Sunday, June 27, 2010

FreeRice, Famous Paintings

I found the woodblock print "The Plain at Suzaki" (below), by Hiroshige (1797–1858)), on the game Identify Famous Paintings at "FreeRice". I'm surprised I didn't know this print. (I mean, I'm surprised it hasn't been reproduced into mushy familiarity, like the "Great Wave" by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).)


I added FreeRice to my sidebar. (I found it on Felting Your Soul.)
If you click on it, a vocabulary game pops up. (It adjusts to your answers, so it gets tough.)
Or you can choose other games, under "Subjects", such as Identify Countries on a Map.
Every correct answer = 10 grains of rice.

FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. Its partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The money comes from ad banners that run at the bottom. More about FreeRice at the Berkman Center.
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II. Identify the Animal

And while I'm on the subject of Art History, I always thought that was a cat in the prow, in "Fur Traders Descending the Missouri" (1845, George Caleb Bingham).

But, no! It's a bear cub:

What a great painting--you can feel the velvety air and hear the stillness.
Bingham himself called the picture "French-Trader—Half Breed Son." The son is leaning on a pile of pelts. And they're all looking at us...

I was looking into the painting wondering if it could go in the Frindian book. But the date's too late; the Missouri is too far west for the time period.
More close-ups and info at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

6 comments:

Margaret said...

Last Words:
"O look, a cat!"
"That's a bear."

Looks like Half Breed Son has been talking French Trader's arm off, and FT is about ready to throw him overboard.

momo said...

Really? it still looks like a cat to me! I think I look at the world through kitty glasses, though.

Jennifer said...

Wow, thanks for the Hiroshige--I agree, I don't know why I haven't seen it on so many mugs and t-shirts that all meaning has been leached from it, like the Great Wave print. I know I've read discussions of why the human brain does that--that is, why art and music become "mush" that we can't really see or hear freshly anymore after a while...it seems a tragedy, doesn't it? Imagine being able to see Mona Lisa as if seeing it for the first time as an adult, without the trillions of pastiches and homages that have drained the meaning away nearly before you ever lay eyes on it...

Clowncar said...

gotta dig the bear.

but why? protection? a pet?

weird.

like the folks in the boat are looking at us, saying "yeah, we got a bear. you got a problem with that?"

Anonymous said...

ummmmm.... hiroshige isnt the artist which painted the iconic wave print you mentioned ("the great wave off Kanagawa").. it was katsushika hokusai

Fresca said...

ANON: Whoops! Thank you for catching that. I changed it.