Zebra Love and The Red Studio


In this last blog post, I am going to discuss a painting from Blake Emory’s Zebra Love Collection that I saw in a gallery in Chelsea. In this painting, Emory creates the illusion of a female figure wearing red high heels on a zebra stripe pattern. The way Emory plays with depth reminded me of Henry Matisse’s The Red Studio created in 1911. A similarity that these paintings have is that both artist play with the illusion of depth by using color, lines, and form. Emory plays with form and color by using the Zebra stripe pattern and the red heel to create and emphasize the silhouette of a women that stands out from the background. Matisse plays with the illusion of depth by using the color red, bad linear perspective, and reverse lines.  A difference is what they are trying to achieve with the illusion of depth. Matisse aimed to flatten his painting rather than create depth. Matisse tries to use the color red to resist the illusion of depth. Furthermore, Matisse uses bad linear perspective to flatten the canvas. Matisse’s use of bad linear perspective can be seen in the disconnected lines of the wall and the floor and in the chair and table, whose legs get farther apart as they go back rather than get smaller. Reverse Lines are the thin white lines that are actually the canvas and Matisse uses these lines to reverse the figure-ground relationship. Matisse reverses the figure-ground relationship by making the reverse lines the figures and making the red as the ground. On the other hand, Emory’s goal with his painting is to create depth to create the silhouette of the woman and make her come off the background. He does this by playing with form by using the Zebra stripe pattern to create the silhouette of a women. He also plays with color by using the red heel to emphasize the illusion of the silhouette. He also plays with the illusion of depth by using the uneven, broken line to create the illusion of the silhouette of the woman. Both these pieces of modern art break classical tradition and experiment with forms.

Link To Matisse painting

-Emily Ryan, Team Mars (16)

Lucretia’s Downfall

Screenshot 2017-12-10 at 10.57.53 PM

Citation: Crespi,Giuseppe Maria. Tarquin and Lucretia. c. 1695-1700. http://library.artstor.org.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu:2048/asset/SS36847_36847_35977795. Web. 10 Dec 2017.

This image is called Tarquin and Lucretia by Giuseppe Maria Crespi. This painting was created c. 1695-1700 during the Baroque art period. The Baroque period in art was a period in art where artists depicted biblical and mythological stories and used dramatic realism and illusionism to engage the viewers looking at these paintings. Many of these painting achieved this effect by using dramatic lighting and tightly cropped compositions. This painting depicts the scene when Sextus Tarquininus rapes Lucretia, the wife of Tarquin’s fellow soldier and who later killed herself after being raped by Tarquin. An indicator that this painting is from the Baroque period is its use of chiaroscuro lighting. Chiaroscuro lighting is an extreme contrast between light and darkness. It can also be identified as a Baroque painting because of its vibrant use of color. This can be seen in the gold of Tarquin’s clothes and the blue of Lucretia’s dress. This painting also uses tightly cropped composition to show the struggle between Lucretia and Tarquin.

This image depicts a scene from Livy’s Book 1. In this book, Livy tells the story about Tarquin and Lucretia. In the story, Tarquin becomes obsessed with Lucretia after her husband describes her beauty and lets him watch her weaving with her maids. He then sneaks into her room when she is sleeping, threatens her life by saying that he would kill her and a slave and say she was an adulterer, rapes her, and then leaves. After the rape, Lucretia sends a messenger to her father and her husband to come home because something terrible happened. When they come, she tells them what happened and makes them swear to avenge her. They agree to avenge her and inconsolable in her grief, she pulls out a knife and kills herself by stabbing herself in the heart. Before she kills herself, she says, “Nor henceforth shall any unchaste woman continue to live by citing the precedent of Lucretia” (Livy 11). This means that she does not want to be seen as an unfaithful woman and to prevent from being seen as one, she killed herself.

There are many similarities and differences between how the painting and the story depict the scene. One similarity between the depictions is that both depict the rape in Lucretia’s bedroom. Another similarity is that both depict and convey the feeling of fear that Lucretia was feeling and the aggression of Tarquin. One difference is that in the story Lucretia is woken up from her bed and was frozen in fear. In the painting, Lucretia appears to be wide awake and fighting Tarquin’s advances. This appears to be the artist’s own invention to make the painting more dynamic, rather than having Lucretia just sit there while Tarquin threatens her with a sword. By making the painting more dynamic, the viewer is more engaged in the story and the painting. Another difference is that Tarquin threatens Lucretia with a sword in the story and in the painting, Tarquin doesn’t have a sword. The struggle between Lucretia and Tarquin is what interests Crepsi the most. Livy is more interested in the threats that Lucretia received from Tarquin and the after effects of the rape rather than the actually rape itself. Through these details, Livy and Crepsi are able to vividly describe the rape and death of Lucretia.

