I was intrigued by Thomas Nast. Today we take political cartoons for granted; however the political commentary that can be depicted in one illustration may even say more than an entire political debate. Nast’s American River of Ganges is outspoken and bold. The drawing shows children being dumped into a river swarming with catholic bishop crocodiles and relays the struggle of religion in education and the controversies it brought as America became more diverse. This is a time of immigration to America as countries in Europe witnessed an economic decline. Ireland, for example, confronted their potato famine, which led to mass emigration. The dilemma was that Catholic immigrant children were increasingly withdrawing from American Protestant schools to enroll in newly forming Roman Catholic schools. Conflict over public support and funds for the schools arose among the divided constituents. The public was divided between the patriotic Protestants and the immigrant Catholics. It is not difficult to see Nast’s stance on the topic and how strongly he feels regarding the issue for he sees fit to include an inverted American flag above the ruins of a public school in his drawing as well as an elegant, high-standing Catholic school in the background. The inverted flag may convey xenophobic undertones on Nast’s behalf; the image suggests that America is in severe danger as the country endures an influx of a multitude of ethnicities and cultural changes. Reflecting on the issues with immigration that the US currently faces, has society today overcome this xenophobia?
Charles Dana Gibson’s works are one the most captivating illustrations from the Victorian Times. Since he was one of the very famous illustrators and had much influence on the people of that time when his work was published in magazines The Century, Harper's Monthly ,Weekly and Bazaar. When I look at his illustrations, I can see the impact it had on the society in the 19 th Century. Even today we see sketches like Gibson’s work and they play a very important role in the fashion industry. Charles Dana Gibson’s drawings not only reflect the fashion ideas but also the moral inspiration from celebrities, actors, or musicians, so the American of the 1890’s. These pen and ink drawings are very powerful in telling a story as well as its artistic quality. The details in the faces, hair, and the clothes are drawn perfectly. Women are slightly taller than the other women that we currently see in the magazine pages..Moreover, they are more spirited and independent looking. Every sketch tells a story with the help of the mimics shown on the character’s faces. You can easily see the dominance or anger in their faces. Overall, I think the artist Charles Dana Gibson did a very good job by revealing the characters of his era with his drawings.
Because photography is one of my passions, I found Eadweard Muybridge’s work to be the most fascinating. Muybridge’s use of multiple cameras enabled him to not only capture one moment, but also a series of moments that showed both human and animal movement. Although Muybridge considered himself to be an artist, his use of photography made me to think that he was also quite scientific. In “The Horse In Motion,” the photographs clearly prove that a horse’s hooves do all leave the ground, although the legs do not fully extend forward and back. Muybridge also shows human movement through actions such as wrestling and walking up and down a staircase. To me, it is as though Muybridge served as an artistic dictionary for other artists of his time. Muybridge’s works captured ordinary actions such as a mother lifting a child, a woman carrying a pail of water, and workmen sawing wood. By capturing these moments and showing them in motion, he helped other artists show how the body moved, and thus, helped show how a human or animal’s body should be drawn.
I found the early advertising examples extremely fascinating. The ad for the almanac has the quality that we today would ascribe to a drawing or print, not a mere advertisement. The curl of the banner, the elongation of the clouds, and the folds of the woman’s dress are all exquisitely done, creating a diagonal that runs from corner to corner of the ad, thereby creating a real sense of movement. This sense of motion is not a dramatic one, due to the contrast against the cool colors and symbolism; the entire mood of one of serenity and tranquility. The moon and owl symbolize night and dreams, which is appropriate considering the almanac’s claim to be a “dream and fate book.” What I find interesting was the large scroll bearing the sponsor’s name. Gargling oil seems a bit incongruous with a book about dreams. It seems as if today’s advertisers have lost none of the product-placement techniques used by Victorian era designers; rather, they have foregone the beauty of the design. Personally, I find the delicate and pretty ads of the early twentieth century much more appealing and thus more persuasive than many ads run today.
