My work on still life painting


This is a painting I paint four years ago. It’s a still life painting, which can be relate to the modern art we discussed in our latest art class. At the place where I studied oil painting, everyone started to draw and paint with still life scene. But we know that it wasn’t until the 17th century for artist to start value the art of still life. So here is the question, why does other teacher lets everyone start up learning how to paint with still life? I think it’s because when a scene is set, people can choose any angle to start their drawing, and when they finish, everyone will have a different version of the scene. In the reading “The Basket of Apples”, it said that “Cézanne realized that unlike the fairly simple and static Renaissance vision of space, people actually see in a fashion that is more complex, we see through both time and space. In other words, we move as we see.” And this can be the purpose of my teacher is trying to carve in our mind, that perspective is an important factor when it comes to painting.

Losing my Marbles

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By walking through the passageway between the Times Square hub and Port Authority Bus Terminal you can notice an adorable art piece by Lisa Dinhofer.

Her work Losing my Marbles showing an unusual perspective of seeing objects. As artist points out that: “ Every object I paint actually exists; I work from life. The space I create is believable – but not real. Because I design my own space, I call myself an ‘illusionist’ painter rather than a ‘realist’. The space in my work is invented. It’s flattened – like the space we see on a television or a computer screen.” So her work can be considered as abstract modern art. It really differ from other paints, mosaics from past centuries where painters focused on realism and humanism but here we see real objects but in unreal positions with incorrect linear perspective.

This masterpiece reminded me of another great work by Cezanne and his “ Basket of apples”. Similarly, those works show still life but in different space. Meaning that they were created not from one point of view but from different points because we move as we see.  Also, important to notice that apples, as well as marbles, look like they are about to fall down which also creates an illusion. In the reading about “ The Basket of Apples,” it says that Cezanne began the purposefully started destruction of a single image.

-Yuliya K.

Best Tem – Minerva

Sabine women:)


MLA format: 

Orley, Nikolaus van (Netherlandish (before 1600) – Flanders, act.1550-ca.1586/91) (author of design) [painter]; Herzeele, Joost van (Netherlandish (before 1600) – Flanders, act.1570-1585) (workshop) [Weaver]. Romans admiring Sabine women, Story of Sabine women, Story of Romans and Sabines, Cleveland/Metropolitan Museum of Art set. c. 1570-1586. United States, Ohio, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art,, French & Co. purchased from Henry Symons, Inc., received 9/15/1927; sold to John L. Severance 8/7/1928.. Web. 11 Dec 2017.

This is  Flemish textile designed by Nikolaus Orley. Because it was made during the 16th century this work may represent a Renaissance style. Orley illustrated here Sabine women. Figures on this piece look so idealistic and smooth. In addition, the fact that designer was inspired by Roman stories suggest that this work was made in Renaissance style. Women here looks so calm and gentle. The textile is decorated with lots of flowers which make this work even more beautiful. In the title, it says: “ Roman soldiers admire Sabine women” which could mean that Sabine women were really beautiful and Roman soldiers so they look at them with enthusiasm. I think that’s not only because they are gorgeous, but also, that they did something important for Rome.

In the reading Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 1. It says: “Then it was that the Sabine women, whose wrongs had led to the war, throwing off all womanish fears in their distress, went boldly into the midst of the flying missiles with disheveled hair and rent garments. Running across the space between the two armies they tried to stop any further fighting and calm the excited passions by appealing to their fathers in the one army and their husbands in the other not to bring upon themselves a curse by staining their hands with the blood of a father-in-law or a son-in-law nor upon their posterity the taint of parricide.” Here in the reading main focus is on war and effect of Sabine family on it. Therefore these women helped soldiers at war and in this painting they are depicted as glorifying women.

-Yuliya K, Team Minerva

Cones of Relationships



This painting I found on the 2nd floor of the Brooklyn College Library is called “Cones”. It is oil on canvas, painted in 2003 by Asya Dodina and Slava Polishchuk.

When I looked at this painting, it reminded me of Vasily Kandinsky’s “Improvisation 28”. Kandinsky’s painting is a kind of musical composition that is done so with form. It’s title too, is a kind that musical composers use. Kandinsky’s painting uses synesthesia, which is the idea of crossing senses so that by looking at his painting, one would see beyond their eyes, and hear something. His painting sounds like a dangerous and chaotic, yet brilliant moment. He uses black diagonal lines and bright colors for their own sakes. The colors are like musical notes and the lines create rhythm. His painting represented the effect of the political chaos in Russia before World War I on Kandinsky. His painting is a composition of his “inner necessity” to express these inner feelings, which he does with his bright and chaotic composition.

That “inner necessity” can also be identified here. When looking at this piece, one feels a similar chaos present in Kandinsky’s painting. The cones are outlined by black lines and the inside of the cones are colored red, black, or grey. My interpretation of these colors would be that some relationships are of love (red), some of hate (black), and some a confusion of in-between those two (grey), but none of these cones are entirely one color, representing that no relationship is of one emotion. And then the cones are interconnected, falling into one another, representing human connections. There is one red human cone leaning into another red cone, and a third black one turning away. The cones, colors, and lines create powerful feelings in the viewer beyond the eyes, where viewers can sense human interactions and can feel the connected emotions to these types of relationships. The “Cones” represent the artists’ inner feelings of relationships; the complexity, beauty, and unpleasantness of human relationships.

While Kandinsky’s painting is more of a representation of a historic time of political chaos in Russia before World War I, this painting of cones is more universal, representing an aspect of life that all humans share. The complex nature of relationships, of love, hate, and a grey-area of other feelings, is portrayed here in a similar yet distinctive sense.


