I have chosen the paintings of George Washington which was created on 1 January 1796 in Boston. This artwork is additionally known as the unfinished and Athenaeum portrait. After visiting the museum of best arts virtually, I learned several matters regarding the artwork. For example, the artist of the artwork is acknowledged as Gilbert Stuart. This man lived for about 73 years (i.e., 1755 to 1828) and he was celebrated extensively for his good work (Park, 2014). The type and medium of the paintings chosen are painting and oil on canvas respectively. Most importantly, its accurate dimensions are 48” x 37” or 121.9cm x 94cm (Irvin, 2012). Additionally, the artwork’s object quantity is NPG.80.115.
Gilbert Stuart was well aware of the portraitures’ conventions. In his artwork, he smoothly rendered the affluence and the gentility’s attributes using the formal elements. Some of the formal elements used include lines, form, texture, composition, as well as shape. For this reason, he continued to succeed time and again in the portraits execution. On several occasions, Stuart fulfilled his sitters’ desires and wishes in pictorial terms. For example, in his George Washington’s artwork, he chooses the kind medium that helped revealed his artist expertise (Park, 2014).
Almost all the artwork parts fit together. Stuart uses various paints with oil on canvas as the medium for his excellent job. In Fig.1, it is evident the artwork is of three dimensions. In this case, the artist uses curved, flowing, contour, and angular lines for drawing. The use of thick lines with a different paint implies background of the artwork (Lee, 2013). Again, various irregular shapes are created using lines and paints. Such shapes are to the contrast between the sitter and the background.
The artwork mainly has the neutral colors (white) with a balanced tone. For example, the foreground is lighter (highlights) than background (shadows). However, a range of tones appears in between the shadows and the highlights. Again, the artist uses visual texture in this piece of artwork. The artwork gives an illusion of the surface or texture but feels smooth when touched. As already indicated, this is a three-dimensional artwork that covers an area of 48” x 37” or 121.9cm x 94cm. Obviously, this artwork fits into a movement. Probably, it will remain relevant forever as it leads a new movement. Even though the artwork was created several years ago, it was well received at that time (Park, 2014).
Regarding a contextual criticism, the historical importance of the work was mainly at the time it was created. Stuart requested to sit with George Washington after going to Philadelphia. Certainly, this work is innovative, it requires a lot of skill and talent. For sure, it moves my feelings, I came to understand that some people do their work with passion. According to Lee (2013), the artwork expresses the personality of Stuart by communicating a social vision. Undoubtedly, the Stuart’s work is beautiful as it is admired by many. It functions as a sign of good leadership both to the citizens of US and the rest of the world as a whole. In fact, people use this artwork to continue remembering George Washington.
In summary, the virtual visit to the museum was quite educative. I learned several things about the artwork. For example, what to be looked for when analyzing and evaluating any artwork. Also, it was wonderful exploring the history of various artists.
Irvin, S. (2012). Artwork and Document in the Photography of Louise Lawler. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 70(1), 79-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6245.2011.01500.x
Lee, S. (2013). Study on an Artwork by Using HCI (Human Computer Interaction) – The artwork -. KOREA SCIENCE & ART FORUM, 14, 349. http://dx.doi.org/10.17548/ksaf.2013.12.14.349
Park, M. (2014). Book Review: Dorinda Evans, Gilbert Stuart and the Impact of Manic Depression Evans Dorinda, Gilbert Stuart and the Impact of Manic Depression, Ashgate Publishing: Farnham, Surrey, 2013; 204pp.: 9781409441649 (hbk). History of Psychiatry, 25(1), 130-131. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957154x13520193c