Art 1 – Google Art Project and mentors – Due 4/22


Now we return to studying about painters that use subject matter (NOT the non-objective, abstract artists, we have been looking at.)

Visit the following website to find a painter (that uses subject matter) that you find especially interesting and inspiring.

Look at the art on the site in both of the following manners: Using the menu bar at the top, look at  some of the Art Collections and some of the Artists.  Look for known museums and artists as well as new-to-you sources.

Post a link to your favorite discovery AND

explain why you like the painter/paintings that you choose AND

write a description and formal analysis on one piece you like the best. See notes on description and  analysis stages of interpretation as described in handout you received in class and on the widget.

Google Art Project

For sketchbook, do some drawing for one hour  in the artist’s style, relative to the artist’s techniques, in preparation for your next painting.


25 responses »

  1. I really liked “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. I found it in the the Chicago Art institute. I immediately recognized it from somewhere, I think I saw it in my AP US History textbook. It must be a famous American painting, but it’s not immediately clear to me why. Three characters sit in a cheap restaurant illuminated by flourescent lights on a New York Street Corner. A seamless window separates the viewer from the light within, making them as detached and unapproachable as their expressions. The painting starkly avoids anecdotal detail, giving it an eerie, empty quality that fits with the late night setting.

    • This is such a classic and well-loved painting because of the way it depicts the alienation and isolation of individuals in a city. You may also have seen some of the parodies done of this work too that may make it more familiar. You have a good description of the subject and reading of the mood. Think about the formal aspects too that affect our response to it: proportion, color, contrast, balance, and rhythm play a role in creating the sense of lonliness and isolation.

  2. I find a interesting drawing: “The expulsion” from Arthur Boyd. It is posted in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. This work catches my eyes because the faces of people in the painting are interesting. The painting basically depicted the time when Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden by God. Eve was crying and Adam covered his face by hands. The God’s style is very different in this painting. He was an angry middle age guy who chased them with all yellow clothes in a short forest; I mean the trees are a little bit taller than Adam. A raven stands on a branch. The composition of color is almost cold and dark except God’s yellow clothes, which made a contradiction between the darkness. I think the painting exaggerated the story in the bible and wanted to show the sadness of people who were exiled in World War II, since the drawing was completed in 1948.

    • You’ve done a good job of connecting the formal ideas like color and proportion to the mood and meaning you developed with your description. This make me want to see the work….can you post a link to it?

  3. I really enjoyed “The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe.” It is in the Indianapolis Museum of art. Painted in 1890 this painting by the revolutionary pointalist artist Georges Seurat this painting is made up of only small dots of color. He origianaly started this style as an experiment. He’d only use dots of primary colors and when you stood back they formed secondary or tertiary colors. You honestly cant tell looking at these paintings. Although I’m pretty sure he did not do this for this particular painting it’s still a pretty cool idea. The work caught my eyes for the fuzzy and well blended colors. The colors are bright and joyful. The paintings portrays a peaceful canal in France with moored sail boats and a lighthouse. In the distance there is a little town. When you look at this painting you can almost smell the water and grass and feel the warm summer sun as you stroll along the canal. You can almost taste whatever delectable pastry you must be eating as you walk, probably a chocolate croissant, one of the good ones you can only get in France with just enough dark chocolate in it that you get enough in each bite and there is a contrast of textures, but not enough that it overpowers the buttery taste of the croissant. The flaky brown coat conceals a snow white, tender and buttery interior. You probobly got it at a little bakery in the village were an old pastry shef has perfected his art, and art is the right word for this croissant, over the past half century. His forfathers have been making crosoints in this town for centries and they have distiled the process into a science. As you take your first bite of the crosoint, you can taste the generations of experiance that went into making it. OH MY GOD I LIVE CHOCOLATE CROISONTS!!! Anyway back to the topic. This painting embodies a sleepy summer day were you don’t do much of anything but be happy. That’s why I like it.

    • I don’t think I will ever look at this painting again without longing for chocolate croissants! I like that you also tied your description of the subject to an analysis of the colors and technique. You may want to try his Divisionist technique! And, you make a good point about the allure of the subject of an idealized summer day. What could be more appealing now as we set our sites on summertime?

  4. My favorite discovery on this sight were the pieces painted by Paul Høm. I liked his pieces because of the way he used primary colors to show sunlight and shade. He made his paintings look abstract but you could still tell it was a portrait of a person. I also like how you can see the thick brushstrokes he used and the way it creates texture. I liked the piece “winterpainting” it depicts a man reading what looks to be a newspaper with mountains in the background. Most of the painting is in blue and it depicts the darkness of winter. The few parts that are supposed to be in light are either light blue or yellow. The man reading is looking down and the pages seem to fall down on the ground and fading off into the background. The man looks overwhelmed.

