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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Most Important Works of Art

By Alexandra A. Jopp

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669. The Night Watch, 1642.

The most famous of the Dutch Baroque artist is Rembrandt van Rijn. He created paintings and prints of portraits, militia paintings, landscapes and religious scenes.  His style changed much over the years, featuring realistic paintings, ornate Baroque style works, and expressive painterly works. Here is one of his most famous works, popularly called the Night Watch because of a thick varnish that made the painting appear to be a night scene. It was a commissioned portrait of a small Dutch militia. This shows the dynamic portraiture of the best Dutch Artists.

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937.
This is probably Picasso’s most famous work. Guernica is certainly powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War.
Guernica shows the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians. This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.

The Parthenon in Greece 447-438 BC.
The Parthenon was an example of the ideal temple for the Athenians and was dedicated to the patron goddess of the city Athena. The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates. The Parthenon is beautifully constructed and perfectly symmetric. The temple is considered to by peristyle colonnade, which means it is completed surrounded with columns. The front and back have eight Doric columns and the sides have 17th. The interior cella even has a smaller colonnade surrounding it. While the Parthenon is an example of an ideal temple it is somewhat unusual. For instance, the temple combines Doric order columns and Ionic order elements.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. 1632–1653

The most famous of all Mughal works is the Taj Mahal, a royal tomb in Agra completed around 1650 and commissioned by Shah Jahan in memory of his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal. The snowy-white marble is inlaid with semiprecious stones in the form of flowers, vines, and beautiful cursive inscriptions. Set at one end of an elaborate quadripartite formal garden with four axial pools in the Persian style, the Taj Mahal is far more than a royal tomb or a dynastic monument.

Michelangelo, Pieta, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. 1498–1499
One of the best known Renaissance sculptures of all time – Pieta by Michelangelo. This is the only work that he signed. Located in Vatican, Rome. The sculpture was made of Carrara marble and was made as a funeral object. Michelangelo placed the body of Jesus on Madonna’s laps after his crucifixion. The structure is pyramidal and bodies are not proportional. 

Limbourg brothers.
Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
c. 1413-1416
 Musee Conde, Chantilly
Les Tres Riches Heures, with its 206 leaves, was actually never finished. Despite this, it is regarded as one of the greatest works of European medieval art: the finest fifteenth-century illuminated manuscript and a supreme example of painting in the International Gothic style. Here, for the first time in the history of manuscript illumination, idealistic landscapes were replaced by real landscapes, in this case depicting the regions belonging to the Due de Berry.

John Singer Sargent. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. Boston Museum of Art. 1882. 

Originally titled “Portraits d’enfants,” Sargent created this piece in 1882 for a friend and painter Edward Boit.
The painting caused a stir at the Paris Salon the following year, due in no small part to its unusual composition, and large square format.  The painting is almost 8 feet square and has subjects placed all around the composition.
The four girls are daughters of Boit and are posed in the foyer of the family’s Parisian flat. They do not interact with each other. This unorthodox composition and posing was quite a departure from family portraiture of this time period. During this time, Sargent had been studying the work of Velazquez and many art historians compared this painting to Velazquez’s “Las Meninas.”