Humans and the Illusion of Movement - JOSÉ ALEJANDRO ALDANA

Humans are not still characters, and translating their life to painting is not an easy task. The illusion of movement in painting might be one of elements we granted. Movement not only gives the artworks tridimensionality, but makes paintings seem alive to the viewer’s eye. In this gallery I have compiled several paintings and drawings what have achieved the illusion of moment on still frames. Most often this is represented with help of elements like fabrics, textures, light, and human anatomy. These elements trick the viewer’s eye into the illusion of movement. 

Swimming by Thomas Eakins is an oil on canvas painting depicting human nature, the painting mainly uses green and orange hues, to highlight humans against trees. The conjunction of the human figures, along with their reflections on the water creates a circle. The human’s poses also seem to be representing a circle of evolution, or constant movement, from swimming, to effortfully attempts to stand up, to firmly standing on two feet. The human poses are very stylized and dramatic.
In Without Knocking is an oil on canvas painting by Charles M. Russell, this painting narrates adventurous cowboy life. The painting quickly pulls us into the center of the piece by having greater contrast in this area and by creating lines that lead the viewer into this area. Movement is illustrated with blurry stokes simulating dust clouds, and playing with texture in the cowboys, the ones with the most movement appear to be blurrier.
Atalanta and Hippomenes by Johann Wilhelm Baur is an oil on copper painting. The artwork shows Hippomenes and Atalanta in a race in which Atalanta said the only man that could win her footrace would get her marriage. In this painting is the moment Atalanta loses against Hippomenes because of his distractions. He uses golden apples he received from Venus. The movement in this painting is dictated by the humans’ positions and their clothes, the most visible elements come on the Hippomenes, his attire seems to be flowing with the fast winds as he runs, while Atalanta’s appear to be soft and loose.
Allegory Nuziale is a fresco created by Giambattista Tiepolo, the painting depicts angles, horses, and Gods. Because of its unique perspective it gives the impression of infinity and brings the characters closer to the audience by provoking a sense of danger. The clothes and and poses are the biggest elements that demonstrate a sense of movement. The movement in their clothes is created by contrasting shades, creating an illusion of dynamic lighting on the textiles.
This drawing by Giovanni Battista Gaulli is a movement study. The study was done using brown ink and chalk over gray paper. In his study a man dancing can be seen, a textile appears to give the impression of movement by its density created with highlights and shadows. This fabric seems to be included to enhance the look of moment of the man while dancing. The figure is centered in the picture to maintain balance in the piece. Despite this not being a finished artwork it still harmonious to look at it by the beauty in its subtle lighting that provide dimension.
This is a planographic printing by George Bellows. The print shows a moment of victory and a moment of defeat at the same moment during a boxing match. Movement is created with the help of human musculature, shown in shadows on the victorious player, tight muscles give the impression of a fast moment. Meanwhile on the defeated player his muscles seem to relaxed as he is falling on the crowd. High contrast is used to emphasize the muscles as well to provide separation from players to crowd.
Created by Sebastiano Ricci, The Fall of the Rebel Angels shows St. Michael sending rebel angels from heaven. During their decent rebel angels lose their angelic wings and receive demonic ones. The illusion of movement in this painting is created by the floating textiles and human musculature, and a single light source indicating direction. The light coming from the top left emphasizes the good, St. Michael, while the rebel angels fall into his shadow. The tight musculature of the rebel angels show their desperate moves to attempt to fight St. Michael.
Napoleon at the Great St. Berard is an oil on canvas painting by Jaques-Lou’s David. The artwork is a portrait of Napoléon Bonaparte ridding a white horse thought the Alps. What appears to be a single source of light guides the viewer’s eye to the center of the image where the heaviest of the graphic weight in the image resides. The sense of movement is created with exaggerated expressions of the horse’s hair and the red cape, which is an effect of the horse’s abrupt movement. The horse’s movement gives empowerment to Napoleon’s figure by raising him to the sky, where his finger is pointing toward.
This oil on canvas painting by Hans Von Marées depicts four rowers on what appears to be a boat. Due to the direction and hue of the light, it seems to be close to evening, this gives the rowers a warm glow on their skin that separates them from the bright blue skies. The fusion of movement on this piece is created by patterns. The hands of the foreground rowers appear to follow the space of the background rowers, this gives the impression of the rowers moving their arms.
This painting by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, shows two women walking on the shore. The frame is clean, which is achieved by using a minimal selection of hues. The pose of the the figures give the impression of movement against the direction of the wind blowing. The light textiles floating with the wind along with the soft light and enhancing a look of purity. The blue waves in the the background provide a visual cue to guide the viewers’ eye from left to right, the same direction the women appear to be walking.
Credits: All media
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