and blue to portray something
that is not real. She wants the viewer to use the mind and imagination to make
up their own composition. Gray Line with Lavender and Yellow helped break the
idea that art had to be a painting of something. To fully experience a work of
art, you must go see it in person. Studying them in class should not be the only
time you see them. To be in a room that is filled with paintings by Raphael and

Rembrandt is quite an experience that everyone at least once in their life
should have a chance to do.