For this Humanities II Project, I choose two famous monuments that share a comparative theme of Honoring Veterans. These artworks directly correlate with my chosen contemporary issue which states the excruciating timeless truth of nations that drive their soldiers into a war that can be ethically wrong. Both of the chosen works were erected in two different eras, both also have a contemporary expression of the hidden significance. Was the hidden agenda personal? Was the hidden agenda political? Comparing the two monuments contextually, with a more symbolic piece of art, I will enlighten the reader that even in honor there are moral compasses that exist.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile was built in Charles de Gaulle Western Paris.
Arc de Triomphe is a landmark structure and honors the individuals who battled and died for France in the French Progressive and Napoleonic Wars. The Arc was commissioned in 1806 and completed during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. 1800’s in art is regularly assessed to the Neoclassicism movement, based on Roman art.
Neoclassical art is of the Classical styles of old Greece and Rome. The aesthetic attitude of neoclassicism invokes those characteristics normally associated with the art of antiquity—harmony, clarity, restraint, universality, and idealism. (Britannica 2018) Groups and figures carved are the works of James Pradier, Antoine Etex and Jean-Pierre Cortot. The majority of the most celebrated sculpture is the work of Francois Rude: La Marseillaise.
He brought passion and emotion to the monument. During this time Napoleon had absolute complete power, he was a dictator.
Napoleon was selfish and self- centered. Napoleon crowned himself King instead of the Church crowning him. During this time there were clearly divided socio economical groups. My second choice was Maya Lin, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Modernism), 1982 Location Washington, D.C., United States. Established November 13, 1982 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is two simple walls of polished granite. Etched with the names of the servicemen being honored in 144 panels of horizontal rows. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is from the Modernism art movement. There was global development in the public arena and culture.
Modernism was driven by different social and political plans. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was theoretically designed much different from any other war monument. There was no clear visuals of soldiers, war or patriotic symbols or images. This set the political tone of epistemology. Both of the monuments honor Veterans of War who are considered heroes and died battling the politically proposed injustices of their era. Looking beyond the common theme we can’t help but see the hidden agendas. While Napoleon commissioned for the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile to be built with perception of honoring and celebrating the military achievements of the French armies.
With what we know historically about Napoleon, we know he also wanted to he wanted to be immortalized as the great leader of War. Vietnam Veterans Memorial had a totally different message of underlying political content- that one can honor veterans while not glorifying war. (‘The Vietnam Veterans Memorial’) In my contemporary choice contemporary Wodiczko reached out to 30 veterans’ organizations to find former service members to participate in the project. Elaborate designs for personal communication instruments and survival vehicles are central to Wodiczko’s work, exploring social and political marginalization through creating solutions for alienated and excluded communities to “develop their shattered abilities to communicate” and share their experiences with others.
His artistic practice is an exercise in democracy, an attempt to poke at politics and social structures through unexpected and controversial art forms. (‘Krzysztof Wodiczko’) Wodiczko works with projections, video and audio to create a platform in which the voices of those who have been pushed to the edges of society because of any series of traumatic events – homelessness, sickness, war and exile. (‘Krzysztof Wodiczko’) This ties into the theme of honor but brings alive the moral compass that war suppresses.