“Outward Looking In: Framing the Subject”
My reflection consists of poems inspired by Masterpieces of Western Art. As I embarked upon a condensed and heightened version of this class in summer 2020, I did not anticipate falling in love with my professor's blending of classical Western art with postmodernist philosophy. I was particularly inspired by the oldest and the newest texts of the Art Humanities syllabus, especially the Ancient Greek Parthenon, its frieze and Acropolis and Propylaea, and how they intersected with the Greek Iliad and Odyssey - and their subsequent reinterpretation into Ovid's Latin myths - that I had read the year prior in Literature Humanities.
Be it the Parthenon or Andy Warhol's neither celebratory nor condemnatory depictions of media violence against women, the problem of frames consistently plagued me. As I came to learn, understanding who is inside and outside when examining a piece of art is paramount. In the Acropolis, it is the viewer who is outside and the gods inside, inhabiting their abodes on Earth; in Bernini's David, the viewer is behind the statue in his moment of transformation, cast in the role of the antagonist Goliath.
So, I constructed my first, titleless poem as a frame: the frame itself is the art with, as the poem alludes to, nothing inside, devoid of anything else, even a name. My poems “Cassandra in the Propylaea” and “Bacchanalian” refer to Ovid’s Roman myths and Michelangelo’s statue of Bacchus, intertwining texts read in both Literature and Art Humanities. In particular, I strive to demonstrate the differences between the experiences of these characters in their respective legends. Cassandra, as a rape victim, is outside the frame of her own story, cursed to never be believed. Bacchus, on the other hand, is able to construct his worldview, including that of the narrator who observes him. Both manipulate their subjects.
About the Scholar: Krystle DiCristofalo
Krystle DiCristofalo is a second-year in CC who is also the founder of a tutoring and academic consulting company, my Ivy Education. Her writing has most recently been published by Cicada Magazine, The Noisy Island, and Imagine Magazine, among others. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the harp and watching Guy's Grocery Games.