The Arts, the Senses, and the Imagination
by Robert Millar on November 12th, 2013

When many people think about the Western Classical Arts tradition, they assume that the output is all serious, sober, and endeavoring to be dreadfully profound in its content. That assumption is not entirely true. The moods and feelings expressed in the Arts are quite varied and broad in their scope. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they capture a wider diversity of our subtle internal affective experiences than any other aspect of our culture. This is a primary reason they have spoken with such relevance to so many people throughout their history and continue to do so today. They help illuminate for us what it is like to be a human being. In fact, they celebrate our common humanity. And of course, not all of the human condition is serious. So I thought that from time to time I would include here examples of works that are clearly intended to be humorous.

Having said that, I should mention that the Western canon is not exactly replete with slapstick,  yuckers and knee slappers. Those make up the landscape of more popular entertainment venues where they are completely appropriate and enjoyable. Instead, the Classical Arts tend, in general, to present a subtler brand of humor --- something more likely to produce a smile or a chuckle rather than a guffaw. So try not to feel too disappointed if you don’t fall down screaming with laughter at an art gallery or a concert.

This, then, is the first in a series of posts devoted to some of those humorous moments in the Arts, moments which add just a tiny bit of leavening to the mix. I begin with he following painting, by the Italian composer and painter Giacomo Balla (1871-1958). It is given an extensive analysis by journalist Tom Lubbock in the British newspaper THE INDEPENDENT, but all I know is that every time I run across the work I find myself smiling.
Dynamism of A Dog on a Leash (1912) Giacomo Balla

Posted in ART, HUMOR    Tagged with Giacomo Bella, humor, art, arts


Alberto - November 12th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
I think the title could be changed to " dog on a treadmill " now that we have electric treadmills, most likley not available in the year 1912 when he did this painting. Alberto
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