I really enjoy Charles Dana Gibson’s drawings The Weaker Sex and The First Quarrel. Compared to Thomas Nast’s, Charles D. Gibson ideas in his drawings are subtle and small that its goes well with the intricacy of the flowing lines. At the initial glance of his drawings I don’t see his point/idea but after a thorough look I finally see “it” which represents the idea he is trying to convey. “ It” is the subtle or small changes in his drawings that represent the big idea. For example “it” in The Weaker Sex is the small man the women is drawing and in The First Quarrel it is the eye tilt by women. The ‘it” make the ideas of his drawings more humorous to me rather being blatant and bold. Gibson’s “creation of the "Gibson Girl", [ is ] an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century” (WKPD)which shows the changing role/view of women during his time. Due to the subtle big ideas in each drawing, it conveys a passive way that women at that time were. The man was viewed as the head of the house, but realistically the women ran the house. He used his own wife and sister in law as the models for the Gibson Girl.
For me, the chromolithography process is very interesting because of its vast array of uses and for what it meant to the art world. Many argued that the prints (often reproductions of paintings) were not even considered art, for they were cheaply and easily made, thus detracting from their value. As evidenced by Prang’s successful business, there were others who were very fond of the process and its application to famous works of art.The process was used in a variety of ways including the aforementioned art prints, playing cards, posters, and as we see here, product labels. Though relatively simple, the labels are bright, multicolored, and easy-to-read. They do exactly what they’re supposed to do: attract attention to a product, therefore creating competition. Packaging is a very interesting area of graphic design. It must organize images and typography with the primary goal of selling a product. It must represent the brand’s identity and personality, while drawing in consumers, who are bombarded with hundreds of choices. A really cool blog concerning product packaging: www.TheDieline.com
As a fan of Honore Daumier's work, it is no wonder that Thomas Nast's political cartoons caught my eye. Hailed as the greatest political cartoonist of the 19th century, his illustrations opened the way for political cartoonists to come. His work also affected political and daily life as we know it. It was Nast who came up with the idea of using animals to represent political parties; an idea which has stood the test of time. His iconic and metaphorical images honestly and openly depicted the the way things were within society. Nast was not only skilled in the art of depiction, but he had a way to boldly communicate what he felt was necessary through his depictions. His images of Boss Tweed as a corrupt and selfish politician eventually led to Tweed's arrest and imprisonment for corruption. Nast's work, and Daumier's, very effectively combine communication and imagery.
Thomas Nast’s political cartoons from the 19th century piqued my interest because of his skill in illustration as well as his use of humor, irony, and satire. His cartoons have contributed to the American political system, as he developed the Donkey and Elephant as representations for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively. What really drew me to his work was the fact that the other day a news program was talking about Tina Fey’s impersonation of vice-presidential nominee Governor Palin on Saturday Night Live. They were questioning whether her impeccable impersonation would negatively sway voters’ opinions of Palin. Nast set the foundation for this type of entertainment/propaganda. While Nast is praised for his campaign against the Tweed Ring, some of his work is extremely controversial because of his bigotry and nativist views. His works depicting Irish Immigrants, African Americans and Catholics are extremely controversial. Regardless of the subject matter, he was a master at effectively communicating a message through his illustrations, which after about one hundred and fifty years preserve his unique style.
