The sculpure above is Bodhisattva Manjushri as Tikshna-Manjushri (Minjie Wenshu Pusa) and was made during at some point during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

I really like this piece because of it’s  complex yet simple appearance.  As I have said in earlier blog posts I just like the amount of work ant thought that has to go in to a sculpture to make it was it is.

In this sculpture, Manjushri holds a sword in his primary right hand, and a volume of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, which rests on a small lotus, in his left. Remnants of a bow and arrow can be seen in his secondary hands, and the combination of the four implements identify the sculpture as a Tikshna-Manjushri, a manifestation that refers to the bodhisattva’s quick wits and further elucidates his position as an embodiment of spiritual wisdom.



The mural above is a portion of the mural called Man, Controller of the Universe.  It was created by Diego Rivera in Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1934.  The full title of the mural is: Man, Controller of the Universe or Man in the Time Machine. 

I really liked this piece of work because to me it’s a summation of knowledge gained thus far.  It is also a commentary on the state of the world in 1934.  It isn’t so abstract that I can’t appreciate it, but it isn’t so basic that the point of the picture is obvious.  When I initially saw it I paused and thought.

The mural is a recreation of Man at the Crossroads, which was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller for the Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller had the original destroyed when Rivera refused to remove a portrait of Lenin from the mural. In Man, Controller of the Universe, Diego Rivera presents a number of images, including those of Leon Trotsky and Lenin. All of these images represent the state of the world in the 1930s.

Below is the whole mural:


Curator of Metal

April 20, 2011

The theme that I am choosing for this for this assignment is metal music.  This is probably a rather foreign subject to most people out there.  Most people here probably listen to hip-hop, rap, and/or some other new age of more popular, trendy music.  So I am here to melt your faces with some heavy metal.  I will outline a couple of my favorite metal bands, including works by bands that are near and dear to me: Pantera and Kamelot.

Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. Formed by the Abbott brothers, Vinnie Paul (drums) and Dimebag Darrell (guitar) in 1981, bassist Rex Brown would join in late 1981 with vocalist Terry Glaze. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera had Terry replaced in 1987 with Phil Anselmo as the new vocalist.  Pantera have been dubbed one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time, and have sold around 20 million albums. Starting as a glam metal band, Pantera became famous for a heavier groove and thrash sound when they released Cowboys from Hell in 1990. Their second album Vulgar Display of Power, released in 1992, revealed a heavier sound than Cowboys from Hell and their 1994 release of Far Beyond Driven reached No.1 in the Billboard 200.  They released two more albums after this one called The Great Southern Trendkill in 1996 and their final album Reinventing the Steel in 2000.

These videos below are my favorite live tracks of the albums I listed above, respectively.

Domination is one of my favorite tracks from the band.  The heavy distortion on the guitar gets the blood flowing and the mind racing.  The fast paced drums with heavy use of double bass really kick me in to overdrive.  Starting at around 3:10 I would say that this song has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. 

This track is has much of the same energy that Domination has.  Again the song is heavily driven by the drums and guitar.  The song’s message is about channeling your hate in to something productive.  This is evident in the lyrics “When I channel my hate to productive/I don’t find it hard to impress”.

The song has some interesting background to it.  The story of the song’s origin as told by drummer Vinnie Paul: There was a guy in the front row in San Diego who was heckling Phil. Phil finally had enough, so he incited the crowd to jump this guy’s ass and beat the shit out of him on the spot, so he sued us. And when his dad called our manager, his exact quote was, “You just give me five minutes alone with that Phil Anselmo guy and I’ll show him who’s big daddy around here.” Phil’s response was, “You just give me five minutes with that cat’s dad and I’ll whoop his ass.” That’s the origin of this song.

Kamelot is an American power metal band from Tampa, Florida.  This band is truly great and I feel with the caliber of music they produce and make they should be a much bigger name than they are right now.  The band was formed by Thomas Youngblood and Richard Warner in 1991. Norwegian vocalist Roy Khan joined replacing Mark Vanderbilt, and has shared song-writing duties with Youngblood since.  The songs that I will be covering in this post are from the newer albums by them and some of my favorites by them.

March of Mephisto is a song off the band’s 2005 album The Black Halo.  This and the preceding album outline the famous tale of Faust. Kamelot does do great work conveying the story in the tracks of the albums.  The music quality and message in the tracks makes the story feel that much more real to me.