Isra, Team Minerva

David’s Message

Intervention of the Sabine Women, painted by Jacques-Louis David

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Jacques-Louis David (French painter, 1748-1825). Intervention of the Sabine Women, Detail, Romulus, the king of Rome with youth in Phrygian cap and horses. 1799 (creation), Image: 4/31/09 (creation). Web. 8 Dec 2017.

This painting is similar to a painting we learned in Professor Simon’s class, which is also by Jacques-Louis David. It is called “The Death of Marat”, a revolutionary painting created during the French Revolution, which depicts a contemporary event. It is especially revolutionary because it substitutes the iconography (symbolic forms) of Christian Art for more contemporary issues, and before this David mostly painted scenes from classical antiquity. In the Death of Marat, David’s slain friend is shown as a martyr and hero of the revolution and not of Christianity.

This painting of the Sabine Women relates to the painting of Marat because the story of the Sabine Women is used to advocate the reconciliation of the French people after the French Revolution. After the second year of the revolution, Revolutionaries had begun to turn on each other and behead one another, so this painting was a means of reconciliation, as it shows the Sabine Women intervening and bringing the violet war to a halt so that the Sabines and Romans could reconcile.

From Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 1,”Then it was that the Sabine women, whose wrongs had led to the war, throwing off all womanish fears in their distress, went boldly into the midst of the flying missiles with disheveled hair and rent garments.”

In both the image and the literary version, we see the Sabine Women amidst the chaos of the war, as the quote says. Between all the spears, horses, and armed men, we see women, with so much determination on their faces, similar to the quote’s statement that the women had thrown off their fears. As the description says, “Hersilia is leaping between her father Tatius, the king of the Sabines, on the left, and her husband Romulus, the king of Rome, on the right.” As the quote says, the women intervened to tell the Sabines they were fine with their new Roman lives and husbands.

Jacques-Louis David depicted the episode of the Sabine Women intervening because he wanted the French to reconcile with one another. He wanted the people of France to see the intervention of the Sabine as a “pictorial manifesto” and what he did was, he made his painting appear less Roman and more Greek, so as to make his painting appear less severe, and more ideal and kind.

This was the most important purpose of his painting, and this also the most important message received in the text. The Sabine Women boldly intervened to stop the violence of the war and that’s what David wanted the French revolutionaries to understand.

Isra, Team Minerva

St. Jean Baptiste


St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church is a parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York at the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 76th Street in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City.

This church reminds me of a St. Peter’s Basilica. They both have similar interior especially elements of baroque art. The walls and ceilings are otherwise decorated with paintings in the Baroque style. Both of them have domes, baroque painting, sculptures around and use of the illusory effect.
Corinthian columns support a ribbed dome, topped by a smaller version of the top with a cross. These are echoes of the larger dome in the middle.” Outside we also can see pediment and columns at the entrance to both churches which is elements of classical Roman style but the broken pediment is a Baroque element which is used on St. Peter’s Basilica. Use of light that creates a dramatic effect by use of several windows. Another feature was the use of ornaments plaster or stucco, marble or faux finishing, they used large-scale ceiling frescoes and Baroque external façade is often characterized by a dramatic central projection.

-Yuliya K. Team Minerva


The Light


I went to the Metropolitan Museum few week ago, and I took some random pictures while I walk around the Art Gallery. This art work was one of them. This is “Attributed to Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli” Italian, Viadana ca. 1505-ca.1570 parma.

This painting shows the annunciation of Christ’s birth as taking place in the virgin’s bedroom, and there are angels surrounding Virgin’s. The candlelight is the only sources you can see that provide the light for the painting. The contrast between light and dark is obvious, light that shed on Virgin’s forehead and angel Gabriel face indicated the important meaning of these two characters in the painting.

In the Caravaggio painting ” Calling of St. Matthew”, the use of light is what it make the painting significant to the viewer. There are sharp contrast between the light and shadow, which create a vividness for the painting. Also there are difference between these two painting is that the “The Annunciation” are more toward perfection, and the characters in “Calling os St. Matthew” are more toward reality, man than have bear and light that give it weight and mass.

-YongQi Li, Team Minerva

Chiaroscuro​ and Modern Photography

Chiaroscuro CatIn class, we learned about the term “chiaroscuro”. We learned that it originates from the Baroque period and is often associated with paintings and architecture. Today, the term “chiaroscuro” is a photography technique and style that creates strong and vivid contrasts between light and dark areas in a photograph. This style is often used to give off a three-dimensional illusion in a photograph, by creating more depth and mystery, and is especially used in black-and-white photos.

The image above of my cat utilizes the chiaroscuro style to emphasize the depth of the image. In fact, the extreme use of lighting edges more towards “tenebrism”, which is a form of chiaroscuro more extreme and dramatic. Overall, the light-and-dark contrast in the photo multiples the drama that is already present. My cat is staring directly at my camera, with her eyes wide and ears raised. The darkness around her dramatizes her dramatic appearance and makes her appear sharp and astute. She appears angry and as if she’s about to pounce on the camera, and moments later she does.

This similar effect is seen in the painting called “Judith Slaying Holofernes” where artist Gentileschi uses a sharp contrast of light and dark to create a vividness of physicality. Especially around Judith’s arms, the contrast between light and dark really gives off the illusion of depth and movement, and especially naturalism, which is at the heart of Baroque Art. Viewers can feel the strength in Judith’s arms and can sense her movement.

