Archive for June, 2009

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

June 30, 2009

Ludwig Van Beethoven
5th Symphony
Composed 1804-1808
First Performance: Vienna Theatre

As a demand from the middle class for music that is accessible, recognizable, and   serious began to grow, composures began to stray away from aristocratic patrons.  The composures became more of a free-lance performer, willing to perform for any one who demanded.  The middle class had a very large demand for the organized sound of classical music.  Music was not only an intellectual pursuit, but became more understandable, and therefore developed into two forms: the sonata, and the symphony.  Beethoven’s 5th symphony included all the major elements demanded by the middle class.  Not only was symphony just pleasant to the ears, but it was also a visual performance.  Watching an entire multitude of people perform in unison, working as a team, to create a most beautiful melody must be an amazing site.  The 5th symphony follows the strict four-movement organization that makes up a symphony.  This structure was very appealing to the middle class.  For the middle class, it was almost a two for one, a performing group and a form of music.  The structure of a symphony gave the middle class something to rely on.  They could predict and appreciate music without having the musical education of the aristocratic upper class.  It allowed everyone to both enjoy and feel connected to.  The 5th symphony was once described as “the most important work of the time” (E.T.A Hoffman).


David and Goliath, by Caravaggio

June 21, 2009


David and Goliath
Italian Painter Caravaggio
Undated, oil on canvas, Madrid

The Council of Trent had an enormous impact upon the arts.  This impact is seen through the creation of David and Goliath, by Caravaggio.  The Council of Trent provided some specific guidelines art must abide by: art must be easily understood, dramatic, emotional, and was meant to inspire spiritual fervor.  The depiction of David removing Goliaths head can’t be made any more clearly.  According to the Bible, David was just a boy who was able to overcome the Philistine champion Goliath with Gods help.  The boy in the painting does indeed look very young, as well as confident, like he has some sort of spiritual protection.  Goliath looks just as I would imagine him to be.  I think most people have heard the story of David and Goliath.  The only way someone wouldn’t understand is if they had never read the bible or heard the passage.  The painting is also very dramatic.  The detail is a little overwhelming at first.  David has just slain Goliath and is now removing his head.  Goliaths eyes are rolled back into his head, and the cut on his head where the stone hit him is still bleeding.  When viewing this painting, many emotions are drawn to the surface.  One imagines his/ her self in David’s place, thinking about how much courage it must have been to offer to fight Goliath.  Although David knew God was on his side, still it would have been nerve wracking.  I’m sure those who view this painting are reminded that if they place their trust in God, they will be protected by him.
I really enjoy this painting because of my background.  I was raised in a Christian home and have heard this story many times.  It makes me feel powerful that I have God to help me through hard times.  I also enjoy just taking the painting in.  The detail is very amazing.  I think Caravaggio hit the nail on the head with the characters appearances.

Bosch- The Last Judgment

June 9, 2009

The Last Judgment is a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch created sometime after 1482.


Many aspects of the humanism philosophy are found within The Last Judgment, by Bosch.  Humanism is the belief in the worth of the individual as studied by the Greeks.  It was a celebration of human achievement.  Humanism emphasized reason, physical beauty and spirit. According to, humanism is defined as “a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.” Most noticeably, it seems as if everyone on earth is naked, where everyone in heaven is clothed.  Seeing as how humanism often rejects the importance in God, it somewhat elevates mankind above God.  Mankind’s body is beautiful enough to be clothed whereas those in heaven require robes.  Another approach shows a different light.  Humanism is the triumph of the human spirit.  Those on earth reveal their bodies just as their sins are revealed, their humanity is very evident.  However those in heaven are covered up and have become something more.
I really enjoy all the detail involved in this piece.  The first part on the left seems fairly lighthearted, except for the angel chasing Adam and Eve out of the garden.  The middle part is extremely violent.  In it dark creatures are reaking havoc upon humanity destroying everything, while those in heaven are praising God, rejoicing in their salvation.  On the left there is no heaven, only hell, in which the humans are being tortured.