Posts Tagged 'connections'



Make This: Poured Paint Sculptures

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Studio Creations participants share their thoughts about Lynda Benglis’ work.

During Studio Creations this month, we looked at Lynda Benglis’ Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), part of the special exhibition Difference?. There are many aspects of this work of art that make it fun to talk about with people, but what I find the most interesting is the way it challenges how we define painting and sculpture. To me, it really lives between the two! This idea provided the catalyst for our Studio Creations art making activity. During each workshop, visitors created poured paintings based on chance, which, when dry, could be peeled from the painting surface and made into something sculptural. Here’s a quick tutorial for creating the project at home with your family:

Supplies

  • Gloss medium or Liquitex pouring medium (available at most art supply stores)
  • Acrylic paint (I prefer gloss acrylics, but any type will work well)
  • Painting surface: A sheet of cardboard covered with heavy plastic (or something similar)
  • Squeeze bottles or cups for dispensing paint
  • Toothpicks for adding designs (optional)

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Plastic-covered painting surface, gloss medium, and acrylic paint in squeeze bottles

Steps

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Squeeze a small amount of gloss medium onto the painting surface. Using your squeeze bottles or cups, drop a little bit of paint into the medium. There’s no right or wrong way to do this so feel free to experiment! Try planning it out or putting the paint in randomly.

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Now try tilting your painting surface in different directions. The paint will start to run depending on the direction and angle that you tilt it. This is where the part about chance comes in–you only have a certain amount of control over the paint as it moves. Chance played a big role in the way that Lynda Benglis created Odalisque–she didn’t have any control over the paint after pouring it.

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Whenever you feel like it, add more paint. But be sure to drop it into the medium–otherwise, it could break off from the rest of the painting when dry. Continue adding paint and tilting the surface until your painting almost reaches the edge.

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When you are finished, let your painting dry for at least one day. If you added a lot of paint, it may need an extra day or two to fully dry. Afterwards, carefully peel the painting away from the painting surface–it should be plastic-like in consistency.

Now try making it into something sculptural! Your painting can easily be cut and molded. Some ideas that came up during Studio Creations were: a mask, a bowl, a mouse pad, a jacket, and a sun catcher, among others. If you’d like to share your creation with us, feel free to send an image to jbigornia@dma.org and I’ll post it on our Flickr page.

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Finished painting

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Almost sculptural, don’t you think?

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Detail of paint surface

Tips

  • Your painting does not have to look a certain way. Have fun and experiment!
  • For best results, I suggest using pouring medium instead of gloss medium. It’s a little bit more expensive, and it’s only made by Liquitex, but it was designed for projects just like this one and can prevent “crazing” in the paint. For super-duper results, mix a little bit of gloss or pouring medium into your paint before you start your project. One part medium to ten parts paint should be perfect. You can also try string medium!
  • You can get different designs by letting the paint run in one direction for a while and then turning it in another direction. This is really good for making swirls, circles, etc. You can use a toothpick to create fine lines as well.
  • The medium dries clear.
  • Lots of other cool poured paint projects can be found online!
  • Further questions? Feel free to shoot me an email!

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Reading the Cards: Part 4

This post is the fourth in a larger series finding connections between the ever-mystical tarot cards and the extraordinary collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Head over to the first, second, and third posts for an introduction and earlier connections.

The Magician is the first trump card in a tarot deck.  Shown as a youthful figure, the Magician is often thought to represent Apollo, the Greek sun god.  This association speaks to bringing light to the darkness and addressing avoided issues.

Benjamin West, Apollo's Enchantment, 1807, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Robert A. Beyers

Benjamin West, Apollo’s Enchantment, 1807, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Robert A. Beyers

Surrounded by the pantheon of Greek gods and muses, Benjamin West’s Apollo is bathed in the light of the sun.  Apollo enchants his audience with his skill at the lyre, as he is the god of music as well as the sun.