In this same sense, when viewing the image above of the cat, viewers can sense her astuteness and the sense of her approaching movement.

Fairy Slippers on the Ides of March


“Beware the frozen Ides of March.”

The quote is from a poem called “Fairly Slippers” in the book Hungry Moon by Henrietta Goodman. “Fairy Slippers” refers to a species of orchids known as Calypso bulbosa (image). These orchids are known to pollinate by deception because they attract insects to their yellow hairs but produce no nectar for the nourishment of the insects. The orchids can also cause skin irritation or allergic reaction to humans who handle them.

The poem starts off with the quote “Beware the frozen Ides of March,” as a warning to those who may be deceived, that the flowers will begin to bloom from late March and onwards. The author refers to Ides of March as “frozen”, branding it with a dark and gloomy connotation that the blooming of the flowers will never end after mid-March, which is the case with these orchids until they die, five years later. The author expects the reader to understand that “Ides of March” refers to the middle of March, and states her opinion that it is a bad thing by calling it “frozen”, and cautioning her readers to “beware”.

Quote from Cassius Dio:

“And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators. Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds….Then all the rest, severally taking up the cry one from another, kept shouting these words, filled the city with lamentations…”

This quote which recounts the assassination of Julius Cesar compliments the attitude in the poem “Fairy Slippers”. The attitude in this quote of the “Ides of March” is of “lamentations”, as the day Julis Caesar was assassinated was a day of grief and despair for everyone. Similarly in the poem, “Ides of March” marks a day of deception and gloom because of the orchids. In reference to Julius Caesar, the “Ides of March” is a grim representation of his being deceived and assassinated, and in the Fairy Slippers too, it is a reference to insects and humans being deceived and harmed.


Fairy Slipper (Entire Poem)

Beware the frozen Ides of March. Beware the self-betrayal of a little knowledge poorly applied. Next time he rolls toward you in the hour before dawn, you will say yes no matter what he has or hasn’t done. You will listen to gesture, not word. Not the fairy slipper, but the way it unfurls like a squid, the gray fur at its heart. You would take any flower now, even the drunken flower of his breath, the exhaust atomized, damp and oily in his clothes. Even the flower of his waiting while you pour a thermos of coffee. Even to read the forecast with him, to see in the string of letters and numbers br, which is mist, to hear him say in your ear Baby Rain, flower of recognition, under snow.


Goodman, Henrietta. Hungry Moon, University Press of Colorado, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central,
Created from brooklyn-ebooks on 2017-11-26 10:43:14.


Isra, Team Minerva

Linear Perspective on my notebook cover


This is a notebook I found in my home which have a picture of a town in Paris as it cover. The reason I chose this picture as a relevant information from the art class I had week ago is because I believe this picture is related to what call— Linear Perspective. Look closely to the river sides, the distance between the two river bank seems to be getting smaller as the river goes down, but what we know in our prospect is that the river banks will never touch each other, because they are actually parallel. The further the river goes, the smaller the distance is between the river bank. But one thing we know for sure is that there will always be a river between to two sides. Similarly to what the reading Linear Perspective Interaction, it says in the text that “linear perspective eliminates the multiple viewpoints that we see in medieval art, and creates an illusion of space from a single, fixed viewpoint.” This discovery of linear perspective was so important at the time because it had great influence to the Humanism of the Renaissance.  Why? Because this prove that “‘it structured all images of reality to address a single spectator who, unlike God, could only be in one place at a time.'” It strongly support individualism, which it’s the most important things in the Renaissance.

Photography and Linear Perspective

In Unit 3 we learned about the One-Point Linear Perspective, an accurate way of recreating a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. The purpose of linear perspective was to eliminate multiple viewpoints (that were seen in medieval art) and create an illusion of space from a single, fixed viewpoint. Linear perspective suggests a renewed focus on the individual viewer, and we know that individualism is an important part of the Humanism of the Renaissance.

fullsizeoutput_bc.jpeg The image shown above is a photograph of mine of the street. I have marked it up with the basic elements of linear perspective including the vanishing points where all the lines meet, the horizon line, orthogonals that lead up to the vanishing point, and transversals.

The focus of my photo is down the center of the road. It is outlined by the trees and the cars. The elements of one-point perspective can be applied to this image, however, compared to the example we went over in class, the Holy Trinity by Masaccio, my photo’s angle is different. The viewpoint of the Holy Trinity is from below the feet of Jesus. The steps upon which the first two figures stand is the horizon line. In my image, the viewpoint is centered, where the vanishing point is right in the center of the photo from every angle.

Image result for holy trinity masaccio linear perspective Not my image.

Isra, Team Minera

View on Brooklyn Bridge


By scrolling down my camera roll, I found a great photo of Brooklyn Bridge that I took last summer and I realized that it reminds me of a linear perspective. In class, we learned that linear perspective is when geometric lines and a vanishing point give the illusion of depth and space, basically a three-dimensional object converted onto a two-dimensional surface by the use of lines.

On a bridge, depth effect is achieved through the use ropes that play role of 

Orthogonal and transversals, so it seems to extend out into the distance. We can also see a vanishing point on the top center where ropes from left and right sides narrowing to a center. I believe a creator of Brooklyn Bridge used ideas of  Brunelleschi during modeling a bridge.


From my point of view, it seems like those ropes are created not only to support a construction of a bridge but also to make it visually longer and create some sort of illusion.




