Death Perception - Eric Matye

This gallery focuses on paintings created in the 18th Century during the late Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism periods of art with a depiction of “Death” involved. On display are examples from American, Italian, and French artists that attempt to interpret the convoluted emotions associated with this complex subject matter. The strategic use of the formal elements of art including color and contrast, along with the integration of the principals of design like balance and emphasis, are all utilized to translate the artist’s vision.   

In this painting,"Death" is grasping onto a tiger as other deceased animals lie in ruins on a desolate land. The vivid use of white against a dull and dark background help emphasize the main subject.
A temperate side of Death is shown here as it tends to a garden created around caskets. Line is used to accentuate details and color used to create a peaceful but somber atmosphere.The skeletons are contrasted using white and black against the background to ensure dominance of audience focus.
The use of black and dark shades of color is generally used to set the mood for the subject of death. To create feelings of angst and dread an artist must use the aspect of low light to cast illustrative shadows. This painting achieves this dreary outcome with the heavy use of black and dark blue illuminated by the fading background light.
Bodies rise from the ground and the sea into a flame and smoke infused sky. Life and death are contrasted through this art by the use of color. The lifeless bodies are dull colored in gray and white similating the features of a realistic dead body, while the resurrected bodies are accented with tan and cream as if they are nourished and striving.
A body rests on a bed in a silent and lonely room. His face, in the early stages of decomposition, is detailed with the shading of yellow to create a hollow lifeless look. Organic colors like yellow and brown are predominantely used to create a somber lonely feel. Symbolism represented by the butterfly on the floor, the grapes in the window, and the bread spilled off the plate, are incorporated to bring deeper meaning to the subject.
A bird lay lifeless on it's side upon a rock like surface. Details like the curled claws and closed eye help portray a genuine death. Dark and light shades of yellow are contrasted to give the body of the bird texture allowing an organic feel to the object. Surreal texture is also created with the rock surface by the use of grays and white.
A victim of murder lie breathless on the ground with the assailant fleeing as vengeance and justice pursue. The deceased is painted in gray and highlighted with white to create emphasis against a dreary back drop.
In attempt to capture the inexpressable emotions from the death of a child, Frederick Stiles Agate uses black to shadow the background in contrast to the deceased infant giving the painting depth. Red is used to flush the features of the on lookers, to accurately depict the dialated vessels in the flesh after emotional distress and crying.
A man sit upright and attentive listening to the influence of death as death plays a fiddle. Emphasis is created on the main object by placing the painter in the forefront as his figure overlaps the skull of death. Looming in the background, death is detailed by the glow of ambiant light giving it a mysterious and devious feel. The very dark background creates an unrelenting contrast to both figures and promotes anxiety and emptiness.
The use of fiery orange and smokey gray infused with black help set an uneasy tone for this painting. Death lay draped over a horse emerging from the darkness surrounded by flames. Smoke billows in from the bottum giving depth and texture to the scene.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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