The Moon is the eighteenth major arcana card.  With the face of the subconscious mind gazing calmly upon the scene, the Moon depicts a dog, wolf, and water creature of sorts (in this case a lobster).  The card often represents sleep patterns, dreams, and nightmares- with the animals shown symbolizing the fears of man.

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds

Surrounding the theme of “man excelling himself,” Rufino Tamayo created the mural El Hombre as a commision for the Dallas Art Association.  Tamayo’s painted figure points into the starry sky in search of our place in the cosmos.  The dog in the lower-left corner blends into the dark ground as it gnaws on a bone- representing man’s baser instincts.

The Star is the seventeenth trump card.  Contributing liquid to both the pool of subconsciousness and the material world, a naked woman kneels directly beneath an exaggerated star.  In a tarot spread, the Star represents renewed hope, inspiration, and discovery.

Simon Starling, Venus Mirror (8/6/08, Copenhagen), 2011, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Simon Starling, Venus Mirror (8/6/08, Copenhagen), 2011, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Simon Starling’s mirror alludes to the original documentation of the planet Venus’ path accross the sky by Pierre César Jules Janssen.  Undertaken in 1974, the French astronomer developed a special daguerreotype camera to document Venus’ movement.  The telescope-camera hybrid recorded the multiple exposures on a single circular daguerreotype plate.

Strength is numbered as eleven or eight depending on the deck.  Historically titled Fortitude, the design has consistenly portrayed a lion submitting to the gentle touch of a woman.  When selected for a tarot reading, the card implies one’s control of the primal qualities of man.

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1846-1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, 1846-1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Based on Christian scripture, Edward Hicks created a scene of spiritual and earthly harmony amongst men and animals.  At the left side of the painting, William Penn signs a peace treaty with the Native American peoples of the Delaware Valley- a historic model for peaceful coexistence.

The Sun is the nineteenth of the major arcana cards.  Riding beneath the anthropomorphized sun, a small child sits astride a white horse- both symbols of innocence and purity.  With the red flag representing renewal, this card points to personal power, optimism, and enlightenment.

Constantin Brancusi, Beginning of the World, c.1920, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

Constantin Brancusi, Beginning of the World, c.1920, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

Provocative in nature, the sculpture’s title, Beginning of the World, is full of potential associations.  When paired with the simple geometric and natural shapes, the title hints to new beginnings, concepts, and discoveries.

My next and final Reading the Cards post will look at Temperance, the Tower, the Wheel of Fortune, and the World.

Pilar Wong

McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

Home for the Holidays

With the holidays upon us, there has been a lot of talk of travel, family, and traditions. Everyone’s experience is unique, so I asked some of my fellow bloggers to choose a work of art from the DMA’s collection that reminds them of home during the holidays.

Studio of Pere Espalargues, Altarpiece, second half of 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Leicester Busch Faust and Audrey Faust Wallace in memory of Anna Busch Faust and Edward A. Faust.

Studio of Pere Espalargues, Altarpiece, second half of 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Leicester Busch Faust and Audrey Faust Wallace in memory of Anna Busch Faust and Edward A. Faust.

My choice is this 15th century altarpiece. It makes me think of my family’s annual visit to The Cloisters museum in New York. We’ve been going there around Christmastime since I can remember. I would always hunt down my favorite two pieces: the Merode Altarpiece from the workshop of Robert Campin and an insanely intricate rosary bead made from boxwood. Though as a kid I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming, I can now appreciate this wonderful family tradition, and I’m looking forward to returning very soon.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Bare Tree Trunks with Snow, 1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Bare Tree Trunks with Snow, 1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase.

Danielle Schulz: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Bare Tree Trunks with Snow reminds me of going home to Albuquerque for the holidays. I can just imagine that these bare trees are in my mother’s backyard. The few trees that we do have in New Mexico are quite bare like the painting shows, but become so much more beautiful when it snows. When I look at this painting, all I want to do is curl up in front of the fireplace, eat some green chile stew and watch A Christmas Story on repeat!