-Emily Ryan, Team Mars

19 and Baroque Art


While thinking about what I was going to write this blog post about, I began to think about album artwork and how they are often influenced by many different art movements. I then decided to look through my music library to see what album covers reminded me of the Baroque art period and stumbled across the album artwork for 19 by Adele. The Baroque art period took place during the Reformation in Europe in the 16th century. During this time, the Catholic church commissioned many works of art to rebuild its reputation, instruct and inspire the faithful, and highlight its origins, beliefs, and divine authority. This effort was known as the Counter-Reformation. This album artwork reminded me of the light and dark contrasts of many Baroque paintings, particularly Judith slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, created in 1614 to 1620. This light and dark contrasts is known as chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is a contrast between light and dark to create shadows. Both of these artworks use chiaroscuro to make the artwork more engaging and realistic. They use this light and dark contrast to make the artwork more dramatic. While both artworks do use chiaroscuro lighting, they have many differences. For example, the 19 cover artwork is a photograph and Judith slaying Holofernes is a painting. Furthermore, the cover art has a secular purpose and the painting has a religious purpose. The purpose of the cover art is to present Adele’s album, while the purpose of the painting is to tell the story of Judith and how she succeeded in killing Holofernes with God’s help. To add to that, the cover art is a portrait of Adele while the painting depicts a graphic biblical scene, a common theme in Baroque art. Also, the 19 cover art has a limited use of bold colors and Judith slaying Holofernes has a vibrant use of color. In the cover art, the only uses of color is seen in Adele’s hair, face, and make up. In the painting, Artemisia uses bold vibrant colors for the dresses of the woman, for the sheets on the bed, and for the blood. While the album artwork is very different from its Baroque counterparts, it is an excellent example of chiaroscuro lighting, a popular technique of the Baroque period.

Emily Ryan, Team Mars (16)

19 Album Artwork Source

Judith slaying Holofernes source

It and Augustus

For this blog post, we are supposed to write about an object or person that has a name that derives from Julius Caesar or Augustus, two of the most well-known Roman emperors in history. The object I chose that has a name that derives from these two emperors is the book It by Stephen King. Even though on the surface this novel doesn’t seem connected to these two famous emperors, it actually does. If you are familiar with the novel, the 1990s mini-series, or the movie that came out this year, you know that half of the book takes place in the summer of 1958 and two months in the summer are July and August. July is named after Julius Caesar and August is named after Augustus. Even though Stephen King didn’t choose these months because of the origins of their names, it is still interesting to look at why these months have these names. While both are important, I’m mainly going to focus on August and Augustus in this post.

Augustus was the adopted great-nephew of Julius Caesar and was emperor of Rome after Caesar’s death. I thought the month of August was named after Augustus because it was the month he was born, but this speculation actually isn’t true. According to Suetonius’ “Life of Augustus,” he states, “that the name ‘August’ should be transferred to September, because Augustus had been born in September but had died in the month now called August; and that the period between his birth and death should be officially entered in the Calendar as ‘the Augustan Age.” This is quote shows that August is actually named after Augustus’ death and not his birth. This also clears up this common misconception that many people have about the origins of the name “August.”

Augustus was a very popular ruler. In the same writing, Suetonius states, “Such was his reputation for courage and clemency that the very Indians and Scythians — nations of whom we then knew by hearsay alone — voluntarily sent ambassadors to Rome, pleading for his friendship and that of his people.” This shows how Augustus was seen as this powerful, courageous, merciful leader that was a desired ally. I chose this quote because it shows how other countries saw Augustus and how they all wanted to be his ally. He was seen as someone who would protect all the people he ruled over and who were on his side. As well as being courageous and merciful, he was also well accomplished. In Res Gestae, Augustus himself says, “Twice I triumphed with an ovation, and three times I enjoyeda curule triumph and twenty-one times I was named emperor.” This shows just some of the things that Augustus accomplished his long reign as emperor and it shows how accomplished Augustus was. I chose this quote because it shows how accomplished Augustus is and how Augustus views himself. These two quotes show how Augustus was seen as this powerful figure who accomplished many triumphs. Both passages list Augustus’ political and military victories.

