Painting is a platform used by people to express their emotions about diverse subject matter. Many artists use this as a medium of communicating with their audience without the use of words. The current generation has demanded for modern art because of its uniqueness. Many people go to museums for diverse reasons, and to some it is difficult for them to analyze paintings. In this scenario, there are several things that the person can do when exploring artworks. For example, the audience should consider the visual aspects, visual, elements, and design principles to help them in their analysis. After choosing five art pieces that caught my attention, I will explore them using the mentioned concepts to show their uniqueness, similarities, and differences.
The Theory Behind The Exhibit.
The Norton Simon Art Museum in Pasadena, CA has several captivating artworks that explore different issues in today’s world. Out of the many art pieces, I chose five paintings that impressed me, and they include The Dressmakers Under the Lamp, Near the Palace, Marine, The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre, and Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur. The theory behind the exhibits is formalism since the artists emphasize on the common elements of art such as colors, line, form, space, and shape among the chosen painting. The artists expressed themselves well in their paintings by using different colors and combining them such that they could bring out the image they anticipated for the pictures. The hue, value, and intensity of the colors play a role in attracting people to have a close look at the images and perceive the emotions expressed by the artist when working on the artwork. Also, formalist theory emphasizes on the use of shapes because the contours used to come up with the pictures captivates a viewers attention and helps a person decide if the painting is two-dimensional or flat. Formalist theory accentuates the use of line because they help shape an art to meet an audience expectation. The use of space is essential in formalist approach since it defines specific areas that an artist would want an audience to pay close attention to when analyzing a painting and eventually find meaning. Consequently, formalism theory is all about the visual aspect of art to help an audience compare and contrast the various pictures by focusing on factors style and form that capture an audiences attention.
The Dressmakers Under The Lamp
One of the museums paintings that caught my attention was The Dressmakers Under the Lamp. The art was created by Edouard Vuillard within the years 1891-1892. The artist used oil paint on cardboard to come up with the interesting image. Furthermore, Vuillard made the painting on a cardboard of dimensions 24.4 by 26.7 cm.
Vuillard, Edouard. The Dressmakers Under the Lamp. 1891-1892.
The subject matter dealt with in The Dressmakers Under the Lamp is hard work and determination towards making a living. When looking at the painting, a person can see two women seated next to a table lamp as they saw some pieces of cloth. The light was not bright enough, which might explain why the dressmakers moved close to it so that they could see what they were working on and avoid pricking themselves with needles. Furthermore, a person can wonder why the women could not wait until the morning and use the sunlight to sew their dresses in proper lighting. Therefore, the artist might have had the opinion that the dressmakers needed more money to make a living and they had to sacrifice more time even if it meant working with dim light towards finishing more clothing and getting more money from their clients.
The artist used lighter colors the faces of the dressmakers especially the side that faced the lamp to help an audience see the brightness of the light. Also, the painter used dark colors on the upper part of the dressmakers clothes to make them visible such that the viewers could concentrate on them more than the other parts of the painting. The painter used dark and thick lines on the background to make emphasis on the dressmakers closeness to the window. Finally, Vuillard made emphasis on shape and form to help an audience differentiate between the window and the curtains.
Near the Palace
Another painting that captured my attention was known as Near the Palace and was painted by a renowned artist known as Lyonel Feininger. The specific date of the painting is not known, but it was assumed that American artist, Feininger, painted the image within the years 1914-1915. The medium used for the painting was oil on canvas of the dimensions 100.6 by 80 cm.
Feininger, Lyonel. Near the Palace. 1914-1915
The subject of concern in this art is understanding the architecture of the modern times. An audience can find the image thought-provoking because when viewed from different angles it creates or brings about different pictures to the viewers’ mind. For instance, when looking at it from the front, a person can notice that it is one building with several windows and different floors. However, when an individual observes the painting from the side, it seems like the portrait comprises of various buildings that are adjacent to each other.
Feininger used both dark and light colors in his painting to differentiate the different sections of the building. Also, thick lines were used on the edges of the windows and doors to make them visible to the audience. Furthermore, the dark colors help an audience to indicate night time. Shapes appear relevant to Feininger as he used it a lot in the painting. For instance, the author used rectangular and square shapes that help a person know that the image is building.