John Ward Lockwood, Magic of the Snow, 1945-1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Lida Hooe Memorial Fund.

John Ward Lockwood, Magic of the Snow, 1945-1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Lida Hooe Memorial Fund.

Pilar Wong: I chose Magic of the Snow because the colors are reminiscent of my hometown of Delta, Colorado. While snowy landscapes are dominated by shimmery whites, the blue of the mountains and tan of the shrubbery creates a winter wonderland!

Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow.

Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow.

Leah Hanson: I would pick Edgar Degas’ Ballet Dancers on Stage. When I was little, we had a tradition of going to see The Nutcracker every year. My sister and I would get dressed up in our Christmas dresses (usually matching!), and every year it was magical to watch Clara and her Christmas tree that grows and grows and the Nutcracker who comes to life. After the show, we’d twirl around in our dresses and reenact our favorite parts – the Arabian dancers, the Russian dancers, and of course, the Sugarplum Fairy. One of my favorites!

Clara McDonald Williamson, Get Along Little Dogies, 1945, Dallas Museum of Art, Ted Dealey Purchase Prize, Seventeenth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition.

Clara McDonald Williamson, Get Along Little Dogies, 1945, Dallas Museum of Art, Ted Dealey Purchase Prize, Seventeenth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition.

Amanda Blake: The work of art that reminds me of the holidays is Get Along Little Dogies by Clara McDonald Williamson because I grew up spending Christmas on farms in Oklahoma with both sets of grandparents. This painting reminds me of the view of cattle and wide-open space as we would drive from Kansas to Oklahoma.

Harold Holdway (designer), Regimental Oak shape dinner plate with Christmas Tree pattern, designed 1938, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stephen Harrison in honor of George Roland.

Harold Holdway (designer), Regimental Oak shape dinner plate with Christmas Tree pattern, designed 1938, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stephen Harrison in honor of George Roland.

Amy Copeland: For me, nothing says the holidays like this pattern. My family gathers with our neighbors for holiday meals, and the bunch of us have eaten many a Christmas dinner off plates like these.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the DMA!

Alex Vargo
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Reading the Cards: Part 3

This post is the third in a larger series finding connections between the ever-mystical tarot cards and the extraordinary collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Head over to the first and second posts for an introduction and earlier connections.

The Hierophant is the fifth trump card and is occasionally referred to as the Pope.  The term hierophant literally means one who teaches holy things.  With two fingers pointing skyward and two downward, the Hierophant’s hand raised in benediction forms a bridge between heaven and earth.  This card represents seeking guidance from positive role models as the Hierophant is seen as a pillar of the community.

Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi),Yombe peoples, late 19th to early 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the McDermott Foundation

Minkisi (the plural term for nkisi) are containers for magical substances or medicines that empower them to protect the community against negative forces.  This standing power figure belongs to a class of minkisi called nkondi.  The term translated is “hunter” of wrongdoers in matters of civil law.  Truly a pillar of the community, the hunter is simultaneously chief, doctor, priest and judge.

The High Priestess is the second major arcana card in a tarot deck.  She is represented in plain robes wearing a horned diadem on her head and a large cross on her chest.  The High Priestess is always shown between two pillars- one white and one black.  Labeled “B” and “J,” the columns represent Boaz and Jachin of the mystic Temple of Solomon.  This card is associated with knowledge, love, and common sense.

Matthew Barney, CREMASTER 3: Hiram Abiff, 2002, Dallas Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Fund: Gif of Arlene and john Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon E. Faulconer, Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Margurerite and Robert K. Hoffman, Cindy and Howerd Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and three anonymous donors; DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund; and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

Cast by Matthew Barney in the film CREMASTER 3, American sculptor Richard Serra portrays the master architect of the Chrysler building.  In this freeze frame, Serra stands in front of two industrial columns, a reference to two pillars designed by Hiram Abiff, the mythic architect of Solomon’s Temple, who possessed knowledge of the mysteries of the universe.

