New Seven Wonders of the World

The world today is filled with many wonderful from natural formations that leave you speechless to magnificent feats of human ingenuity. People have been exploring and wondering over the many awe-inspiring sites in the world for centuries. In fact, it was the ancient Greeks who began the tradition of identifying the Seven Wonders of the World. That is, those sites which are so wondrous and inspiring that one should visit them if he or she wants to have a truly profound experience. Of course, for the ancient Greeks the “world” consisted entirely of the Mediterranean region. For that reason, the list has been modified over time to include wonders from all over the world.

The Original Seven Wonders of the World

The list created by the ancient Greeks included many ancient wonders that are no longer here today. There were many amazing architectural constructions and artistic creations whose splendor we can only imagine today. The list included:

  1. The Colossus of Rhodes: a 100 foot tall statue of Helios (a Greek Titan).
  2. The Lighthouse of Alexandria: a 400 foot tall lighthouse that once guided the ships coming into the largest port in Egypt.
  3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: a magnificent and magical botanical garden
  4. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  5. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  6. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  7. The Great Pyramids of Giza

Of those original seven, only one (the Great Pyramids of Giza) still exists today. Therefore, it became necessary to create an updated list of wonders, reflecting the monuments and sites that still remain. The lists have changed frequently over the years and even become more specific. Today, we have lists spanning the wonders to be found in all of existence—from the seven wonders of the natural world to the seven wonders of the industrial world. There is even a list of the seven wonders of the solar system! Continue reading “New Seven Wonders of the World” »

Differences between Art and Craft

Differences between Art and CraftAll too often, art and craft are seen as the same thing. Today, you will even find the phrases combined into the generalized hobby of “arts & crafts.” Despite this common perception, however, art and craft are two very distinct forms of human creativity. Each have their own, unique strengths and specialties.

In a nutshell, one could describe the differences between art and craft as follows:

  • Art is the use of various tools and materials in order to express an idea, emotion, or set of ideas and emotions.
  • Craft is the use of various tools and materials with the sole purpose of creating a real, tangible product.

However, this distinction is too brief and nonspecific so let’s dive deeper into the unique characteristics of each one.

Art

Artists, art historians, and art critics will all give you different answers to the troublesome question of “what is art?” These widely different definitions are part of what makes art so wonderful. It is a boundless medium of expression that can take on many different forms and meanings the imagination and conjure up. It is precisely this boundlessness which makes it so difficult to define. Continue reading “Differences between Art and Craft” »

Influences of Technology on Modern Art

Influences of Technology on Modern ArtArt has been around for as long as humanity has been making tools. The two skills grew together out of the same exceedingly creative human mind. In this way, art and technology are inextricably linked together, evolving together even if they are not evolving on exactly the same path.

As technology evolves, our lives and the world around us changes. As our lives and world change, so to do our expressions (both what we express and how we express it). In modern art, we can see this link more powerfully than ever as new technologies offer an even wider range of mediums which artists can use.

The turn of the 20th century, for example, saw major shifts in artistic mediums. It was at this time that photography was invented and with that came a whole new way of representing the world around us. Around that same time, film also emerged providing artists for the first time in history the ability to create moving pictures. This changed the scope of what could be expressed. No longer was the artist limited to expressing a single emotion or a single moment in time. With film, the artist can tell a story or show a more complex and detailed perspective of a single moment and emotion. The possibilities were endless.

Later on, the computer came into being and brought a slew of new technologies and abilities including digital media and the ability to digitally manipulate photographs and other images. This meant that there was no longer a clear distinction between representing the real through creative production (painting, drawing, etc) and depicting the real through objective mediums (photography, film, etc). Now, one could take a photograph of a real scene and manipulate to look however he or she chose. Continue reading “Influences of Technology on Modern Art” »

Rising Culture of Fitness

Rising Culture of FitnessFor far too long now, obesity has been an ever expanding problem in the United States. According to the last major study on the subject, as many as 33% of Americans are overweight or obese, and that’s a number which has been steadily rising over the last 20 years or so. More recently however, more and more people are skipping the fast food meals, the second helpings and the saturated fat, as well as getting more active and less sedentary. There is a rising culture of fitness in this country and it puts a smile on my face to see so many people aiming for a healthier lifestyle.

Now maybe my perception on the subject is a little slanted because of a recent interview with a pretty intense Crossfit coach. Perhaps. You can gain more information at several websites though, so there’s no need to take my word for it when you read anything here. This fellow I spoke with was a little brusque in manner, but he was very informative on the subject of Crossfit, a trait that makes him an effective coach, no doubt. I learned so much about Crossfit from him that I think I can speak a bit about it myself.

