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Some of My Favorite Works of Art, Part V

  • Jan 26, 2010
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This is my fifth and final list in this series, which I created to showcase my favorite pieces of art.
Lists 1, 2, 3, and 4 can be viewed here. In creating these lists, I tried to give a sampling of my diverse and eclectic tastes. I've covered different styles and movements including Renaissance, post-impressionism, realism, Pre-Raphaelite, expressionism, surrealism, etc.. In the past I organized my lists (somewhat) based upon their themes and artists. Here I basically abandoned that approach and pretty much set up a free-for-all.
As with my prior lists, this one is not placed into any order of preference and I've included very brief explanations as to why I've placed each piece on the list.
Nosferatu (film artwork)
It should come as no surprise that I should top off my final art list (of this series) with the artwork for my favorite film, Nosferatu. Albin Grau's conceptual drawings and promotional posters are classic examples of modern film art and are highly collectible, not to mention extraordinarily rare. Grau took his inspiration from a number of different sources including the growing genre of expressionism, 17th, 18th, and 19th century romantic and Gothic art, as well as medieval frescoes and engravings.
Viva Che
Jim Fitzpatrick's classic and iconic image of Argentinian Communist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. This is the original version, which was done in 1968, and was later pirated in a Warhol-inspired montage by Gerard Malanga. However, it is this version which remains the most memorable and has been reprinted perhaps more than any other image in the last half century.
The Fate of the Animals
A powerful indictment of violence and industrial progress at the expense of nature. One of my favorite expressionist images.
Natural Encounters
Truly bizarre and classic all at once. Magritte's use of strange mannequins was common during his days, but he was certainly the master at giving them personality. Truly bizarre and classic all at once. Magritte's use of strange mannequins was common during his days, but he was certainly the master at giving them personality.
The Death of the Grave-Digger
One of the most extraordinary paintings I have ever seen! Beautiful, ominous, and poetic, the painting depicts a dark female angel (the Angel of Death) releasing the soul from a grave-digger's body. Truly awesome!
The Flying Dutchman
Howard Pyle's greatest painting!!! Growing up, I was terrified of this image and now it's my favorite artistic depiction of the legendary ghost captain and his crew. Awesome!
The Funeral (Dedication to Oskar Panizza)
One of my favorite modern paintings. A perfect, anarchic expression of dislike for all institutions and forms of authority.
Two Young Girls (The Beautiful Rosine)
Another incredible Wiertz image! This one is perhaps even more mysterious and disturbing than The Premature Burial because it adds a hint of eroticism, in addition to the fear of death. Dark and gloomy, but also beautiful.
An unusually orthodox image for Escher, but I suppose that his creativity was probably progressive and he had to start somewhere. I do love the over all simplicity and almost medieval style to this particular image, though.
Sunset at Ivy
A post-impressionistic painting showing the results of the Industrial Revolution, as a beautiful sunset is tainted by a thick cloud of pollution emanating from an industrial factory.
The Three Stages of Woman
Munch's unusual symbolic work that shows three different periods in a woman's life. There's been some debate among artistic scholars as to exactly what three stages of womanhood they are. The first two are self-explanatory, since they are clearly childhood, womanhood (note the sense of sexual freedom that the intermediate woman appears to be experiencing), but the third phase is a little less clear... Some say that it is widowhood, which explains the black garbs, yet not the other figure on the far left. However, others say that it represents death and the other figure is that of a mourner.
Portrait of Mäda Primavesi
This should come as no surprise that I would top off my final list of artwork with the conceptual art of my favorite film, Nosferatu. Grau's designs were interesting in that he was inspired by a number of different sources. One of them was the growing genre of German Expressionism, while another was the Gothic and Romantic art of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. He also took inspiration from his old medieval drawings.
Day of the Dead
Rivera's atmospheric and stylized portrayal of the Mexican holiday is so alarmingly real in mood and full of Hispanic culture. I love the skulls!
Hand with Reflecting Sphere
One of the all-time great Escher images. This one is more simplistic in that it doesn't contain a physical or mathematical contradiction, but it is beautifully drawn, particularly the sphere which looks quite real.
We Can Do It!
This classic piece of American propaganda from WWII is commonly mistaken with Rosie the Riveter, but perhaps what is so interesting is that when people talk of Rosie the Riveter they usually picture this image.
Freedom of Speech
Rockwell's painting was part of a four part series known as the Freedom Series. This particular image resonates most with me, mainly because it shows a less idealized portrait of America and it displays the power of the individual as well as the community.
Rosie the Riveter
The official Rosie the Riveter, by Norman Rockwell. Not quite as empowering, but certainly entertaining.
The Black Flag
Magritte's strangely futuristic and ominous depiction of flying machines made from mundane, everyday objects.
La Grande Odalisque
Jean Auguste Domique Ingres' painting was harshly criticized by realist painters who said that it was anatomically incorrect due to the unusual length of the woman's spine. In actuality, this was entirely intentional on Ingres' part since he elongated her back for a more alluring pose.
Moroccan Landscape
Gorgeous colors and texture. You can almost hear the jungle animals.
