The Magic of the Elements

This art gallery consists of Impressionist paintings done by several different artists from various time periods.  The focus of this gallery is to analyze each painting and to discover the "magic" that makes these works of art truly come to life.  Some key things to look for would be elements like texture, line, and movement.  When these elements are used effectively, the illusion of reality is created.

This painting done by Vincent van Gogh features a village at the heart of a vast field. There are some trees off in the distance and to the right of the artwork, which suggest that the field may be near or in the center of a dense forest. From the texture van Gogh created, you can see the difference between the crops for the village and the untouched grass. His usage of simple lines in the grass helps to form the illusion of reality.
This painting by Paul Signac contains a body of water with many different types of boats floating along, leaving the docks together. In the distance, you can barely make out a large bridge as well. As you look closely at this painting, you begin to realize that it was not created with the usual brush stroke, but rather with small squares/rectangles of color. When you're too close to the painting, the illusion of reality fades. This could easily be compared to pixel art, as it is the same concept. When these little pieces of color are put together, at a range, the magic of reality is formed right before your eyes.
Alfred Sisley did a magnificent job making this piece feel alive. The trees look as if their leaves are slightly swaying in the breeze. The people look to be in endless motion amongst the trees; one lady is even reaching up to touch a tree branch. The texture causes the illusion of movement within the painting, making the shadows feel as real as this patch of land.
This painting by Vincent van Gogh consists of a distant look at a small town with a church. The central part of the artwork is the flowing sky, filled with stars and a large crescent moon, and to the left there is a tall black/green object. The lines used in this piece make the painting feel like liquid, moving and mixing around the surface. The bright colors in the sky contrast with the dark and dull colors in the town, fully giving the appearance of night-time.
Three women sit upon a cliff, looking down on the sea waves below. Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida uses shape and form to make this artwork come alive. The veil part of the woman's outfit near the center of the painting looks deformed at first, but if you look at the woman's whole posture and take in the environment around her, it looks to be moving with the wind. Her shadow's form also makes the cliff she is sitting on feel much more rigid and uneven, reflecting how a cliff would look in real life.
This is another painting of a cliffside, but done in a slightly different way by Claude Monet. The two women on the cliff are looking down on the sea, staying a safe distance away from the edge of it. The texture of the water below is fluid and wavey, as opposed to the more straight and strict lines used for the grass. Monet used repetition in his brush strokes to create accurate waves in the water, and make the grass look like it is slightly swaying with the wind. This painting has been accused of being unfinished, but I think that that element in itself helps it feel like it has a natural flow to it, rather than it being perfect.
In this painting also done by Claude Monet, two people stand at the head of a huge incoming wave and look out into the distance. There is a large cliff in the background, not unlike Monet's "Cliff Walk at Pourville", but it is not the focus of this work. The texture he used to the large wave makes it look as if it has gotten weaker when it hit land because it looks more misty than the other waves. The aftermath of this wave is also still washing slightly up the shore, making the painting feel like everything is still in motion.
This painting holds the view of a large expanse of land, and it spans a long way off into the distance to where you can barely see some of the smaller details the further out it goes. There are several different colors of trees, and different types of land can be seen as well. The texture of the clouds in the sky helps make the painting feel realistic, as well as the various colors of trees. Nothing is replicated or repeated in this piece, which gives the illusion of reality, because all things are unique in real life as well.
Berthe Morisot brings this painting to life through the usage of unity and movement. Although you can clearly tell the woman is separate from the background, she is also unified with it. Her color scheme is similar to the background's, causing them to sort of blend together. The brushstrokes seem to be moving upwards along the painting, drawing emphasis to the woman's face. Thanks to this movement, this painting feels slightly spirited despite the dull color choice.
In this painting done by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, you can see down a pathway in a forest. Renoir used an interesting method to depict space in this piece. Rather than using harsh lines, he used small blots of paint that are in no particular shape to form different objects or to suggest at the more abstract-looking ones. Because of this, he had to take advantage of colors to create distance and space to magically make the painting seem more realistic. Closer to the edges of the painting, you can see he used darker colors and shadows, but if you look towards the center, you can see that he created distance by using lighter colors to show light.
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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