Does art influence culture or does culture influence art? By art we do not mean just paintings and physical art, but also sculpture, photography, poetry and theatre. The reality is that each one affects the other and so it follows that the art we produce is influenced by our culture but that we also draw cultural references from our experience of art.
What do your artistic tastes say about you? What art do you choose to hang on your walls, what screensaver or wallpaper do you have on your phone? What scenes do you consider worthy of capturing in a photograph, what poetry moves you? When you draw or paint what do you draw and in what style? All of these things tell you something about yourself, just as your artistic expressions tell other people something about you.
What artistic references do you identify with in your own country and communities? Who are the celebrated artists, poets and writers? Does your nation have a distinct style of traditional or folk art? What is its history? (the cultural atlas links on the station page might be useful references here). Do you feel that it represents your culture?
What forms of art do you enjoy? Are your choices influenced by your local, national or ethnic culture? What do you think your art says about you? Add to your notes in the “Surface Culture” section of your worksheet.
You might want to choose one of the art galleries or museums listed below and take a tour.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery of London houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries. This museum offers a virtual tour of 18 rooms and the collections they hold.
The Courtald Museum
The Courtald Museum in London offers a virtual gallery tour of seven rooms. You can zoom in to see artwork close up including masterpieces from Manet and Van Gogh.
The Dali Museum
The Dali Museum in Tampa Bay Florida provides visitors an inside look into not only the artwork of Salvador Dali, but also to the important people and places of his life. The virtual tour allows a 360 degree view of the grounds, interior, and a few exhibits.
The British Museum
The British Museum is home to over two million years of history and culture including the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies. You can take virtual tours using Google street view technology and explore by theme, time period, or geographic area.
The Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum holds work by artists such as Marc, Mondrian, Picasso, and Koons. You can position yourself in the gallery and take a virtual look around using a computer or Google Cardboard technology.
The Louvre Museum
Situated in Paris, France, the Louvre has three virtual gallery tours. You can visit their collection of Egyptian antiquities, the remains of the Louvre moat, or the recently restored Galerie d’ Apollon.
The Frick Museum
The Frick Museum in New York City is known for the collection of Old Master paintings. The Frick’s virtual gallery tour not only shows images of various rooms but also allows viewers to click on items for an up close view and historical details.