  5. I found a piece by Aaron Shikler of John F. Kennedy. I liked his 3 pieces because of the way he portrayed people. They all have soft edges [not fat…] and they are accurate and easy to look at. It seems like he might use a palette knife, which I’ve always found fun. It’s a Medium sized oil painting done on canvas, depicting John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He’s crossed his arms, almost as if blocking a wind while in deep thought. The background is a plain beige colour, but unlike in other context, the boringness of this colour is appropriate. Shikler uses plenty of matted, brown colours. They’re all more than brown, though, as they have different hues and tints. It seems as though Kennedy is just standing outside, with the way the light is shining on his coat, but you can’t be certain. Lines are soft, yet accurate. The reason they may seem soft to me is because the whole painting is done monochromatically. Kennedy has been placed in the middle of the painting, looking pensive, and taking up the majority of the space in the center without looking awkward.

    • This is an expressive portrait. And, so much of the meaning comes through the body language. He was brave to show JFK with his head down, in an untraditional manner. The color of his hair seems exaggerated to me but it may be because many of the images of JFK are from black and white photographs. You’ve done a nice job of describing both the subject and the formal, stylistic aspects which certainly affect how we react to the piece.

  6. My favorite was by Abbott Handerson Thayer called Roses. I think the artist did a really good job. At first I didn’t really like it because the background is a grayish color. And I don’t really like gray but then I realized that it added to the painting. The gray makes the roses pop out because nothing in the picture is super bright so the artist need something to bring the roses out. The roses look very realistic but the vase look a little strange. It is blue but the blue some how fades into the background. I think it is a cool technique because it just adds more too the roses. It looks live the there is a table that the roses are on but then it just disappear into thin air which is pretty cool. I really like this painting because it only has one main focus and not a bunch. Sometimes when there are too many objects its hard to focus on just one and get the message. With this one there is one object so the viewer can only focus on that and really get the message the artist is trying to send.

    • You give a good idea of the piece and why you like it from your description, which gives us both subject and stylistic details. If you can find it, please post a link so others can see it too.

  7. My personal favorite was Pont Valentre, Cahors, France by Joseph Edward Southall. I thought that the landscape was nice and that it displayed a lot of realism, as I would expect considering it’s named after a location. The use of dulled colors – probably made by mixing a color with it’s complement or layering them – added to the realistic feel of the piece. It’s not often that you find absolute colors in nature, so the artist realized this and adjusted his work. The addition of sight-seers on the far left of the painting was a nice touch as it gave another detail to see. The arched bridged being the largest shape in the painting, one’s eye instantly gravitates to it, but there are many smaller, interesting details in the work. The artist also tends to use singular colors, without much variation in tone except to indicate shadow or depth.

  8. Etruria Orizontale is my favorite piece because the colors blend together so perfectly. I also really like the way he uses the same colors in two different directions and the both come together to form a formation.
    Markus Prachensky
    I really like the way he works with color and kind of blends it together and leaves a little run off of paint at the end of his streaks.

  9. One that particularly catches my attention is actually Civil War Poster, 39 by an unnamed federal artist during the Spanish Civil War, or the days leading up to it. It depicts a large, menacing, cubist skeleton figure in a World War I-esque spiked helmet, black cloak, and swastika across its chest.The cloak is held up by a man in a suit with a jeweled broach, a heavily medaled military official, and an armed clergyman.

    Though the objective is depicting El Generalisimo, representative of General Francisco Franco (a prominent leader in an incoming coup d’etat) as a fascist backed by capitalists, the military, and a militant church, I really enjoy how it combines the styles of cubism, 20’s graphic design, and the new style of art deco to create not only an eye catching propaganda piece but a work of art that can stand just as well on its own.

  10. I found an artist called James Cant, in the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the picture that I liked was called Merchants of Death. I don’t know why I like it, especially because I cannot make any sense out of the picture, no matter how long I look at it. Maybe that’s why I like it, because I can’t understand it? It’s reminiscent to Picasso in the way he uses the thick lines and shapes to create figures and objects. The colors he uses seem darker, and stormy..I can make out a face or two. One which is brightly colored on what looks like a staff of some sort, held my a hand. It just struck me and made me a little uncomfortable and confused, but I like that because at least it stirred up something, which I didn’t get from any of the other work I was looking at.

  11. I liked “The Fertile Crescent” by Anselm Keifer. It belongs to ESSL Museum and is contemporary. It’s incredible use of texture makes me marvel at the difficulty in the buildup of oil paints. The thick, textured strokes remind me of Rembrant a bit. It brings the essence of a desert building to life with the interpretive texture of the sky and its periwinkle color as though the sky were somewhat violet. The bricks of the structure, which is indistinguishable to my historical knowledge, are each created with crooked brush strokes, making it look dilapidated and old. My favorite thing about this painting was its use of texture rather than its use of color. The simple imperfections of the canvas are fascinating and beautiful. I would love to look at other works by the same artist.

