OPTICC 5th Six Week

Introduction: This is a propaganda poster from the 1930s, when Hitler was running for president in Germany. This form of propaganda was very apparent during this time, to try to convince people to vote for Adolf Hitler for president. People believed Hitler would change the course Germany was taking. Devastatingly, Hitler’s presidency led to the occurrence of the Nazis as well as the Second World War. It is important that people view this type of propaganda to understand that Hitler was very persuasive, so persuasive that he was elected as president. The population of Germany truly believed the country would be better off with Hitler as president, and much of that was due to this type of propaganda. This poster also shows that propaganda is still around today. Walking down the street, signs and bumper stickers advertising the presidential campaign can be found on cars, in stores, and many other places. Propaganda is still around, and it is easy to be convinced by it.

Overview: A Nazi, dressed in full uniform, is standing at attention in the center of the photograph holding a sharp object shaped like a shovel. Faint images of townspeople surround the sides of the poster, holding signs written in German, and looking quite desperate, one man with his head down on a bench. The background is completely red. There are words written in German at the bottom of the page.

Parts: The Nazi stands at attention, looking extremely poised and alert. The point of the Nazi is to give the public comfort in knowing that such a seemingly strong person is defending their country, and voting for Hitler. Impressionable children, almost of voting age, probably looked up to this strong soldier and wanted to be him. The people surrounding the poster are important as well. They show desperation and unhappiness, implying that the country is not good yet, and that Hitler can fix it. The words written in German at the bottom of the page say, “Before: Unemployment, hopelessness, desolation, strikes, lockouts. Today: Work, joy, discipline, camaraderie. Give the Führer your vote!” This writing gives the viewer a pre-Hitler and post-Hitler idea, implying that post-Hitler would be better for Germany.

Title: This poster doesn’t have a title, but if it did, it would probably be called, “Give the Führer your vote!” which are the largest words written on the bottom of the page. This title represents the goal of the poster, the goal being for everyone to vote for Hitler. It also ties the whole piece together. Though a lot of information can be withdrawn from the poster without the words, the title can tell the viewer exactly what the artist wanted you to receive from the poster at a glance.

Interpretation: The intent of this poster is for the German population to elect Hitler as the president. Because Hitler came at a time of German desperation, these posters increased his chance at becoming president. Hitler was an incredibly convincing public speaker and had many things going for him at the time. The propaganda posters were only part of it, but they worked in convincing people to vote for him. These posters worked because they showed a better Germany with Hitler’s leadership. They showed the grief of the population that almost everyone could relate to, then showed that they would be happier and better off under Hitler’s presidency. It was very easy to be convinced.

Context: Hitler came post-World War I, in a time when Germany was experiencing major economic problems. The population was desperate for a good leader that would better their economy. These propaganda posters were placed everywhere, showing a better country if Hitler became president. People believed these posters, and sure enough, elected Hitler as the next president. All in all, these propaganda posters did their job. Little did they know that Germany would only decline after Hitler became president, starting yet another world war.

Conclusion: People viewed this poster, and saw a poised, strong soldier leading the German population out of desperation. The only way they could be led was by Hitler, who seemed like the logical vote at the time. Right now, we are studying World War I and II, as well as Hitler’s, Stalin’s, and Tojo’s rule. This type of propaganda was prevalent everywhere, increasing the chances of these horrible people rising to power. There were many other types of propaganda at this time as well, including propaganda against other countries. For example, Russia had artwork against Germany, and Germany had posters against Jews. This type of artwork was incredibly convincing which is why such horrific things happened during this period of time.


OPTICC 4th Six Weeks

Introduction: Napoleon Bonaparte, pictured in the painting holding the crown, played a large part in this period of history. He became the first emperor of France after the French Revolution, and his decisions impacted France both positively and negatively. For example, he made decisions involving individual rights–in fact, he made a book of rules called “The Napoleonic Code” that declared equality between most people, with the exception of women. This code positively impacted everyone except women. Napoleon also had many military victories which impacted other parts of the world. In France, he is known as the “Great Reformer” because of how he shaped France the way it is today. It is important for people today to see this piece because it represents a turning point in France’s and the world’s history. If Napoleon had not become emperor, France’s government might be completely different and the world might view France in a different light.

Overview: The painting is incredibly large–20’4” by 32’1”. It has a lot of dark space at the top, mostly curtains, walls, and a few onlookers in the shadows. Towards the bottom, the painting is brighter and many people dressed in robes are standing. A woman is kneeling while a man holds a crown above her. Another man is sitting in a throne behind the man with the crown. No audience member facial expressions are particularly happy; they seem to be upset. There is a cross on the right side of the painting as well as a statue.

Parts: The facial expressions of the audience set the mood for what is going on. Most of them are giving either angry or disapproving looks towards Napoleon. The way Napoleon is standing and holding the crown while facing the crowd suggests his power. The woman, Joséphine, kneeling before him also implies that Napoleon now has a lot of power. The amount of religious paraphernalia and people in the room presents the idea that this was a religious ceremony, though it is understood that it was more of an inauguration. This hints at the idea that the church and the governments were still very involved with each other at the time. The colors used are royal velvet reds, whites, and golds, demonstrating a royal scene.