Brings you back in time


I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Saturday with my family. When you walk inside, the very first thing you see is this giant, magnificent Athena sculpture. And when you look around, you can find yourself in a Roman churches like building. In art class, I have learn about the Roman architecture: the Christian Basilica. When I look up the picture of the Basilica and compare to the museum interior, I’m able to find out the similarity immediately. They both have columns contracted inside the building, and they have a significant vast interior. When the Basilica was contracted, and because Christianity was a mystery religion, people will put greater emphasis in the interior of the architecture.  The major function of the basilica was being used as a law court, and its builded for visually meaningful. The museum interior gives me the same feeling of the Christian authority and holiness.


What about orthodox church?



This is a church at 359 Broome Street between Elizabeth and Mott Streets in Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1901 as the Church of San Salvatore and was designed by Hoppin & Koen in the Romanesque Revival style. It is now the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church. (Source: From Abyssinian to Zion (2004))

Romanesque Revival it is a mix of Roman and Byzantine architecture which are harmonically combined. From Roman architecture, there are some columns(looks doric)which are used as small additional decorations, and three front arches for entrances which reminded me of the Arch of Constantine(315 BCE).

Also, this building looks similar to a Roman basilica, they both are elongated, rectangular buildings, divided into 3 parts  The middle main nave is higher than the other ones. If to look at the inside picture, we will see that in the back there is a semicircular ledge (covered by a semi-dome).

Trinity church represents Byzantine architecture as well. Inside there are mosaics all around, the altar throne, the iconostasis, the pulpit and the baptismal font. Looks like the outside walls building was made of stone and marble (at least covered by marble). Many Orthodox churches use Byzantine style because Orthodox religion originated from there.

-Yuliya K, team Minerva

Sarcophagus in the MET

This marble sarcophagus (Sarcophagus with Scenes from the Lives of Saint Peter and Christ) located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art dates back to the early 4th century of the Roman Culture. When I saw it at the museum, it reminded me of Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, also dating back to the Roman culture and the mid 4th century.

The description of this sarcophagus illustrated that it was carved about the time when Christianity was first recognized as a legal faith within the Roman Empire, similar to the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. And similarly, the sarcophagus depicts the scenes from the life of Christ. On this sarcophagus, there are two legendary scenes of Saint Peter’s arrest in Rome and the miracle of drawing water from a rock performed in his jail cell, and more scenes of Christ on the lower side. On the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, there are multiple scenes from the Bible. Christ is in the center and looks very youthful like a young philosopher-teacher, with a scroll in his hand. He’s represented by a movement and naturalism.

Both sarcophagi are very similar in that they were carved around the time when Christianity was first recognized as a legal faith in the Roman Empire, and both are exquisite examples of Roman funerary art. However, the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is different as it brings together Classical and Early Christian Art. With the columns and capitals, and Christ being situated above the river gods, the sarcophagus shows  Christianity surmounting old polytheistic traditions of the Ancient Romans, and thus, serves the purpose of synchronizing the new religion into its empire.

This also relates to Classics class where we learned about syncretism, the merging of two different cultures, which is happening here with the sarcophagus merging Christianity and the old Roman polytheistic traditions.

–  Isra Nazlin, Team Minerva

#1010unit2 #artandclassics

Sappho in NYC

This marble statue is of Sappho and her lyre. This statue relates to the “Aphrodite” unit of Classics class where we discussed Sappho and her lyric poetry. In class, we learned that Sappho was “The Original Lesbian”, known to write poems to men and women.

This statue is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It dates back to 1895, but it reminded me of the statue of the Three Goddesses, from the East pediment of the Parthenon (c.438-442 BCE). This statue of Sappho, like the statue of the Three Goddesses, appears realistic, because of the details and intricate folds in the drapery. The composition of Sappho is similar to the composition of the Goddess all the way to the right, where both are reclined back in a luxurious manner. There is contrapposto and drama in the overall statues, which are hallmarks of the Hellenistic period.

Although the statues are similar in composition, details and even medium (both made from marble), they are from different time periods. The Three Goddesses dates back to the Hellenistic Period of the Greek Culture, whereas the statue of Sappho dates back to the 19th century of French Culture. I would guess that the statue of Sappho is trying to emulate Hellenistic aspects of realism, emotion, and drama, and it does a good job at it because upon seeing this statue at the museum, I thought about the Goddess all the way to the right in the statue of the Three Goddesses.



–  Isra Nazlin, Team Minerva


The Evolution of Land Reform

The article I found is a review of Russell King’s “Land Reform: A World Survey” by Peter M. Enggass.

The proper MLA citation for this article is:

Enggass, Peter M. “Economic Geography.” Economic Geography, vol. 55, no. 4, 1979, pp. 357–358. JSTOR, JSTOR,

The intended audience of this article includes those who are interested in intricacies and ramifications of land reform and those who are looking to clarify what the phrases “land reform” and “agrarian reform” mean.

The author of this review (Peter M. Enggass) only briefly mentions and connects the two terms “Gracci” and “France” when he states, “The reader leaps from the Gracchi reforms of 121 BC to the French Revolution to John Stuart Mill in two pages.” The author of this review is trying to point out that the book “Land Reform: A World Survey” only briefly covers these terms in its chapter titled “Evolution of the Concept”, and thus, the chapter is a “misnomer”.

The “Gracchi reforms” mentioned in this publication refers to text from “The Civil Wars”, by Appian, about Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and his attempt to enforce the legislation in which aristocratic land was to be redistributed to the poor. It states, “But he added a provision to the former law, that the sons of the occupiers might each hold one-half of that amount, and that the remainder should be divided among the poor by three elected commissioners, who should be changed annually.”

