JR project 2

After the first JR project failed miserably, I almost gave up on following my theme of my blog “Vanitas symbols and memento mori, the meanings of the objects ” but I decided to give it another chance. ONE MORE CHANCE!

Fortunately, the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition was in Tokyo. And the title was… believe it or not “MEMENTO MORI”, guess I have to go check it out!


Lets start with the brief story about Mapplethorpe.

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in New York 1946. Studied and got his degree at the Pratt institute. Started working on photo projects in the early 70s. And became famous for the portraits of powerful and famous individuals. During the 80s, Mapplethorpe switched his focus to still-lifes, such as flowers. Died in Boston 1989 from AIDS.


This particular exhibition was held at Chanel due to the collector/ owner of the works being Peter Marino, a world known architect. The exhibition was made from more than 90works. AND the entrance fee was free!! Good job Chanel. The exhibition was separated in to three sections. The space was much bigger than I initially thought it was going to be. Of course all of his works were in black and white. I have previously seen his works in books and on the Internet but seeing his works gave it so much more depth to it. I would have to say my favorites had to be the flower still lifes, especially the “Tulip”. The amazingly constructed still-life gave both the movement and the motionlessness, a connection but not quite. It a confusing in a positive way kind of photo to me. I just felt like my feet just stopped moving in front of the work.


Mapplethorpe was a wizard/ genius. That is pretty much it. The black in white photos spoke more to me than many color photo exhibitions I have been to this past year. And I will say it again… IT WAS FREE!!

Food and art 2

WWII took place during the Showa period (1926 CE – 1989 CE) in Japan. The war during this period lead to lack of manpower which eventually affected the food industry. The lack of food became an emerging problem that grew as the war went on. Food stamps became the main style of purchasing food. Food such as rice, which was normally the main food source for Japanese people, was not always an option; the potato’s harvested for preparation of famine became important. After the war, Supreme Commander U.S. General Douglas MacArthur brought lead the GHQ (General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) along with food to Japan. The photo of “Give me chocolate” appears in many Japanese history books where the starving Japanese kids reach out to the GHQ solders handing out chocolate. Throughout the war, using western food, words and clothing were thought to be a betrayal to Japan. But after the war the idea turned around leading to the thought of western culture being accepted and even superior in some way. Bread and Milk was even provided at schools. As the people began to reconstruct Japan, the ministry of welfare set a recommended nutrition one should consume. In the late Showa period, technology began to boom throughout the country leading to the development of refrigerators and frozen food, the first instant Chinese noodles and instant coffee also popped up during this time. Convenient food and fast food restaurants settled in Japan causing massive damage to the rice industry.

During this time now, the way we consume food has drastically changed from how it was a few decades ago. Modern technology has changed the way we consume food. Freeze-dry technology, the development of microwaveable food, machinery for mass production could be seen as development, but at the same time other problems begin to surface such as health issues coming from too much consumption of additives and chemicals. Eating has become easy access to many people now days but problems still exist. Some may say that art and food have become closer in the Japanese culture. Between the plastic foods for every display in Japan to the well constructed art like meals. As the population became wealthier the time and the money one spends on money grew. Humans seek change and development to make life nicer and easier. Maybe one day soon we would be eating like the movie “back to the future. Who knows?

Throughout history Japanese people developed a way to mix different cultures and some how making it uniquely Japanese. First starting with the Chinese culture, Korean, the influence from the Silk Road, the European and the American influence. From the so called Japanese food to the high-end French restaurants, Chanel to Uniqlo, Hokushyū to Rene Magritte, Disney to Ghibli the influence is seen everywhere even today. The Japanese is the Melting pot of culture and cuisine.

female artists during the baroque period.

it was difficult for female to have a career during the older times.

weather it was a career as a writer, politician,or to have any kind of public  power. This is a story about a female artist who was accused of adultery, put on trial and moved on with her life becoming  a famous artist despite all of the negativity.

Artemisia Gentaleschi did not get the credit she deserved during her life time. Nether the many Caravaggio followers. Artemisia has received a lot of attention during recent 25year. But the attention is mostly towards the link between her social life ( how she was raped at a young age and was betrayed by the man she trusted) and her artwork. But not many people focused on her as a young unmarried female artist struggling to become a known artist during the early 17th century in Rome.