This postive view of Augustus can be seen in artwork such as “The Augustus of Primaporta” made in 20 BC. This was meant to be a propaganda piece that showed Augustus as a powerful decendant of the gods that had a vast amount of political triumphs. His power is show by his powerful stance. Also, his divine herititage is symbolized by the cupid and the dolphin, which are symbols of Aphrodite, and his bare feet, which was used in art work to show god-like status. Furthermore, Augustus’ breast plate depicts many of his political victories, such as the returning of military standards to Rome from the Parthians. This sculpture, the passages, and the name, “August,” shows how Augustus was seen as this powerful, god-like figure and how he has a lasting legacy.


Augustus of Primaporta picture link

-Emily Ryan, Team Mars

Luck of the Irish

One of the most famous churches in New York City is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. This building was built in 1858 and was opened in 1879. This building is built in the Gothic Revival style and was designed by the architect, James Renwick Jr. It has many Gothic features such as pointed arches, flying buttresses, stone, radial windows, cluster columns, and an expansive use of glass. Height and light are main features of Gothic architectures because they represent closeness to Heaven and God’s divinity. Flying buttresses are used to support the walls of the church. This was seen as anti-classical because the walls don’t hold themselves up. In Classical architecture, the walls were able to hold themselves up. One of the biggest differences between St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its historical counterparts is that St. Patrick’s uses an extensive amount of spires. Spires are the points that decorate the building and are commonly seen on church towers. Older buildings, such as Chartres Cathedral and St. Sernin’s Cathedral, do use spires, but not to the extent that St. Patrick’s Cathedral does. Gothic style emerged after the Goths, warriors from North-Western Europe, conquered Rome. Rome was an empire at the time, expanding as far wast as Spain, as far north as present day France, all the way down to Egypt, and all the way to the Caspian Sea. Rome became the most powerful state in the Mediterranean by 146 BCE. The empire’s influence was so powerful that by the time Augustus was emperor, all the other independent states were virtually gone. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the anti-classical Gothic style emerged and emulated the classical architectural styles or Greece and Rome, such as domes and columns. The influence of both Gothic and Classical architecture can be seen in many building through New York and all over the world.

Sources: St. Patrick’s History and Heritage

Architectural Digest Article about St. Patrick’s Renovation

Emily Ryan, Team Mars (16)

The Library Arches


The building seen in the second and third pictures is the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building, or as its better known, the New York Public Library. I took these pictures on my way home from seeing the Broadway play, Kinky Boots. I took pictures of the New York Public Library because I automatically recognized the famous lions statues in front of the building. I also found the architecture of the building very interesting and I like how it looked lit up at night. When looking back at this picture, I realized that it resembled the Arch of Constantine in Rome, which can be seen in the first picture. The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch that was erected in honor of Emperor Constantine’s victories. The reason that this reminded me of the Arch of Constantine is because both have three arches and the both have figures at the top that are used as decoration. Also, both architectural works use false Corinthian columns as decoration. There are many differences between the two architectural works. For example, the New York Public Library is a building, while the Arch of Constantine is a monument. Another difference between the New York Public Library and the Arch of Constantine is that all the library’s arches are the same size and the Arch of Constantine has one large arch and two smaller arches. Also, the three arches of the Arch of Constantine represent Christianity’s Holy Trinity and the library’s arches are for decorative purpose. The Arch of Constantine was meant to be in honor of Constantine and to promote Christianity, while the Stephen A. Schwartzman building was meant to be a library and has a secular purpose. Furthermore, the Arch of Constantine has cravings of famous Roman images and a depiction of Jesus Christ that uses the hieratic scale to show his importance and power inside of the large arch. The Library on the other hand has little to no cravings and has two lion statues that are used as decoration. The New York Public Library shows how Roman architectural styles has had a great influence on the architecture of many New York buildings.