This quote is relevant because it connects to the term “Gracchi reform” Peter Engglass refers to in his article. It describes that the “Gracchi reform” was the attempts of the Gracchus brothers to redistribute the surplus of aristocratic land to the poor.


-Isra, Team Minerva

Great land reformer!

For this blog I was looking for “Gracchi “land reform” “United States” and I was curious how Gracchi could be related to the US or vice versa?

In the article “The Antebellum American Textbook Authors’ Populist History of Roman Land Reform and the Gracchi Brothers”, author  McInnis, Edward points out how American books showed Tiberius Gracchus in different lights depending on a period of time. While during 18-19th centuries our country had slavery and Gracchi was a reformer who supposed to stop a free labor in Rome: “After 1830, these textbooks featured modified and abridged versions of the Gracchi episode for nineteenth-century readers, which cast Tiberius and Caius Gracchus in a favorable light…the Gracchi brothers as concerned with the rise of wealthy slaveholding patricians throughout Rome and the decline of small freeholders. Authors describe the Gracchi as individuals who wanted to provide land to poor Romans and support Rome’s “middle class” even though the patricians opposed this idea. They never characterize the Gracchi as demagogues.”


The audience for this article are American people, historians and of course, classics students in Brooklyn college)))

Correct MLA citation: 

Mcinnis, Edward. “The Antebellum American Textbook Authors Populist History of Roman Land Reform and the Gracchi Brothers.” Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 2015.

Authors wanted to alert readers to threats to republicanism such as inequality and slavery, even if their history divided Americans.They reinforced the nineteenth-century idea of a republic founded on a middle class rather than the eighteenth-century idea of a republic reliant on elite citizens.

If to compare this article to the reading to fragments on Tiberius Gracchus, we can see that there are some similarities. At first, people thought about Gracchi as a good reformer: “The people showed favor to him {Gracchus}, not only when he took up the office, but when he was a candidate, and even before then. Upon his return from Sardinia, the people went out to meet him, and his landing from the boat was greeted with blessings and applause.  [25] Gracchus in his speeches to the people urged them to overthrow the aristocracy and establish a democratic government; and after winning the favor of all classes, he had them not only as supporters but even as instigators of his bold objectives. For every citizen, lured by the hope that the proposed laws would be in his own interests, was ready to risk any danger to ensure that they were adopted.”

But later everything changed when he started to lose supporters. People realize that he is a demagogue and half of the tribes turned against him: “Gracchus gave the lower classes power over the nobles, and by breaking the harmony that existed previously between the Senate and the equities, he made the populace a serious rival to both those classes. By setting all the classes at variance, he built up personal power for himself;” And in the article, it says: “TheUnited States president John Adams, for example, regarded Tiberius and Caius Gracchus as demagogues seeking to stir up the Roman masses in a bid to increase their own power in republican Rome.” which shows how American president as many other people were against Gracchi reforms and his ideas



Marble sculptures

The sculpture of the late classic period(4th century) is characterized not only by the plasticity of the movements but also by adding small details, and by the manifestation of the dramatic and sensual world of humans. The material, from which the sculptors created, also changed, marble became widespread.

Ancient Greece has made a significant contribution to the development of world culture. Highly developed ancient Greek sculpture allowed to demonstrate a holistic and harmonious vision of the world by ancient people, to reflect the moral and physical perfection of man in a three-dimensional model.IMG_0272IMG_0273 (2).JPG

A Great Conqueror

I did not realize before  that  my family members and majority of people  are so distant from the History knowledge, well just as I am. I asked  my Dad(Mr.Knoweverything), cashier in Supermarket and my friend Tanya about Alexander the Great. I gave them all  3 simple questions:

  1. Who is Alexander the Great?
  2. What facts do you know about him?
  3. Where did you learn about Alexander?

Dad( age 51, at our home):

Alexander of Macedonia was a great conqueror and commander. He conquered land from Greece to India, if I am not mistaken. Oh, he invited  a new style of battle with spears and shields, you know… He also built many large cities named in his honor – Alexandria.

Well, I actually studied about Macedonia when I was your age but also there were a lot of TV programs and documentaries about him.

Tanya(19, John Jay college):

Alexander the Great? Hmm…You know I skipped History classes in High School…I believe he was a King of something? I remember we definitely learned about him in 10th grade…

Hanna(22, at NetCost market)

Oh my God, I learned about him in school..He conquered half the world, died at age of 30. He founded the city of Alexandria, which was famous for its library. A good commander, but was severely beaten by the Scythians. Why you asking? Google it!

Their answers were really similar, they all learned about Alexander at the early stage of their life. By asking people  about Alexander, I noticed that everyone talked about him in a positive tone, like  he was a hero. Nobody said anything bad about a commander. This suggests that Alexander was really a prominent person that should  be remembered.

In our class we discussed about Alexander’s achievements, role in history, growth of his empire and his life overall.  While reading “The Romance of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes” I found a quote that proofs statement about Alexander’s success:

“He conquered many nations, twenty-two barbarian and twelve Greek. And he built twelve cities which still remain today, rich and complete and populated by countless people: Alexandria, which he built on the bullheaded horse…”(185,p 158)

-Yuliya K.

The Richard Rodgers Theatres

The Richard Rodgers Theatre is home to many Broadway hits and has staged the most Tony-winning plays and musicals.

I was going through my photo gallery and I came across photos I had taken of the theatre when I had gone to watch the Hamilton musical. I noticed there were three arches and a set of five Corinthian pilasters on the outside of the theatre, and inside, there was a domed ceiling and the walls were elaborately adorned with more arches. These features of the theatre were architectural features we had discussed in class when we were learning about Greek and Roman architecture.