Artemisias social situation was drastically different from other female artists in Rome at that time. For example Lavina Fontana a female artist with a high reputation in Rome, was bourn to Prospero : a successful wealthy Bolognese painter during the third quarter of the cinquecento. Prospero had a studio where pupils could study anatomy. Lavina had no access to the studio, but had access to a collection of antiques. Lavina became a portrait artist and a history painter securing commissions for a number of alter pieces. Compared to Lavina, Artemisia had many limitations until the highly publicised rape trial 1612. Since artimisia rarely got a chance to go outside, her relationship with the outside world was limited. She went to mass at Santa maria delpopolo, there she saw the paintins by Caravaggio, Quoril took her to the church where her father and tassi were working ( palazzo del quirinale) there she saw Guido reni’s fresco in the paple chapel. Artemisia having a rare career for a woman at that time. She had barely any access to paintings by other artists—in studios, or in situ. She was illiterate because of being a female at that age. But even at a young age, her paintings were extremely powerful. Her father who seems like an overly protective and actually provided her with patrons. Many of her paintings ended up in the spada gallery.  The Spada Madonna was probably the painting that convinced Orarizio to make his daughter in to a history painter.

The Susanna and the elders could be the tangible sign of the decision her father made. The anatomical persision, the contrast of texture, the light striking susanna’s body. One could say the painting is more accomplished than Judith slaying holofarnes.

As a motherless child, Orarizio who was a poor man struggling to get minimal recognition in Rome, raised Artimisia. Around 1611, Orarizio’s art was profoundly influenced by Caravaggio and guido reni turning to the reformed mannerist style obsecrating nature and painting directly from the models. Orarizio did not have many friends and kept distance from many influential patrones who had the power and money to commotion large pieces.

continue to the next article-


Narcissus the sad narcissist 2

The image was created without any preparation drawings like most of Caravaggio’s painting. The texture of rough brush strokes can be seen in the darker sections of the painting such as in the shadows on the arm and the knee. The breaking of decorum can be seen especially on the clothing where Caravaggio uses clothes from the 1600s instead of what Narcissus would have been actually wearing during the ancient Greek period. The same breaking of decorum can be seen in Caravaggio’s Calling of Saint Matthew where the young boys in the foreground are painted with clothing’s from the 16th century.

The Painting contains breaking the rules of decorum as seen in numerous paintings of Caravaggio. The clothing of Narcissus for example, the shirt with the large sleeves and the tights are not drawn from the stories of Ovid’s Metamorphosis which was based on Ancient Greek stories. Caravaggio eliminates the background by using extreme light known as tenablism to cover the scenery which is an element not seen in most paintings where the subject was Ovid’s metamorphosis.  The playful stories of the loves and drama between the ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses are typically represented lighter colors and backgrounds filled with nature.

Caravaggio’s painting seems to depict the moment in which Narcissus first glances at the reflection and falls in love with his self. The young boy curiously looks into the water almost as though he is trying to figure out what it is that catches his own eyes. Narcissus bends down, getting closer to the water, almost as though he is trying to kiss his own reflection. The painting gives the audience an ephemeral feeling. There is something like what one would feel when seen a young kid on the edge of a building, a very nervous feeling. Normally Narcissus is portrayed as a symbol as self-love and narcissistic but the Narcissus in Caravaggio’s painting seems more toward sadness of not being able to love anyone except for himself. Sorrow towards knowing that the one thing he wants more than anything is something he will never poses.

As an audience, the part that one would like to focus is the face of Narcissus, but because Caravaggio focuses the strong beam of light from the top left, Narcissus’s face is not as clear as one would like it to be. The Reflection in the water looks more towards the audience than it should, but the ingenious use of light prevents the audience from seeking a clear look at the face. Instead of the face, which would be seen by most people as more important, the shoulder and the knee of the boy are clearly drawn. One could assume Caravaggio purposefully made adjustments like this to place some space for each audience to have one’s own idea.

Though the Narcissus painting does not contain significant importance compared to other paintings by Caravaggio, the beautiful boy with the face with sorrow, confusion curiosity takes the breath away from those who gaze the art piece. No matter how small the significant of this particular painting was, the name Caravaggio will always remain with great influence and importance.

