The Ranakpur Jain Temple, located in India, stands tall with intricately carved pillars
that depict awe-inspiring deities. The Ranakpur Temple serves to honor the religion of
Jainism and is one of five pilgrimage sites for the followers of Jainism (“Ranakpur
Temple”). The Ranakpur Temple was built in the 15th century by Jain businessman
Seth Dharna Shah and the king Rana Kumbha, whom the temple is named after. The
temple is expansive; at over 48,000 square feet, the temple sits above what are known
as the Aravalli hills and is a vision of light marble that shifts colors as the sun sets. The
Ranakpur Temple further encompasses four smaller temples dedicated to various Jain
Lords. The most prominent of these is the Chaumukha Temple, which is dedicated to
Lord Adinath, who appears as a four-faced image. This shows how the Lord and
through him Jainism, attempts to expand to all corners of the earth and cosmos
This example of architecture I originally discovered while exploring the internet and
trying to compile works of architecture that inspire me or seem to evoke emotions. I
chose this piece, among cathedrals such as Notre Dame and the architectural style of
the Taj Mahal, because it is unique in how it represents the culture it hails from. The
major element of architecture that is visible at once in the Rankpur Jain Temple is the
use of post and lintels. Post and lintel is a type of architectural that uses strong
columns, or posts, to hold up larger horizontal beams called lintels (Rinck). In Greek
architecture, these columns were in the Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian styles, all of which
had varying levels of detail. In the Rankapur Temple, the columns are closest to the
Corinthian style of having ornate carved capitals but stand out due to how they feature
extensive detail in the fluting or scalloped-out parts of the columns (Rinck). The columns
of the temple display figures of Jain’s religious figures and nature symbols such as
carved leaves in intricate detail. The Rankapur Temple further stands out due to how it
is carved from marble. Lines move across the Ranakpur Temple, and the light color of
the marble allows it to reflect light differently throughout the day. This shows how
the context of the Jain Temple further causes it to move the viewer. The context of a
building is the natural surroundings of a building, and the history in which the building
was created. The building was built to appear “celestial” yet still to stand as part of the
natural landscape (“Ranakpur Temple”). The surrounding greenery around the temple
emphasize how Jainism was founded by spiritual leaders who achieved liberation and
perfection (“Jainism”). Due to how the temple stands out from the surrounding hills, the
temple appears to contrast against the natural world, which in turn shows how the
temple is meant to stand out from the real world as a spiritual dwelling. This all shows
how the architecture of the Ranakpur Temple emphasize the social angle of culture.
The Ranakpur Temple emphasizes culture because it maintains the unique architectural
style of its region of India- the columns bear carvings of symbols of the Jain faith, which
originates in India. The Temple also bears intricate carvings of snakes, prayer bells, and
geometric patterns that reflect the importance of various motifs to the Jain culture
(“Jainism”). This cultural identity is also seen in the people who visit the Temple. It
stands as a symbol of the Jain faith, and its lines work to connect visitors to the Jain
ideals of discipline and purification through their organized structure. Furthermore, the
Jain Temple represents the cultural identity of the Jain religion because it shows the
importance of sacred imagery to the Jain religion (“Jainism”).
At first glance, the Ranakpur Temple is opposite to the image “ちえ” (or “Knowledge”)
by Hitoshi Kobayashi that I explored in Module 1. The image “Knowledge” is
demonstrative of Japanese architecture in the modern city of Tokyo while the Ranakpur
Temple seems to stand away from time and is also more permanent. However, the two
pieces are both representative of the cultural identity of the area they are associated
with and the importance of documenting that identity. In the image “Knowledge” you can
see the national identity of Japan as a modernized country that is transitioning through
industrialization. The image “Knowledge” appears to represent the exchange of older
knowledge to the newer environment that the building in the image looks to represent.
In a similar way, the Ranakpur Temple represents the national identity of India as a
country with countless cultural traditions and as a country with deeply rooted religious
customs that extend past a thousand years before the modern age.
The piece of art from module one that the Ranakpur Temple is similar to is the
“Guardians of Time” sculpture by Manfred Kielnhofer that was explored by Tien Pham.
At face value, the Ranakpur Temple is vastly different, not only in size, but also in
permanence. The “Guardians of Time” are statues covered by hoods that are placed
temporarily in places such as Stonehenge or beside a beach (“Guardians of Time:
Sculptures by Manfred Kielnhofer”). As stated by Tien Pham, “…these Guardians depict
how they are the protectors of the universe even though humans are the sole danger to
their existence in time.” The Guardians move from place to place temporarily, but much
like the Temple they represent the importance of protection of the universe, much as the
Jain Temple shows the importance of protecting the Jain faith. Furthermore, both the
sculptures and the carved figures of the Jain Temple seek to emphasize the role
humans play in the passage of time and how humans are meant to make active
decisions concerning their fate (Pham). In the case of the sculptures, this decision
making is enforced by the existence of “guardians” who are meant to watch over
humans and play a role in human actions. In the Ranakpur Temple, the process of
decision making is of religious importance. The architecture of the Ranakpur Temple
seeks to connect the visitors to a higher power and also works to remind visitors of how
higher powers are there to watch over humans’ actions.
