A light-hearted survey course that I, Alexis Clements, put together for my former work colleagues upon the occasion of our weekly beer drinking celebration. Some of the links are dead (I apologize in advance for that), but some people seem to enjoy this, so I've left it up. Click here to return to my homepage.

A Brief Survey of Artistic Representations of Social Interaction:
From the Caves of Lascaux to the Halls of CIW

Unit 4 - Among Friends

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, A Bold Bluff, Lithograph,
Sized to order, optional canvas overlay.

In honor of the celebration of American football's yearly climax-Super Bowl XXXVIII-I have decided to focus this week's lesson on the representation of gatherings of male subjects, as represented in the two works pictured on this page.

What I would like to do this time, rather than dictate the course of discussion, is to raise some issues and/or questions which are relevant to this particular juxtaposition. Please spend a moment considering these issues/questions and be prepared to speak on at least one of them during the class discussion:

  • The use of architectural backgrounds to establish perspective and a central focus.
  • The actions of the various figures in the pieces as they relate to the central figure.
  • The use of symbols (cigars, collars, challises, bread, etc.) to establish a specific meaning.
  • The presence or lack of symmetry.
  • High vs. Low art - (Religious vs. Common themes, Old vs. New, Virtue vs. Vice).
  • Representations of groups of males and the individual identities of each member.

Leonardo da Vinci The Last Supper (after cleaning), 1498,
Tempera on plaster, 460 x 880 cm (15 x 29 ft.),
Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie (Refectory), Milan.

Related Links:
A page that briefly enumerates the biography of the artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
A page that goes on at length about Leonardo da Vinci.
An organization that promotes "traditional masculine initiation."
The official Super Bowl website.
A page describing how to prepare many variations on the theme, Supper in a Bowl.