Saturday, March 29, 2014

For Monday: Heinrich, Monet (pp.44-69)

Answer TWO of the following as a Comment below:

1. How did the death of Camille, Monet’s wife, change his artistic path?  What new subject matter did he seek out, and how might his approach to painting have changed in general?  Cite a specific painting in your response.

2. What did Monet mean by the statement, “[he] imagined what it would have been like to be born blind and then suddenly be able to see, and to paint, without knowing what the thing one saw actually was?” (55).  How would this help him ‘see’ painting in a new and fresh way?  Why would you not want to know what you are painting?

3. What was so unique and groundbreaking about his series of paintings on the Rouen Cathedral?  What was he trying to achieve in them, and why might they have become his first commercial success?

4. Monet wrote that “the subject is of secondary importance; I want to convey what is alive between me and the subject” (57).  What do you think this means...and where do we see this “in-between” quality in one of the paintings in these chapters?  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

For Friday: Heinrich, Monet, pp.24-43

Answer TWO of the following as a Comment below:

1. How did technology and the ‘modern’ world of the mid-1800’s change how painters painted and saw the world?  What advances did Monet and his contemporaries have over their predecessors? Also, how did these advances influence Impressionism? 

2. Compare Monet and Renoir’s paintings of La Grenouillère (pp.28-29): what distinguishes Monet from Renoir?  What do you think Monet wanted to capture that was either less important or invisible to Renoir?  Also, which one do you prefer and why? 

3. Based on the paintings in these chapters, what kind of subject matter most inspired Monet?  Unlike other impressionists, he almost never did portraits or still lifes; why do you think this was?  What views/subjects/ideas were most congenial to his style of painting and why?

4. Heinrich writes that “there is an intrinsic and irresolvable contradiction in the aim of preserve in permanent form the passing moment” (32).  Based on this comment, why might we say that all Impressionist paintings are somewhat sad, or at least bittersweet, even when they are capturing bright, happy subjects?  What is the essential ‘mood’ behind all Impressionist paintings—and Monet’s art in general? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

For Wednesday: Heinrich, Monet, pp.6-23

Answer TWO of the following as a Comment below...

1. What biographical circumstances shaped Monet the artist?  How does knowing a little about his early life help us appreciate the paintings and the movement he helped create? 

2. What was Monet’s first truly successful painting?  What was new or revolutionary about it according to the book?  Can you see these qualities in the painting itself?

3. Related to the above, what early painting is generally considered a ‘flawed’ painting by critics (and the book)? Despite its mistakes, what is notable about this painting that shows us the mature Monet? 

4. Which painting on pages 6-23 do you find most interesting or striking?  What do you like about it?  Does the book help you appreciate or see different qualities in it that you might not have seen before (and if so, what are they)?  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Revised Schedule Post Spring Break

With Snow Days and Day-Before-Spring-Break Days and Spending-Extra-Time-On-Pride-and-Prejudice-Days, we got slightly behind.  So I revised the schedule so you know what to expect when you return from break.  If you have time and are interested, start reading the Monet book and enjoy all the gorgeous paintings!  We'll start right in on it after break.  Make sure you have the remaining 3 books for class, since we'll be breezing through them in the next 5 weeks.  Enjoy yourselves and come back in one piece!  

[M 17-F 21: Spring Break]

M 24   Intro to Impressionism
W 26   Monet (6-23)
F 28:   Monet (24-43)

M 31:   Monet (44-69)

W 2:    Monet (70-91)
F 4:     Exam #3

M 7:    Intro: The Harlem Renaissance  
W 9:    Hughes, Selected Poems
F 11:     Hughes, Selected Poems

M 15:   Hughes, Selected Poems
W 17:   Hughes, Selected Poems
F 18:    Intro to Comics/Graphic Novels

M 22:  Spiegelman, Maus I
W 23:  Spiegelman, Maus I
F 25:    Spiegelman, Maus II

M 28: Spiegelman, Maus II
W 30:  Final Exam Discussion

F 2:      Wrap-Up

FINAL EXAM: Monday, May 5 @11:30 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Questions for Pride and Prejudice (2004)

NOTE: We will watch the film on Friday as well, and then discuss it on Monday.  The Exam will be on Wednesday.  Obviously we're way behind schedule, but I'm in the process of revising it and will hand this schedule out in class on Friday.  

Answer ONE of the questions as a COMMENT below:

1. In many ways, this version of Pride and Prejudice can be see as a young, hip 21st century take on the novel. Indeed, most of the actors are much younger than those in the 1995 version, and there is a tendency to make everything seem a bit flashier, bolder, grittier, and yet lighter at the same time.  How do you think this works with the story and characters we find in the book?  Is this kind of modernization acceptable, or do we lose too much of what Austen intended?  Discuss a specific scene that can help you explain this. 

2. Obviously, a 2 hour film (as opposed to a much longer mini-series) can only cover so much of the novel; certain passages—and even characters—have to be cut in the interest of time and an audience’s patience.  Do you feel there were any objectionable cuts or changes to the story as seen in the film?  Is there anything that bothered you or changed some aspect of the characters/story? 

3. If you could recast a few characters in this version of the film, which characters/actors would you choose?  What about their characterization disappointed you or in some way fell short?  Who would you replace them with and why?  What might this actor or actress bring to the role based on his/her previous work?  Be as specific as possible.