Color, and the psychology behind it, is very important to the field of marketing. In fact, researchers have found that up to 90% of impulse judgements on products can be made based on color (Impact of Color in Marketing, Satyendra Singh). Colors influence how buyers view the personality of a brand when they are shopping. Other studies show that consumers prefer recognizable brands, so of course color is key in making sure a company creates a strong brand identity. Let’s take a look at some colors, and what they mean for marketers:

Red: This color can be associated with many things, such as power, urgency, anger, and appetite. But also warmth and passion. Great for brands to give a sense of excitement and passion, among other things.

Blue: Peace, water, reliability, security, productivity. This color is great from creating a sense of safety and trustworthiness.

Green: Often associated with being environmentally friendly, or nature and health in general. It’s goal is to stimulate harmony.

Black: Can be associated with power, strength, intelligence, and even authority.

These are just a few examples, but every color has a few popular general associations. However, it is important to remember that as a marketer, one can’t just use the broad meanings and hope they apply to every consumer. Personal experiences and culture can play a large factor in how people receive these colors psychologically. Different times of the year, or different situations can cause colors to have totally different meanings. We can see this in the color Brown, for example. If a company that creates camping gear uses brown in their marketing, we are likely to associate the color with ruggedness. If it is Thanksgiving, we may see brown as a color that is warm and inviting. Or maybe the product is chocolate, and the darkness of the brown may be associate with the richness or quality of the chocolate.
It’s helpful to look at how some brands put these colors to use:

• Fanta: Fanta Orange makes up 70% of Fanta’s sales, despite having many other flavors and colors of Fanta available to consumers. Is this because of taste? Probably in part, at least. However, Orange is often perceived as a cheerful and warm color, and is often used to grab the attention of impulse shoppers who are drawn to bright colors.

• Coca-Cola: This brand uses Red and White very powerfully, to invoke a feeling of boldness, passion, and warmth, as well as to create a “classic” image of Americana. Coke’s use of colors are so powerful that they are the reason Santa Clause’s colors changed from green in the 1800’s to Red and White in the past century.

• Starbucks: Starbucks uses green to convey a sense of natural quality and health in their drinks, as well as an environmentally friendly attitude. They also use it as a way to create a comfortable image for their “third space” marketing. This “third space” refers to a place belonging to the consumer, outside of home and work.

There are hundreds of thousands of companies, and therefore endless brands using colors that we could examine. Next time you’re out shopping or eating, think about how you perceive the colors of the brands you are consuming or avoiding…you may come to some interesting conclusions!


Food and art

For as long as humans have existed, food and art were apart of life. Thinking back to the ancient times people always needed food to survive, while in almost all of the civilization some type of art existed. The art form may be a painting on the wall to pottery for preserving food but art always existed side by side to the human society. Out of all of the cultures exist on planet earth this essay discusses the correlation between the eating culture and art in Japan.

During the Meiji period (1868 CE – 1912) the trading between the foreign countries restarted. Japan became open to the idea of mixing the western, European culture with the Japanese leading to the unique culture seen today. As the foreign culture came back, meat eating resurfaced as a part of the eating culture. Beef nabe (cattle pot) became popular during this time as the meat gained popularity. Western cuisine became more common. Japanese began to write books and develop western food. As the western food developed the consumption of rice in a household was reduced to the average of 53%. Girls attending school were taught the basics of cooking as a step of becoming what was considered at the time to be a good wife. Thiamine Deficiency otherwise known as “Beriberi” ,which was suspected to exist before the Heian period, became a large problem around this time due to the diet of mainly rice that does not contain vitamin B1(thiamin) needed to produce enough protein to maintain an healthy body leading to killing over ten to thirty thousand people every year. Beriberi was especially common among solders leading to the shifting of popular carbohydrates from rice to bread. The high consumption of beef led to a shortage resulting in a higher production and use of pork in food. The western influence towards food boomed during this period leading to production and consumption of western sweets, which use cream and butter not seen in traditional Japanese pastries. The Combination of western and Japanese food became to form the popular cuisine seen today. Photo studios became popular during this time as the western influences regain popularity. The photography from this period shows the mix of culture from the hairstyle to the clothes.

The first National institution of nutrition was set up during the Taishyou period (1912 CE – 1926 CE). Studying and spreading the idea of better eating was introduce during this brief period. The rise in price and Shortage of rice lead to the need to substitute the main carbohydrate to potato and bread. Western cuisine became popular among households because of the shift of the main crop.