Image result for richard rodgers theatre architecture

(The photo above is not original. It was taken from the website of a theatre seating company., because the no-camera rule prevented me from taking a picture of the inside.)

In class, we learned that the Romans were master arch builders. They took a huge leap into modern architecture with their innovational arches that supported more weight and allowed for bigger and better construction. Today arches aren’t necessarily incorporated into architecture for their ability to support more weight but rather for their symbol of strength and importance. Similarly, the Corinthian pilasters on the outside of the theatre are in no way supporting the building, as they are rather flat compared to the Greek Corinthian columns. Even the dome inside is flatter than Roman domes and does not appear to be supporting the ceiling but rather just being an addition to it. Instead, these arches, columns, as well as the dome, are there to make the theatre appear prestigious and old, and thus important (“Old is Gold”).

Can I Google it?

Mengjin Chen, 22, co-worker, Brooklyn College Women’s Center. 

Do you know who Alexander the Great was?  Yes.

What do you know about him? I can’t remember a lot. Sorry, this is a long time ago. Are you writing everything I say? Oh no! Can I google it? I know he ruled Egypt or the Middle East. It’s been a long time, since high school. I don’t remember a lot. Oh, was it Greece?

Where did you learn about him? In my Global history class in high school.

Fatima Tariq, 20, Friend, Phone.

Do you know who Alexander the Great was? I’ve heard of him.

What do you know about him? He was the King of Persia. I learned that he was responsible for the large expansion of the Persian empire. Had a perhaps non-normative sexuality. Some speculate whether or not he is Dhul Qarnayn from the Quran. Sorry, I don’t know much.

Where did you learn about him? I learned a lot about him in AP Global but forgot a lot. I learned about him a little in college too.

Aisha Nazlin, 15, Sister, Home.

Do you know who Alexander the Great was? Yes.

What do you know about him? He was a king. He was known to be a ruler who had absolute power and he was a conqueror. He ruled the Romans I think. Not sure. Umm. He was a king that had a divine right. Oh! His people called him “great” because of what he did for them. Sometimes they called him a god. He also helped his people start trading and so he expanded his empire.

Where did you learn about him? I learned it in my Global History class.

Similarities and Differences

All of these answers show a basic understanding of who Alexander the Great was and why he is important. All three people I questioned had learned about him in their Global History high school class and for the most part, had forgotten the extensive details about his life and success. Regardless, everyone was aware that he was an important figure in history, and they remembered him as a king and conqueror. In class, in addition to Alexander’s success as a military commander, and in expanding his empire, we also learned the story of his deceptive birth, and his beastly horse, and the men, women, and army that took part in bringing him to his success.

My friend Fatima who had learned a little about him in her college courses too mentioned that he was responsible for the large expansion of the Persian empire and that he had a non-normative sexuality, something that was not mentioned in class.

My sister mentioned his “divine right” and his title as a “god”, and this is something that we discussed in class about the Alexander Romance, which reads “and many kings shall forever revere you as one who has become a god according to the customs of this land. And when you die, you shall be revered as having become a god.” Alexander the Great was considered a god by his people, and this is something my sister, who had most recently taken global history, brought up. And that brings up another point, that although everyone at some point learned about Alexander the Great (which signifies how important he is), the minute details of how he was born and who and what was important in his life were either not taught or had been forgotten.




Did you ever thought that the school can be used to brainwash children’s minds? That the Government provided an educational system just  to manipulate people in the way that will be beneficial for rulers?  I personally still think about it! Just think about it, all your childhood you heard so much about Democracy, Liberty, Freedom of Speech etc. Endless history classes made you believe that all of those things are good and that the things you should like and support. But isn’t it brainwashing?

When I was in High School we learned so much about Slavery and how African people fought for their freedom, how white people are bad and offensive. We focused on these so much that I don’t even remember other topics that we were studying. I believe that school goal was to change our minds,  make us believe in what the teacher or the Government thinks is correct and right. However, everybody have a freedom of speech and all students have a right to express their own opinion to other students and a teacher( that is a way to void brainwashing).

In the article : “At Columbia, the Classics’ Olympian Reign Is Challenged” author Mervyn Rothstein mentions a well known Greek  philosopher-  Plato and his work “Republic” to argue either Plato used brainwashing in his texts. “Plato,” he told students, “believed that justice and model behavior could be taught, that you could change human nature through education. But the Platonic attitude also dominates in totalitarian systems. Lenin found in the Platonic way that through education you could shape the way people think. The Nazis did the same thing. It was brainwashing.” He paused. “This course is constantly being attacked as a brainwashing course,” he said. “A brainwashing course for American democracy. Do you think this course is brainwashing?” So the question here  is how “republic” is brainwashing but a republic here now it is our country – USA.
Plato in his first book discussed a theme of justice. Character named Thrasymachus argues that justice is a interest of the stronger.Thrasymachus here trying to say that the person who controls society define what justice is, and they will inevitably define it to further their own interests. Justice is just a social construct that society brainwashes its members into believing.

And then Plato starting to argue with him to prove that he is not correct: “Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost unanswerable ground; for if the injustice which you were maintaining to be profitable had been admitted by you as by others to be vice and deformity, an answer might have been given to you on received principles; but now I perceive that you will call injustice honourable and strong, and to the unjust you will attribute all the qualities which were attributed by us before to the just, seeing that you do not hesitate to rank injustice with wisdom and virtue. “

Thus. in both texts: article by Mervyn Rothstein and Plato’s “Republic”, we can see that Plato want the audience to believe in what he believes. He is giving a sort of  definition of  justice that in his opinion is a correct one. But in addition, I will say that you will be brainwashed if you will allow people to do so.