Word Count: 1038
“Guardians of Time: Sculptures by Manfred Kielnhofer.” The Inspiration Grid RSS,
Inspiration Grid, 28 Aug. 2015, theinspirationgrid.com/guardians-of-time-sculptures-bymanfred-kielnhofer/.
“Jainism.” ReligionFacts.com. 17 Nov. 2016, www.religionfacts.com/jainism.
Narayanan, Sathya. “Ranakpur Jain Temple - The Four Faced Temple of the First
Tirtankara.” Speakingtree.in, Speaking Tree, 11 May 2016,
“Ranakpur Temple.” Ranakpur Temple - Ranakpur Jain Temple, Ranakpur Temples
Rajasthan, Ranakpur Jain Temple India, Cultural India, www.culturalindia.net/indiantemples/ranakpur-temple.html.
Rinck, Christie. "Architecture." HUM 1020: Introduction to Humanities, Spring 2018,
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
Pham, Tien. “Module 1 Discussion.” 13 Jan. 2018.
The architecture that I decided to analyze for my module 2 contextual analysis is the Louvre
Art Museum located in Paris, France. This museum was originally built by King
Philippe August's architects in 1190 to act as a fortress to protect an exposed part of the city
(Szalay, 2018). It was then rebuilt as a royal palace in the 16th century before finally being
built and named a museum after the French Revolution (Szalay, 2018). In the time that it
served as a royal palace, each new monarch expanded and renovated the Louvre, so while it
would usually be easy to list an architecture’s architects, there have simply been too many
over the years (Szalay, 2018). Today, it is the world's largest museum and is famous for
exhibiting some of the most famous artworks such as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (A
Closer Look). The Louvre is made out of cut stone and has a large glass pyramid located in
the middle of the museum’s courtyard (The Louvre, 2019). Stone is a naturally occurring
material that must be shaped by chiseling it (Introduction to Humanities Architecture
Presentation). The base of the actual museum is a series of arches that run along the entire
building. These arches were made by fading the end of the stone to give it a curved shape
(Introduction to Humanities Architecture Presentation). The color of the museum is a light
tan with a dark roof. The Louvre Museum is built in a U shape and each side
mostly proportionate to one another, giving it a balanced architectural style.
I found this piece while on a phone call with one of my best friends. He visited the Louvre
Art Museum over the summer and highlighted the beauty of the architecture as well as the
beauty of the art inside of the museum. Once I stumbled upon a picture of the Louvre online,
I knew it was something I wanted to explore further, and now it is on my bucket list for
places I want to visit in the future. The glass pyramid is the only element of the museum that
I feel does not belong. Although it allows for the architecture to remain proportionate, it
does not match the vintage style of the building itself. The glass pyramid was built much
after the French Revolution, which could explain its more modern style and how this style
could contrast with the style of the building.
The Louvre Art Museum is similar to the two-dimensional piece I analyzed in module 1
called Flora due to the contrasts contained within the pieces. In Flora, the pale woman
contrasts her dark background, making her the focal point of the painting. In a similar way,
the modern and bright glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre contrasts the vintage
and dark stone of the actual museum. Another similarity between the two works is the
proportion throughout the works. In Flora, the woman’s body parts are proportionate to one
another, but the flowers in the background are not as proportionate, although they do not
offer a heavy clash to the overall balanced painting. In a similar way, although the both sides
of the Louvre Art Museum are proportionate to one another, there are a few aspects such as
shaped sculptures and scenery that differ on either side of the building. These, however, do
not offer a heavy clash to the overall balanced architecture.
The architecture differs from the piece that Ryan used in his module 1 contextual analysis
called The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. Ryan’s chosen piece features a landscape
that has melting clocks randomly placed around the area, such as on a barren tree branch.
The repetition of the randomly placed melting clocks along with the muted colors of the
landscape give off an eerie vibe, whereas the repetition of the attributes of the Louvre along
with its bright color give it a more comfortable and friendly vibe, seeing it is a tourist
attraction. Another difference between these two pieces is that in Ryan’s chosen work, the
landscape combines man-made objects and nature in a way that makes the painting almost
hard to follow visually. The more the painting is observed, the more confusing the aspects
become. One aspect that confused me was a barren tree standing on a perfectly shaped
rectangular prism in the middle of what seems to be a desert. In contrast, the Louvre’s
consistent sculptures, arches, and style allows the audience to easily view the architecture.
The social angle that the Louvre Art Museum encompasses is memory, history, and
generational identity. Before the French Revolution, the French people were being taxed
unfairly and the economy was collapsing (History.com, 2009). Due to this, the French were
losing many of colonies that they owned, which established a culturally rooted shame in the
French (History.com, 2009). The Louvre, which was a palace owned by the monarchs at the
time, was taken over by the French revolutionary government in order to give power back to
the people. Since the French highly appreciated art, they emphasized that the Louvre would
be an art museum open to the general public. This empowered the French and allowed them
to have a say in their own history and future while also allowing them to express their
history and culture in the museum with artifacts from previous wars and renowned French
paintings. The Louvre can represent freedom from monarchy to the French and is a symbol
of nationalism that contributes greatly to the French identity. The old French Renaissance
style of Louvre and the modern style of the glass pyramid portray how the French value their
history but are still willing to appeal to modernization.