  12. I really enjoyed “Tile Panel” in the Museo Santa Cruz collection. The artists was unknown but that just increased my liking of the painting. The artwork was very precise and orderly with a distinct pattern repeated over and over. Besides the accuracty, the artwork doesn’t seem to very intricate, but I do idea behind it. The pattern reminded my of flowers and the colors of the painting are faded in a way that gives it a connotation of the desert. I also liked how the picture was an optical illusion if looked at correctly. There are no circles painted explitly, but the lines create white space that forms a circle. The circles seem to flash and grow larger if you move your eyes around the painting. With this painting, I think there is more than meets the eye.

  13. My favorite was the Tower of Babel from Pieter Bruegel. I just thought it was amazing that with paint, and on wood no less, he created something so detailed and real. And from the passage it seemed like there was no actual Tower of Babel, that he was creating this whole place off of some passage from the Bible. That’s insane, like some amazingly complex fanart. I can’t believe the imagination some people have, really. And now the best part is that the picture has become this whole icon for the rifts and schisms between different types of people and how it fails because they didn’t work together to make it. I think that it’s really scary in a gorgeously detailed way. And his other paintings aren’t any different. They are all very detailed and full of different people. It’s just really amazing that he’s able to capture so many different people and so many different things going on at once and it’s so chaotic but the center is still somehow on the tower that seems to be failing for some reason.

  14. I discovered Henri Rousseau. Not only do i love his name, I also like his style, because of his clear lines and the colors he uses seem very real and clean. The way he shows people and nature is kinda simplified and almost cartoonish. I really enjoy his painting, the dream.
    Description: The eye is drawn to the naked woman on the sofa, because usually there aren’t many sofa’s in the jungle. She is surrounded by jungle plants which seem almost layered to present each plant in a clear way. There are many hidden or almost hidden things in the painting. Just looking at very briefly all you really see is a lady in the jungle. Looking at it carefully you notice many details such as: a rhino, at least three monkeys, a very dark man playing some horn, an orange tree and many other slightly hidden details.
    Analysis: The lady is off to the side looking towards the other human in the painting. Her arm almost looks as if it is reaching out for him. She seems lit from the front, even though the moon in in the right. The horn player and the loin are looking out at the viewer.
    Interpretation: As the title suggests, it is indeed a dream. Things dont totally make sense in the painting. While each flower or animal seems realistic, the way they are put together does not.
    Judgement: I really enjoy it. It is playful. I think the way he places the moon gives the whole picture a certain feeling of dreaminess, because of the way he then uses shading and his colors.

  15. My favorite from the website is called Shell Gathering from Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts. This art represents a view that men, women and some children are gathering the shell near the ocean. First of all, there are many white dots–shells nearby the sea. And some children are bowing to collecting the white dots. In another side, there are women and men holding basket which has shells inside. I really like this painting, because it shows the life in Japan in early 19 century. As for detail, the women’s clothes style and men’s–kimono during this period are well represented in this art. and it’s really important for archaeology as well. What’ more, if you’re careful, you can find Mount Fuji in the background. And this also tells us the shell-gathering location.

  16. I really liked “American Landscape,” by Edward Hopper because I found it interesting that he could portray such a natural and rural environment with only black and white colors. I also really liked his use of crosshatching because it seems to portray the dry texture and environment of the landscape.

  17. I fell in love with “Milkwagon and Old Houses” by Berenice Abbott in the Museum of the City of New York. It has a rustic, old-fashioned feel to it with a sepia color. The eye is immediately drawn to the focal point of the photograph, a Sheffield Farms Dairy Products wagon. It is being drawn by a horse, but all you can see of the horse is its back and its hind legs. There is a man sitting in the wagon, driving it, but the bar on the wagon’s side is blocking out most of his face. In the background are old-fashioned houses with white shutters on the windows. It is hard to see, but above where it says Dairy Products on the wagon, there is a milk jar attached. I found it interesting that neither the horse’s nor the wagon driver’s faces were in the picture. It makes it seem more anonymous and more mysterious. The fact that there is no one on the street makes it feel like a warm Sunday afternoon when no one has anywhere they need to be or anything important they need to do. Overall, I loved the calming feel of this picture and the mood it portrays.

  18. The artist I wish to base my piece off of is Seurat. There is a specific painting of his with a tree on the edge of a lake with a boat. It is all done with dots of paint. The amount of detail that can be seen in this painting is amazing. I like that even though the piece is extremely complex, when you step back and don’t pay attention to the thousands of dots, the painting is so simple. Just a few simple objects: a tree, a boat, a building and a woman.

  19. I will be using Voka as my inspiration. I like his subject matter and his shading a lot. It’s hard to choose a single painting of his but I really like his Andy Warhol. His use of color is amazing. He can incorporate the whole rainbow and still have the painting look realistic and almost three dimensional. The painting looks like a big splash of color landed on the person. I also like the quasi pop art style of jus the head and bright colors.

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