Rothstein, Mervyn. “At Columbia, the Classics’ Olympian Reign Is Challenged.” New York Times, 10 Oct. 1992. New York State Newspapers,  Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.


-Yuliya Kmit

Invisible Executives


John Schwartz, author of the New York State Newspaper article, When an Executive Acts Like a Spoiled Brat,” discusses the problem with tech executives who have no fear of the consequences of their actions. Schwartz says, “These tech bros seem to think that money and position let them do whatever they like, without consequences.” Schwartz compares the problem of these titan executives to a similar problem in the ancient mythology of the ring of Gyges. Schwartz says “it sounds like the problem posed by Plato in ”The Republic” about the ring of Gyges. In that tale, a bit of ancient bling renders the wearer invisible. Using his new superpower, the guy with the ring lies, cheats, seduces the king’s wife and takes control of his entire empire. The question then arises: How bad would you be if you thought you wouldn’t get caught, or couldn’t be held responsible for your actions?”

Schwartz refers to Gyges’ actions to draw a similarity between him and the tech executives who, because of their money and power, feel as if they are invisible to the consequences of their actions. Similar to the reading from Plato, Schwartz raises the question of whether all humans would behave irresponsibly if they were “invisible” to the consequences of their crimes. Socrates brother, Glaucon responds to this question in Plato, “Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with anyone at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.”

Schwartz and Plato touch upon the same issue, as to whether humans would commit crimes if they knew they would eventually have to face the consequences. In the reading from Plato, Socrates and Glaucon are discussing the story of Gyges and how it relates to human nature and innate good or evil. Schwartz refers to this story to build up to his suggestion that executives, when given the power, can and will resort to committing unjust acts, and to stop them, Human Resource need to put in place reward/punishment systems to make it clear to them that they aren’t invisible to the justice system, and that like everyone else, they will eventually have to face the consequences.  





Schwartz, John. “When an Executive Acts Like a Spoiled Brat.” New York Times, 16 July 2017, p. 14(L). New York State Newspapers, Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.


Greeks always liked to put themselves above any other nationality and culture. So called “barbarians” were the non-Greek people, and the word barbarian actually means “muttered/babble”- those  who can not speak Greek clearly.  Greeks seemed their language as true human tongue. All strangers, foreigners were considered as uncivilized men. But were barbarians worse or weaker than Greeks or Romans?

In the absence of any technological advantage, the conflict between Rome and the barbarians was almost entirely a purely physical and moral struggle, between a physically and morally enfeebled Empire, and more vital, healthy, prolific tribes. In comparing Rome to the West today, what is striking is the noticeable lack of any ideologies of self-hatred among the Romans (although some like historian Edward Gibbon have argued that Christianity fulfilled that role), as well as of any unusually pronounced hatred of Rome by the barbarians. “(Wegierski, Mark. “Sixteen years since “9/11” – the “Fall of Rome” and the “Decline of the West””. Quarterly Review (UK).September 11, 2017)

In this article, author use the word “barbarian” to name the Rome Empire’s enemies, people who wanted to invade to the territories of the Rome. He describe them as a powerful force that is able to attack and take over the city or the whole Empire. By writing this article Weigierski comparing the events that happened in Roman Empire, the fight between Rome and Germanic tribes(barbarians), with a 9/11 events to show how those strangers, “others” negatively impact already formed, huge and powerful society. And I believe it was written for American adults audience to make them think about how to avoid the collapse of a country.

However, if to read the historical article from actual Ancient time: “Herodotus”, there are some differences and similarities between the sense of the word “barbarian”. Herodotus described war between Greece and Persia, and he states: “The Asiatics, when the Greeks ran off with their women, never troubled themselves about the matter; but the Greeks, for the sake of a single Lacedaemonian girl, collected a vast armament, invaded Asia, and destroyed the kingdom of Priam. Henceforth they ever looked upon the Greeks as their open enemies. For Asia, with all the various tribes of barbarians that inhabit it, is regarded by the Persians as their own; but Europe and the Greek race they look on as distinct and separate.”(1.4 p.3)

Again, here the barbarians are invaders but in the article they are described with a negative tone which shows an objection towards them.

-Yuliya,  Team Minerva


The Sphinx’s Riddle


The Sphinx, according to Greek mythology, was considered to be a woman with a lioness’ body, eagle’s wing, and a serpent’s tale. She was known to be a mystical creature who brought about terror and destruction. The Sphinx is a popular character who was also used by J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth of the seven-book series. (Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

In Oedipus the King, the Sphinx was known to terrorize the people of Thebes. She was sent by the god Hera as punishment for the unresolved crimes of King Laius. The Sphinx sat between the city of Thebes and its people, refusing to let anyone in or out unless they successfully answered her riddle. Those who failed to were either eaten of flung off a cliff.

Similarly, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Sphinx was used to guard treasures and was known to become violent when anything threatened the treasure. In the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament (a large contest held between three wizarding schools), the Sphinx guards Harry’s closest route to the Triwizard Cup, which Harry must get to before the other contestants to win the tournament.

Both in Oedipus and The Goblet of Fire, the Sphinx represents terror, violence, and eventually, the protagonists’ confrontation with their destiny.

