As a busy college student, I know how hard it is to dedicate the time needed to understanding 20th-century art media, particularly when it is as weird as the 1927 film Metropolis. In creating this blog, I hope that I can aid future Humanities 304 students in their quest for understanding as well as incite new thought and ideas into the Art Deco Movement, Metropolis, and Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Art Deco Movement – Tamara de Lempicka
Much of Tamara de Lempicka’s art focuses on females who appear in crisp, symmetrical, and geometric forms typical of the Art Deco movement. Several of her paintings reflect both femininity and embrace the machine. For instance, her self-portrait “Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti” shows her driving a car and wearing gloves and a helmet:
By portraying a woman doing a very masculine task—driving a car—Lempicka is making a statement about women and is giving more power to them. Because she includes a machine in her painting, Lempicka also reflects societal views of the 1920s, this painting was made in 1925, and the importance of the car and its increasing popularity. Another painting by Lempicka was “Nana De Herrera,” painted in 1928.
In this painting, the woman’s body is distorted. One can especially see the distortion by paying close attention to the woman’s right hand in which the pointer finger sticks out at an odd angle. This body distortion looks quite similar to the way that Maria distorts her body during her dance in Metropolis. The distortion is probably achievable by a normal human, but the woman’s position certainly does not look comfortable. By closely examining Lempicka’s artwork, one can see the geometric qualities given to the human forms, causing them to look unrealistic. The sharp angles give the images a mechanical look, and once again there is another example of the increasing mechanization of society reflected in artwork.