Theory of Knowledge - find the perfect art piece, whether it be play, musical, paintings, or other wise

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Sabina Yeasmin

Dr. Hall | Period 0

Theory of Knowledge

June 11, 2009

Arts Essay: Mary, 1898

        I had a mission ahead of me. We all had to face it, everyone in our TOK class. Our mission was to find the perfect art piece, whether it be play, musical, paintings, or other wise. It was May 19 of 2009 and Khalah, Mary, and I decided to go hunt down our targets together. We felt that the most convenient starting place would be Lasalle University Art Museum. We didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know if it would have our future reference items in there, but we were determined to finish the task as soon as possible. Sure I knew where Lasalle University was, but I had no clue where to go to enter the Art Museum section. It so happened that Kahlah knew how to get there, as she had gone there before to look at the art pieces. It was a very windy day, and we all kept getting dust in our eyes as we walked up the steep hill from Central High School. The walk there was long and painful, but we endured the dirt aiming for our eyes. We just hoped that our mission would be successful by the end of the day to make up for the horrible walk. At the entrance to the museum a man gave us directions to the door of the Art Museum.  We followed his directions and knew that we went the right way since the first thing we saw when we opened the door was a painting of monkeys hanging from a pole. We went down the cold steps to the finely carved, paintings of Jesus. There two paintings of Jesus, a carved wooden naked woman, a row of African carved wooden masks, and a beautifully carved door on display. I wasn’t really happy with what I saw. I felt that a respected museum like Lasalle’s should have had several rooms filled with art, and with more variety. We sat down to think what we were going to do, the little amounts of art had disappointed us, not that their quality was bad, just not interesting enough for our taste. So we walked around a bit more, that’s when we found a glass door. We saw a woman sitting behind a desk behind that door. We walked closer to the door until we realized what the place beyond was. It was the rest of Lasalle’s acclaimed Art Museum that was lost to us for awhile. We went to several rooms. The first room was inhibited by a new exhibition, Second Skin: Drawings by Susan Moore. They were pretty interesting. There would be a drawing of a certain person, and he or she would have a tattoo where they were revealing skin. I think that each individual tattoo for each individual person was their identity, or a mark of their personalities and who they were. The exhibition was nice but I just thought that the drawings were not my style, they didn’t appeal to me. So we looked in another room where they had a chair made in England from a long time ago, a chair that a royal king or queen had sat on. We finally went to this room where the three of us were attracted to the painting. It wasn’t the whole painting itself that attracted us but the mechanisms surrounding it. We barely noticed what the painting was about. What we three did see was how one of the ladies, who was somewhere near the center of the painting, was holding a candle. We felt that the candle was glowing in real life, but there was a trick behind it.. We realized that the lighting they had put down form the ceiling was actually illuminating the candle itself, which in turn seemed like the candle was illuminating the room in the painting. It was a pretty good trick. It made the painting feel more alive. We even tested to see if it was the candle or the lightings that was making the painting look unbelievable. We tested out thoughts by turning of the light. The candle was still going, but not as it did when the artificial lights were illuminating it. So we thought we’d all do this painting since this was interesting. But when I read the title I got disgusted. It was a painting of lusty Myrrah running away from her unknowing father’s bed. It was too much for me, and although the painting looked fun, well parts of it, I felt that I should do another type of painting. It was running late, so we had to leave soon. I didn’t know what to do at first, but then I remembered how we saw different version of a different story of Mary and Jesus. It seemed more modern type. And it turned out to be more modern than some of the other paintings. This painting was of Mary looking down at Baby Jesus, all wrapped up in white cloth from head to toe. He was al covered up from head to toe, and he didn’t look dead like some people would presume, instead he looked like how a baby would look under covers. The painting was by Henry Ossawa Tanner, an American artist who lived till he was 78, and died in 1937. It was oil painting on canvas bought by funds provided by Regan and Regina Henry. This was the best picture yet, it looked so serene, but it showed all of Mary’s sad emotions in that white room. I think she was thinking about how her town would treat her for having a child without a husband. She knew she was a virgin, but what did the towns people care about what she knew when they could clearly see. She looked like she was waiting for some news, maybe a sign for her to go back out there without being shameful and embarrassed.

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Nature of Arts: Does art have to have meaning? Conversely, if something is meaningless, can it be art?

        Art has to have meaning. There is no point of art, if it is meaningless, because then it seems like fraud; capturing someone else’s feelings inside of your art piece. Even in that way art actually does have meaning behind it. Art only happens when the artist goes through a phase, big or small, or during the process of it or after he or she overcomes it. This kind of thing helps for art to be created/ formed.

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