For this I had to go on the internet and find some portraits, that convey a distinctive mood or atmosphere rather than simply a physical likeness. Look at Picasso’s blue paintings with their mood of surreal sadness or the dark earth colours of Van Gogh’s early paintings of peasants seated around a fire in their poor, meagre surroundings. Look at the strong tonal contrast in Rembrandt’s portraits and the formidably restricted palette with which he seemed to convey the very essence of a persons mood and personality. By contrast, consider the gaiety or the disturbing, nightmarish quality of the portraits and figure paintings of the Fauve painters and the German Expressionists.
Picasso’s blue period was believe to have been influenced by the death of someone close though it is said there are other influences supporting his artistic path. These paintings show scenes of hardship. Blue is a cold colour and its lack of the warmer light makes you think of the night when all our problems seem much worse.
I love The Tragedy which is set on a beach stripped of warmth and fun by its sombre colours, the adult couple stand with downturned heads and solemn faces, so we know something bad has happened . The child possibly not quite understanding the strength of the problem offers a crumb of comfort as they rest their hand on the male figure.
I like The Tragedy it reminds me of my very young daughter comforting me after a robbery. She didnt totally understand why I was upset, but suggested we went to the beach to enjoy ourselves which she felt would make everything better.
With Van Gogh I was to look at the earlier paintings of Peasants sat around the fire in their poor surroundings. I like the painting below and the limited palette used. The dark earth colours give greater emphasis to the difficult life of the Peasant. Even the light of the fire wasnt given dominance and is dull in appearance, removing the usual comfort and warmth it can give. Looking at the paintings and drawings of his Peasants I can see the flatness attributed to him. Having said that he produced some amazing studies and there were many of them. the Peasant woman in the field drawn below is one of my favourites it looks effortless in its application, the woman shows how well he could draw figures. I admit people are not my favourite things to draw, so I can sympathise with him and admire how he overcame his difficulty.
Peasant woman in a field
Rembrandt used light in a different way, his dramatic use of tonal contrast give a power to the picture. He portrays the light in such a way it showcases the mood of his subject. I love his self portraits and have looked at them earlier in the course, but for this research I chose the picture he did of Christ. The Light falls on the impaled figure in such a way the viewer is shown without mistake the agony being endured by the curvature of the body. Christs agony is also shown on the face which some feel was modelled on an earlier self portrait.
Rembrandts painting of Christ
In contrast to the sombre colours and symbolic surroundings, is the painting of Matisse by Andre Derain which shows a bright impressionistic style. Painted at the time he and Matisse were working together their style was named Fauves by a critic meaning wild beasts. Certainly the paint-strokes have a wildness about their application. In this picture I can see how the colours used give the impression of the warm evening sunshine as friends smoked and discussed the important moments of the day. It makes you realise how brushstroke, colour and light can also tell a story without the need for any props. The loose paintwork most certainly add to the feel of the picture. If you look at this painting from a distance it really does take shape the broad strokes of colour mingle very like the pointillists work.
Andre Derain portrait of Matisse
To finish I thought I would add a contemporary artist I admire Arabella Dorman
The powerful emotion evoked by her work is amazing. I love how the subject is prominent the background is kept very simple just enough work to show the viewer the man is injured and strapped to what looks like a stretcher. The tragedy of war shown in the blood on the man’s clothes his pain and suffering shown by his arm placement. In this day and age we have various ways in which the bloodiness of war can be seen, television, magazines, newspapers photographs we are over whelmed with the visual images of the injured. To some point we have been so bombarded with those images we don’t see them anymore. A picture like Cross-Fire has an artistry about it, there is something that draws you to this piece of art, a beauty, but by drawing in the viewer we then see the horror it holds. We are reminded this man may be injured but, he is in a position of being helped and attended, he has hope, has help, has life. Cross Fire has the ability to bring us the horror this man has been through but the hope he must now have, this has been achieved not only by the simplicity of colour used, but also the clever portrayal of the subject and the use of negative space which draws the eye very quickly to its main message.
Cross-Fire 2014, Afghanistan
National Art Gallery 2017, Pablo Picassos The Tragedy Metamorphosis of a Painting, https://www.nga.gov/features/slideshows/pablo-picasso-the-tragedy.html 26 March 2018
Pablo Picasso 2009, Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period – 1901 to 1904, https://www.pablopicasso.org/blue-period.jsp 26th March 2018
Van Gogh Museum Unknown, Collection
The Met Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History 2000-2018 Peasant Woman Cooking by a Fireplace,
https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1984.393/ 3rd April 2018
Simon Abrams 2011 Rembrandts Crucifixion 1631
National Art Gallerry Unknown Henry Matisse/Andre Derain
Wikiart Unknown Portrait of Matisse
4th April 2018
Arabella Dorman Fine Art and Portraiture Unknown
4th April 2018