Judgement is the twentieth trump card in the tarot deck.  Modeled after the Christian resurrection prior to the final judgmenet day, the scene depicts an angel, likely Gabriel, descending to earth sounding a trumpet.  Below, grayish men, women, and children celebrate the angel’s arrival with open arms as they emerge from crypts and graves.  When used for divination purposes the card signals an impending judgement or the resurrection of past errors.

Emma-O, late 16th-early 17th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund in memory of Alfred and Juanita Bromberg an dthe Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

The title Emma-O is the Japanese translation of Yama, the Hindu god of death.  Based in Buddhism, the idea of Emma-O as the King of Hells originated in China before spreading to Japan.  Wearing the costume of a Chinese judge, Emma-O was thought to determine how your spirit would be reincarnated in your next life.  He was seen as a beneficient power despite his snarling face, which was thought to avert evil.

Justice is numbered either eight or eleven depending on the deck .  Shown seated and holding the scales of justice and the equalizing sword aloft, Justice meditates on various claims of right, morality, and duty.  When Justice appears in a spread, the card signals an injustice that requires righting.

Helmet mask (gye), Guro peoples, mid-20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, The otis and Velma Davis Dozier Fund

The most powerful of masks, gye represent the highest judicial authority.  A person wearing such a mask can judge disputes, negotiate peace treties, and make momentous decisions on behalf of the community.  Worn while dancing atop burning coals, this mask depicts the trustworthy and loyal African buffalo.

The Lovers is the sixth trump card in a tarot deck.  Still nude, Adam and Eve flank the cherub that is presumably ordering them from the Garden of Eden.  Representing the impulse that drove Adam and Eve from the Garden, the Lovers exemplify the transition from innocence to experience.  This transition could manifest due to curiosity, desire, or duty.

Henry Koerner, June Night, 1948-1949, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan

An example of magic realism, Henry Koerner’s June Night is a glance at life after leaving the garden.  Contrasting blissful wedding connotations with the harsh qualities of a brick apartment building, this painting comments on the realities of married life, post-honeymoon phase.  The crying child painted on the lower wall brings to mind late night feedings and diaper changes.

Stay tuned for my next post featuring the Magician, the Moon, the Star, Strength, and the Sun.

Pilar Wong
McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

Friday Photos: Here Comes Election Day

Donald Freeman, Election, c. 1933-1934, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project

With the election fast approaching, I wanted to share some presidential and election-related works from the collection in the hopes of inspiring you to exercise your civil right to vote.

Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, c. 1850, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Rembrandt Peale painted this portrait when he was just seventeen years old, stating that the anticipation of the appointment with George Washington made him so nervous that he “could scarcely mix [his] colors.” The composition seen today is actually a revision of the original painting done nearly thirty years later.

Theodore R. Davis (designer), Oyster plate, designed 1879, Dallas Museum of Art, the Charles R. Masling and John E. Furen Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. William Rubin, the Arthur A. Everts Co., and Arthur and Marie Berger by exchange

During his term from 1877 to 1881, Rutherford B. Hayes was served oysters on this Thomas R. Davis design. To see what is in the White House currently, check out Google Art’s 360-view here.

Crawford Riddell, Bed, c. 1844, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisition Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

This Gothic revival style bed was commissioned as part of a suite of bedroom furniture for presidential candidate Henry Clay in anticipation of his term in the White House. Eventually losing to Andrew Jackson, Clay was forced to sell the piece to someone who had a room large enough to house this thirteen foot tall bed.

Fanny B. Shaw, “Prosperity is Just Around the Corner,” 1930-1932, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift

Fannie B. Shaw’s optimistic quilt was inspired by the prosperity promised by President Herbert Hoover: “Every time you picked up the paper or heard the radio he would talk about good times around the corner. He would make it sound so good. I wondered if I could make a picture of what he said and what he meant. I went to bed one night and couldn’t get it off my mind.” Here’s to optimism then and now!

