The following paper is a response to questions regarding the painting, "Aristotle with a Bust of Homer." The painting was painted by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1653. It is oil on canvas and access to the painting is gained by the website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, physically located in New York City.
The paper will first contextualize the painting, trying to situated in history and establish a historical perspective by which further interpretation of the painting. Rembrandt completed this painting at the approximate midpoint of the 17th century. As in many centuries in history, the 17th century was a century full of achievement, development, and conflict. Rembrandt is a European artist, so the paper will summarize some of the developments in Europe during this period. Culturally, Europe entered the Early Modern period as well as the Baroque period. There was a huge surge in culture with respect to music. Furthermore, more so toward the conclusion of this century, there was a scientific and mathematical revolution in Europe. Prominent figures apart of this scientific surge included Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei, among others. Concepts that are taught as basic science and intermediate mathematics in the 21st century were innovations during the 17th century. Quite obviously this was a period where there was great colonization and imperialism around the world, particularly in the newly "discovered" Americas. Slavery, trade, and expansion were booming...
Philosophically, Europe entered the famous Enlightenment period. Philosophy is certainly a prominent concept in the painting; therefore Rembrandt's painting, at the time, must have been praised or noted for how very contemporary the content was. The painting, among other expressions of the time, was an accurate and apt sign of the times, conceptually and thematically.
The painting is an expression of the conversation between poetry and philosophy. Aristotle was an eminent philosopher of his time and long after his passing. In the 21st century, in the western world and beyond, Aristotle's teaching are often a part of the fundamental curriculum for areas of study in higher education such as political science, philosophy, law, debate/speech/oration, and others. Aristotle is a figure that represents authority, contemplation, adoration, respect, and thoughtful intellectualism. In the painting, he stands, with his hand on his hop, decorated in formal wear, that of a soldier or at least a figure not of the lower classes. He is decorated with a golden sash and a medal resembling Alexander the Great, a man whom Aristotle finally tortured. This is a very dense expression of what Aristotle represents with respect to philosophy. Aristotle embodies philosophy with strength, with authority, with a conquering type power that can overcome those who would claim the world in their names, such as Alexander the Great. Aristotle stands in an open and confident stance as he peers and contemplates the bust of Homer. In the painting, Aristotle represents philosophy as all of these things, yet still intellectual, taking time to remember and consider great figures of the past. This is the position from which the conversation between philosophy and poetry takes place, or at least begins or is situated.
Homer was an epic poet of an earlier period in history than the one from which Aristotle was a part of. As the reader might know or imagine, artists and sculptors did not make busts of figures who were considered ordinary. Thus, to make a bust of…
All of the styles inspired by the Romantic current can be clearly traced from the Formalist point-of-view, as they had in common the use of image itself, leaving meaning and content to a secondary design. In the poetry and literature world, the Romantic period was a chance to explore the inner feelings of the artist, the development of his own soul and thoughts, where the author is the hero of the
There is a kaleidoscopic plurality of symbols and links among them, but it is easier to decipher the central meaning of the whole: the spiritual supremacy of the pope. Thus a political program was transformed into a beautiful masterpiece." (Findlen) Bernini believed that in architecture the main focus was on the material and the invention, then on the manner in which the parts were ordered and finally on the "perfection
" In other words, that art springs from within, rather than must be supported from without. The author places the blame for female artists to be culturally central squarely upon culture itself, specifically Western culture's failure to create systems of educational nurturing for females. "The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education -- education understood
. from passion to insanity" ('the Eighteenth Century," Internet). These "sublime" qualities are best expressed in Horace Walpole's magnificent Strawberry Hill residence in Twickenham, built between 1749 and 1777. As compared to Blenheim Palace, this structure is pure "Gothick" with its turrets, towers, battlements, galleries and corridors. In fact, Horace Walpole is credited with creating the Gothic style in English literature with his novel the Castle of Otranto, published in 1764. Of