Mfa Visit Essay

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Alan Saltis December 3rd, 2011 History of Art Section 03 MFA Museum Visit The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has many works of Art from all over the world. Some of the main wings of the museum include the Ancient World, the Americas, and Asia. Many different styles, mediums, and types of art can be found; paintings, sculptures, furniture, etc. Many comparisons to other works of art can be made from Stokstad’s text, Art A Brief History. “Watson and the Shark” was painted in 1778 by John Singleton Copley, an American artist living in England at the time. He used oil on canvas to create this masterpiece. The dimensions are 72 1/4 by 90 3/8 inches. The painting depicts a shark attack on a fourteen-year-old boy, Brook Watson. The painting is based on the real attack that took place in Havana Harbor in 1749, where Watson was saved after losing his lower left leg. This heroic story was an innovative subject for Copley to paint because history painting was usually limited to themes of the Bible or celebrated events, such as military victories. Details of the event are shown magnificently by Copley. The theme of courage can be seen in the sailor thrusting at the lunging shark with a boat hook. Also the theme of fear can be seen in the other sailors, attempting to pull Watson into the boat and away from danger. The injury inflicted by the shark is less dramatized, hidden beneath the waves of the harbor, but still apparent by subtle hints of blood. These two beautiful “Maebyeongs” are of Korean decent, from the Goryeo dynasty of the late 12th century. The vase to the left is on display at the MFA. The vessel has a height of 35.5 cm and was made with glazed stoneware with carved decorations. The vase to the right is found in Chapter Nine of Stokstad’s text (pg. 225). This vessel is slightly shorter with a height of 33.7 cm but features the innovative

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