Reading Art Practicing Iconography
Uploaded by ddscoolz on Feb 22, 2013
“Reading” Art: Practicing Iconography
The two works of art that I chose are: Prayer for Rain (1938) by James E. Allen and Battle between Hercules and Centaurs (1526-27) by Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio. In our text iconography is the practice of understanding symbolism in art and is one aspect of visual literacy. When one can understand visual literacy and the roles of the artist, then this will deepen their appreciation of art. Artists usually emulate their own feelings and emotions onto their artwork.
I chose the first work of art “Prayer for Rain” because to me the artist is showing how hard times were in the 1930s and how much faith played a role in their lives. The artwork shows the dried up plains, skeletal remains of an animal, and the despair in the woman’s face. I believe James Allen used his role as an artist by using the traditional role. He did this by making a visual record of this particular family in this particular time and place. He shows how distraught this family was and how much they wanted and needed the rain.
Prayer for Rain
I chose the second work of art “Battle between Hercules and Centaurs” because to me the artist is showing how strong Hercules was and how he won his battles. Giovanni Caraglio used his role as an artist by using his art to give visible form to these mythical creatures. This artist uses his imagination to portray how Hercules and the Centaur looked. He put his thoughts and feelings into the drawing and portrays Hercules as a strong and immortal being. This drawing has symbolic significance because it is the artist’s rendition of Hercules and the Centaur. With its half man, half horse persona the artist tries to capture the strength and brutality of the battle between these mythical creatures.
Battle between Hercules and Centaurs
These two pieces of art are so different, yet they are so alike. The first one represents iconography where the second one represents symbolism. They both portray feelings from the artist as well as imagination. Allen shows despair and faith and Caraglio shows strength and agility.
Allen, James E. (1938). Prayer for Rain. Retrieved September 05, 2009 from Smithsonian
American Art Museum online exhibit:
Caraglio, Giovanni J. (1526-1527). Battle between Hercules and Centaurs. Retrieved
September 05, 2009 from the Web Gallery of Art: www.wga.hu/