BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDIES - Jason L. McAthur

This gallery includes portraits originating from the late 18th and 19th Century the Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism and American Art Era. (1776-1882). This period in time showcased revolutions, love, optimism, fiction and demise. All portraits represented use different types of movements, high-low light contrast, hues and a commodity of emotion. 

The Death of General Wolfe captivates human emotion while showcasing smoke filled skies, massive ships, hundreds of soldiers, victory and overwhelming loss. Benjamin West uses movement and angelic lighting making the fatally wounded general the center of this portrait, as he stares into the heavens. General Wolfe's fellow officers rush to his aide in panic and prayer while an Indian warrior looks with concern and empathy. Additional Information Retrieved from: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-americas/british-colonies/colonial-period/a/benjamin-wests-the-death-of-general-wolfe
Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse's portrait L' Arabe pleurant son coursier depicts an Arabian man mourning the loss of his horse. Movement and lines in this portrait take the viewer directly to the heat exhausted steed. A bloody sword, gleaming under the intense sun, confirms this wasn't death by natural causes. The head and neck of the steed gives shape to another figure in the lying in the sand with what appears to be a bow. Small differences in contrast are the distant mountains and the shine of the sun on the Arabs face.
The combinations of high and low level lighting are very attractive in this piece, giving the viewer more than one dynamic. The background shows a beautiful mountain range with a memorizing mist like waterfall. The movement from peaceful to persecution is just around the river bend arriving at the lifeless Count Josselin di Mosntmorency. The arguing protective guards on the right seem to be trying to figure out what happened. Meanwhile, the horseman swings his sword at the accused on the left.
This portrait shows the passion and intensity of close combat. Fighting for their own lives, soldiers hold the line attacking enemies from both directions. Lighter tones emphasize Commander Daoiz clenching his sword, the unknown lady about to fire the cannon and a soldier swinging his sword trying to stop her shot. Darker colors were used by Alenza leaving the viewer to believe this occurred at night, but this happened during the day.
Ferdinand-Victor-Eugene Delacroixs portrait shows what a king can do just to keep others from having it. King Sardanapalus, overwhelmed by defeat, ordered all his possessions be destroyed. Slaves, jewels, horses and even his many mistresses where to be cut down. Different events are accented by low and high light contrasts. The cluttered chamber shows Sardanapalus lying in bed waiting for his enemies, while his trusted loyal servants kill and destroy. Retrieved From: http://www.artble.com/artists/eugene_delacroix/paintings/the_death_of_sardanapalus
This well known biblical story tells of envy, jealously and shame. In the book of Genesis, Cain and Abel (brothers) brought an offering to God. Abel's offering was accepted and Cain's was not. Filled with anger and malice, Cain led his brother away killing him. Movement is shown in cloth wrapped around Cain fleeing the scene and lighter color tones are used showing emphasis on Abel.
Gustave Moreau depicts a graceful encounter with death in this portrait. Death is represented by a beautiful woman that appears to be asleep with beautiful long hair, a golden sword and a hourglass. Her upper torso is partially clothed and blue dress seems to be floating with her. Movement is the stride of the young, the blue bird and the flowing nature of deaths dress. Lighter and darker color contrast help solidify the movement.
This portrait by Frederic Leighton shows a beautiful girl lying lifeless on her bed. This is a scene from the famous play by William Shakespeare. Juliet has just drank a potion, make it seem like she is dead. Lighting focuses on Juliet, the mother and the distraught lover Romeo. Darker color tones make up the band members and less significant characters. Movement is shown in the gown of her father and Romeo's gown has he is pulled back from the bed.
Queen Barbara was only 30 years old when she died due to complications with her health. Simmler shows the intimate connection between husband and wife. Pictured in the bottom left is a scent burner for aroma therapy a very popular treatment for cleansing. Low color tones sets the dark and gloomy scene. Retrieved From: http://www.local-life.com/vilnius/articles/barbara-radziwill
This classy self portrait shows Arnold Bocklin courting with death playing a fiddle. Death, like in many other portraits, is seen as an evil skeleton entity and is enjoying the song. The lighting focuses on Bocklin with a narrow view of death behind him. The two are very close, making the notion that Bocklin is close to death. Low color tones and hues sets the cryptic scene.
The Death of Queen Sophie Amalie is a portrait to be admired by all. Different contours of colors and blends throughout this piece is simply fantastic. The Queen is surrounded by the finest silver, luxurious clothes and fine linens that are represented in excellent detail. The lighting in this portrait seems to veer around the room hitting every polished object even the fan handle dropped on the floor. Kristian Zahrtmann was able to use bright colors but still managed to capture the desperate need for life.
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