Title: The title of this painting is The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of Empress Joséphine. This shows that this scene wasn’t just the coronation of Napoleon, but his wife as well. The kneeling woman dressed in elaborate robes must be Joséphine, his wife at the time. It is known that Napoleon didn’t believe in many rights for women, so though his wife was being coronated with him, she probably didn’t gain even close to as much power as him even though she was receiving a similar title.

Interpretation: The intent of this painting was to show the scene of Napoleon and Joséphine’s coronation. Napoleon shocked everyone at his coronation when the Pope was about to crown him. He turned around, grabbed the crown, and placed it on his head. This caused the angry and disapproving facial expressions from the audience members. After he crowned himself, he crowned Joséphine as well. The Pope had been there to place the crowns on their heads, but he was not of use when Napoleon took his job. The message received is power. Napoleon seems very powerful when he crowns himself–as if he’s saying he’s more powerful than the Pope!

Context: At this time in history, France had just finished their revolution. Napoleon was there to pick up the pieces of the revolutionized country and put them back together again to give the people what they wanted as well as what he wanted. The revolution was over high taxes and new Enlightenment ideas. The people wanted change and that is what the revolution and Napoleon brought. They went from having a feudal system, a decrease in the power of the Catholic church, and social class inequality to the exact opposite. Though there were a few similarities before and after the revolution, for example, there was still no freedom of the press, there were mostly changes to the French society.

Conclusion: This painting represents the radical power move Napoleon committed while being crowned emperor of France. The facial expressions, the position the Pope is seated in, and the artist’s rendering of the moment all tie into the power Napoleon so obviously holds after coronating himself. In class, we are learning about the different revolutions, including the French revolution, and Napoleon plays a major role throughout and after the war is over. This painting shows his character and who France was being led by during their time of piecing back together.

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OPTICC Third Six Weeks

Introduction: Usually when I think of art from the Renaissance, I think of realistic paintings using perspectives, cherub-like babies, pale women, and the use of the human body as art. This is because the Renaissance is usually associated with Europe, though it happened in many places other than Europe, such as Japan, where this painting was created. It is important for the people of today to understand that Europe isn’t the only place history comes from, and to show that even if one area of the world was going through something major like the Renaissance, other parts of the world were going through similar times.

Overview: The whole painting is mostly made up of gold, green, white, black, and red tones. The people in the painting are dressed in robes, most of them in white robes and some in green or brown patterned robes. A group of people are headed towards the lone man in the corner, with one man predominantly leading the group. Mountains, trees, and a building are in the background.

Parts: It seems very important to me that the lone man dressed in green robes is by himself on the far left while the man that is leading the group of people is in the center of the painting. The group of people following the man dressed in white robes are carrying things for him, showing that he is high up in the class system, for example, a man behind him is holding an umbrella over his head, another is carrying a throne or chair, most likely, for the man. There is a person on the right hand side of the painting near the building that is looking over at the group of people. This person seems to be of some significance though it is hard to say exactly what. Since they are standing next to what looks to be a waterwheel, meaning they are in a lower class, they might be wishing the fisherman well on his meeting with the emperor.

Title: The title of this painting is Meeting of Emperor Wen and Fisherman Lü Shang. This gives me more information about the painting, such as that the person that is leading the group of people must be the emperor since they are being treated like royalty. Also, this gives me the information that the emperor is to meet a fisherman- someone who is not high up in the class system. It is very interesting that two such people would meet.

Interpretation: The intent of this work seems to be to show the difference in social classes. The emperor has an entourage of people following him, with an umbrella, a makeshift throne, lanterns, and so much more while the fisherman is by himself. The upper class in this situation- and in most situations- is much more privileged while the lower class works hard as fishermen and still has to wait for something as exciting as meeting the emperor to change his life. This was also a legendary moment in history since a man of such a lower class was getting to meet the emperor.

Context: At the time that this painting was painted, which was around 1600, Japan was just establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Edo Period, which unified the country. Society reordered itself with a higher percentage of the merchant class, meaning lower class, though it was a 250 year long time of peace and stability for Japan. The people of the merchant class were not allowed to pursue any activities other than activities relating to agriculture as to not disrupt the flow of income for the upper class.

Conclusion: This painting seems to be showing an upper class person reaching out to a lower class person. The emperor seems to be enjoying himself, as does the fisherman who is probably honored to be meeting the emperor. This painting relates to what we are learning in class because we are currently learning about this time period, but when we learn about this time period, we mostly hear about Europe. This painting gives us an example of the art in a place other than Europe at this time, and of the culture. 

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OPTICC Second Six Weeks

queen-isabella-procession-harley4379Introduction: This painting is representative of this time period because it shows Queen Isabella of France returning to her castle. This painting shows a city greeting their queen, which communicates to the viewer how the societies respected and greeted royalty. It is important that people view this art piece so they can understand the deeper meaning of the painting. The painting shows inequalities at the time between royalty and civilians, and men and women, yet it also shows an extremely powerful queen that doesn’t live up to the stereotypical “weak” woman. This painting is relevant today because it shows we have come a long way equality-wise, but we still have a ways to go.

