August 28, 2008
What is the big deal?
The complete ignorance of art history and political imagery in this country is rearing its ugly head. The discussion of the neo-Classical stage set for Obama’s speech is both interesting and depressing.
The man is running for the White House. The set references the White House. What is the big deal?
This country began its artistic roots in the neoclassical- the style hugely popular in the 18th century and referencing the power imagery of Rome and the Classical world. It was used all over this nation’s capital, including the Capitol Building itself and the White House.
The stage set uses Doric-style columns, which communicate more strength an solidity than the elegant Ionics used on the White House itself. They are also simpler than the Corinthian columns of the Capitol (though Doric pilasters can be seen on the lower and upper levels).
The format of the stage follows the Pergamon “altar”, which was probably actually a war memorial, and is Hellenistic.
Western power imagery is usually laden with Classical imagery and visual vocabulary. I find it fabulous that Obama’s campaign is showing its cultural knowledge and understanding by using these Classical elements in their own power imagery. Politics is all about power. Of course it will reference Rome. People who laugh are only revealing their own ignorance.
Perhaps they ought to take a class in art history.