Viktor Schreckengost (designer), Jazz Bowl, c. 1930-1931, Dallas Museum of Art, The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange

The first “Jazz Bowl” came about when Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned Cowan pottery to create a work that evoked New York. Viktor Schreckengost’s design captures what the artist called “that funny blue light in New York in 1931 when Cab Calloway’s band was playing.”

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr., and General Acquisitions

Here, Robert Rauschenberg has combined everyday images of President John F. Kennedy, space capsules, an American eagle, construction sites, urban scenes, and diagrams of the earth and moon from outer space to reflect 1960s America. These found images he has incorporated with art-historical references and his own freely applied strokes of paint.

In a similar vein, the DMA will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy by bringing together the works of art installed in the president’s suite at the Hotel Texas during his fateful trip in 1963. Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy will open on May 26, 2013. Keep a look out.

Don’t forget to vote next Tuesday, November 6.

Alex Vargo
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Reading the Cards: Part 2

This post is the second in a larger series finding connections between the ever-mystical tarot cards and the extraordinary collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.  Head over to the first post for an introduction and a quick look at three card-art comparisons.

The Emperor is the fourth trump card within the major arcana.  He is often depicted sitting on a throne and holding a scepter and shield.  The tarot Emperor is considered the absolute ruler of the world and represents the desire to control one’s surroundings.

Vishnu and attendants, c. 1026 AD, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. John Leddy Jones

Richly jeweled as a king would be, Vishnu can be identified in this relief by his traditional attributes: a mace, conch shell, sun wheel (chakra), and beads.  He is shown as a calm, upright figure surrounded by his heavenly court and divine kingdom.  As the Preserver to Shiva’s destruction, Vishnu is the bringer of blessings and prosperity to his followers.

 

The Empress is the third major arcana card in a tarot deck.  The Empress holds a scepter representing her power over life, wears a twelve-starred crown asserting her dominance over the year, and sits on a throne amidst a field of grain showcasing her control over growing things.  Occasionally shown pregnant, the Empress represents creation and abundance.

Madonna and Child, early 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Crowned as the Queen of Heaven, Mary sways gracefully as she supports her son Jesus.  Prophetic in nature, the sculpture displays Mary’s distress resulting from her foreknowledge of her son’s fate.  This portrayal of the Virgin and Child exemplifies Mary’s role as mother and Jesus’ role as savior.

 

The Fool is normally unnumbered, though occasionally represented as zero in the major arcana.  He represents the search for experience and a childlike wonder at the workings of the world.  The Fool is often accompanied by a dog representing the distractions of the “real world.”  Standing at the edge of a cliff, the Fool is oblivious to danger and recklessly seeks out adventure.

Alberto Giacometti, Three Men Walking, 1948-1949, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus

Artist Alberto Giacometti said that he sculpted figures as people actually looked to him.  Stick-like in nature, the three bronze figures wander dangerously close to the edge of an elevated platform.  Each faces a different direction as if eager to seek out his or her own adventure.

 

The Hanged Man is the twelfth trump card in a tarot deck.  Depicted as a man suspended from a tree, the Hanged Man’s symbolism often points to the crucifixion of Christ, Osiris in Egyptian mythology, Mithras in Ancient Persian mythology, and Odin in Norse mythology.  The Hanged Man card and these archetypal stories all allude to the destruction of self bringing life to humanity.

Octavio Medellín, El Ahorcado (The Hanged One), c. 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Kiest Memorial Purchase Prize, Fourteenth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1943

Raised amidst the ravages of the Mexican Civil War, Octavio Medellí drew much of his inspiration from the Maya-Toltec cultures.  El Ahorcado (The Hanged One) is thought to symbolize Mexico’s effort to free itself from centuries of colonial subjugation and its struggle to find its own democratic path.

