There is a dynamic range of artistic style, cultural influence and quality of the pieces on display in the Arts of Americas wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. The variety of the art is reflective of the different cultures represented. The spectrum can be seen throughout the three pieces this paper will explore: A Shaman Effigy Pendant, an Olmec Mask, and a portrait of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. With the collection having pieces scattered throughout the past thousand years or so, the formal nature of the art differs based on the cultures in which the piece was produced, and what was available, or preferred at the time. Every piece being explored has a different formal nature than the other two. For the most part, the value of the pieces was all evident. The pendant has quality craftsmanship, the mask is daunting with impressive emotion, and the portrait is historical in the manner of a photograph, before photography was an option. These pieces all depicted people in various ways including different influences, mediums and assets.
It's hard to give a concrete explanation for the origin of the Shaman Effigy Pendant. The most important facts given at the museum reveal that the piece is of Pre-Columbian Gold alloy and the Andean Civilization. The concept of an effigy pendant is for some, a kind of adornment, it could even be to pay homage, or serve simply as a gift. What thickens the plot of this piece is the attachment of the word Shaman.
[...] This piece, and the style it represents, could be on the cover of a book about how museums become attentively alienating and repetitive. This piece is one of many that continue to give classic art a drone and boring understanding, from mainstream America. Good for Sully, it seems like he really made a killing back in the day, it is just to bad his style is still killing the passion of young, short attention spanned viewers of today. These pieces all offer different interpretations, ideas, histories, and cultural insights from the same wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. [...]
[...] The Shaman effigy pendant was made out of Gold Alloy. The piece is classified as “Jewelery/Adornment,” by the Museum of Fine Arts. The medium in which this piece is produced shows that the civilization had an adequate understanding of metal, and it's shaping. The detailed craftsmanship let the viewer know that there must have been tools used that were somewhat advanced. The Olmec Mask consists of Jadeite with black inclusions, and dates back to the tenth century BC. The medium is consistent with the time, and it allows the viewer to know where the civilization was at technologically, which wasn't terribly far. [...]
[...] The character depicted has a sort of hunched over, snarling look, that stands base to a symmetrical headdress of royalty and elegance. The dichotomy of the creature, and the crown it wears is unique and intriguing. In light of the Shamans ideas of humans transforming into animals, the idea of a shared existence between the two screams out in this piece. It presents the idea that the lowliest vermin of animal, could just as easily be the king of an advanced and vast civilization. [...]
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