Post-modern Times

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Aesthetics and Art History


  • Episode 3: Animal Symbology in Christian Art

    Episode 3: Animal Symbology in Christian Art


    What do all of those animals in Christian art represent?Listen NowHere is one version of Leonardo's Madonna with a CatHere is a second one.Here is Federico Barocci's Madonna of the Cat. Note that John the Baptist holds a goldfinch. The goldfinch eats thorns and represents the passion, and its association with the crown of thorns.In Rembrandt's print Madonna and Child with Cat notice that Mary is trampling a serpent beneath he feet. Mary represents the new Eve as Jesus represents the new Adam.My new favorite Albrecht Dürer print is The Monstrous Pig of Landser. Monstrous indeed. Dürer also made a print called Prodigal Son Among the Pigs. The pig is often associated with the parable. Dürer has his main figure in a similar pose in his Saint Eustache.  Saint Eustache is the patron saint of hunters and is often represented praying to a deer. The deer usually has a crucifix between its antlers, as it does here. In this print the foreshortening a bit awkward. At first glance it looks like Eustanche is praying t

  • Episode 2: Sacred Geometry

    Episode 2: Sacred Geometry


    How artists have dealt with the ideas behind the philosophy of math and the golden rectangle.Listen NowThe golden ratio is imagined to be found in nature as well as a number of art objects. This episode of Post-Modern Times looks at the actual correlation between aesthetic preferences and the formula. There have been a number of physiological studies that have tried to understand the why and even if people are attracted to certain ratios.Though many artist and architects have based their compositions on the the golden ratio, or phi, particularly the golden rectangle, its use seems to have been exaggerated. The same can be said for the relationship between natural objects, such as the Nautilus Shell and the ratio.Here is an example of the golden ratio being applied to the facade of the Parthenon. Do you think this is a bit of a stretch?Here it is rather randomly superimposed on the Mona Lisa:There is no doubt Jay Hambidge used the golden ratio in his work:Hambidge's book, The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry is a

  • Episode 1: Marcel Duchamp and the End of Beauty

    Episode 1: Marcel Duchamp and the End of Beauty


    How Duchamp reinvented what we now call art.Listen NowMarcel Duchamp can be given much of the credit or blame for how the current art situation came to be. His contributions were critical in the development of almost all later are movementsDuchamp painted Landscape at Blainville when he was only 15.Here is an early magazine illustration by Duchamp.  Unlike so many of his followers, Duchamp could actually draw. This early sketch of his brother, Jacques Villon, shows tremendous skill and manages to display motion that will be fundamental in the artist's later masterpieces.  Duchamp's Portrait of Chauvel from 1910 show a clear influence of Fauvism. Sad Young Man in a Train from 1911 represents a tremendous breakthrough for Duchamp. Nude Descending a Staircase #1 from 1911It was Nude Descending a Staircase #2 from 1912 that really established Duchamp's career. When it was displayed in the Armory show in New York in 1913 the artist became internationally known.Fountain, 1917.L.H.O.O.Q