Picture of Arch of Constantine

Information about the New York Public Library

Emily Ryan, Team Mars

Polybius vs. The World

In the article, “Origin of the species; Direct democracy,” a writer from The Economist analyzes different feelings and adoptions of direct democracy from all over the world and from different time periods for its readers. The writer how California, the founding fathers, Polybius, Aristole, and other Greek thinkers, and Switzerland felt about direct democracy when creating government systems. The writer shows how later governments embraced direct democracy and how older governments rejected it. Polybius and Aristotle rejected direct democracy because they felt like it led to mob rule and would be unstable. Polybius even stated in his writings, “and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.” The writer connects Polybius’ ideas to the ideas of the founding fathers by saying, “To this Roman ideal of republicanism the thinkers of the Enlightenment added more liberal notions of freedom.” This connects Polybius’ ideas to the founding fathers’ ideas because the founding fathers were heavily influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers.  When talking about when the founding fathers were making the United States Constitution, the writer talks about how the founding fathers debated heavily about how direct or indirect American democracy should be. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were Federalist and against direct democracy while Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists wanted direct democracy.  The Federalists saw America being diverse and large so if they did have direct democracy, there was a large chance that the majority would oppress the minority. The debate ended with a Representative Republic with a division of power that has held up since its creation 1787. This relates to Polybius’ ideas because like the founding fathers’, Polybius believed in the separation of powers. When talking about Polybius’ feeling about the separation of powers, the article states, “It had executives (in the shape of two annually elected consuls), an elite in the senate, and outlets for the vox populi in the popular assemblies.” This resembles America’s three branches of government: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and judicial branch. Also, the senate and the popular assemblies resemble the two houses of the legislative branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The writer then contrasts Polybius’s and the founding fathers beliefs with California’s and Switzerland’s beliefs. In California, the government embraced direct democracy by adopting referendums, initiatives, and recalls, three things necessary for direct democracy. In Switzerland, the government took America’s Constitution and then applied direct democracy to it so that it would be easier to solve conflict through referendums, recalls, and initiatives. This article shows a contrast in beliefs about direct democracy and how it can be applied in many different ways.

Emily Ryan, Team Mars

“Origin of the species; Direct democracy.” The Economist, 23 Apr. 2011, p. 6(US). Academic OneFilego.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=cuny_broo39667&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA254503624&it=r&asid=8adeb8471d0bfd150308e191ac30551e. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.

Wheat Fasces at 20 Exchange Place

This photo was taken at 20 Exchange Place. It shows a use of a coin as decoration. This coin shows six wheat bushels tied together with the symbols “AVGV” on the left and “STVS” on the right. The symbols are meant to spell out Augustus and he was the Roman emperor who brought Rome into Pax Romana, a time of great economic stability. Now an apartment building, 20 Exchange Place used to be the Farmers Trust building, a banking hall and an office building. This coin is an example of a fasces,  a symbol of the authority of a Roman magistrate, or an elected official. This fasces is meant to show that the building is a place of plentiful wealth and economic stablitity. This is because wheat is often a symbol for plentiful wealth and Augustus is associated with economic stability. IMG_8550

Utopia or Extremism?

In the country of Pakistan, power is gained through military or land. Without either, you’re likely a peasant or a servant. These peasants make around 25$ a month and are subject to the landlords they work for. This system hasn’t changed since Pakistan’s independence in 1947. Although Pakistan is transitioning into a democracy since 2008, little to no real change has occurred. This is where terrorism and extremists enter the picture. Many have grown tired of this unfair system, where your path in life is almost guaranteed depending on which social class you’re born into. In an article by Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times, a specific religious extremist group is detailed. This group is compared to early Communists in Russia and are said to force their ideology down the elite’s throats. The extremists, similarly to Russian revolutionaries, seem to value overthrowing the elite. They believe power should be distributed to all and violence is necessary to bring about change. All revolutions in history have been violent and in order to change the status quo. The ones starting the revolution have always been seen as extremists and been rejected by those in power. The extremists in Pakistan are no different, however their goals are unknown so they are simply spreading violence at the moment. Xenophon, who praised Sparta’s discipline, would support these Pakistani extremists. Xenophon was a fan of Sparta’s way of life, even though they treated their slaves terribly. Sparta’s view on violence and authority can be compared to Stalin’s dictatorship. Crushing all dissent and using violence to have people conform to a specific view of society is a technic both have used. If Pakistani extremists are as described in the article, then Xenophon would be intrigued by their motives.

-Ahmed, Team Mars

Tavernise, Sabrina. “From rural Pakistan, tales of a hidden world lived and shared.” New York Times, 25 July 2009, p. A11(L). New York State Newspaperslogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA204397896&it=r&asid=bb58caa7fbcc87d36c72ea4bd3aa731c. Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.

AudenHorae, www3.dbu.edu/mitchell/audenhor.htm. Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.