One of Escher's signature images. I love this one because of the misleading and impossible passage of the water. Escher was a genius when it came to designing impossible architecture that could only exist in a two-dimensional image.
Newspaper Seller
Chagall's astoundingly personal painting of a humble newspaper salesman. At once, this painting is both heartbreaking. Clearly, the newspaper salesman is poor and desperate. I love the colors.
Sacred and Profane Love
Titian's classic Renaissance painting of a newlywed sitting with Cupid and Venus. Lovely tones and texture.
The Last Moments of John Brown
A beautiful and touching painting of slave abolitionist John Brown being escorted to the gallows.
The Castle in the Air
A great Escher image that is highly evocative and reminds me of various myths about floating mountains with unreachable fortresses on top of them. Done in a simple, but memorable style.
The Fall of Man
Sort of a sequel to Escher's Paradise, this time detailing humanity's fall from grace. Very stylized and cleanly designed, which is a contrast to what the story of the picture is all about.
Lichtenstein's famous image has been thought by some to be a reproduction of a comic book panel, and although it was inspired by a real scene, the image is actually an original. Also, it has caused some controversy, because there's been some question as to whether it glorifies violence or is making an ironic statement about society's violent tastes.
Pirate William Kidd Burying Treasure on Oak Island
One of those classic pirate images that makes you want to head out on an adventure on the seas and travel to exotic islands to find buried treasure. One the one hand it captures the essence of a child's fantasy of what a pirate's life would be like, but it also hints at the darker, more violent reality.
Madame de Pompadour Standing at Her Dressing Table
A graceful and delicate Rococo portrait that places a great deal of emphasis on the facial features.
Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour
Another wonderful Boucher portrait of Madame de Pompadour. I love the shade of pink used on her dress.
St. Joseph, the Carpenter
One of those paintings that manages to be beautiful and somehow off-putting. I love the use of color , lighting, and the facial expressions, but the two characters seem as though they belong to two different paintings.
The Dream of St. Joseph
The colors, lighting, and facial expressions here are still astounding, yet this painting, unlike the other, manages to seem more complete. Lovely.
Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera
A visual metaphor for the immediacy and brevity of passion. Lovely colors.
The Devil and Tom Walker
A great example of American art and its reflection of American folklore.
What can I say? This is just awe-inspiring.

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February 01, 2010
A nice collection as usual. I'm not so muc into Baroque etc myself.
February 02, 2010
Yeah, you mentioned that you didn't care for the Rococo stuff and that evolved out of the Baroque, so I'm not that surprised. What did you think of #2, and 15-17?
February 03, 2010
I hate 15 & 17, 2 never did much for me although I admit it's a strong image.
February 03, 2010
Why do you hate 15 & 17?
February 03, 2010
Because I dislike it intensely, that's usually what the word means.
February 03, 2010
Yes, but what element of those two inspires such intense dislike? Is it the style, the artist, the colors, what?
February 03, 2010
You name an aspect of it and I'm sure that I dislike it.
February 03, 2010
They're feminist portrayals of strong women.
February 03, 2010
Okay. That doesn't mean that I have to like them as works of art does it?
February 03, 2010
No, I was just trying to find an element that you couldn't complain about.
; )
Truth be told, I'm in one of those moods where I need a good laugh or else my day is just going to look awful in retrospect.
February 03, 2010
You're probably looking in the wrong place. All I can think about right now is how hungry I am. I need to go downstairs and get something to eat...and find out what the hell it is Fred is yowling about now. He's the most talkative cat I've ever know.
February 03, 2010
Maybe he wants to watch a movie. Our neighbor had a cat that would yowl if someone turned off the TV.
February 03, 2010
Who knows? He has a tremendous number of different sounds that he makes and most of them are very loud. The fact that he's making these noises downstairs could mean that our furry little rodent buddy is back or that he wants fresh water in his bowl or he's run out of food or he wants to be petted and he's just too lazy to come upstairs or--
February 03, 2010
You need to go to one of those pet psychology classes so you can better understand which noise means what. They really have classes like that and supposedly they work.
February 03, 2010
Fred needs to see a psychologist. He has issues.
February 03, 2010
LMAO! That just sounds so funny. Not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm picturing Garfield lying on a couch in a shrink's office and trying to figure out why he has no motivation beyond kicking Odie off the table and eating lasagna.
February 03, 2010
He's be too afraid. He's bee cringing UNDER the couch, and at the end of the session we wouldn't be able to take him home because all 20 claws would be desperatly snagged in the carpet.
January 27, 2010
Love this, Sean! This has got to be your most diverse list yet. Don't let it be your final! ;)
January 27, 2010
It's my last list of drawings, paintings, and the traditional 2-D works of art. It's not my last list ever, though. I'm still hoping that of the 200 plus data points I've added for works of art that other people will make their own lists too. Will you do one? I'd even help set up any data points that you'd need.
January 26, 2010
# 5 should be # 1 BOOOO!! Biased! (kidding) # 19 is just so cool. Thanks for the list!
January 26, 2010
No problem. I think you'll really like #35 once I've posted a better image and check out #6 and 7 in detail. Pretty cool.
January 26, 2010
I'll be uploading a higher quality image of #35 if I can find one.
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