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Louis XIV Critique #1Hyacinthe Rigaud’s painting of King Louis XIV gives the viewer a chance to see what wealth looked like back in eighteenth century France. The eyes wander to Louis XIV himself, who becomes the focal point of the painting. Because he is positioned in the middle of the image, it creates a balance. The background shows a big column on the left side, as well as reddish orange drapes. There is also a chair with the same color fabric as his clothing. The foreground of the painting consists of a rug with what looks like vines and leaves.To the left of Louis XIV, the viewer sees a footstool that also has the same fabric as his clothing. On the footstool lies a gold crown. The blue colors of his clothing suggest he was rather wealthy because buying dark dye in those times was extremely expensive. The same goes for his long, black wig, which must have cost more than the blue dye. Inside of his coat, there is a sword that looks like it has a gold cover.Other wealthy aspects of what he is wearing in the picture are the tights and the shoes. The viewer may notice Louis XIV’s face in this painting. It is not exactly a smile, but it is not a frown either. The viewer might consider different possibilities of things he might have been thinking when this was being done. He could be looking serious, or he could also be looking slightly sad because of his drooping eyes. However the viewer perceives this painting, Rigaud certainly explores the different aspects that made Louis XIV a wealthy king.--Rachel I.
This portrait photograph of Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who is most notably known for his role in the key victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn, is very distinct and powerful, giving him a very dignified appearance. His head is in the center of the photograph, with every crease, furrow, and wrinkle visible on his face which gives him an air of wisdom and experience. His long black hair, reaching past his chest and beyond the frame of the photograph, is intricately braided, showing the traditional Native American ways of wearing one’s hair. He also has a feather placed on the back of this head so that it is pointing directly towards the sky. This feather represents the beliefs of the Native Americans, as feathers were often used in various rituals though each tribe had different beliefs and uses for feathers. Sitting Bull is wearing a light neutral colored buckskin jacket made by hand, with several lengthy necklaces.The entirety of this photograph is in black and white, composed of different values and shades of gray which creates a very simple and virtuous image. This lack of color forces the observer to look for points of emphasis other than color. The background of this photograph is, most likely, a backdrop which is a smoky mix of light and dark colors. Because this is so subtle and not greatly detailed, Sitting Bull, who is the foreground, stands out. Sharp, dramatic distinction between light and dark in a work of art is defined as chiaroscuro, and this is found on Sitting Bull’s face. The creases and furrows of his aged skin create dark areas when the light is emanating from his right side. The highlights created from this light give emphasis on his strong and powerful expression. This leads to the conclusion that Sitting Bull, himself, is the focal point of the photograph with emphasis and highlighting that directs attention towards his facial expression.Possible narratives of this photograph are limited, considering it is a portrait. His stern look may indicate that his mental dexterity is being tested, slowly but surely wearing him down. He could have possibly come from a tribal meeting, where discussions concerning the American settlers and the fight to save their ancestral lands may have taken place. Though possible narratives are limited, they are easily seen and imagined simply because of the fact that this is a photograph of Sitting Bull. Many characteristics of his expression and appearance are in such great detail that it is as if he is there in the room; he comes to life as a wise and knowledgeable holy man determined to help his people in the struggle to remain in the old, traditional way of life of the Native Americans.
Looking at Edward Munch’s “The Dead Mother,” the person viewing the painting is brought too a depressing room. There is a burnt orange colored floor and a bed which is colored with white, blue, and a small bit of reddish orange which is applied in a smoky shaded effect and the back wall is a mixture of shades of blues and grays. The room is somewhat dark and the mood is very dark, sad, and depressing. In the foreground, there is a young child. The young girl has short blonde hair with blue eyes. She has a light blue dress on over a white shirt and has black tights on. Her hands cover her ears, like she is trying to block out some kinds of noise. In the background there is a woman, who is her mother, who is still and motionless in the bed behind the young girl. The mother’s hair is black and her eyes open like she was looking at something before she died. The young girl in the foreground is the focal point of Munch’s painting. The viewer’s eyes see that she is very young and innocent. As stated above she has short blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, which when stared into, the viewer can see the subtle worry that is in her eyes. The artist creates an outline, so to speak, around her which is actually the shadow cast by the girl, which draws in the viewer to the girl, because it helps to emphasize the small girl’s large presence in the picture. The background with the deceased mother in her bed helps to balance out the picture. Since the mother is located on the right in contrast to the young girl slightly positioned to the left, the image balances out just enough, so that there is equality, but the strong presence of the young girl in the front is still predominant over the rest of the images painted into the masterpiece by Munch. The young child putting her hands over her ears could mean something different to every observer in that the young girl could be blocking out noise, blocking out her own thoughts, or somehow just trying to stop her pain anyway she can. This artwork is open to as many interpretations of narratives as the viewer can think up. One of them a viewer could imagine would be as they enter the room they smell, something strange. The room is dark and dreary, and could depress even the happiest of people. He/she sees the young girl standing there with her hands over her ears. The worry in her eyes says that she is scared and doesn’t know what to do, she just wants it all to stop, and she wants her mother back. She tries to stop all her thoughts and all the noise by blocking her ears hoping all that has happened will go away and everything will be back to how it was before. The pain inside her that is eating away at her, the viewer can’t help but feel hurt inside. The viewer then knows the unusual smell has come from the lifeless women behind the girl. The viewer sees that women was staring out at the world before she died, and now is most likely looking down at the world feeling the pain of her daughter who she left behind. Overall, Munch creates a story that many people never hope to experience as a young child, or anytime during their lifetime.
