Important works of Art and Written Text
The period between 1800 to 2000 BC was characterized by great development in the world of arts. Many works of art, which included paintings and written texts, came into being at this time. However, there were three most important works of art, and the three most important written texts, that were produced during this period. Before looking at these pieces of arts, it is important to note that all the works art and written texts that were created at this time aimed at displaying the interaction of humanity with both his physical world, surrounding him(nature), and with his spiritual world. When assessing which works of art were important, it is fundamental that one takes this into account the extent to which each work of art was able to display the interaction of humanity with these two worlds. I believe that the three most important works of art were paintings by John Constable, John turner and Thomas Cole. I also believe that the most important written texts were William Wordsworth’s poem Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tin-tern Abbey, John Keats’ poem, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem entitled Brahma.
Focusing on the works of art, John Constable, a romantic painter at the time, was able to express his shifting moods within his paintings. He used his freedom as the owner of the painting to add his feeling within his works of art. This painting is important in that it provided a huge gateway, for future artists, in the world of arts in that other artists to exercise “freedom of form” in their paintings. The shifting moods that were evident in his painting reveals that humanity has shifting moods and emotions to the environment that he interacts with. From this piece of art, it is reasonable to argue that the way humanity treats the environment depends on his moods and emotions at a particular time. The second important work of art is John Turner’s “turbulent ferocious moods”. This painting is important in that John Turner tried to show the dark side of the emotions that humanity might possess towards the immediate environment. However, John Turner tried to express that no matter how strong that the dark side of the human feelings might seem these feelings have no power over nature. Nature is all-powerful. Without nature, humanity cannot exist. He expressed this by painting scenes of nature’s destruction by humanity yet humanity cannot be able to dominate it in that he depends on it for his survival. The third important work of art is by Thomas Cole, who was a landscape painter. In this work of art, Thomas Cole expressed the effect of the notion of the manifest destiny that reigned in the minds of many Americans. They felt that they had to continue to conquer everything that they found as they expanded their territory. They believed that they had limitless power over nature and this is the reason they treated nature as they wished. Thomas Cole expressed the great hope that America had in becoming the strongest nation. This is the reason he used things like a “bright sun,rainbows and heavenly clouds” in order to signify the great hope that the American people had in conquering the world.
Shifting gears to written texts, William Wordsworth’s “Lines composed a Few Miles Above Tin-tern Abbey” was important in that it expressed how nature can be able to bring humanity more closer to their spiritual world. It explained that nature is actually life. According to Wordsworth, nature brought one closer to God. It also protects humanity and inspires him. In addition, Wordsworth explained that nature had the ability to heal mankind. Nature could never betray its loved ones. The main aim of this written text was to plead humanity to treat nature with a lot of love and kindness in that nature is the source of spiritual nourishment and protection for humanity. John Keats’ written text “ode on a Grecian urn”, on the other hand is important in that it brought out the dark side of nature. He brought about the reality of death and explained that humanity should strive to enjoy nature to the fullest when he can since he cannot be in a position to enjoy it forever. He has to die sometime and leave it. This written text was meant to make humanity learn that they only have a short while in their interaction with nature. They should hence make sure that they reap maximum benefit from it as well as make sure that they leave the same enjoyment for the future generations that are going to come after them. The last important written text was the poem “Brahma” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This written text was important in that it explained that “all the forces in the universe, including death and birth were united as one. Just like John Keats, he brings out the reality of death and that humanity has a very short time to enjoy nature. He hence have to reap maximum benefit from it and make sure that the future generation that is yet to be born has enough to enjoy after the current humanity has already left the face of the earth.
In conclusion all these pieces of art were aimed at helping humanity to have the best interaction with nature so that he can benefit maximum from it as well as enjoy its aesthetic beauty. The artworks also helped man to be in position to feel that connection that exists between him and the the spiritual world. The ability of the artists to touch the minds and hearts of the people who saw the pieces of art is what made these pieces to be of great significant in the world of arts.
I am taking a position on the historical question: What are the three most important civilizations and why? First of all it is important to note that the modernism we enjoy traces its base on the earlier civilizations that existed hundreds of centuries ago. For example, the modernism that Americans enjoy today can trace their base on the Grecian-Roman Civilizations. I believe that the three most important civilizations were the Han Dynasty (206BCE -220CE), the Siddhartha Gautama, and the Islamic world: religion and culture and the Byzantium civilization that was in ancient Rome.
Focusing on the Han Dynasty (206BCE – 220CE), it lasted for more than four centuries and it represented the climax and classical phase of the Chinese civilization. This civilization was important in that it was characterized by intellectual and cultural achievements. The most remarkable achievements were that it was this civilization that brought about the current Chinese methods of writing and Confucian ways of propriety. It was in this civilization that paper and block printing was invented. Am the most notable intellectual achievements that was realized at this time was that history began to be written. Historians began to keep chronological events that happened as far as even 1000 years before the Han Era. It was also a time when technological achievement were realized. The seismograph, the crossbow, simple machines like the wheelbarrow and cartography were all invented at this time.
The next important civilization was the Byzantium civilization that was in early Rome. This civilization mainly brought about the foundation of religions and how they connected with leadership. Initially, emperors and other rulers felt that they were equal to God and some of their subjects felt that this was not right. Many religions that opposed this notion arose. This created the foundation of the Islamic religion and Christianity that identified their own true gods and were not ready to worship rulers. Briefly, this religion created a path for monotheism in religions. People did not have to rely on different gods for different things as it had been in ancient Rome for a long time.
The last important civilization is the Islamic world that focused on the Islamic religion and culture. This kind of civilization spread in Spain, Northern Africa and India. This civilization was important in that it led to the spread of the Islamic faith in other parts of the world. It also led to the creation of the Islamic book, the holy Qur’an and the five pillars of faith that govern the Islamic community today. These pillars are the confession of faith, prayer that is conducted 5 times a day, charitable contribution of the welfare of the Islamic community, fasting, and the pilgrimage that Muslim make to Mecca where Muhammad was born. This civilization also led to the compilation of Muhammad’s sayings and deeds called the Hadith. It led to the creation of the Islamic code of ethics known as the Sharia. One of the political achievements that was realized during this civilization was the the creation of political centre for the Muslim world in Damascus and making Baghdad to be the international and dominant trade centre between 661 – 750 BC. In addition this civilization led to the designing of mosques. The art of building mosques spread across the world. Up to date mosques are characterized by a niche in wall oriented towards the Islamic holy city of Mecca.
In conclusion, all these civilization contributed to the intellectual, technological, social, political and economic developments that we see in our modern world. All the development in things like architecture, design, our religious beliefs and our academic system all trace their origin to these civilizations. It would be reasonable to conclude that without the civilizations that took place in the early days we would not be enjoying the comfortable life that we enjoy in modernity.