Art History

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ART HISTORY

ArtHistory

ArtHistory

PartA

Artand Identity

Constructing anidentity often times involves representing thoughts and feelings inan expressive manner in order to create a visual image. The visualimage thus empowers an artist to create a tangible piece. Identity inits entirety is linked to an individual’s culture, race, gender, orclass (Dowling, 2011). Therefore, a piece of art thus becomes arepresentation of an individual’s thoughts besides an object thatidentifies them.

Public art‘humanizes’ cities in the manner that it engages and provokes thethoughts and emotions of the viewer. The viewer, in turn, tries toengage the artist’s thoughts and emotions as expressed through thework of art (Dowling, 2011). An interaction between them is thusestablished. The viewer’s response to the work brings about the‘humanizing’ aspect of the work of art. Therefore, public artengages the viewers, who in turn, respond and interact with it thushumanizing the city, mimicking a typical human-human interaction orcommunication.

The Eiffel Towerin Paris, France was constructed to serve as an exhibit in the ParisExposition of 1889 to commemorate the centennial of the FrenchRevolution. The Revolution was an important event in French historyand, therefore, the general feeling was that the centennial would bebest commemorated by a project aimed at enhancing the image of Parisand France. The Eiffel Tower was the resultant project. The Tower isthus an icon of Paris and France and the association between themcannot be detached. This is so because of the 7 million people whovisit the Tower each year to marvel at its architecture and majesticbeauty. The community’s identity has also greatly improved becauseof this piece of art because to many individuals, one cannot pictureParis and fail to think about the Eiffel Tower.

The Taj Mahalwas commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, as afinal romantic gesture towards his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whodied while delivering their fourteenth child. The Taj Mahal was tohouse her remains. The Taj Mahal highlighted the ingenuity of theMoghul architecture, which often incorporated various structuraldesigns. The Taj Mahal for instance boasts of structural designs fromPersia, Central Asia, European, and pre-Moghul India (Moinifar &ampMousavi, 2013). This architectural diversity has further enhancedIndia’s identity as being one of the cultural, ethnical, andreligious diverse country in the world today.

PartB

Developmentof the Skyscraper

The ChicagoSchool is considered a pioneer in the development of skyscrapers.This architectural design favored the use of steel frames and notconventional bricks, stones and concrete. The fire that ravagedChicago in 1871 and a resurgence of civic pride, among other factorswere the inspiration behind the development of the Chicago Schoolarchitecture. The steel frames were fireproof, could support moreweight, and took up less space as compared to the bricks and stones.Therefore, taller buildings could thus be built using steel. TheChicago skyscrapers were also not short of aesthetical designs. TheNeoclassical architecture and Romanesque art from southern Francewere incorporated into many Chicago School skyscrapers. LouisSullivan, one of the architects who championed the Chicago stylefavored the Romanesque skyscraper design in many of the buildings hebuilt including the Auditorium Building and the entrance to theChicago Stock Exchange Building. The Richardsonian Romanesque designwas used in the works of other famous Chicago style architects suchas Burnham and Roots as evidenced in their design of the RookeryBuilding. Use of steel in the Chicago School architecture allowed theuse of various stylistic designs in the skyscrapers.

The constructionof the Woolworth Building ushered in a unique architectural style.The neo-Gothic style was this particular style. Strong vertical linesand a sense of great height characterized the architectural works.Symmetry was dropped and the houses adopted vertical framing.Neo-gothic style signified a change from the traditional Greek andRoman designs of the Chicago School architecture. Other commonaesthetical characteristics of this architectural style includedpointed windows with decorative tracery, carvings, pinnacles,crenellations, spires and gargoyles. This aesthetical quality iscommonly referred to as “picturesque’. The exterior of theWoolworth Building for instance was clad in cream terra cotta withblue and yellow glazed accents. Slim vertical piers were incorporatedto aesthetically enhance the building’s vertical articulation. Thegargoyles and green patina-ed copper roof further added to thebuilding’s beauty and design.

The Seagrambuilding, which was designed and built by Mles van der Rohe is viewedby many as a modern and elegant skyscraper design. Bronze and varioustypes of glass were used in the construction of the building, amongother materials. The exterior floor-to-ceiling glass panes of graytopaz allow natural light into the building. The vertical elementswelded to the window panels aesthetically enhance the building’svertical articulation. The modern materials used further set thisparticular skyscraper apart from the rest and thus served as a modelfor future skyscrapers designs.

Architectureof Private Homes

The Kaufmannslived in Pittsburg City but just like other residents of the city,they loved to vacation in mountainous region of southeast Pittsburg.The family owned a summer camp where them together with theiremployees could vacation at and escape the dense air pollution in thecity. However, the Great Depression made it uneconomical for theemployees or other residents to vacation in the mountains. The familythus chose to turn the summer camp into a private estate. Theproximity of their cabin to the road prompted the Kaufmanns tocontact Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect, about designing a privatevacation home for them. The shared love of nature between the clientand architect inspired the design of Fallingwater.

The VannaVenturi House was designed Robert Venturi, an architect who wanted tobuild a house for his elderly mother, Vanna. The house was Venturi’sdemonstration of some of the ‘complexities and contradictions’ ofmodern architecture. Venturi sought to challenge the formalist rulesand strategies that governed modern architecture. He broke away fromthe simplicity that modern architecture encouraged and thus gave riseto the postmodern architecture.

References

Dowling, S. J. (2011). Constructing identity identity construction. Georgia State University.

Moinifar, H., &amp Mousavi, N. S. (2013). Taj Mahal as a mirror of muliticulturalism and architectural diverstiy in India . Journal of Subcontinent Researches, 5(15), 123-134.