I was most struck by the anonymous reporting of the Civil War probably because as we've discussed in class and via blog, images speak volumes. Images are the realization of the non-spoken, non-language element to human communication and have a power all their own. The image itself isn't as accurate as the type of photographic images that we see today but the photographers able to capture the essence of the scene before him in a way that one might not even be able to illustrate as well. When you sketch something you tend to tweak it or perfect it or dramatize it. Say like a Norman Rockwell, I think that he really was a great master of graphic design and so influential and amazing but his quiet images were perfected and tweaked into something that was so far from yet so symbolic of reality. That photographic image of the war is raw. Similarly, Eadweard Muybridge's series of photographs of horses, dancers, etc capture what the human eye cannot; movement. I also really enjoyed Steichen's 'Pond' photograph. There is an element in it that kind of reminds me of Cezanne's 'Bathers'. It’s interesting how the images transpose time, like Owen Jones, color plate from 'The Grammar of Ornament.' This record of design motifs from differing cultures is something that I'm sure we've all seen resemblances of them in fashion, interior design, etc. It’s also strangely reassuring to see the Harper’s sullen dynasty since even in my first journalism course back in the early 90s we were discussing the same issue of such a small portion of the population (now corporations) have such a huge influence on the information (or propaganda) of society. And this is a free press society, HA! And here we are approaching the age of enormous financial monopolies. My apologies for getting off track.
I think Gibson's work was the one I found more intriguing. The way he worked and the delicate lines and small details he used to express his message were wonderful. Very simple work but with a lot of emotion behind it. I thought his piece "The First Quarrel" was incredibly well made and it is a very cleverly executed illustration. I think this piece definitely portrays the beliefs during those times and its message gets across in a subtle put interesting way. I think his work can be seen as moral tales and the fact that it has some sort of erotic overtones, makes it even more fascinating because of the time they were done and the beliefs during those times. Also, I thought Howard Pyle's work was astounding. I thought his pieces have great emotional effect on the viewer and the colors he used and the way he depicted things showed great passion and drama. The “Flying Dutchman” impacted me a lot for its colors and all that emotion and visual excitement that seems to be occurring in the piece. Absolutely understand why he revolutionized illustration and is considered one of the finest illustrators in America.
I really enjoyed looking at Thomas Nast's politcal cartoons. I was especially interested in the fact that he was the one that developed the representations for the democratic and political parties, which i did not know. My favourite was the "Amercian River Ganges" illustration. I found it to be very clever and meticulously illustrated. This clearly communicates Nast's anti-catholic and nativists beliefs that he was so popularly known for.Never afraid to communicate what his beliefs or thoughts were, his illustrations were also instrumental in the downfall and arrest of Boss Tweed. The Spanish officials were actually able to identify Boss Tweed and arrest him by using one of Nast's cartoons.Thomas Nast has paved the way for many political cartoonist's and his own illustrations have endured to this day. He has set the bar very high.-Giovanna Garcia-
Continuing with what Jess Page was saying, I find that the process of chromolithography is an incredible process. Though, I disagree that they were not cheaply and easily made, at first. The more complicated images took many layers to create (or recreate a painting). As time went on, they became more and more cheaply made, but were used as a marketing tool for artists on the rise. I found it interesting that many artists used it as a means of becoming well-known, by reproducing their work through chromolithography. Today, they are a collectors item and are very valuable, but while they were being produced in the late 19th century, many argued that they lacked “authenticity,” as an oil-painting. Whether or not they are considered authentic, they were used as a tool to bring interest and fame to emerging artists of the time, growing their popularity in order to sell an original piece for a greater price. The importance of the chromolithograph, is that is created a greater availability of art to the general public that would not have had the chance to view original works. It also gave many advertising and packaging designers a chance to create ‘works of art’ in the commercial world, creating a cheaper (but not cheap) way to reproduce images.
In response to Stephanie’s post, I do not believe that society has overcome its xenophobia, and doubt it ever will. This tendency people have to criticize the foreign or unknown has traversed all of the arts, including music. There were times during the early development of jazz music were it was met with great opposition due to its stray from the typical music theory structure laid out by classical music. Even within different jazz movements, such as bebop, post-bop, and avant-garde jazz, many musicians denied there being, “substance” within these movements. I believe xenophobia was most prevalent during the Red Scare. This was a time where most Americans had a great fear of socialism and anarchy, which was apparent in the political cartoons of the time. For example, Herbert Block’s cartoons depicting the effect of McCarthyism on society were simplistic yet carried a heavy message. One of his cartoons, which depict a man labeled ‘hysteria’ climbing up to douse the flame on the statue of liberty signifies how this wide spread panic over the possible spread of this foreign political ideal was removing liberties from this country’s citizens.
