12 December, 2006

dead white males?

we now have a definitive list of the 50 works that demand to seen at least once in a lifetime.


The list:


Stonehenge (2950BC-1600BC), Salisbury Plain, UK
The Book of Kells (c. AD800), Trinity College Library, Dublin
John Constable The Hay Wain (1821), National Gallery, London
JMW Turner Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway (exhibited 1844), National Gallery, London
Antony Gormley The Angel of the North (1998), Gateshead


Ice Age paintings (about 30,000 years old) in the Chauvet Cave, Ardèche

Parthenon Sculptures (Elgin Marbles) (c. 444BC), British Museum, London

Giotto Fresco cycle in the Scrovegni Chapel (1305-1306), Padua
Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi The Annunciation (1335), Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Limbourg brothers Les Très Riches Heurs du Duc de Berry (1413-1416), Musée Condé, Chantilly
Masaccio The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (c. 1427),
Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
Jan van Eyck The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin (c. 1435), Musée du Louvre, Paris
Piero della Francesca The Baptism of Christ (1450s), National Gallery, London
Sandro Botticelli Primavera (1481-1482), Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Leonardo da Vinci The Adoration of the Magi (c. 1481), Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Hieronymous Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights (1505-1510), Prado, Madrid
Raphael The School of Athens (1510-1511), Stanza della Signatura, Vatican Palace, Rome
Michelangelo Sistine Chapel ceiling and altar wall frescoes (1508-1541), Rome
Matthias Grünewald The Isenheim Altarpiece (1509-1515), Musée Unterlinden, Colmar
Hans Holbein, The Dead Christ (1521-1522), Kunstmuseum, Basel
Titian Danaë (1544-1546), Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples
Pieter Bruegel the Elder Hunters in the Snow (1565), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Caravaggio The Burial of St Lucy (1608), Museo di Palazzo Bellomo, Syracuse, Sicily
Pieter Pauwel Rubens Descent from the Cross (1611-1614), Antwerp Cathedral
Rembrandt Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (1654), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Diego Velázquez Las Meninas (1656), Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Jan Vermeer View of Delft (c. 1660-1661), Mauritshuis, the Hague

Jean-Antoine Watteau Gilles (1718-1719), Louvre, Paris

Francisco Goya The Third of May 1808 (1814), Prado, Madrid
Théodore Géricault The Raft of the Medusa (1819), Louvre, Paris
Edouard Manet The Dead Torero (1864), National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Vincent van Gogh The Starry Night (1889), Museum of Modern Art, New York
Edvard Munch The Scream (1893), National Gallery, Oslo

Paul Cézanne Mont Sainte-Victoire from Les Lauves (1904-1906), Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Henri Matisse The Dance (1910), Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Claude Monet Nymphéas (1914-1926), Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937), Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid


Jackson Pollock One: Number 31, 1950, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Jasper Johns Flag (1954-1955), Museum of Modern Art, New York
Mark Rothko The Rothko Chapel (paintings 1965-66; chapel opened 1971), Houston, Texas
Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty (1970), Great Salt Lake, Utah
Richard Serra Torqued Ellipses (1996), includes works on permanent view at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao


San Rock Art, South African National Museum, Cape Town, and at open air sites.
Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun (1333BC-1323BC), Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Ishtar Gate (c. 575BC), Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Terracotta Army of the First Qin Emperor (c. 210BC), Shaanxi province, China

Tikal (AD300-AD869), Late Classic Maya site, Guatemala

The Alhambra (mostly 14th century), Granada

Masjid-i Shah (now Masjid-i Imam) Mosque (largely 1612-1630) Isfahan, Iran

Katsushika Hokusai Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1829-1833), series of woodblock prints, copies in major museums worldwide


When the list is re-ordered as above its flaws become immediately apparent. It represents a canon that reflects the educational background of the readers surveyed.

In itself it poses as an answer to the question of why there might be a need for a revival of feminist art or politics.

My list would be quite different. I would double the size to 100 to add the feminine canon.

What would you change and why?

Comments are re-opened

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