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Art Paintings and AnalysisEssay

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¶ … works of art. The two pieces I have selected for comparative analysis are Water Lilies by Claude Monet, and Day of the God by Paul Guaguin. The criteria of my analytic comparison are going to be based on artistic qualities such as perspective/flatness, color, materiality, technique, and lines.

Day of the God

Day of the God (Mahana no Atua)

Artist: Paul Gauguin

Year of Execution: 1894

Material used: Oil on Canvas

Analytic Information:

In order to promote his work, Paul Gauguin spent the better part of his French sabbatical in Paris between 1893 September and 1895 August. In an attempt to wrap himself up in a retrospective and meditative mood, he embarked on illustrating and writing NoaNoa Day of the Gods, a work of fiction about his experiences in Tahiti. Almost one of the very few and rare paintings finished around this time, Mahana No Atua, has a very close link to the contemporary literary projects of Gauguin during this period. In an almost impossible attempt to capture on canvass all that he had experienced, achieved and learned on his voyages on the Southern seas, he attempted a work that was both monumental in conception and intimate in execution and scale (Impression and Post Impressionism, 2000-page 148).

In this painting, he also strived to prove that he could be as good as if not better than Pierre Puvis de Chavannes's whose mural work, Sunday on La Grande Jatte, done in 1884 created a sensation in the art scene of that time, and also to compare his skills with another contemporary work of the time by Nabis.

In this painting depicting an impressive Tahitian landscape nuzzling by the sea, the composition is separated into three bands that run horizontally. Near a towering idol, probably a god of some sort, people can be seen performing or taking part in some form of ritual, which almost like Gauguin's figures portraying images from Tahiti, are drawn from artistic photographs adorning the Buddhist temple complex at Java that he possessed.

Standing out against a background of pinkish earth in the middle band are 3 symmetrically depicted nudes (Impressionism and Post Impressionism, 2000-page 148).

Assuming that she has some association or link with the idol seen above, the woman at the center seems to dangle her legs in a pool as she apparently plays with her hair. Flanking her and also seeming to sleep are two figures whose gender is not easily decipherable. So stylized and refined as to defy the laws of impressionistic representation is an evocative portrayal of water that dominated the lower portion of the composition (Impressionism and Post Impressionism, 2000-page 148).

Gauguin skillfully posited color as the ephemeral language of dreams, as is quoted in a latter text by the artist, in order to capture organic shapes in brilliant and contrasting hues that are seemingly amorphous. This can adequately be described as the essence of primal visual communication, an idea that gained resonance throughout the period of abstract paintings or impressions (Impressionism and Post Impressionism, pg 148).

In between his dreamy sojourn in Paris and his exploration of the South Pacific, Paul Gauguin also worked on a few paintings depicting Subjects from Tahiti one of which was known as the Day of the Gods. This imaginary rather than realistic impression of the South Seas is dominated by the goddess Hina, to whose right, women can be seen dancing to the tunes of upaupau - a suggestive and erotic dance by the ancient Tahitians that both early colonial authorities and missionaries attempted to suppress in vain. Sitting in the middle ground composed of pinkish sand is a female flanked by figures lying side by side who are ambiguously gendered (Day of the God). In this enigmatic painting, maybe of birth, life and death, Gauguin made his arrangement of the trio symbolic. In what can be regarded as a combination of both devotional image and travel picture, the composition is a more forthright depiction of Polynesian religion than any other painting by this famous artist. The image of the idol Hina can be seen at the center of this painting, and it is believed that Gauguin derived this impression much more from the South East Asian prototypes than from the Tahitian or Polynesian traditions, and it is for this reason that this painting is regarded as a representation of a non-Christian universal religion (Brettell, 1987).

In this idyllic scene there is a pair of women carrying some form of offering or food to the god, a flute player, two embracing figures and dancers. However, the scene just provides a background for the actual subject of the portrait which are the three figures in the foreground and the reflective pool. Although the pool appears to have depth on the left side of the picture, it is largely non-representational and abstract, lending it the two-dimensional and utterly flat appearance on the right side which makes the colors here not to logically correspond to the rest of the painting (Brettell, 1987).

In exactly the place where the actual and real world should have been reflected, apparently Gauguin chose to represent more mysterious and higher reality. The pool in this composition is seemingly an expression of the artist's conviction that the central and core function of art is not to represent the real or actual world but to evoke realms that are symbolic (Brettell, 1987).

Posing beside the pool as the three ages of man's circle of birth, life and death are three women. It is notable that the central figure who symbolizes life has both of her feet immersed in this pool imbued with reflections that are colorful, while on the left, the figure representing birth has only her toes touching the water, and the figure to the left who symbolizes death seemly is completely turned away from the pool (Brettel, 1987).

In this enigmatic portrait or impression, the ultimate intention of Gauguin remains indecipherable and unclear. Apparently, he chose to remain mysterious by deliberately veiling his purpose instead of being clear and open as a means of avoiding mere pictorial depiction of multivalent symbols in favor of complexity.

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

Artist: Claude Monet

Year of Execution: 1906

Material: Oil on Canvas

Analytic Information:

Monet's Water Lilies is estimated to be a 250 series artwork that is a massive 199.9996 x 1275.9944 cm quite huge compared to any man. By creating a life sized painting, Monet engages the viewer in his specialty and physically places him in this work (Analysis of Monets). Monet used very little oil paint to create this artwork such that, it closely resembles the use of watercolors. The theme of this painting is consistent over all the water lilies on the pond. This masterpiece has a landscape theme that was the second most crucial subject matter in the Royal French Academy right after historical paintings; nevertheless Monet did not draw it in an ordinary way. This is because the strokes of his paint brush hit the canvas so lightly and gently that it gives a dream vibe taking the viewer away from the conventional scene, something Monet had a tendency to evade (Analysis of Monets).

There is a solitary inconspicuous light source originating from the highest point of the canvas nonetheless it is not actually within the painting i.e. It is not a depiction of a direct source of light. The painting was done in such a way by Monet, that the subtle details are evenly distributed no single spot has too much. Be that as it may, the viewer is able to observe the picture in its entirety; the highlight being on the center because of the much lighter hues utilized there. Though greatly unique, this work of art does have clues of conventionalism in it (Analysis of Monets). The techniques that Monet uses to apply colors in this painting is unique, however the repetition of the strokes of the paint brush brings about some sense of normalcy within the chaos. Since Monet used very fine paint, he found himself able to render the artistic creation, a smoothened vibrancy rather than a typical oil painting where the onlooker's eyes may get caught in the noticeable feel or texture of the paint (Analysis of Monets).

In this sequence of paintings the water is comprised of basically fine vertical strokes while the lilies are either roundabout whirls or touches of paint. This artwork additionally has a misty or blurry quality to the paint. While that adds a great deal to the caliber of the piece, the painting is done in this manner in light of the fact that Monet had cataracts at the time that affected his vision (Analysis of Monets). Additionally, this eye condition made it harder for him to recognize lines in nature. It however made it simpler for him to put less refinement in his lines on the canvass.

Artists want the viewer to focus on how they feel about what they are painting as opposed to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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