Literature Paper on The Humanistic Tradition Discussion Questions

Question 1

The painting of the Queen of Sweden and Her Court (Figure 23.4) provides an illustration of Queen Christina of Sweden and her invited guests who were scholars. Descartes was one of the guests and in the painting, he is seen pointing to a paper lying among books and measuring instruments while explaining his work. The interest in science in the 17th century in this painting is seen through Queen Christina’s interest in Descartes work. It can also be seen in how the other guests were paying attention to what was being discussed by Descartes. The globe-like item at the foot of the table also provides evidence of the new interest in geometry and science.

Question 2

In the Gin Lane (figure 25.1) painting, the target of William Hogarth satire was to expose the idleness, over-dependency in alcohol use and alcohol addiction, poverty, and the ruins associated with alcohol use. He uses his illustration on the painting to make his point clear. For instance, the upper left of the painting shows people pawning their possession to support their addiction while the far right, there is a woman pouring gin down a baby’s throat which depicts the common practice of alcohol intake at that time. The middle of the painting showcases a drunk mother, whose baby is carelessly held and about to fall over the edge of the stairs. His satire is effective as it clearly illustrates the foolishness of the people and their overdependence on alcohol despite some of them being very poor. As a twenty-first century viewer, the painting enables me to understand the evils associated with excessive consumption of alcohol and its addiction. It also helps to see how addiction can easily contribute to poverty as some of the people in the painting are pawning their belonging in exchange for alcohol.

Question 3

Napoleon observation is valid in our time. Napoleon believed that even the people who did not know him but only heard of his works were moved by his presence and would do anything for him. Similarly, in modern society leaders such as Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson inspire support and admiration even from those who do not know them personally but have heard of their great works. Bill Gates for instance runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife. Their foundation focuses on improving education in the country and fighting infectious diseases.

Question 4

One of the paintings of the mid-twentieth century was that of the woman and the bicycle (figure 35.3). The work illustrates the use of large canvases. Based on the brush strokes on the painting, the painters were using oversized brushes and the painting was applied in a loose, free, and natural manner. The brush strokes emphasize the physical gesture of the painter and the act of painting. The wide grins seen on the painting represents the vibrant American woman. This technique also conveys the reality of modern world through its use of color and naturally made painting stokes.

Baroque Art and the Effects of Religious Factions

Baroque art was based on the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The seventeenth century marked the emergence of music that did not have any explicit narrative context. As such, it was not considered a vehicle for religion or its expression. It was also not considered a means for supporting secular text as it was based on instrumental and the use of instruments to carry the voice of music. Antonio Vivaldi’s music for instance was instrumental and held the idea that music was composed for its own sake and not to serve any religious purpose. The use of these instruments gave rise to improvements such as refining of musical tunes.

A Modest Proposal and Voltaire’s Candide

Jonathan Swift and Voltaire in A Modest Proposal and Candide focused on exposing the problems in their societies. They used satirical texts to point out the evils in the society. The essay was aimed at making his modern-day readers recognize the method used in addressing social problems such as poverty and overpopulation, which were inhuman and cold. In sum, though these two used satirical characterization in their essays, their texts seek to point out the faults and hypocrisy of the society.