The main idea in Crossfit is to avoid overtraining any specific muscle or muscle group by getting the entire body involved in every workout. It may sound daunting, but it’s possible to achieve this healthy measure and work your entire body in less than 10 minutes. Think of Crossfit like an advanced form of calisthenics, where multiple exercises are used instead of the traditional jumping jacks or rope, and weights are also included to increase the intensity and yield of the workout. Practically anyone can do Crossfit and practically everyone would benefit from it, so it’s no surprise its popularity is booming.

Workouts can be pretty intense even without weights for those who haven’t been very active lately. Like any other exercise, it’s important to stretch thoroughly before you get started. There is no warmup necessary for Crossfit, since Crossfit is like a warmup session taken to the maximum level. You still can’t avoid stretching though, so make sure to get limber if you don’t want to get injured.

There’s only so much you can do yourself, with the talent you’re given and your ability to move and burn calories. Crossfit is therefore best in conjunction with nutrient protein supplements for Crossfit. It’s possible to find specific blends available, but you might be ok with many different protein supplements. Building muscle takes protein, and exercising damages muscles, which must then rebuild. Without an adequate amount of protein in your daily diet, you will actually harm yourself with Crossfit.

That goes for any kind of exercise, so don’t think it’s a negative quality specific to Crossfit. It’s pretty hard for me to find anything wrong with the exercise plan, except that it can be difficult to get started for someone who wasn’t already active. If you just don’t push yourself too hard, there’s no reason you can’t be among the many in our rising culture of fitness. Take your time; just make sure you keep going.

The Renaissance Art

The Renaissance ArtHistory teaches us so many things. What I love most about human history is the way art forms were glorified. The Renaissance period in particular was highlighted by the novel ideas and approaches used during that time. For instance, the concept of humanism was focused on more, where human needs, interest and skills were given significance.

Humanism altered the way artists viewed their work and the subjects they chose. Human beauty and pleasures of life were portrayed in the paintings more. This is what made the Renaissance art to outshine that of the Middle Age art forms. The Renaissance artists like Da Vinci chose to study the human form in different perspectives and this can be seen in the paintings of that period.

More depth and liveliness can be seen in them. The Renaissance artists sought inspiration from nature and I think that it is great nowadays to be able to stay in touch with nature at home, have a peek here to know how. Also visit this page for practical way on how to grow inspirational garden at home.

Departing from convention

When you take a look at the artistic achievements during the Renaissance period, you’ll be stunned at the way the features were exquisitely portrayed. While Florence remained the undisputed leader, the influence was seen in Milan, Rome and Venice too. Right from the sculptors, artists, musicians and painters to the architects a marked deviation from the medieval age can be seen. You can find naturalism in all their works. While the Medieval people believed only in God’s power, the Renaissance artists looked up to artistic originality and considered works of art as unique and brilliant.

Wealthy artists

Renaissance period saw many of the artists flourishing as they were handsomely paid for their work of art. There were many wealthy patrons who were ready to shower their wealth on the artists for their work on nature. Records show that Leonardo da Vinci earned 2000 ducats annually, when 200 ducats were sufficient to live luxuriously for a whole year. Michelangelo received 3,000 ducats for creating the art work on Sistine Chapel’s ceiling and since he didn’t need any more money, he’s said to have refused payment for his work on Basilica of St. Peters. These facts suggest that Renaissance period was indeed a golden era for artists who are always portrayed as struggling individuals.

Renaissance art concepts

There are two main concepts in Renaissance Art.

1. Realism

Artists focused on realistic portrayal of the universe and human beings. The natural human form was replicated in their creations. This made realism being termed as naturalism. Also during Renaissance period, human beings were in essence good people and God’s ultimate creation. This thinking can be seen in the paintings, which had psychological profile with facial expressions being given more prominence.

2. Perspective

This involved the linear depiction of space and time, which enhanced the naturalism concept. This brought in another dimension to paintings done on flat surfaces namely distance. The objects in background were depicted in smaller size than those in the front. Brunelleschi used this concept excellently in his works creating a wonderful three dimensional effect.

The Art of Sport

The Art of SportSport has become a vital part of our existence. Imagine a world without football! Whether it is football, basketball, tennis or any other sport, people love it in any form as long as it is a sport. I’d recently read an article about sport being an art by J.M. Boxill, which was quite good and mirrored some of my own opinions on sport.