Oedipus left Corinth, his hometown after he received a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. As he’s passing by Thebes, he comes across the Sphinx and her riddle.“What is it that has a voice and walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?” “A man”, Oedipus answers. With the riddle being solved the Sphinx plunges off the cliff, and Oedipus is welcomed into Thebes as a hero, is married to its queen, and becomes the new king. Unknown to him, however, is that the moment he solves the Sphinx’s riddle, he falls into the trap of the gods, and comes face to face with the fate he’s been running from. Not much later, the city of Thebes faces a plague, also a form of punishment for an unresolved crime; the murder of King Lauis. Oedipus’ pursuit of truth leads him to realize that it was he who murdered King Lauis, his father (when he was traveling from Corinth to Thebes) and that he had married his own mother, the Queen.

In the Goblet of Fire, after Harry solves the Sphinx’s riddle and crosses by her, he too, like Oedipus, has to confront fate. He faces a duel with Voldemort (the main antagonist). In the first three books of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter thrice avoids a dangerous, fatal duel with Voldemort, the darkest wizard the entire magical world has seen. However, once Harry gets past the Sphinx and gets to the Triwizard Cup, he falls into Voldemort’s trap, and upon contact with the cup (a portkey, which is an enchanted object that can transport someone to a specific location), faces the fate he and everyone that loved him was trying to save him from. Harry finds himself fighting Voldemort in a duel.

In both stories, after defeating the Sphinx, the protagonists find themselves facing the fate they originally are running from. The Sphinx in both stories represents fear, violence, and an arrival to the true fate. 



  1. I am not trying to curse here. What they were trying to say is that ice cream is selling in assortment. 
  2. Sausage in….dough. Like a HotDog!

So why do translators often make such an unacceptable and sometimes funny mistakes? Unfortunately, in our days it is  really hard to find a master of language who will do own job well especially the one who is able translate complex, high-level  literature. Everybody else do their job without focusing on the content and meaning of the primary source. It is not enough to just know the language, translators need to feel the text, being a writer himself. Therefore it is not surprising that there are so many low-quality translations recently because people only care about getting money for their job not quality of it.

But there is another problem with translations – interpretation. Each of us has a unique perception that make us think differently about the same things. The literature can be interpreted in so many different ways, it depends on what connections do you see between literature and your life.

It is especially hard to translate text from dead language, on which no one speaks. In this case it is hard to check texts for accuracy. But it is possible to look at few translations of the same text to compare. An example can be “The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”. I am still curious how people translated such an old literature, how they learned the language in which the hymn was written. Two authors W.Tyrrell and G.Nagy  kept the same plot of the hymn but they used different writing style, different adjectives and details. In translation by  Tyrell hymn gets more detail description:

But when the portion of death stands nearby,the beautiful trees wither on the earth, their bark shrinks away around them, and their branches fall. Together,their life’s spirit and the nymphs’ leave the sun’s light. The nymphs shall keep and rear my son.”

Compare to Gregory Nagy version, where he uses lots of unfamiliar to people words from original texts:

“But when the fate [moira] of death is at hand for them,   

these beautiful trees become dry, to start with,

and then their bark wastes away, and then the branches drop off,

and, at the same time, the psûkhê goes out of them, as it leaves the light of the sun

These [the Nymphs] will raise my son, keeping him in their company”

His description of settings is simple and plain while in the first example there are more details. Also the last couple of lines confused me about ending  in Nagy’s translation:

Now then, everything has been said to you. You take note [verb of noos] in your phrenes.

 And refrain from naming me. Avoid the mênis of the gods.”

 So saying, she bolted away towards the windy sky.”

But in Tyrrell’s version ending was more clear:

“All is said. Think now in your mind.Refrain from naming me. Heed the wrath of the gods.”So saying, she darted up toward the windy heaven.”

He did not use the original words here and instead of “sky” he said”heaven” which means that Aphrodite went to heaven as she is a Goddess.

Both authors tried to express the essence and emotions of the text to the audience but they did it little differently because every author and translator has his  own style and interpretation.

-Yuliya Kmit, Team Minerva


Blood-Stained Roses

Red Rose.JPG

The origins of the red rose trace back to Aphrodite and the tale of her undying devotion to her lover, Adonis. The image above was taken at the flower shop next to my apartment. It reminded me of Aphrodite because the red rose is one of her many sacred symbols. One version of the tale goes that as Aphrodite was hastening to her lover’s side, Adonis, who was mortally wounded by a wild boar, she cut her foot on a thorn from a bush of white roses and the white roses were stained red by her blood. Thus, the red rose became a symbol of Aphrodite’s devotion to her lover.

In the “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite” translated by Gregory Nagy, Aphrodite’s desire towards Anchises, her lover is described by the quote “When Aphrodite, lover of smiles, saw him, she fell in love with him. A terrible desire seized her in her phrenes (intellect).” (Gregory Nagy, Lines 56-57) This quote elaborates on our understanding of Aphrodite from the tale of the roses, as someone who is known to express undying devotion to her lover. This quote further characterizes Aphrodite as one who is known to be passionate, as her passion was described as a “terrible desire had seized her” when she saw Anchises. And unlike the tale of the red rose, in which she was only characterized as a “devoted lover”, this quote also characterizes Aphrodite as one who is “lover of smiles”, or “one who loves smiling”. Both the tale of the red rose and the quote characterize Aphrodite as someone who is devoted to loving and smiling. From the tale and quote, both which characterize Aphrodite as someone who is very devoted to and passionate about her lovers, one would not think Aphrodite is adulterous and deceiving, characteristics that can be seen in the “Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”. 


#Aphrodite, #CLAS1, #SeeninNYC, #RedRoses #Isra, Team Minerva