Successful Discussion Samples
This discussion is about displaying the American Flag, and artistic freedom.
Subject: Flag Etiquette
I have to say I was a bit emotional when I saw the exhibit by Scott Tyler with the American Flag on the floor. I will admit, until the present war with Iraq, I never really paid much attention to flags. However, I think this war did stir up patriotism for our nation, and I do think it was needed. It seems, as a society we have “forgotten” in our “busy worlds of every day life” what values and morals are. My father was in the Army. He served at the time the Korean War was ending, and he spent lots of his years in Korea. He never really talked too much to us as children about the times, but as we have grown older he does talk about some of it. I always knew he did not “enjoy” his time, but he did it because he wanted to give something back to his country, even if it was a small contribution. He still to this day has “his trunk” we call it. It is a wooden trunk from his Army days, and has his dog tags, photos, and other items of meaning and value to him. I remember when he and mom built their new house and moved, he thought the trunk was lost, and he was very upset, but they did find it. His time serving our country made an impact in his life, though he never really went through the war. As a child growing up, we always went to the Memorial Day parades, celebrated the Fourth of July, etc. This current war made me reflect on alot of different things. I just think as a whole, society has “forgotten” where our roots started from, how hard people fought during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I and World War II, etc. Currently I have a son-in-law, who is 23 in Iraq with the Air Force. I also have a coworker who has a 24 year old son who just came home from his third tour to Iraq with the marines. I cannot imagine, myself, being a US Marine and blasting through the doors of Sadam’s palace as he did. I can’t imagine being on the front lines fighting for democracy as he did, and so many more. I am so glad we have people like him, who are glad to protect democracy, and I think we should show our support to them by showing proper respect for the flag. There are certain rules that pertain to the use of the US Flag, and these are written. If someone speeding is given a speeding ticket, because a written rule is broken, then someone who does not follow the rules in respect to the flag should have consequences. Art should not be an “excuse” or freedom of speech. Instead of laying a flag on the floor allowing people to walk on it, right a speech then! I am very thankful I live in the US and we have a democracy that so many people fought so hard to establish and maintain. I cannot imagine living in another country where women in particular are treated like the dirt people walk on! Others have little freedom either. I think the US Flag needs to be shown respect. There are icons in other forms also, such as religious relics, that people would not dream of disrespecting, why is the Flag any different? and, why is art an “excuse” to disrepect it and what it represents. If someone does not agree with something, voice your displeasures, but by no means disrespect something or someone. I do not agree with my manager on things, for instance, but I don’t disrespect her. Why is the flag any different? It’s all about values and morals. Where have they gone? I think it teaches the youth that “it’s okay even though we know there are rules about the flag, go ahead and step on it here”? What example does that set for the youth?
This website is brief, but it has a paragraph about art display, and really all it says is there are not rules in regards to art, other than it has to be a respectful display. In my opinion, going by the rules on displaying the Flag, Tyler’s work is not respectful. The Flag is on the floor, and allows people to walk on it, just as women, and others, are walked upon like dirt in other countries where there is no democracy or freedoms! That is what it represents to me! I have to be amused by the explanations on this website, however, because when one reads about the US Postal stamp with the Flag, it also breaks the rules! That I found to be quite ironic! A government agency itself not fully following the rules? At least that’s how I understood it!
EXAMPLES OF DISCUSSIONS/ RESEARCH ON ROMAN PORTRAITS
Sometimes we share research:
Subject: To start…
From my hardcover version of Garnder’s Through the Ages on page 250, it comments, “The patrons of the Roman Republics Great temples and sanctuaries were in almost all cases men from old and distinguished families, often victories generals who used the spoils of war to finance public works.” An example of this might be Portrait bust of a man, 1st century B.C.; Republican
Marble; H. 14.37 in. (36.5 cm)
found at http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ropo/ho_12.233.htm
I realized how much the statement I just wrote compared too many of those in government today.
It was then interesting to read that slaves and former slaves could not possess such portrait because under law their “parents and grandparents were not people but property.” This too has a familiar sounding ring.
Sometimes these slaves became slave owners when they were freed and that at this point they were able to order portraits for their tombs. One such example of this would be a “funerary relief with portraits of the Gessii.” Which is on page 250 of the hardcover version of our book. All three faces in the relief are names Gessius. At the left and right are the free slaves of Publius Gessius who was the free born citizen shown in the center wearing a general’s breast plate and according to the book, ” is portrayed in the standard Repulican super realistic fashion.” I was unable to find this piece online, but did find a site that gives another example and a little information about a funerary of a free slave that was most probably a silversmith. http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/objects/o35442.html
Subject: Ostian Tombs of the common people
The Ostian Tombs of the 2nd century A.D., of the working men and women were usually constructed of brick faced concrete and were normally communial tombs. According to my hardcover version of our artbook, many had plaques that depicted the activities of these middle class merchants and professional people. On page 284 of this book, there is an example of a vegetable vendor at his stand and there is another of a midwife helping a birth. It is amazing the detail of the one vendor. I will see if I can find other examples of such pieces online as it is really interesting to see the detail and some of the jobs that the common people held that are still in existence today.