I also chose Marine because I gave me an emotional attachment to it when looking at the painting. A French artist known as Gustave Courbet painted the image in 1866. Furthermore, Courbet used a 43.2 x 65.7 cm canvas fixed on a gypsum board and used oil paint to make the great art. Courbet drew his inspiration from the marine, and it can be concluded that the subject matter of this painting is seascape. As part of the marine art, seascape helps people understand aquatic elements such as how the storm and naval aspects among other things.
Courbet, Gustave. Marine. 1866.
It is clear that Courbet focused on the storm when painting Marine. The artist emphasized on the waves and tilted the ships as a way of portraying the strength of the tides. Equally, Courbet ensured that the waves were clearer than the ships so that an audience could focus on the storm. Consequently, the painting makes a person connect to it through emotions since people fear the outcomes of storms.
Courbet made emphasis on blue and a bit of gray when painting the storm. Using dark blue on the tidal waves shows its intensity and its movement. In this case, the gray parts depict where the storm is heading. Also, Courbet used thick lines to differentiate between the sky and the storm. Thicker lines were used on the edges of the waves to show its intensity and how high the storm rose. Equally, Courbet used smaller shapes when painting the ships to designate that they were far from the shore. Even though the image looks scary, it attracts viewers attention and makes the audience eager to learn more about the painting by examining it closely.
Comparing and Contrasting two Artworks
The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre and Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur are Claude Monets two paintings that caught my attention. The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre was painted within the years 1867-1868 and the medium used was canvas with dimensions of 50.2 by 61.3 cm. Equally, the Monet used oil painting for effective results.
Monet, Claude. The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre. 1867-1868.
Conversely, Monet painted the Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur in 1865. The artist used a canvas of dimensions 89.5 by 150.5 cm and oil paint to create the image. Consequently, when looking at both paintings, a person can depict some similarities and differences
Monet, Claude. Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur. 1865.
Both paintings are examples of marine art. Monets inspiration to create the mentioned paintings came from the water bodies. In both paintings, the boats and ships head towards the harbour as depicted by the artist. Furthermore, the title of the artworks also indicates that the boats are moving towards the shore. Another similarity between the artworks is the medium used to create the painting, which is canvas. Equally, both paintings are two-dimensional pieces of art since they were made on flat surfaces which have a height and width and no depth. On the contrary, the artist painted three dimensional images as depicted by the boats since they have both height, width, and depth. In both paintings, the sea looks calm with subtle tidal waves. Also, Monet employed the principle of balance in both paintings such that a person is not distracted with only one part of the painting. The images are spaced well within the canvas, which also shows that the artist utilised space efficiently. The is harmony in both paintings as depicted by the sea waves.
A couple of visual perception differences also exist between the two artworks. The brushes used to paint both images were different based on the clarity of the paintings. For instance, in The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre, I noted that thick brushes were used to make emphasis on the density of the water, while in Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur, the artist used brushes with thin strokes, which helped to make the water and other images appearing in the picture much clearer. When a person takes a close look at the two artworks, Monet seemed to have painted the Entrance to the Port of Le Havre from a close range because a person can see images of people in boats, whereas Monte was at a distance when painting the Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur because the pictures appear subtle.
I made an analysis based the visual elements of art to come up with the differences exhibited by the two artworks. For instance, the value of the green used in The Entrance to the Port of Le Havre is lighter while it appears darker in Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur. Conversely, the painter used lighter blue when painting the sky in Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur to show how clear it is when a darker shade of blue was used on Entrance to the Port of Le Havre to indicate a cloudy weather pattern. The artist used thick lines when painting the water in the Entrance to the Port of Le Havre, which makes it look denser while thin lines were used on Mouth of the Seine at Hunfleur that made the water look calmer.
It is important that people who love art acknowledge how to analyze different artworks. The subject matter of a piece of art helps attract viewers to the piece especially if they can connect with it. In such a case, it remains essential that artists find something that speaks to the people and makes art of it as a way of communicating their opinion about the issue. The visual seems and deign principles of painting also helps people determine the similarities and differences of art pieces. Consequently, having that knowledge helped me to explore all the art and give my opinion about what I visualized and how I felt about them.
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