Artwork of the Week (May 17): Mars Perseverance Rover Photos

In early 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover began transmitting images from Mars. Although these were not the first photos we’ve seen from the planet, they remain tremendously interesting. One of the first things that struck me about the new photos was their similarity to abstract art. Most of them are directly shot from above, either fromContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (May 17): Mars Perseverance Rover Photos”

Artwork of the Week (May 10): A Trip to the Moon

Whereas the work of the Lumiere Brothers was a progenitor of documentary film, another French pioneer, George Méliès, created the first fiction films. His pictures were full of fantasy and wonder; a stage magician in his day job, Méliès seems to have been the first director to cut multiple shots together and to use specialContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (May 10): A Trip to the Moon”

Artwork of the Week (May 3): Arrival of a Train

Long regarded as the first film ever made, we know now that Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station (1896) was screened a few months after the Lumiere Brothers held the world’s first film screening at a cafe in Paris. Despite the fact that it was not the first film ever made, it stillContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (May 3): Arrival of a Train”

Artwork of the Week (April 26): American Progress

American Progress (John Gast, 1871) visualizes the 19th century idea of Manifest Destiny. Columbia, symbolic of the United States, is seen traveling west, dressed like a Greek goddess. Ahead of her tramp white hunters and settlers, and behind her railroads appear out of thin air. On the far left an ominous dark cloud recedes, bringingContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (April 26): American Progress”

Artwork of the Week (April 19): Portrait of the Emperor Meiji

In 1873, pioneering photographer Uchida Kuichi took the first photograph of a Japanese emperor. In his portrait of the Emperor Meiji, seen here, the emperor is staged in a way typical to U.S. and European photographic portraits of the time. The subject is seated diagonally in a chair, with some personal paraphernalia placed on aContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (April 19): Portrait of the Emperor Meiji”

Artwork of the Week (April 12): Abaporu

Abaporu is a 1928 painting by Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral. Tarsila, as she was known, was a modernist painter who often included elements of indigenous art in her work in order to create a uniquely Brazilian style. In Abaporu, she distorts the proportions of the subject’s body. The subject’s foot is enormous, while theContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (April 12): Abaporu”

Artwork of the Week (April 5th): Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car

Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car is a 1913 painting by Futurist artist Giacomo Balla. Part of a vibrant pre-WWI experimental art culture, the Italian Futurists were enamored with energy, power, and modern technology. Many of them were pro-war fascists, and although this is likely the case for Balla as well, his work doesContinue reading “Artwork of the Week (April 5th): Rhythm + Noise + Speed ​​of Car”