Overview: The painting looks as though it popped out of a picture book, with a painting at the top and words underneath with decor and design that fills all of the empty space. The painting shows Queen Isabella of France, mentioned above, being carried through the town to a palace on a carriage. There is royalty walking on all sides of the carriage, and a religious figure, possibly the Pope, is greeting the queen at the gateway to the castle. There are civilians standing to the right and on a ledge above the queen to greet her into the palace. The castle is also pictured in the painting, with intricate towers and window designs.

Parts: A few noticeably important details of the painting are the many fleur-de-lis, where the men and women are painted in the picture, as well as where the eyes in the people of the painting are focused. The fleur-de-lis represent French royalty, perfection, light, and life, which makes sense in this painting since they are welcoming a French queen to the castle. The men and women are separated in the picture, which shows inequality in this time period. The art piece conveys that the men had more privileges than the women, since they are able to stand closer to royalty, even though they are only civilians. The last detail I noticed was where the eyes of the people in the painting are focused. This was a common element artists use in their paintings to highlight an important person or thing in the painting. In this case, the queen is being highlighted.

Title: The title of this piece is Jean Froissart, Chroniques (the ‘Harley Froissart’). The title gives the artist’s name as well as where the art piece originated. Jean Froissart, Chroniques are chronicles of the Hundred Years’ War. This automatically causes me to infer that Queen Isabella of France had something to do with the Hundred Years’ War, which, in fact, she helped initiate.

Interpretation: In the historical context, Queen Isabella of France is likely returning home with many questions to answer about the Hundred Years’ War. The piece also seemed to be trying to portray the idea of how societies greeted their queen as well as how the people of the societies interacted with one another- the royalty and civilians, and the men and women.

Context: The context of this piece is during the Hundred Years’ War. Many people were most likely confused and needed to ask many questions of Queen Isabella. People were awaiting her arrival and were very excited to see her so their questions could be answered. The people aren’t necessarily rejoicing over the fact that she is back, but they are, in no doubt, glad she has arrived to help guide them through the war.

Conclusion: This painting represents a medieval society greeting their leader after learning about a new war that has been waged. The painting is important to what we are studying because it can give us visual insight into the Hundred Years’ War, as well as Queen Isabella of France, which we have yet to learn about. It can also teach us how societies greet their leaders in medieval times, along with the inequalities that come along with greeting their leaders.

OPTICC First Six Weeks

h2_1984.397Introduction: This sculpture of a watchtower is an important representative of the 206 BCE – 220 CE time period because it shows the type of architecture the Han dynasty used and the type of structures they built. It informs us that the people of the Han dynasty were fairly advanced architecturally because the watchtower shown is multiple stories, which wasn’t very common in other civilizations at the time. This sculpture of a watchtower is relevant today because it gives us further insight into the lives of the ancient Han and we can figure out when complex architecture began.

Overview: The watchtower is a narrow yet tall sculpture, with a rusted green and brown look to it. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the lattice design on the front of the sculpture, along with the intricate detail at the base of the lattice. There is a support beam diagonally across the entire first floor, and there is a figure of a person on the top of the lattice design. The sculpture has an extra covering over the first floor and what looks to be a balcony towards the top.

Parts: The small person above the lattice design seems to be of some importance. It is small and the viewer may not notice it at first, but it is there, looking out of the watchtower. There is another person sculpted onto the watchtower. They are on the beam that goes across the first floor, and seem to be crouched, perhaps sneaking into or guarding the building. Also, the amount of stories the watchtower has may be of some importance, though it is hard to tell when one story ends and another begins.

Title: The title of this piece is Central Watchtower. The title is telling me that perhaps this is a replica of a real watchtower that existed in ancient times. It is also revealing that this was most likely the main watchtower that everyone in the town, or just the military, used.

Interpretation: The intent of this work was to come up with a product to place in the tomb of an upper class person. These sculptures showed wealth- the more stories one had in their sculpture, the higher up in society they were. Since these watchtowers were placed in tombs, the people in the sculpture were added to watch over the elite after they die and to keep away evil spirits.

Context: The sculpture was created in the Eastern Han dynasty era. At the time, the arts became much more acknowledged, and soon, creating pottery and ceramics was a popular pastime.  Many people of this era spent their whole life preparing for death, so protection from evil spirits was very important. Watchtowers were said to keep away evil spirits, so the sculptures gave people peace of mind. Also, people believed that evil spirits only traveled in straight lines, so if you look closely, you can tell that the creator of this sculpture tried to decrease the number of straight lines.

Conclusion: The sculptures of watchtowers were created to be put inside the tombs of wealthier people to scare away evil spirits. In class, we are learning about different ancient civilizations of the same time period that this sculpture was created in. We even did a brochure project over them, and the Han dynasty was one of the civilizations a brochure was created for. This sculpture helps visualize the beliefs of the mainly Confucian dynasty. It also gives us a glimpse into what architecture looked like at the time, which can show us how advanced a society is.