The track Ghost Opera off the album Ghost Opera, from 2007, is a really great track.  There isn’t a possible way for someone to not enjoy this track.  The solid musical composition with some soaring vocals makes this track truly great.

The Human Stain is also off the same album, Ghost Opera. This track has basically the same characteristics as the previous.  This band truly is amazing and I have trouble expressing their greatness in words. 




Early Modern Period

April 9, 2011

I am not the most visually adept person around and I liked to do my posts on the musical developments that happen.  However, I find this period’s musical developments to be really lacking.  That is to say I don’t like any of the changes and new styles that happened during this period.  So I will do this post on the photography that happened during this time.  Back then it actually took a degree of skill to take a picture; with technology today such a skill has become almost nonexistent.

This photograph of Allie Mae Burroughs was taken by Walker Evans.  It was taken during the great depression.  It later came to be an icon of the depression.  As one of the most powerful images of the Depression era this picture reflects the victims who suffered the most in the United States during the 1930s.

What I particular like about this picture is the simple image, yet it has a deep meaning.  The picture carries a literate, authoritative, and transcendent presence.  It shows the harsh and immediate effects of the great depression.


I fall under the second category.  I do not find anything about impressionism to be interesting or appealing to me.  Even the idea of it wasn’t appealing to me at all.  I hate the bright colors, I hate the childish unfinished look, and most of all I hate the fuzziness that seems to be present in all impressionist artwork.

Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant, is one of the most famous pieces of impressionist art because it was one of the first and laid down the foundation of the style.  As I said above I hate this piece because of it’s obscurity.  It’s lacking in details, which is one of the basic parts of the style.

Compared to the Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, by Caspar David Friedrich from the romantic period of art Monet’s piece looks to be unfinished.  This stems from the differing styles of art.  Romanticism has a cleaner overall look compared to the loose brush strokes and dabs of broken color that make up impressionistic art.


Ludwig van Beethoven

March 9, 2011

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantasia”, op. 27, No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven was written in 1801. It was dedicated to a pupil that he had been in love with. With out a doubt this is one of Beethoven’s most popular sonatas.

The sonata has three parts, I only linked the last part. I did because I feel that the complexity of this piece is almost unrivaled. I think it also sounds really good. The musical piece has many fast arpeggios and strongly accented notes, and an effective performance demands lively and skillful playing.

The complete sonnet listing goes as followed:

  1. Adagio sostenuto
  2. Allegretto
  3. Presto agitato

During this period in music there was a massive rise in the middle class. The middle class wanted simpler and more accessible music then that in the Baroque era. For this to happen because the songs had to be simpler and melodic.


Morris, Edmund (2005). Beethoven: The Universal Composer. HarperCollins. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0060759747.

Matthews, Max Wde (2002). The encyclopedia of Music. pp. 335.

Toccata and Fugue in D minor

February 26, 2011

The Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565), written in the 1740s in Germany, is a piece of organ music written by Johann Sebastian Bach.  This particular piece is vastly popular and has been used in a lot of popular media.  It can be heard in some films, video games, rock music, and even ringtones.  As with most popular old classics that don’t have unshakable credibility, the authorship of this piece has been questioned.   These mainly arise from stylistic problems present in the music. (1)

There are a number of influences that can be attributed to influencing JS Bach, but perhaps the biggest one is the rulings and decrees of the Council of Trent.  The composers Church composers were forced to modify plainsong settings.  (2)

I really like any type of keyboard music and the organ is no exception.  The complexity of the sheet music is staggering to me but the sound is exquisite.   Also the guy playing the organ just shreds on it in the video which I though was pretty awesome.


Donatello’s The David

February 16, 2011

Donatello’s The David was first commissioned in 1408 by Cosimo de’ Medici of The Medici Family and it was created in Florence. The Medici Family were responsible for the majority of Florentine art during their reign. Their money was significant because during this period, artists generally only made their works when they received commissions in advance. The piece’s commission was from the cathedral of Florence who wanted to decorate the cathedral with statues and other works of art.  I have always found sculptures in art appealing.  I feel that the complexity and forethought required to make a sculpture that can free stand adds to the work.  The craft and skills required to work a block of stone in to something truly amazing also really boggles my mind.


1st post

January 25, 2011

Welcome to my blog. Now with images.