 

The Hermit is the ninth major arcana card.  He is shown as an elderly man carrying a staff in one hand and a lit lantern in the other- both signs of wisdom and knowledge.  Sparse in design, the card’s background is mostly sky with the lower portion depicting a wasteland and mountain range in the distance.  The Hermit has already learned the lessons of life throughout his journey and represents a shamanistic hero.

Portrait of an Arhat, 13th century, Dallas Museum of Art, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund, and Lillian B. Clark

Contemplating a lotus flower, this monk represents an arhat.  Arhats were holy men who were originally disciples of the Buddha.  Though they achieved extraordinary spiritual levels, arhats put off their own enlightenment in the pursuit of helping others.

My next post will look at the Hierophant, the High Priestess, Judgment, Justice, and the Lovers!

Pilar Wong

McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

Reading the Cards: Part 1

On a recent trip to New York, I finally had my cards read by a psychic–something that I’ve always wanted to have done!  As she was telling me about a tall, dark, stranger in my future I couldn’t help but notice the vibrant, graphic nature of her card deck. With their flat color planes, Romanesque figures, and dramatic styling, the cards each told a specific portion of the larger tale.

While tarot cards were originally used throughout Europe to play card games, they have become associated in modern culture with mysticism and magic. The deck is divided into two sections: the minor arcana and major arcana. The former is very similar to a modern deck of cards with four suits consisting of ten pip (numbered 2 through 10) and four court cards. The major arcana cards are those most often associated with tarot divination.

This post is my first in a series that will make connections between individual tarot cards and artworks in the DMA’s collection. I’ll share works from our collection that are reminiscent of a card’s imagery or of the card’s meaning in divination practices.

The Chariot is the seventh trump or major arcana card. The card normally depicts a royal figure in a chariot being pulled by horses or sphinxes–one black and one white. A sign of an external battle of wills, the white and black horses often pull in different directions. In a tarot spread, the card can refer to current obstacles or successes in overcoming life’s challenges.

Théodore Géricault, Horse-drawn Cart Full of Wounded Soldiers (Chariot Chargé de Soldats Blessés), 1818, Dallas Museum of Art, Juanity K. Bromberg Memorial Fund and gift of an anonymous donor

This lithograph not only depicts a horse-drawn carriage, but it also exemplifies many of the qualities of the chariot card. Fatigued and wounded soldiers are clearly returning from battle, perhaps even a losing battle. The horses are pulling in so many directions that they are tangling their harnesses and fighting with each other.

Death is the thirteenth major arcana card in a tarot deck. Death is depicted by a skeleton riding a horse and is often shown surrounded by dead and dying people. Despite its name, the card does not represent actual death. Instead, it usually signifies an ending of an era or relationship.

Dakini Vajravarahi, c. A.D. 1600, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Virginia C. and Flyd C. Ramsey Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc.

Adorned with a necklace of skulls and carrying an executioner’s ax, this dakini, a Buddhist female deity, represents the violent aspects of existence. She also embodies the cycle of life, death, and rebirth which celebrates death as a bringer of life.

The Devil is the fifteenth major arcana card. Tarot images of the Devil show him as a satyr-like creature sitting above or on two humans. If selected during a card reading, the Devil represents self-bondage or barriers to leading a full life. Often, these obstacles are interpreted as vices such as materialism, lust, egotism, etc.

Ferdinand Hodler, The Halberdier, 1895, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Nona and Richard Barrett

While Ferdinand Hodler’s The Halberdier actually depicts a Swiss soldier, this image seemed like the perfect choice to represent the Devil. Clothed in a traditional red costume and holding a spiked battle-axe, the soldier evokes several connotations we hold concerning the Devil.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will look at the Emperor, the Empress, the Fool, the Hanged Man, and the Hermit.

Pilar Wong
McDermott Intern for Community Teaching


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