Posts on Four Genre of Creative Arts that Share a Theme

tl;dr: A related group of posts discusses aspects of a theme shared by a poem, impressionist painting, movie, and classic rock song.

Art Reveals Themes. Creative arts, such as poems and paintings, tell small stories. Though they may offer only glimpses or vignettes of life, those mini-stories harbor what I call “themes.” For example, a rock ’n’ roll band sings about two lovers and shares with the listener themes of happiness, a car, mistrust, wedding bells, or a range of other themes of our culture.

Themes Suggest Subthemes. Moreover, almost any scene from a movie, another example of a creative art, reliably invokes multiple perspectives on a given broad theme. Recall the celebrated opening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” where a pack of apes around a black monolith wields large bones as weapons. That scene and its snippet of a story clearly depicts the theme of “conflict,” and conflict brings to mind secondary “subthemes” related to conflict: struggles over resources such as oil, flareups between religious groups spiraling out of control, efforts to mediate or control conflicts, or political disagreements ignited by differences in values such as between abortion opponents and supporters.

Quartets from Four Genre of Art Can Share a Theme. Now, based on an analysis of well-regarded art from each genre (poetry, painting, pop rock and moving pictures), I have selected a quartet made up of a well-known poem written in English, an Impressionist painting, a hit rock song from the 60’s to the 80’s, and a scene from a memorable movie — each of which shares a theme.

On my blog, Themes from Art, my first thematic exploration of four pieces of art relies on alcohol. The poem “Mr. Flood’s Party” by Edwin Arlington Robinson tells of an old man drinking from a jug of alcohol; the painting “Absinthe” by Edgar Degas shows a young woman in front of her drink; Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” is aslosh in blended concoctions; and boozy Elizabeth Taylor savages her equally hard-drinking husband (Richard Burton) in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”

Finally, a few subthemes might not be derivable from any of the four genre pieces, but they relate to the theme of alcohol. Such additional subthemes I gathered in a fifth post written after the original quartet.

Disclaimers: Agreed, the four selections of art are not necessarily “about” drinking alcohol, in the sense that the poem or whichever art form focuses on that theme, but each of them significantly involves characters drinking alcohol. Furthermore, I don’t claim that the four represent the absolute best selections nor do I claim at that the subthemes have exhausted what could be said about the theme. It is my hope, in fact, that readers will suggest alternatives pieces of art and additional subthemes. Going forward, other genre of creativity, such as operas or plays could supplement the four genre I have picked.




An enthusiast of the four genre who likes to write (and use R software)

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Rees Morrison

Rees Morrison

An enthusiast of the four genre who likes to write (and use R software)

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