METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART ASSIGNMENT
I. Jan van Eyck’s “Last Judgment”
Jan van Eyck was active since 1422 and died in 1441. He was the most celebrated painter of the fifteen-century in Europe. One of his famous works is “The Last Judgment”. At first sight this work immediately attracted my attention. The painting’s stunning colors and the fact that it reminded me of a previous similar work I have seen, triggered in my mind. The material that is used is oil on canvas, transferred from wood. The size of this work is 22 1/4 *7 2/3 in. (56.5 * 19.7cm).
As I closely approached the painting I began to realize the differences between Jan van Eyck and Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment”. Contrary to Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment”, Jan van Eyck’s work has specifically distinguished “Good” and “Evil”. It is separated into three tiers. In the upper portion of this work of art only heaven is represented. Jesus Christ is on the top, above all the people in heaven, having Maria next to him, on his right hand side and surrounded by angels. In the middle part of Jan van Eyck’s “Last Judgment” limbo is represented. This is state midway between heaven and hell. Hell is represented at the bottom part of Jan van Eyck’s work. To clarify the separation between limbo and hell, death is vividly drawn.
However, in Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” each figure preserves its own individuality and both the single figure and the groups need their own background. In the depths of the scene figures are rising from their graves. Naked skeletons are covered with new flesh and dead men help each other to rise from the earth.
II. El Greco’s “Christ Carrying the Cross”
El Greco’s real name is Domenikos Theotokopoulos and his Greek. He was born in 1541 and died in 1614. During his long career in Spain, El Greco produced numerous paintings of Christ carrying the cross. The first sight of this painting extremely moved me. In this work, no other figures are represented and the setting is not recognizable. In the depth of his eyes one can see the suffering and pain for our human sacrifice. As well as this one can also see the holy look on the facial expression as he gently carries the cross. On the cross, above the left hand in Greek letters, “domenikos theotokopoulos epoiei” is written. “Christ Carrying the Cross” is one of the most intriguing work of art. It belongs to Robert Lehman collection since 1953. Its size is 41 3/8 * 31 in. (105 * 79 cm) and the material used to make it is oil on canvas.
III. Pendant mask; Iyoba 16th century
This mask is an image of a woman. An image of a woman is very rare in Benin’s tradition. However, this work of art represents the legacy of a continuous dynasty. This mask is believed to be designed for Benin’s King’s mother. It is also believed that this mask was used to commemorate king’s mother. The color of the mask is white, a symbol of purity. On the mask, one can se the details of the face showing the impression of it. One can distinguish the angry eyes, the big nose and the puffing lips. There are carved scarification marks on the forehead, and below the chin there are bands of coral beads.
IV. Italian armor, ca. 1400 and later
This Italian armor is very impressing at the first sight. I was persuaded that this armor used to be worn only when I stood near it and I realized that it was nearly as tall as I am.
This armor had been discovered in the ruins of a Venetian fortress at Chalcis, on the Greek island of Evia. The purpose of this work is to represent a full armor of the style worn about in 1400. it is one of the few full armors survived from that period. This work of art is made from steel and brass and its height is about 170 cm, which can tell the average height of men in that period.
At the begging, the idea that I had to visit a museum for my assignment did not make me feel happy and amused. It was the opposite. I was thinking that it would be really stupid and boring going there, spending my day looking at some expensive “drawings”. However, when I saw the museum as a building, it really impressed me. The structure and architecture was really beautiful. As I was looking for the pieces of works that I had find information about. I was attracted by other gorgeous paintings as well. I saw paintings and sculptures from different cultures, which I never had heard before. My day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was really a pleasure and fun. Apart from pleasure and fun, I got an idea of art which is very important to anyone of us.