Modern Art Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


In "Burial at Ornans," the brightest and most colorful figures are various figures in the church. An altar boy, a priest, a man carrying a staff of the crucifix, and bishops are in the forefront. They direct our eyes to the left of the painting and create a movement towards the right where the majority of the figures are in the painting. Our eyes gravitate to their area first because there are reds and because that is where the most light is. Just as the figures walk to the right, our eyes do so as well. We see onlookers and patrons -- average members of the society. They blend together due to the similarity of hue and color. This conveys that they are interchangeable and unimportant. In "Third Class Carriage," the brightest areas of the painting are of the woman nursing and the elderly woman. They are strongly lit and figures in the background on their perimeter are lit as well so that they seem to emit and three-dimensional glow. A young boy sleeps next to the elderly woman in dark shadow. The shadow here implies safety and security as he is smiling while he sleeps. He sleeps comfortably because of the darkness/shadow the smiling elderly woman provides. Though other characters are not the focus, each figure has some amount of light provided connoting that each individual is important and deserving.

Though Venus is a goddess and the center of attention in "Birth of Venus," she is a passive and modest figure. She uses her hair to cover her pubic area. The wind and breath blow her hair. She is about to be covered with a tunic of sorts. She masks her breasts with her arm. The brushstroke technique in "Modern Olympia" is experimental. The scene does not strive for realism. This is a leisurely activity. The same is true for "Dejeuner sur l'herbe." A woman sits nude with two gentlemen in the midst of conversation. They are all on a picnic. Their legs are entangled together to imply camaraderie. There is another woman, clothed, occupied in a river. The nude woman makes direct eye contact with the viewer. This is a shift in expressing the feminine.

Impressionists apply their colors side by side and do as little paint mixing as possible. They are concerned with the accurate translation of light and implication of movement. Impressionist painters apply their paints while still wet for softer edges and dynamic surfaces. These techniques are evident in Monet's "Woman with a Parasol" and Pissarro's "Boulevard Montmartre."

The placement of the figures in "Bellelli Family" tell us that the mother is the more favored parent and leader of the domestic world. The children are strong and independent; one daughter looks at the viewer while the other daughter looks at the father. She is in proximity of the mother. The father is isolated. We see the least of his face. He is the most heavily shadowed. We see the least of his body. He makes no direct eye contact.

"Boating" by Cassatt looks closely resembles a postcard. The texture of the man rowing and the light across the child's face are particularly striking. There is implied movement of the boat and implied movement of the water. Renoir's "Bathing at La Grenouillere" uses greater contrast with light and shadow to imply both stillness and movement in the water. The figures at various points in the mid ground and background provide exceptional depth. It is picturesque and emotional.

In both "Starry Night" and the Tahitian paintings there is a substantial lack of detail. This is intentional. The borders between objects in the works are not strong; there is a great deal of blending. These paintings are more dreamy and emotionally evoking. The paintings are not realistic visual representations of the scenes they depict. The scenes evoke emotional memory or the memory of dreams, which can be more blurry, ambiguous, and yet deeply vivid.

The pointillist technique is using a series of colored dots to create images rather than brushstrokes. The technique relies and utilizes the brain and eye's ability for continuity of motion and image. Our minds will fill in the blanks to make a clear picture our brains…

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