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Experience Art and Culture at Home

Thanks to modern technology, we can now travel around the world virtually at the click of a mouse. We can see the world from the top of the Eiffel Tower, experience the view in Ipanema and witness the wonders of Egypt’s pyramids. However, one thing we still can’t do is travel across time. Looking upon the works of master artists such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol and Pollock allows us a deeper understanding. In the brush strokes, techniques and subject matter of a painting, we see how the artists viewed their world, while also glimpsing a piece of history and what was happening in our world during that time.

Explore the Art Capitals of the World Virtually

Rome, Italy

Ancient Rome was founded in 750 BCE and held its position as the most powerful and influential nation in the world for centuries. Romans were exceptionally well known for their military expertise, architecture and engineering prowess, but turned towards the Greeks when it came to the arts. However, once Renaissance art trickled into Rome from Florence during the fifteenth century, Popes began to fund the great artists of Rome as patrons, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo, Bramante and others who contributed to some of the most notable works found in the city today.

Paris, France

France was considered a leader in the development of Romanesque and Gothic art long before Italy became the center of a cultural revival, which spread across Europe during the Renaissance period in the 15th and 16th centuries. The two nations matched influence over the Rococo and Neoclassicism periods (17th and 18th centuries) until France regained a significant hold on the arts during the Romanticism movement. The Romantic era was a new artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that placed emphasis on emotion and individual imagination, visible in the Parisian Shakespeare theater productions. The 19th-century brought a fresh movement to the forefront of French art, characterized by small, thin, but visible brush strokes, open composition and the impression of movement, Impressionism originated with a group of radical Parisian-based artists. Influential artists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Jean Frédéric Bazille violated the prior rules of academic painting and often painted outdoors, plein-air.

  • Get a Closer Look at the Mona Lisa – While the Mona Lisa was painted by Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci, the painting was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic itself, and on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris, France.
  • Experience the History and Exhibitions of the Musée d’Orsay – a Museum in Paris, France which was originally a railway station. The museum houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, including works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Van Gogh and more.
  • Visit the Musee de l’Orangerie – online to see Claude Monet’s plein air landscape paintings the Water Lilies series.

New York City

New York City has often been described as the cultural capital of the world. Reflected by its ethnic diversity and population size, the city is the epicenter of a wide range of American cultural movements including the Harlem Renaissance in the visual arts and literature, hip hop, salsa, punk, musical theater, Tin Pan Alley, disco and jazz sub-genres in music and abstract expressionism in painting. Following World War II, a group of New York artists formed the first original school of painting in America, known as the New York School, which held a major influence on foreign artists. Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko rejected formal compositions and representation of real objects, and instead focused on arrangements of space and color based on instinct, favoring abstract expressionism. The American pop art movement in the 1950s and 60s, exemplified by artists such as asper Johns, Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers and Roy Lichtenstein, was also defined by New York’s lively visual art scene and the use of mixed media. Today New York is the global center for an international art market.

São Paulo, Brazil

In 1922, an event known as Semana de Arte Moderna, or Modern Art Week, was held at the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, Brazil. The multidisciplinary event featured an art exhibition, poetry readings, music and dance festivals, and was organized by the painter Emiliano di Cavalcanti and poets Mario de Andrade and Oswald de Andrade with the intent to move away from official academic art and literature associated with the conservative oligarchy. As one of the fastest growing cities in Brazil at the time, São Paulo was quickly becoming a flourishing metropolis where its’ young citizens were yearning for art and literature equivalent to the city’s vibrance. However, the event was received with fiery criticism by conservatives due to the radicalism of the artists’ works, where they were booed and pelted by the audience while the press and art critics were strong in their condemnation of this new movement. Many of these artists are now seen as founders of the Modern art movement in Brazil, such as Oswald de Andrade, Sergio Milliet, Menotti del Picchia, Mario de Andrade, Anita Malfatti, Tarsilla do Amaral, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and more.

At-Home Activities: Arts & Crafts Resources

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