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Historical Works of ArtResearch Paper

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¶ … paintings and look at what themes combine them and what categorizations can be placed on them. Themes like color, religion, symbolism, life, and abstract vs. reality will be discussed and considered. Painting techniques and the various disciplines worth accounting for in the study of art history are also very pertinent fields that will receive consideration in the article. The art works that will be dissected here all share heavy symbolic themes. Religion is also a major combiner of at least two of the artworks whereas the third piece is more focused on the world. Again, the purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast three famous artworks.

While examining the history of various painting techniques, it is difficult to view them simply through the lens of one discipline. Paintings have a rich history that combines the studies of the science and the arts together. Experts bring their knowledge in their individual fields which is all valuable information. Whether it is the knowledge of techniques, methods, materials, artist history, pigment, media, or even signature research, it is all valuable for the understanding of the painting (Getty 1995).

The study of painting technique history has been a growing field for the last few years. The discipline is getting ever more attention and there is currently an abundance of opportunity for both connoisseurship and research. Archival as well as bibliographical research is playing a role in contributing to the field along with the examination through scientific methods (Getty 1995).

A piece of art can be studied and information can be gathered in a multitude of different ways. Physical and chemical analysis can inform the researcher know what types of paint was used, how old the painting was, as well as where it came from. Then additional information can be gathered by studying the genre and school of the art. More and more questions can be answered and more information can be deduced. Eventually though, art historians need to be brought in to evaluate the stylistic idiosyncrasies as well as what the actual significance is of the various schools and genres of painting.Three different pieces of art will be examined in this way here following:

Day of the Gods

Paul Gauguin created this master piece in 1894 after spending quite some time in Tahiti. The piece belongs to the post-impressionist category. The actual work was performed in France, but the content is that of a primitive condition, the lack of embarrassment, and the relaxed beauty of the human body. The idol at the center of the piece is supposedly the idol of Hina. This all seems to be a return to the time of Adam and Eve during which nudity was acceptable and relaxed. It is felt by some that the idol is not necessarily Hina but rather just the artist's personal view on a non-Christian faith. It is not necessarily a Tahitian God, just the lack of a Christian one. At the water's edge the three women represent the circle of life beginning with birth, then life, then death. In the background we can also see women dancing which is a ritual often suppressed by the colonialists visitors (Keephistorylive, 2013).

Day of the God (Mahana no Atua)

Artist: Paul Gauguin

Year of Execution: 1894

Material used: Oil on Canvas

The expressive nature of this piece of art can be attributed to the use of oil painting and fluid shapes and colors. Obviously this is not a realistic depiction of Tahiti, but it is rather a depiction of the way it feels to be there. That primitive is beautiful is a message that is clearly conveyed through the feel of this painting. It is like a return to our original state, a back trip to the Garden of Eden when life was simple. "Ignorance is bliss" can be argued as the theme for the piece.Gaugin tries to share the idea that the sophisticated way of life isn't necessarily all it is made up to be (Keephistorylive 2013).

The background of the art is vivid. We can see a flute player, dancers, and women carrying food offerings to their god among other things. However, it is still just a background and the real focal point is what is happening at the pool in the center of the picture. The representation of the pool is not logical in anyway. The abstract nature shows a variety of color and depth on one side while the other is flat. In the pool lies symbolism of a more mysterious world than reality. The pool expresses the artist's belief that the purpose of art is to awaken the mind to higher symbolic realms than what the eye can see (Richard 1987).

The young women at the edge of the water serve as the circle of life. They showcase the ages of mankind through birth, life, and death in that order. The figure representing birth faces the water and touches it with her toes only. The center figure has her entire feet submerged; she's sitting up and is lively. The figure representing death does not touch the pool at all but is turned away. Gauguin as an artist preferred mystery and symbolism in his pieces. It can be difficult to deduce his exact meanings because of this (Richard 1987). Even though the arrangement of the women and their symbolic representation of the life cycle make sense, the artist turned the meaning into an exact enigma (Gauguin 1894).

The return to Eden is certainly the way that I feel I would describe this piece of art. The serene nature gives a feeling of carelessness. There is nudity but it are no erotic tones. The nudity seems like it is just there and it is not even a focal point of the art as it usually is. It feels natural and normal like it is something you would see every day. Thus the nudity contributes to making the art work feel like a paradisiacal environment. The cycle of life and death as depicted by the three women by the pond feel almost out of place like the life cycle is ruining the beautiful paradise. It could also be a demonstration of that we live in paradise all our lives but never recognize it.

Water lilies

Claude Monet is the impressionist artist that created this piece called Water Lilies. The painting is a part of a larger series also called Water Lilies. The scene is a French pond filled with water lilies on the surface with the light reflecting of the water. The art piece was created back in 1919 and was still on display as of 2012. The painting is held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Among the choices to make this painting beautiful and serene are the sunset colors that are visible reflecting off the water. The piece is meant to help people understand and see the beauty of nature. This is achieved by keeping the water lilies and the beautiful greenery as the main focal point of the art piece (Monet 1919).

Water Lilies

Artist: Claude Monet

Year of Execution: 1919

Material: Oil on Canvas

When this painting was made, the artist, Claude Monet, was already over 70 years old. The Water Lilies series came as a result from the artist's determination to paint nothing but water scenes and water lilies. One of his favorite artistic tools was the power of sun reflection and watery light. The result would often be a glittery or shiny scene which carries a serene feeling with it. In this piece the sunset colors shine a purplish red color on the water which gives the whole painting a beautiful shine. The paint is oil based and consequently adds a lot of detail to the piece (Monet 1919).

In the pre-Raphelite era, a very important part of symbolic expression in art was the language of flowers. An example would be the piece called Hylas and the Nymphs made in 1896. The water lilies in this piece represented how coldhearted the nymphs could be since they were portrayed luring the beautiful child, Hylas, into the freezing water. If the child was to suffer a tormenting death or incredibly sexual bliss is debated. Nymphs have a chaste reputation and the combination of the symbolic water lily makes most of us consider the terrible fate about to befall the poor youth. However, like most flowers the water lily also has a male and female stage in its cycle of reproduction. The male portion of the cycle includes gathering large quantities of pollen. When the flower opens up to its female stage though, its anthers are pollen less. Insects are then lured in by the pollen less beauty and drown in the water. This is intentional since the pollen washed off the insect fertilizes the plant. There are few flowers as treacherous as the water lily (Lomponi, 2011).

I could analyze this artwork in two words: Serenity and sentimental. The painting glows in light… [END OF PREVIEW]

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