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Monday, January 17, 2011

Ruin Uses in Art, Part II

Our most popular blog post to date has been Ruin Uses in Art. That entry brought examples of art from the last 500 years which showed reuse of ruined sites. In light of the popularity of that entry, I felt it appropriate to add some more examples of ruin uses in art.

(Hubert Robert, Young Girls Dancing Around an Obelisk, 1798.)
Here, much as the title describes, we find an imagined scene of merrymaking around the ruins of an obelisk. It is unclear what is being celebrated, and if it has anything to do with the destruction of the obelisk. Presumably it does not, and the ruin simply provides and exciting scene and focus for the party.

(Piranesi, The Forum, 1775.)
Piranesi is known for his wildly imaginative depictions of ruins. Here, however, we find a much more banal scene, in which the forum, neglected for centuries, is filled up with what we can only presume is garbage and other refuse. Ruins, one can presume, have always been a good place to dispose of unwanted things.

(Hubert Robert, Fountain of Minerva, 1733)
In this scene, it is surprising to find that the ruin is still being used for its original purpose, even after its destruction. The water still flows into the fountain, and women still come to do their laundry. It raised an interesting question - can a building that is still in its original use be considered a ruin?

(Friedrich, Abbey Near Eldena in Ruins, 1825)
Friedrich depicts this massive ruin with a house set within. The house blends in well with the ruin, and one wonders if it too is in ruin. However, the presence of two figures implies that this is indeed still an inhabited, sound house. We have seen several interesting examples of ruins reclaimed as residences in Rosh Haayin.

(de Machy, The Arc de Triomphe, 18th c.)
In this depiction of a future state, the Arc de Triomphe is the locale of sheep herders.

(Cannaleto, Roman Forum, 1742)
A number of gentlemen inspect the ruins of a Roman building. However, other people also make use of the open space, including a man with a wheelbarrow and someone to the right with another wheeled contraption of some sort.

(Jan Both, Roman Ruins with Card Players, 1600s)
The title is self-explanatory.

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