Art Jamming Singapore
July 3, 2018

Making Sense of Famous Art Works Part 2

Three weeks ago, we made an attempt to decipher the context of quite a few famous artworks – what is art if we cannot develop an appreciation for it. Hopefully, the one-shot art jamming experience still has you hooked on to the world of art and keep you interested in what I am about to elucidate on. Without further ado, let me introduce you to these famous paintings which you should have seen a million times but not know anything about.

Campbell Soup Can

I am sure we all have heard, seen and even tasted the contents of the Campbell soup can, but I am confident that there are those out there reading this, who like me didn’t know the gravity of the art in front of their eyes. At the time, the artist Andy Warhol created this artwork as an advertisement for the company. It was simply brilliance that he managed to translate the ‘mass-production’ element of the Campbell soup onto the painting. There were 32 flavors of Campbell Soup and thus 32 paintings of what seems like almost homogeneous paintings of Campbell soup can. Perhaps Warhol was trying to foreshadow a gradual move towards a society where everything is increasingly depersonalized and repetitive. Campbell soup cans kick-started a new type of art form that relies on themes from popular culture as a major art movement. This is history-making soup right here, savor its taste.


Nighthawks is one of the most prominent paintings in American art, featuring three customers seated in a downtown diner in the early wee hours together with a bartender. The artwork has been popularly adopted in today’s pop culture such as in the Simpsons amongst other uses. This scene is the author’s attempt to depict the nightlife scene in America in the 1940s, at the request of a diner in Greenwich Village though he made the room bigger and brighter. The Picture paints a very alienated society, with the man in the corner just drinking away in a dead city and next to what is possibly a happy couple that clearly has no time to empathize with the depressed bloke. This is my own two cents on the painting; there is no way to fact check since the author’s intentions were never revealed. Art is often open to interpretation for the different people viewing it with their hearts.

The Persistence of Memory

This is one artwork, which uses the concept of surrealism to the extreme, bringing out the imagination or even the subconscious imagination of the artist. In simpler words, this painting makes no sense, at least to my inartistic eye. The signature attraction of this art piece is the feature that the clock is ‘melting’ which the author credits to get his inspiration from melting cheese when placed under the sun. But as to why Salvador Dali painted clocks instead of other objects is unknown unless we are prepared to use Freudian concepts to figure out the deep underlying thoughts of his painting. Though possibly he wishes to suggest that the passing of time is inevitable and that something even time cannot fade away an object or feelings completely. The rest of the background like the sea view and the hill are all actual scenery of his hometown in Catalonia. The concept of the droopy melting clocks is replicated in his other pieces and also all around the world by other artists because it just looks so abstract.

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