Theory of Knowledge Reflection on Art

Pieces that I find to be Art 

The Creation Of Adam c. 1508–1512

Significance of the art piece

In the painting, there is God on the right and Adam on the left. God is depicted as an elderly, yet a muscular man with grey hair and a long beard. He is backed by angels without wings and appears to react to the forward movement of flight. It appears to be a momentum created by the angels. This is different from the imperial images (other contemporary recreations) of God which had actually portrayed God to be dressed in jewels and royal garments. In this painting, Michelangelo has depicted God as an all-powerful ruler, where he wears only a tunic which leaves much of his arms and legs exposed. God is shown to be stretching his arm out, for Adam to touch, which shows him to be accessible even though God is actually shown to be untouchable and unreachable in most parts of the New Testament. On the other hand, Adam has a half-hearted and uninterested aim towards responding to God’s touch. This touch will not only give life to Adam but will give life to all mankind. It is, therefore, the birth of the human race. The piece also has the mindframe to have Man in the likeness of God, an idea that Michelangelo believed and endorsed.

Personally, the creation of Adam is one of my favourite pieces of all of the artwork that I have seen in my life. I had seen it as early as when I was 8 years old and I remember being mesmerized by it. The reason is because as I have grown up, I tend to be very pessimistic and cynical especially about the human race and the dying sense of humanity in general because of the things I have heard and seen people do to the Earth and and all the pain and conflict that humans tend to inflict on each other in the name of race, religion or gender. This perhaps because I am an ecocentric person so I believe that Mother Nature came first and that the environment is our first problem and our own safety and our well-being should come after. Of course, this isn’t necessarily true because we as humans are also part and parcel of nature and the ecosystem. But sometimes I really tend to express extreme dislike towards our species. However, I use this piece of the Creation of Adam as a way to remind myself that humanity does exist and that people are not all destructive and ruinous. Though I am not religious myself, I find the idea interesting that Michelangelo has portrayed a God who is accessible and keen to prove mankind isn’t as brutal as it seems.

Movies Spirited away and Howl’s Moving Castle

The movies Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle are my all-time favourite Studio Ghibli movies. Spirited away is about 10-year-old Chihiro and her parents who stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm and that she must work there to free herself and her parents too.

I consider Spirited Away to be a piece of art as (similar to the painting The Creation of Adam) as it helps to fill in the insecurities that I feel which is a loss of hope for the future of mankind and the environment. The movie Spirited Away gives the message of the importance of having and keeping a good relationship with the people around you. In this case, it is between Haku and Chihiro who strengthen not only their friendship but also their personalities in going through this experience. Chihiro discovers her inner strength and becomes a more courageous individual, while, with the help of Zeniba and Chihiro, Haku is able to remember his name and free himself from Yubaba (the witch who cursed people who enter the Bathhouse). I also consider this movie to be art as it not only gives a positive message to its audience of hope, generosity and trust but it is also hand-drawn, not computer-generated, a method of animation that is nearly extinct in the United States.

Additionally, the movie Howl’s Moving Castle in which a young, contented milliner (a person who sells people’s hats) named Sophie is turned into an old woman by a witch who enters her shop and curses her. I personally think that this story is a form of art as it similarly spreads messages about hope such as appearances don’t matter, what you have inside does and more importantly, that war never makes any sense. That it is a pointless fight which will ruin both parties. The movie portrays how destructive people can be and how there is no rationality to the human behaviour. Throughout the film you don’t understand the real reason for the war that takes place, you don’t know what is the target of those who attack and counterattack. It is impossible to fight something that exists for no reason. War is a destructive fury that never stops, persisting on perpetuating its power, it is shown to have no reason or justification. In my opinion, this movie explains the actual problems that people who have been affected by real life wars face. This gives the viewers a sense of hope since the characters appear to find strength and trust in human bonds through the difficulties of war. The director for both movies mentioned is Japanese and makes several references to the World Wars (also in his other movies like Laputa: Castle in the Sky). Given Japan’s experience of the holocaust in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this element makes the two movies all the more appealing and poignant to me.

The last piece that I consider being art is Yann Tiersen’s Comptine d`un autre ete – l`apres-midi which is a piano piece from the movie Amélie. The movie Amelie is about a girl of the same name who was raised away from other children. Her father, a man obsessed with garden gnomes, misdiagnosed her with a weak heart, while a suicidal person leaping off a building landed on Amélie’s luckless mother, killing her flat. Amélie observes life from a distance, that is until the death of Princess Diana leads her to discover a hidden old rusty box, in which a young boy once hoarded his treasures. After this discovery, Amélie explores the simplicity of life and sees the beauty in almost everything she witnesses. Scripted in almost complete silence, the background score of the movie makes it lyrical and music is used with a deft hand to convey the emotions of every frame.The piece Comptine d`un autre ete – l`apres-midi personally reminds me of all the years I did ballet, as it was a piece I would often dance to. The piece itself means, “Nursery Rhyme of Another Summer” which highlights all the events of my childhood in which I danced and celebrated music. This in turn, unlike the other three pieces of art (which gives me hope and fill my insecurities), reminds me of my past, a kaleidoscope of warm memories and colour that is a part of everyone’s childhood and it tells me how music and dance helped to shape me into the person I am today.

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