While not everyone would agree with me on sport being called an art form, I’d certainly put up a strong argument for it. There are many who think that aesthetic appeal is an entirely different aspect and should not be confused with art. But Boxill believes that sport is indeed a form of art that provides a means of expressing identity for both women and men. There are many kinds of sports, which can be considered as an art, for example this one.

Sport as a skill

While many see sport as a technical efficiency or skill than an aesthetic performance, I know this is not true. Why I’m saying this is because when an athlete gains the required expertise in a sport, he ceases to look on it as a skill, as he has mastered it already. He starts to make it look more attractive or in some cases for distracting the opponent.

Popularly called as signature movement this can be found in almost all sports. For instance, the bicycle kick of Pele is quite famous and a rage among football fans. You can see this in basketball too where players use their skills to arrive at efficient moves that not only win the game, but also make it more interesting to watch.

Shift towards art

While critics may reiterate that in a sport the ultimate objective is to win rather than emphasize on beauty, I think that the core concept of sport is misunderstood here. It is a given thing that a sport is played to win. But winning is not the only thing that motivates a player towards excellence. The term, ‘graceful losers’ has emerged because of this. Rather than play a lousy game and win, playing well and losing is what most athletes would prefer. When the exhibition of skill is stressed, victory loses its sheen and this is why I believe that sport is indeed an art.

Beauty in sport

Beauty, I accept is not the only objective for which a sport is played. Artists do not aim at creating beauty, but focus on their creative skills more. This is how sport is also a form of art. When explained in more technical terms as Boxhill says, artists create to get the message across in a way that appeals to our innermost conscience. Sports has its own aspect of beauty, which makes it part of an art but the beauty alone is not the sole reason for it being considered as an art. Self-expression is what makes art exclusive and in sports this is seen in the winning.

There are many more reasons that make sport more of an art form on which I can go on. But the main thing I want to stress upon is universally a sport is watched not for the win or loss in a game, but because it is an art that has to be experienced.

European Capital of Culture of 2014

2014 European Capital of CultureRiga is a capital city in Latvia, and a major center of culture in the North-Eastern Europe. I wouldn’t necessarily compare it to epicenters of the past like Alexandria, but it’s one of the most vibrant spots in the eastern world, let alone the whole country of Latvia. There are fairs, festivals and other gatherings that have people coming and going all year round. There are operas, orchestral performances and plenty of live exhibitions to see too, which is why I think Latvia’s capital city is one of the hottest spots in Europe today.

Summer is just getting started in Riga, which hosted a major event for book lovers back at the beginning of the year, right in the middle of January. Men, women and children, all joined hand in hand, passed books from the National Library of Latvia all the way to the Gaismas Pils, or Castle of Light, many kilometers away. That’s really old news though.

Still to come in July of 2014 are the World Choir Games, where tens of thousands of singers from nearly a hundred different countries will all gather together and let their voices be heard. That’s in stark contrast to the Born in Riga event, wherein a series of performers playing alone tried their hardest to outshine one another.

There are other events planned for later in the year, once the weather cools down and more people are willing to take to the streets, rather than stay inside in their air conditioning. For instance, the Staro Riga, the biggest and most expansive light show in north Europe, is coming up in the middle of November. Likewise, the European Film Academy Awards will be taking place in Riga at the close of the year, near December 13th.

These are just a few of the numerous events which have either already happened in Riga in 2014, or will be happening later on in the year. There are really too many scenes, shows, sights and sounds for me to list them all here. Instead, I want to close by sharing a short story about a time I went to Riga myself.

I already mentioned the event I attended – it was that book passing thing. I can’t remember the name of it, but I surely recall the long chain of people, stretching all the way to the horizon and rolling right over it, as far as my eyes could see and then farther still. It was at this event that I managed to visit with some local business partners who work for Citrus Solutions.

Naturally, I was somewhat surprised to see those two guys at the book passing event I attended, but it wasn’t so shocking in retrospect. They’re always going places with big crowds to be seen, be heard, spread the word about their business, that sort of thing. Anyhow, they told me about some changes they were thinking of making to www.citrus.lv, their company website.

Now, me, I’m a big fan of most human constructs. We aren’t just a part of history – we make history, each of us. They came to me for any advice on how they could make their website something that would withstand the test of time and they got what they came for, let me tell you. I should be seeing them again later this year when I revisit Riga for those film awards I spoke about.