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Cultural Homogenization: Analysis of Two Images - Essay Example

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In this essay “Cultural Homogenization: Analysis of Two Images” the author will analyze two images of his own choice. The first has been taken from the National Portrait Gallery and is a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor, painted around 1813 in watercolor by Thomas Heaphy…
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Cultural Homogenization: Analysis of Two Images
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Download file to see previous pages The image and the story will live on in the hearts and minds of historians and the public as long as there is someone to explain and value its significance. In this essay I will analyze two images of my own choice. The first has been taken from the National Portrait Gallery and is a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor, painted around 1813 in watercolor by Thomas Heaphy. The second image I have chosen is that of the British born Pakistani boxer Amir Khan. Part A Race, culture and identity- all of these are intertwined and cannot be separated in the modern lifestyle. Indeed, it can be seen that although we are not born with national identities, yet through the process of growing up in a certain region of the world we are imbued with a distinct nationality and citizenship. The nation we are born in gives us our identity. Hence our country, besides being a political entity among the nations of the world also fills us with a certain cultural representation- meaning that we are expected to act in a certain way generally. For instance, the fiery temper of the Italians and the laid-back approach of the Greeks and Arabs are well known. A national culture is a consensus about how a nation generally behaves- it is a system of representations and actions that identify a people or nation as distinct from others. Stories regarding folklore, customs and traditions are replete in every culture of the world, so it is no surprise that culture has its roots in such beliefs. These stories are told and retold in history, literature, the media and even popular culture (Hall, 1992: 293). Many of the origins of these stories are lost in antiquity. These traditions seem to be timeless. Quite often you will find a nomadic people who have a story concerning the creation of the world and how they came to be in it- this usually differs widely from the religious or scientific concepts that man is led to believe in. Mostly it is all based on folklore and tradition. Identity can be shaped by our bodies, the nation we grow up in, the religion we practice or the ethnic group we belong to (Woodward, 1997). Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was the Emperor of France from 1804-1814. This portrait was done by Thomas Heaphy, who has been known to have done at least 45 portraits over his lifetime from 1775-1835. Napoleon himself has been known to have sat for as many as 86 portraits over his lifetime. It is quite likely that this particular portrait was taken at the height of Napoleon’s power. There is a light pink tinge to the background which could have been original but some of it has faded away due to the effect of time. Yet the portrait has been remarkably preserved being almost two hundred years old. Let us now move to the portrait itself and analyze it. It is the unmistakable figure of Napoleon Bonaparte at the height of his power. Napoleon has chosen to take this as a standing portrait. His legs are a bit askew, as if he is about to make a movement any time now, and he faces towards the left as if hearkening to someone’s call. In his hand he holds a scroll of paper, which could be a map, a proclamation or any paper of such importance.  ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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