Subject: Roman Portraits…Question 1.
I found several interesting Roman portraits. The first one I came across was a portrait of Priapus, who was the god of fertility. In this portrait he is weighing his phallus against a sack of money. Pictures and portraits such as these illustrated good fortune and abundance rather than being viewed as obscene.
The second portrait I discovered was that of Two Woman. It is done in the II style. The subject matter in this painting is unknown however it is reminiscent to the third century BC.
Next, I found a painting titled; Jason Recognized By Pelias. It is done in the III style. This portrait is done to depict Jason returning to his hometown to claim his birthright. At this time Jason is recognized by his Uncle Pelias who “usurped the throne of Jason’s father”. Following this, Pelias sends Jason to search for the Golden Fleece.
Last I found a portrait done depicting Iphigenea In Tauris. This too is done in the III style. Iphigenea was to be sacrificed by her own father but according to myth, the goddess Artemis rescued Iphigenea. This painting is done in Tauris and it is of a time when Iphigenea discovers that the latest victim to be sacrificed is her brother.
Roman life was turbulent to say the least. Men and women of this time lived according to a hierarchy and they were extremely class conscious. With the murder of Julius Caeser, the Romans were involved in a civil war. However, once Augustus was in charge, he seemed to keep peace and prosperity in the land.
There was a woman that did represent power and wealth and her name was Livia. She was the wife of Augusta and helped to make many important decisions. Interestingly the people of Rome regarded women close to power as grasping and devious.
Life in the Roman world did resemble ours. They had a hierarchy similar to our own, as well as a civil war. There hierarchy was set up with a senatorial class at the top, and then the Equestrian class in the upper class. In the lower class, commons, Latins, foreigners, freed people and slaves.
Subject: Men and Women in Roman sculpture
I found two very nice examples of Roman sculpture on The Met Museum site. The first is an example of funerary art. “Cippus of Cominia Tyche” is made of marble and is 40″ high. Created between 90-95AD it is a very intricate and detailed portrait of the deceased. She sports a curly coiffure typical of female portrait sculpture during the Flavian dynasty. Aristocratic and Freedwomen alike wore their hair in this fashion. The artist had to be very skilled to successfully execute these complex hairdo’s.
In my History of Western Civilization course we just finished the module on Rome. Your class determined what rights and privileges you had as a woman in Rome. Aristocratic women had the most options available to them. They could participate in many social activities as they had slaves that took care of the home. Women did not vote or have any say in the politics of Rome. Citizenship was greatly valued and hard to achieve unless you were born of citizen parents. Rome had a very large population of slaves from their many conquests around the Mediterranean. Slaves were obviously the lowest on the social ladder. As a slave you could purchase your freedom from your master or he could grant your freedom if he so chose. This made you a Freedwomen. A citizen could marry a Freedwomen but this would not make her a citizen. However, her children would be citizens legally as their father was a citizen.
Now, men of Rome ran the show. The aristocratic male was able to run for public office and vote. They served a required amount of time in the military. They usually married and had a family. They had total control of their spouses and their daughters. When the daughter married that control then passed to her husband. Freedmen were merchants and soldiers. All men were required over time to serve in the military. Even the male slave population was used as soldiers when the need was there. If you were an aristocratic male you pretty much had it made in Ancient Rome. I found a portrait head in marble of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus on the Met site. Created around 217-230AD it stands about 14.5″ tall and was part of a full body sculpture at one time. This sculpture is presented in military style – characterized by closely cropped hair and stubble beard. The intense rendering of facial expression produces an immediate and powerful presence. It demonstrates the Emperors brute strength and military capability. To view theses sculptures please visit www.metmuseum.org and search under Roman sculpture.
I feel Rome was actually a very different place than what we live in now. The military focus of the society was huge, they had terrible inner turmoil amongst themselves that was demonstrated in uprisings, their social class was severly defined, womens right were nonexistant. They were responsible for some amazing advances in architecture, etc.. but they still seemed to me to live in a very unstable world. I realize modern society has many of these same issues but they just don’t seem as intense and immediate. I guess as Americans we take for granted the relative calmness of the life we lead.