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Man's Magnum Opus. What is the greatest work of art in any medium?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:30 pm
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Rembrandt

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/The_Anatomy_Lesson.jpg/799px-The_Anatomy_Lesson.jpg

It wasn't until I began to dabble in oil myself that I could appreciate just how perfectly he nailed things like the deathly color of the cadaver and how impressive his body of work was with the tools and state of the art in his day. As my favorite Rembrandt I nominate this with a nod to the rest of his body of work.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:36 pm
@nbrianm,
Funny you should mention fractals, I came across an example of fractals as art today. It wasn't just some programmatically generated CGI fractal, which I would hesitate to consider art, and just doing it on that scale is an art unto itself.

Hell, nominate what you will, after all is Stonehenge building/engineering or art? What about the Great Sphinx of Giza etc? Through the votes let the best art win!
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:42 pm
For classical sculpture, it's hard to beat "Laocoon", in my opinion:

http://teachers.sduhsd.k12.ca.us/ltrupe/art%20history%20web/final/chap5Greece/Laocoon%20Group.jpg

But man's mangnum opus?

Maybe Darwin's "Origon of Species"?......
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:43 pm
http://i50.tinypic.com/jphke8.jpg
Quote:
The Calling of Saint Matthew
1599-1600
Oil on canvas
10' 7 1/2" X 11' 2"
Contarelli Chapel, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/caravaggio/calling_of_st_matthew.jpg.html
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  4  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:45 pm
Moai
Polynesians

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/AhuTongariki.JPG

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a2/Moai_Rano_raraku.jpg/450px-Moai_Rano_raraku.jpg

Nominated for being visually striking, for their scale and for the apparent collaboration (I sincerely doubt that one man pulled it off) to create them. That there are so many is part of what makes it eerie to me.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:45 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Several years ago there was quite a stir about Jackson Pollock and using fractals as a way to authenticate his work......
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:51 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Ok, in the spirit of our afternoon agreement on engineering exclusions I wonder if concepts and fields of study should be excluded as well? Should stuff like mathematical algorithms count?


I think you have here illustrated the difficulty of establishing an answer to your question.

Even in the field of poetry in the English language - which excludes most poetry - there are arguably better poems than Poe's Raven. Gray's Elegy is one; Keats' Saint Agnes Eve and On First Looking in to Chapman's Homer, or Ode on a Grecian Urn, and (in my view) best of all would be Edward Fitxgerald's translation of Kayham's Rubyiat are others. Even Poe has done some things better - how about the first and last stanzas of Israfel (the middle stanzas bring it down however).

Great art creates a transcendent awareness that uplifts the spirit. However there are so many possibilities there that it is extremely difficult to differentiate between those at the top.

All that said, The Raven is indeed great.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:59 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
I think you have here illustrated the difficulty of establishing an answer to your question.


Indeed, that was my first sentence in this topic. But oh, what fun difficulty this will be!
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  4  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:01 pm
To me, Sargent's "Daughters of Edward Darly Boit" is perfect. I think it respected the past and predicted the future of painting:

http://jssgallery.org/Paintings/Daughters_of_Edward_Darley_Boit.jpg
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:04 pm
One cannot forget the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's extraordinary paintings, and the "last judgement" is a true masterpiece.
http://blog.nj.com/southjersey_impact/2008/06/sistineChapel.jpg

Quote:
The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. It was executed from 1537 to 1541. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse. The souls of humans rise and descend to their fates, as judged by Christ surrounded by his saints.
The Last Judgment was an object of a heavy dispute between Cardinal Carafa and Michelangelo: the artist was accused of immorality and intolerable obscenity, having depicted naked figures, with genitals in evidence, inside the most important church of Christianity, so a censorship campaign (known as the "Fig-Leaf Campaign") was organized by Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Mantua's ambassador) to remove the frescoes. When the Pope's own Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, said "it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully," and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather "for the public baths and taverns," Michelangelo worked the Cesena's semblance into the scene as Minos, judge of the underworld (far bottom-right corner of the painting) with Donkey ears {i.e.foolishness} while his nudity is covered by a coiled snake. It is said that when Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff responded that his jurisdiction did not extend to hell, so the portrait would have to remain.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:05 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Even Poe has done some things better - how about the first and last stanzas of Israfel (the middle stanzas bring it down however).