“The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things” Hieronymus Bosch’s, “The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things” depicts each of the sins themselves in action, along with four other interesting illustrations. The original intent by Bosch was to create a wheel of the sins surrounded around the eye of God through the divine Christ, to express the idea that God knows of all one’s sins at all times. Wrath, greed, envy, sloth, lust, gluttony, and envy are accompanied by death, judgment, hell, and glory within the painting. The combination of these topics blend easily together due to their common trait of being shunned by the religion of Christianity. At the first glance of the painting, it is hard to clearly see the vignettes within it, making it appear to be disorganized. Bosch created his masterpiece around the eye of God, known by many as Christ, making the particular image the focal point. By using softened hues throughout the image, it allows one’s eyes to focus on the artistic details versus contrasting colors. The almost symmetrical composition brings the desired balance to the painting, and a clean-cut feeling that Bosch demonstrated. Within each of the vignettes are extreme portrayals of the seven deadly sins in action. Most of the individual images contain violence, and malicious intentions, creating a dark atmosphere that the black background suits appropriately. Most view these images with fear, horror and disapproval; the precise emotions Bosch intended to have felt to create the desire to never commit one of the fateful sins. -Kady F.Visual A2/13/09
Looking at the venire of Paul Gauguin’s Self Portrait with Yellow Christ, the viewer immediately notices Gauguin with two strange objects behind him. When looking deeper, the viewer then notices Gauguin’s painting Yellow Christ behind his right shoulder, and a deformed gargoyle behind the left. The interesting use of color creates an immense amount of contrast but at the same time the intermingling of the similar hues cause the subject matter to flow. The intensity of his eyes draw the viewer in, noticing first the interesting texture the brush strokes give this entire painting. At that moment, looking deeper into the separation of Yellow Christ and the strange gargoyle, the viewer begins wondering what Gauguin is trying to portray. It is an interesting composition, unconsciously leaving the viewer inquisitive to who Gauguin was as a person and what this painting could be showing.A focal point is always different to every viewer. Some may say that part of the background of this piece draws their attention first. Maybe Christ and the bold, intense colors he is created with, or the viewer possibly will see Gauguin’s face first. The different values of this composition create a lot of contrast bringing the viewer to set their eyes on specific aspects of this painting. For instance, the purple tones used in Gauguin’s clothing are also placed in the background of Yellow Christ and in the nooks and crannies of the gargoyle’s shape. This, subtly creating a sense of unity, also renders contrast with the hues of orange and yellow strategically placed behind Gauguin’s face. The viewer begins to notice the expression on his face shows no emotion. The emotion and personality of this piece is shown in the objects that surround him. He tells a story in this painting, depicting his personality for all to see.One might say this composition is Gauguin’s perception of himself. The gargoyle is most likely portraying the evil, ‘Hyde’ side of him, shown every time he lost his temper, and Christ portraying the good, ‘Jekyll’ aspects of him. The self-portrait uses hints to what Gauguin is genuinely saying about himself. The viewers can only speculation to the real meaning of this painting. Only Gauguin himself knows if this presumption is true.
Plattypus2/22/09Painting Critique 1“Tica” by Dru Blairhttp://www.hemmy.net/images/arts/realisticpainting02.jpgThis image of a wonderful woman on her wedding day looks absolutely astounding. Her facial expression, her dress, her hair all dolled up to a realistic interpretation of a woman on her wedding day. Astoundingly, this is a painting, not a photo. The lighting used in this image is very realistic to a photograph, but she is truly a painting.Photorealism is the art of transposing a photograph into a painting. As seen from the image, it is a painstaking process who took this artist roughly 70 hours to complete. While this image is beautiful, what defines it as real? It is an image of a woman, who was real, and who was modeling a wedding dress, and had a real photograph taken, and that photograph was replicated into a painting with very minor differences. Is this image still true to reality? The image was altered and being such, it is not “real”. Also, the idea of having a field is not real. This woman was not just free floating in space. This image is a near exact interpretation of a real woman, but it is not the same. Being as this is a copy of a copy, is it real? It is very close to the original “doner” of the image, but it is not the same.
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