Narcissus the sad narcissist

The painting titled Narcissus by Caravaggio is inspired by the scripture from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. This piece was finished in 1597, relatively earlier in Caravaggio’s career as an artist. The owner of the painting was traced back to a childhood friend of cardinal Del Monte, the Giordani Family of Pesaro.

Thus one could suggest that this painting was done for cardinal Del Monte, who was one of Caravaggio’s biggest supporters.  The paintings subject comes from one of the many tails in Metamorphosis by Ovid. Narcissus, the only character in the painting staring down into his own reflection with an expression which could indicate sorrow from painful love.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio commonly known as Caravaggio was born in 1571. Known for the realistic paintings usually drawn with a dark color scheme and new interpretations of old subjects.  Due to the lack of traditional interpretation towards old subjects, Caravaggio’s commissioned paintings were often removed from churches. Cardinal Del Monte saw the beauty and magnificent quality of the painting later on becoming one of Caravaggio’s biggest supporter. Caravaggio had a large influence on the later so called Caravaggisti artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi and her father Orazio Gentileschi whom saw the beauty in the details and the darkness.

The image of Narcissus depicts a young boy gazing at his own reflection in the water. The young boy, Narcissus, is drawn with attention to detail in a beautiful form. He seems to be in his early teens, he is wearing a puffed sleeve shirt with what seems to be tights. The soft light brown hair embellishes the profile of Narcissus face.  Despite the understanding towards the story behind the painting, the composition could appear rather odd to one’s eye. The composition is centred with Narcissus’s knee, which is strongly lighted. The reflection of Narcissus in the water appears to be older than the young boy looking in, with a more solemn expression. Many of Caravaggio’s paintings are drawn with extreme realism focused on the smallest details. One could understand Caravaggio’s keen eye to seek every feature of the model but somehow Caravaggio succeeds in this not by painting every detail, but by using the audience’s imagination to fill in the scene.  If Caravaggio would come during contemporary time and see how much appreciation and fame he has created throughout his life he would of overjoyed with the credit. The lack of a strong sense of religion in many people in this present time look at Caravaggio’s unusual, both religious and pagan paintings and see that he created the darkness which exist even in the most beautiful settings or stories.

The passage of Narcissus comes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis (III 338-510).

The story of Narcissus begins when he sees a beautiful boy in the water. Contemplating the starry eyes, the strong youthful neck, the beautiful face with rosy cheeks. Knowing the boy in the water is merely a reflection of himself, Narcissus falls in love with the reflection. No matter what Narcissus tried, the boy in the reflection would only copy what Narcissus would do. Torn with sorrow knowing he could never be with his love, Narcissus grew weaker and weaker every second. Narcissus melted gradually by love and soon his body started to disappear. Echo, the goddess who was in love with Narcissus, changed him into a flower near the water.


The gesture of Narcissus is not especially dramatic compared to other baroque paintings, but the body which spreads out to both sides of the painting gives the audience a welcoming feeling, almost as though the audience were in the water looking at Narcissus. Caravaggio often uses this almost theatrical feeling throughout his work as if one were in his painting, seeing and hearing the characters in person. One would think the lack of the background would make the specific sense difficult, but Caravaggio’s ingenious composition makes it possible. No matter how Caravaggio was thought to be an eccentric painter, he was a true genius when it came to connecting the audience with the painting. The clothes, the composition, every element in the painting were a way of the artist communicating with the art piece.



Science, Philosophy and Art 4

The Relationship Between Galileo’s Science and Struggles on Art

Galileo did have some direct influences on art, and his art had influenced his science, as well. He was a trained artist, and thus often drew sketches of his findings and theories, many of which can be found in museums to this day. Many also say that this training as an artist was partly responsible for his discovery of mountains and craters on the moon, and his ability to share that discovery. Because Galileo was experienced in perspective drawing, he had the artist’s eye necessary to decipher the topography of the moon through a telescope, and the ability to convey those images in drawing. Galileo’s story itself also directly influenced artists for centuries after. His trial was painted on many occasions, with artists telling the story of a man who stood firmly in defense of his own beliefs. On such example is a painting of the trial by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury in 1847. The painting depicts Galileo standing heroically before the inquisition and defending his theories.