You just brought me a realization: I prefer "melodic" (heavily rhythmic, emphasis on rhyming, and much smoother flow) poetry just like I prefer melodic music. My favorites of his after The Raven are Alone (I empathize greatly with some of the opening lines) and Annabel Lee (and it's soaring last stanza).
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:09 pm
@boomerang,
That has me awestruck, it almost looks 3-d! Thanks, I'd not seen that and wasn't expecting such a gift of an art discovery so soon in this thread.
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:13 pm
@georgeob1,
Way too many sculptures to love:

http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/arts/photos/2009/03/31/nefertiti-cp-250-2873060.jpg

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/amarna-princess-head-225.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MiiXKCIwpmY/Ru7-vECqSXI/AAAAAAAAAG0/w0mx3XVnYYc/s1600/Renaissance

Ecstasy of St Theresa:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MiiXKCIwpmY/RvBW4UCqSsI/AAAAAAAAAJc/zEYDpZp5l6w/s1600/St.%


http://www.artchive.com/artchive/g/greek/thumb/winged_victory_louvre.jpg

I assume this is Zeus: While I love later greek sculpture, i also love the really ancient, far stiffer, style. This is sort of transitional..about 400 BC

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_MiiXKCIwpmY/Ru77qkCqSTI/AAAAAAAAAGU/UF5cG_NFZWI/s1600/Greek

Archaic Zeus, I think:

http://historylink101.net/greek_images/zeus.jpg

ANYTHING on the Parthenon!!

http://jade.ccccd.edu/Andrade/WorldLitI2332/Greek/Eped.jpg

http://www.boomeranggifts.co.uk/ProdImages/20076241045160.horseclose.jpg

Love these ancient Cycladid images:

http://hedonia.net/art/images/cycladic/cyclades02.jpg

http://spacecollective.org/gallery/images/1228196196/Cycladic_three_figurines_group.jpg

http://www.accd.edu/sac/vat/arthistory/arts1303/Aegean1.jpg

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/paris-louvre-photos/slides/xti_9737p.jpg


Moving on...love Vermeer:

http://images.worldgallery.co.uk/i/prints/rw/lg/2/5/Jan-Vermeer-Girl-with-a-Pearl-Earring-25896.jpg
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:17 pm
@dlowan,
THAT worked well...sorry.

Rolling Eyes
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:20 pm
@dlowan,
I fixed the code, some of the images still don't display though.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:30 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

You just brought me a realization: I prefer "melodic" (heavily rhythmic, emphasis on rhyming, and much smoother flow) poetry just like I prefer melodic music. My favorites of his after The Raven are Alone (I empathize greatly with some of the opening lines) and Annabel Lee (and it's soaring last stanza).

From memory;
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
of the beautiful Annabel lee
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
of the beautiful Annabel Lee
And so all the night tide I lie down by the side
of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride
In her selpuchre there by the sea
in her tomb by the sounding sea.
I learned this one as a boy and, I'll admit the music of it stays with you.

Here's one little known but (in my view) better

When I was a beggarly boy
And lived in a cellar damp
I had not a friend or a toy
But I had Aladdin's lamp

When I could not sleep for the cold
I had fire enough in my brain
And builded with roofs of gold
My beautiful castles in Spain

Since then I have toiled day and night
I have money and power good store
But I'd give all my lamps of silver bright
For the one that is mine no more

Take, fortune whatever you choose
You gave and may snatch away
I have nothing 'twould pain me to lose
For I own no more castles in Spain
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:30 pm
hagia sofia...before Muslim additions
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:36 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you...dunno how I got the damned code wrong!
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  3  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:47 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Glad you like the Sargent painting, Robert. When I worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts a number of years ago, I would pass through the room where that painting hangs almost daily. (Incidentally, one of those fantastically large white-and-blue vases that one of the girls is standing next to is still unbroken and, in fact, is on display not far from the paitning.)

There's a tragic story connected with this picture. You'd have to know where to look and then look very carefully to find the flaw, but that painting was once slashed with a sharp knife in the hands of a madman who hated the picture. He made a good sized tear in it before museum guards overpowered him. (Long before my time there.) But the miracle of modern restoration technology has restored the painting to virtually its original state unless -- as I said -- you know where to look for the rewoven canvas area.

wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:55 pm
Handel's Messiah.
 

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