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Art is a way that artists can tell stories. It carries memories from the past that are from personal experiences, historical events, and ancient civilizations. It is a way for an artist’s audience to learn, relive, and share the memories of the past through their piece of artwork. Both modern and contemporary art have relevance in today’s world as it explores the timeline of an artist and their vision on personal issues, social issues, popular culture, or historical events.
For example, the artwork La Minotauromachy by Pablo Picasso expresses the personal troubles of Picasso and his relationship with his wife and his mistress who was pregnant. Picasso uses Greek mythology to express his vision within the work and it consists of bullheaded human bodies which are Minotaurs. In Greek mythology, the Minotaur resides in a maze called a labyrinth and was given human sacrifices to satisfy its hunger, but eventually it was killed by Theseus, an Athenian hero. The Minotaur seems to represent Picasso himself and the young girl holding the candle and flowers may possibly represent his wife or mistress. Also in this artwork, there is a wounded horse, possibly a Pegasus, carrying a female matador and a bearded man on a ladder. There are also two women staring out of a window observing peacefully. This art piece expresses themes such as good vs evil and violence vs calm. It also has a heavy symbolic representation as to why Picasso chose to use a Minotaur to represent himself.
Another example of an artwork is Capricorn, by Robert Carlson. It is a glass blown flame of work that is colorfully painted with different symbols that are associated with diverse religions and cultures across time and space that share related links with each other. It seems to be a representation of a mysterious power of being. The title Capricorn also refers to an astrological sign and represents a fish tailed goat. Astrology dates all the way back to Babylonian and Mesopotamian times. In popular culture, we are assigned a zodiac sign due to our birth date and can use this as a tool to tell us what type of person we are, compatibility, and how our day will go, strictly for entertainment purposes. In this piece of work, it includes elements of other animals in zebra and fish forms as well as frontal human faces. There are multiple motifs that have been drawn from Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Native American cultures and traditions.
The role that the past has in shaping and informing the present is that it can be maintained by others and create an ongoing life of different cultures. It can also structure present-day systems of belief. Artists are able to tell stories to later generations and have their work live on through the years. As we revisit history, something that was once in present time is now in the past, but it becomes present once again as we revisit it. The role of the present is to pay tribute to the past. Without such works, we would not have a clue to what life was like in the past. A work of art carries symbolism along with the colors and materials that were used to create a certain work, which you can learn about the artist along with the culture that was replicated in the work. It is important for artists to care about the past because of its historical and cultural view. Others can learn about the past and revisit it multiple times while learning to appreciate it. The past also helps a society evolve and share different stories within the art as well as having a visual representation of the past, which gives people historical evidence of how other artists or societies before them had lived in the past.
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