Mao by Andy Warhol (1972)

Apparently, Andy found it interesting that the only images he saw coming out of China were those of Mao. With this, he decided to add his flair to popular image. Similarly to his Campbell’s Soup Can images, Andy meant to comment on mass production and consumerism. From an American lens, I can see how interesting it is to think that capitalism might not be a preferred way of life in other countries, but marketing is marketing. These images of Mao are what the people were being fed. Was is because they believed in Mao? Or because it seemed to be their online option, with his photo plastered everywhere they turned?

“Defacement” by Jean Michel Basquiat

We’ve lost so many lives to police brutality in the time since Basquiat graced the earth, yet he painted the feeling clearly. As a woman of color, I deal with my fair share of ugly stereotypes and (envy disguised as) hatred but I cannot compare my experience to that of a man of color. I’ve tried to read the invisible man and what strike me is that this painting is the exact opposite. On one hand, the person of color can feel like they are not considered worthy or part of society… on the other hand, a person or color can feel like a refugee.

Madonna Enthroned by Cimabue (c. 1280)

In short, paintings like this make me ask: Where are the women?!? In my opinion, most religions (and societies) regard women as creatures meant to be submissive and serve… still, there are a few women who have gained noterity and respect, but mostly only because of whoever they nurtured. “Motherhood” is often regarded to as a “natural” thing, as if no conscious or extra effort needs to be applied, as if a woman doesn’t need to learn to be a parent, just as a man does. As beautiful as this image is, I blame images like this for how pressured some women may feel to be the perfect wife/mother/person, because anything else isn’t accepted. What if you don’t want children? Does that truly make you a cold person? Or is motherhood truly the only and/or most important thing we have to offer this world?

Ethel Scull 36 Times by #AndyWarhol (1963)

Mrs. Scull was an art collector, originally born in the Bronx. After she inherited a Taxi company, she and her husband created a foundation in which they would purchase art from young artists. They made their money in return by selling the artwork at auction. While some call her the “Mom of Pop Art” others criticize her for how wealthy she became — it was said they purchased a piece from an artist for $900 and sold it at auction for $85,000.

Liberty Leading the People 🗽 by Eugène Delacroix (1830)

On display in one of the Louvre’s great halls, this painting caught my attention because of its passion. The emotion in the people, the woman and the situation call for you to stop and stare. Not to mention, the painting is also quite large. Like the Statue of Liberty (which it inspired), the painting beckons your attention, guides your eye and inspires a seasons of hope & freedom.

Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) – #AndyWarhol

Pop art can be a bit off-putting due to it’s focus on minor object or bright colors. Warhol’s 32 silk screen prints of Campbell’s Soup Cans can seem like a complete waste of time, until you take a bit of time to investigate his purpose and process.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (1503-1506)

I finally made it to the Mona Lisa; she has her own room at the Louvre Museum. As you enter, all signs will lead you to the Mona Lisa & the experience is more shocking than the painting itself. The painting is actually in a huge hallway/corridor which connects two rooms in the palace. There is a makeshift wall surrounded by velvet rope hoisting the Mona Lisa into view. 

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen by #EdgarDegas (1881)

There is nothing more poised yet precious like a “Little Ballerina, Aged Fourteen”. Degas created only 1 sculpture while he was alive and I loved it the moment I laid eyes on it at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The tulle tutu and ribbon in her hair really do add an air of humanity. I’ve always admired ballerina’s for their poise, and while they are sometimes the epitome of femininity, they are also some of the strongest athletes there are. I enjoyed the quiet strength of the dancer who is holding her head high for eternity.

Andy Warhol’s Rorschach (1984)

Andy Warhol’s 1984 series of Rorschach paintings are the result of a misunderstanding. Warhol thought that patients created rorschach tests for doctors to decipher, so he decided to create his own. The canvases themselves are so much more grandiose than one might imagine. Standing 13ft high, the paintings illicit an immediate sense of respect as you become enveloped in trying to figure out what it all means.

Sunflowers by Vincent van Gough (1889)

There were only 2 Vincent Van Gough paintings at the Philadelphia Museum, but I’m proud to have seen one of the Sunflowers. Painted in the end of the 1880’s this image was meant to be part of a 12 piece series to decorate an artists’ loft.