Sergey Prokiev was a composer born in 1891 in the Ukraine (Nestyev & Taruskin 2020). He
is well known for his music involved in the plays of Romeo and Juliet, a Shakespearian
composition. The piece which I am analyzing and comparing in this discussion is
Prokiev’s Dance of the Knights, also known as Montagues and Capulets, from his ballet
Romeo and Juliet. This piece was composed in 1935 and is about 5-6 minutes long (Wheeler
2017). The piece is classical and orchestral, involving many different instruments, melodies,
themes, and tones.
I became familiar with Dance of the Knights as a musician in high school. At the time, I was
fascinated with intense, dark, classical music and stumbled upon the work in my search for a
new piece to learn. I was immediately captured by the first tones in the music; low-highlow-high. The tones were rich and deep, they conveyed a serious tone and a story to follow. I
also appreciated the use of the music in Romeo and Juliet because it solidified the music’s
ability to tell a story. When reading about this assignment, I knew that Dance of the
Knights would be a perfect choice because of its similarity to the works of art that myself and
others had analyzed in the module one contextual analysis discussion.
Dance of the Knights is a pretty unique piece to many other classical music compositions.
Like other pieces, Dance of the Knights uses many different instruments to perform the
piece. Each instrument has a different timbre which brings contrast within the piece, but
they all work together in harmony (stacked melodies) to create a resonant sound. The tone of
the piece shifts throughout the duration of the work, going from ominous to playful.
The tone gives the music a story and provokes emotions in the listener. Some emotions I
personally felt over the course of the song were angry, impassioned, calm, energized, happy,
emboldened, and motivated. The piece accomplishes a great range of emotions for those who
listen to it. I am convinced that even those who do not listen to classical music and perhaps
veer to pop, rap, hip-hop, and other more modern genres would still enjoy this piece due to
its effect on the mind and mood of its audience. Dance of the Knights utilizes a wide range
of pitches, specific frequencies of sound . In some portions of the piece, a scale or run can be
heard which is an ordering of pitches in an ascendant or descendant manner. The tempo, or
speed of the music, of the piece varies considerably, helping to shift the tone or theme of the
portion of the piece. Dance of the Knights applies the social angle of memory, history, and
generational identity. Sergey was highly influenced by his upbringing and his generation and
this influence can be heard in his compositions (Nestyev & Taruskin 2020). Classical music
was popular at the time and previous composers inspired him to follow in their footsteps.
In my last discussion post, I analyzed Pablo Picasso’s La Guernica. La Guernica was a painting
which was made in the style of cubism and depicted many different people and objects in a
convoluted way. Coincidentally, one of Sergey Prokiev’s inspirations for his music was artist
Pablo Picasso who influenced Prokiev to be more “daring” with his pieces (Green 2018). This
makes a lot of sense when considering the similarities between Picasso’s painting style and
Prokiev’s composing style. In La Guernica, Picasso used chiaroscuro: the use of contrast
between light and dark shades in art. In Prokiev’s Dance of the Knights, he used what I
would consider to be the auditory equivalent of visual chiaroscuro. Dance of the
Knights opens with intense, foreboding notes which feel dark to the listener. About half way
through the movement, the music becomes light-hearted and warm. This contrast in tone
and emotion in Prokiev’s piece are reminiscent of the contrast in Picasso’s La Guernica.
Prokiev also used lots of harmonies in Dance of the Knights. In the background of the music,
the listener can hear melodies that are not present in the foreground. This reminds me of the
way in which Picasso uses dimension in La Guernica to distinguish objects at the forefront of
the painting from more hidden objects in the background. In Dance of the Knights, the
music which is at one point the main influence fades into the background as new melodies
take center stage.
In the same way that La Guernica and Dance of the Knights are similar, so they are to the
focus of my peer Sidney Leriche’s discussion: artist Banksy’s piece Mobile Lovers. As she
noted in her discussion post, Mobile Lovers depicts two people in an embrace whose
attention is not on each other as it originally appears, but rather on the phones they are
holding out in front of themselves. Banksy used black and white paint to create this piece
and utilized chiaroscuro to provide contrast within his piece. As mentioned previously,
Picasso’s La Guernica uses chiaroscuro and Sergey Prokiev’s Dance of the Knights uses many
forms of contrast which are comparable to the technique of chiaroscuro. La
Guernica and Mobile Lovers are similar to each other as well. As I mentioned in my module
one discussion post, Picasso created the painting La Guernica in order to draw attention to a
pressing issue which affected his society (the bombing in the city of Guernica, Spain).
Similarly, Banksy appears to be calling out the societal issue of attachment to technology.
These three pieces, though created in different time periods with different techniques and
mediums, are similar in many ways. They all incite emotions in their audiences, they have
similar effects of tone and theme, and they all use many types of contrast in order to display
messages to their viewers/ listeners. These pieces exemplify that all types of art share
commonalities and accomplish similar purposes.
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