I found Muybridge to be the most unique artist of all the posts. The idea of taking a series of photographs and putting them together to create motion was genius. This whole idea reminds me of looking at flipbooks as a child since I was always captivated by those. The whole concept of motion is illustrated through Muybridge's work in a similar fashion as to the flipbooks. It is interesting to see the different subjects that Muybridge uses for his work. I found the galloping buffalo to be interesting because it isn't normally seen. What is great about this form of art is that it can constantly be in motion since he captures the movements of the subject in a full loop so that the motion continues perpetually.
When going shopping for groceries or even clothes, whatever is the most visually appealing item is what usually grabs your eye and even in most cases, you purchase. Looking at the package designs chormolithographed on products with such standout bright colors probably did wonders for advertising and most likely improved business just because of the label. Just by looking at the items, the wide range of color on the labels make it interesting for me, the use of colors and accents as well as type is so key in these advertisements/product labels. The other advertisement that stuck out for me was the Saw Log Tobacco ad because of its symbolism as well as the vivid color and texture in the illustration. Its symbolism with smoke everywhere, in the pipes, the chimney, and the cooking pot show that it is a working luxury and equals the good life. It’s funny that these advertisements existed and were promoted as well as tobacco even though today we understand it to be a life threatening choice, here they glorify the thought of smoking saw log tobacco and only the working man who has had such a hard day on the land should indulge in this pleasure
The post "Anonymous Reportage" really interested me. The photograph of the civil war is intriguing and horrifying at once.. I am glad that visual evidence in the form of photographs from the worst domestic conflict to date exists. Taking a picture was more laborious and time consuming than today's automatic and digital climate where one can simply point and shoot. The photographers who risked taking shots of the civil war understood these images were of immense historical importance. It got me thinking about how the tradition of war photography has really been minimized since Vietnam. While photojournalists and photographers still risk their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan today, as well other areas of the world, hardly any real images from combat or of casualties make it into mainstream corporate newspapers or networks. You know what they say- out of sight, out of mind. These images, although painful, should be seen. I firmly believe that seeing more images of the war would ultimately lead to a healthier, more informed and engaged public.Please check out this site: http://www.zoriah.net/blog/Not only is the content powerful but the photography is simply amazing as well.
I was attracted by the post “Early advertising”. My major was Advertisement when I was an undergraduate student. I have watched many advertisements and I found much effective advertising that usually used three kinds of image to attract consumers. There are women, children, and animals. Because women, children and animals are the emblems of beauty and chastity, they could reduce the distance between consumers and the products. For example, when we saw the images of the woman and owl in the “Early advertising”, we felt much friendliness and acceptable. I believe that a good advertisement must first be a good image which could attract consumers and then leave great impression in their minds. I think advertising is a kind of design with a commercial purpose. So enjoy advertisements and enjoy designs!
I also found Charles Dana Gibson’s work to be appealing. Lauren and Ileana both discussed the subtleties of his images, and I think that this is the crucial aspect that makes his work enjoyable for a large audience. Each picture forces a double take on the viewer. Initially, there is a sort of unthinking acceptance of the image. The combination of the perfection of his line, the femininity he portrays with lavish curls and costuming, and the ideal body shape of the Gibson Girl give the viewer an initial impression of the traditional woman. Upon further inspection, the viewer senses the flirty independence brewing within his female characters. Gibson’s brilliancy lies in his ability to walk this fine line between femininity and feminism. Yes, his women are all dressed up- the corsets are still there. Contrary to this, however, they are surrounded by men whom they seem to have the upper hand over. They’re not engaging in suffrage protests or anything too overt, but be it with skill, wit, intellect, or simple charm, these women seem to surpass equality and approach superiority! The success of these images is that they are executed with humor and subtlety and therefore, do not offend.
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