|ART: THE FABULOUS TIME CAPSULE
Rembrandt van Rijn - The Night Watch (1642)
Robert Rauschenberg - Rebus (1955)
Although all artists, in one way or another, communicate something about themselves and the times in which they
live through the works they create, there are those who leave behind especially vivid accounts of their world. Their
paintings are, in a sense, like time capsules -- preserving for future audiences images of life "once upon a time".
The greatest of these go beyond mere reportage to capture the spirit of their day.
When Captain Banning Cocq commissioned Rembrandt Van Rijn to paint a group portrait of his militia company in
1642, he had no idea that he would become a central figure in a masterpiece whose appeal would endure over
three centuries. Ignoring the conventional approach to group portraiture (lining up the participants in stiff rows),
Rembrandt created a picture of swirling commotion and lively activity -- and the individuals in his painting remain for
eternity "men of action". With carefully wrought expressions and gestures and intriguing details, Rembrandt made
these people interesting on a human level -- and we are encouraged to wonder about the lives they led 350 years
Through canvases filled with a kaleidoscope of disparate images, Robert Rauschenberg draws us back to the
1950's and ‘60’s -- an often-turbulent time of angst and optimism. In a world that seemed to be constantly
changing, artists such as Rauschenberg were questioning the very nature of art and how it could effectively reflect
those times. Rauschenberg's solution was to borrow the very images that filled the popular media (the daily press,
magazines, television and cinema) and juxtapose them in works that are at once thought provoking and enigmatic.
His quest was to bridge the gap between art and the "outside world", and in so doing he created works that express
the sometimes unsettling, often exciting "anything goes" spirit of that time.
As different as these artists are -- divided by period, language and geography -- they nevertheless share the ability
to effectively convey images of their time that will remain meaningful and informative to the generations who follow.
In this GalleryTime session we explore their work -- and as they have, create "time capsules" of our time.