These old strings -Traveon McNeil

This gallery is a collection of various stringed instruments and paintings that depict them. We take a brief look at variety and innovativeness in the creation of the instruments and rare finds in the string family. This gallery seeks to expand the viewer’s knowledge of the role of musicians and their stringed instruments throughout history.

The masked Comedian Playing a Guitar was created in 1622 and very may depict the view on musicians during the era. Many people who play instruments were considered to be entertainers with a variety of skills. There is only one object that has positive space in this picture which makes for an interesting scene. Also the lack of color and leaves a lot to the imagination, however the artist did use quite a bit of lines to create shadows in the portrait.
More than 250 years later the guitar player has gained a sense of mystery and prestige. The artist, James McNeill Whistler, had painted the guitar player in an interesting light. This image too, lacks color, but is composed of many lines that vary in degree. Some of these lines have been smudge to create a more intense contrast and deeper shadows. There is less negative space in this image as well.
Seated man with Guitar marks the beginning of the Post-modern era and the medium used to portray this artwork is indicative of that as well. Using a wide combination of geometric shapes, Lipchitz has taken a unique approach. In contrast to Whistler’s “The Guitar Player” this instrumentalist seems rather laid back. There is not a ton of attention to small details but there is depth and a great use of space from the shapes that “sit” at different levels.
Gris’ “Guitar and newspaper” bring about a huge amount change from the paintings seen before this era. The use of color in the analogous sense brings a mellow sense to the painting. It is also interesting to see something other than a musician depicted with the painting. This newspaper totally fills up the space, shrinking the negative space into a mere border. The artist also adds value to the painting by creating various textures and using values to change the space and give it a 3D shape.
Copla, a painting by Julio Romero De Torres, depicts a woman simply carrying a guitar on an evening stroll. Torres, paints her very large as compared to the background giving the picture a sense of 3D space. She appears to be at quite a distance and higher elevation than the bridge. The dress the woman has on is painted in a way to create movement.
Serie “Ninos mexicanos”: Instrumentos is a painting by Gustavo Montoya that introduces children into our collection as well as another member or the stringed-instrument family, the violin. It appears that Montoya attempted to create 3D space using the floor and wall but the lines that would divide the two aren’t nearly significant or dominant enough. Montoya uses analogous color to depict the children giving the painting a very warm tone.
Portrait of a Woman with a Blue Guitar is a very interesting portrait by Sam Yeates. He paints a woman who appears to play herself blue. This portrait is interesting because of the way Yeates depicts movement. He paints two faces on one body as she plays herself blue. The tension painted in her fingers is intensified by the flow created by the two faces.
The Chanot Ergonomic Violin is a member of the string family. This is an interesting piece because of the story behind it’s creation. As told by the title this violin was created to benefit the instrumentalists level of comfort The wooden medium created a very beautiful texture and the casing or trimming on the wood creates a beautiful line between the front of the body and side.
Guitarra us a very modern piece created by Winfredo Diaz Valdez in 1991. It consists of a deconstructed guitar. The deconstruction of this instrument creates geometric shapes and Valdez places these off center to create a sense of flow and movement and creates negative space within the view of the sculpture. The strings and the wood create contrast being that they are two different textures. It is a great work of art!
This Les Paul guitar created by Gibson was created in 1952. Being a Beautiful piece of work it is different than modern guitars. It has beautiful value in the face of the guitar perhaps created by use over time. The brass knobs, strings and neck create a variety of textures in this guitar as well as the other materials used on the face!
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