The debate between theories geocentric and heliocentric theories, or between religion and science can also be seen spilling over into many pieces of art in the Renaissance. Even before Galileo was born, Michelangelo had painted “Creation of Sun, Moon, and Plants” in 1511, depicting a geocentric view of God throwing the sun and moon into orbit (around earth). Galileo and his story has a more directly impacted this trend, on both sides of the debate.

On the heliocentric side of things, Galileo himself made many sketches of the moon, stars, and the solar system, among other scientific drawings. His sketches are popular works of art themselves, often found in museums, and can be purchased around the world today as decoration. Galileo’s scientific findings also influenced the work of other artists. Ludovico Cigoli, an Italian artist and poet, and a friend of Galileo’s, was the first to support Galileo. He often turned to Galileo for philosophical advice on his paintings and sculptures. He painted a fresco supporting Galileo’s views, in the Pauline Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Italy. The painting depicts the Virgin Mary standing on the moon. The moon that Cigoli painted had craters, which was the first explicit sign of support for Galileo in the art world. The fresco was originally titled “The Immaculate Conception”, but because the cratered moon went against the church’s idea of a smooth moon, it was later retitled to “The Assumption of Mary”. A smooth moon was meant to be a symbol of purity, and of the Virgin Mary herself.

There were also works of art created to promote the geocentric theory, and fight the Galileo’s theories. At the time, most paintings were commissioned by the Catholic Church, and therefore the subject of the paintings was usually in support of the church’s views. If one painted in a way the church didn’t approve of, the paintings would often be taken down. Even Caravaggio, one of the master painters during the baroque period, was forced to take certain paintings commissioned from the church down due to the churches dislike, as seen with “Saint Matthew and the Angel”. In 1633, just after Galileo was condemned for his scientific findings, the church commissioned the Jesuit Giovanni Battista Riccioli to do a work of art defending the church’s position on geocentric theory. Riccioli then created a drawing called “Earth as an Immovable Centre of the Universe”. This drawing is full of numerous symbols of the the debate between helio and geocentric theories. On the right side of the picture, we see a woman dress in stars and symbols of the Zodiac, speaking the words “He set the earth on it’s foundations, so that it should never be moved” from the Psalm 8 of the bible. The woman is holding a scale with an arm that says “According to their own weight measured”. The left side depicts heliocentric theory, and the right geocentric theory. The right side is far lower than the left, implying that geocentric theory is superior. The drawing also has the name of God written, as well as God’s hand entering from the top.

Science, Philosophy and Art 3

After 1610, Galileo left Padua, and became the First Philosopher for the Duke of Tuscany, allowing him far more support and time to work on his various projects. On December 17th of the same year, he received a letter from the Roman Society of Jesus, stating that the church had confirmed Galileo’s findings. Pope Paul V invited Galileo to meet in Rome, and insisted on having a face to face conversation, which was an exceptionally generous gesture and huge honor. After being successful in Rome, Galileo felt confident enough to publish letters formally supporting heliocentric theory. Because he wrote his letters in Italian, more than just the scientific and religious communities saw them. The general public, and scholars who followed Aristotle’s teachings were able to see these as well, causing conflict. Cosimo Boscaglia, a professor of philosophy, argued against the idea of Earth’s motion, stating that argued “Although Galileo insists on the movement of the earth, his theory is unreliable, his argument is clearly inconsistent with the writings of the bible and therefore goes against the beliefs of the Christian Church. There for the theory of the earth moving is unlikely.” It is believed that this is what began the conflict between the Church and Galileo’s discoveries.

Because of the importance religion held at the time, the debate became one of Bible scripture, though Galileo was only concerned with proving his point of view scientifically. Some of the popular bible verses used included Joshua 10 (“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.”), and Psalm 93 (“the world also is established, that it cannot be moved”). Galileo believed that the Bible was the word of God, and nature was also made according to the divine command of God. He claimed that his findings were of nature, and that if the Bible seemed to contradict science, it was only because they bible was not yet understood fully.

This conflict continued, and eventually the Pope withdrew his support of Galileo, ordering him to sign a paper saying that he would give up on the idea of a heliocentric solar system. Galileo was forced to abandon his studies and any further investigation, and was no longer allowed to teach his ideas. Refusal would result in severe punishment. Galileo was not quiet, appealing the ban and rebelling, leading to him being put on trial many times. He was eventually placed under house arrest, where he continued making discoveries on his own.