Guns in Class?



140819-news21-k12-kasey_gun_10_33901b3a2cc46efdbb5976fcc53cd705.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg (1511×1000)The Second Amendment grants American citizens the right to bear arms and this amendment has caused debate between both sides of the political spectrum for years. One of the most controversial topics in United States politics is gun control and gun rights. After all the shootings, such as the Pulse Night Club Shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, that have occurred over the past couple years, this debate has continued to heat up. On one side of the political spectrum, you have people and groups advocating for gun control laws. On the other side of the spectrum, you have people and groups, such as the National Rifles Association and its members, fighting to have no gun control laws and have everyone be able to buy a gun.

In an article from The New York Times, Morgan Smith talks about how some legislators what to allow guns in schools to protect teachers and students from shooters. This article was written shortly after the Sandy Hook Shooting. After the shooting, federal and state legislators were deciding what to do about gun fights and gun control. One idea suggested was from Texas legislators that stated that guns should be made more available and should be more available so teachers and other members of faculty couold protect themselves and others and prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook from happening again. This idea received many criticisms. Some who agree with the idea disagree on how to achieve it and some disagree and say that it distracts from the main issue of mental illness. One of the legislators who wanted to expand gun laws to allow guns on school campuses is Representative Debbie Riddle of Tomball. Riddle does agree that mental health does need to discuss, but she also states, “Are we going to be able to screen and determine everyone who is going to be a threat? Of course not…We are not a perfect society, and there is no way we can create perfect laws.” In this quotes, Riddle implies that a perfect society is one where we can prevent terrible tragedies like this from happening through preventative measures, like mental health screenings, and with laws that can help prevent tragedies from happening. Riddle believes that our society lacks this value because it is impossible to create perfect laws to prevent tragedies when society isn’t close to being perfect. I agree with this statement, our society is far from perfect and because of that we can’t make perfect laws, but more should be done to try to figure out how to prevent events like this from happening again. Unfortunately, society has not changed much in the past five years. We still look at these tragedies and wonder what more could we have done to prevent this. Also, after these tragedies happen, we grieve, we debate, and then we do nothing to prevent these terrible events from happening again. Even after the deaths of 20 children and six adults, nothing changed. Even after the deaths of 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, nothing changed.

One person I think would agree with Riddle’s statement that since society isn’t perfect, we can’t make perfect laws is Plato. In his dialogue, The Republic, he states, “So, if you are willing, let’s first find out what sort of thing justice is in cities, and afterward look for it in the individual,to see if the larger entity is similar in form to the smaller one” (Plato 46). This quotes means that since the individuals of a city aren’t perfect, the city doesn’t have perfect justice and each city has it’s own, imperfect definition of justice. This supports Riddle’s claim because since cities and individuals aren’t perfect, there isn’t perfect justice or a perfect society, which means there can be no perfect laws made.

In his dialogue, Plato says, “Someone who has the power to do it (Justice), however—someone who is a real man—would not make an agreement with anyone, neither to do injustice nor to suffer it” (Plato 37-38). This quote means that you shouldn’t accept injustice or make others suffer injustices. I think that we shouldn’t just accept that these tragedies just happen. We should do everything in our power to prevent events like this. We shouldn’t wait for the next tragedy to occur so that the debate over gun control will get more attention. There should be stricter gun control laws so events like this don’t happen. We shouldn’t be arguing, we should be preventing these terrible events and the deaths that unfortuantely come with them.

Full Article


CBS/AP. “Orlando Nightclub Shooting Victims’ Names Released.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 12 June 2016, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/orlando-nightclub-mass-shooting-pulse-victims/.
 “Connecticut Shootings Fast Facts.” CNN, Cable News Network, 14 Dec. 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/07/us/connecticut-shootings-fast-facts/index.html.
 Murphy, Kate. “’F’ Is for Firearm: More Teachers Authorized to Carry Weapons in Classroom.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 22 Sept. 2014, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/f-firearm-more-teachers-authorized-carry-weapons-classroom-n208946.

Smith, Morgan. “Lawmakers look to boost guns in school.” New York Times, 28 Dec. 2012, p. A19A(L). New York State Newspaperslogin.ez-proxy.brooklyn.cuny.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=SPN.SP01&sw=w&u=nysl_me_brookcol&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA313191533&it=r&asid=4963e9e803df3db2b6cdeed9c11336b1. Accessed 17 Sept. 2017.