McAndrew #1

Characterized by its unique portrayal of scenes, both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism works were notable for their lack of distinct lines and strict structure. Rather, an amalgamation of colors was employed by artists to illustrate an "impression" of life.

Displayed at the Impressionist Exhibition in 1877, Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette was painted with bright, vibrant colors to evoke the liveliness and joy of the garden dances on the Butte Montmarte. Portraying popular Parisian life, Renoir uses both natural and artificial light as a means of illuminating the painting without focusing on one particular figure. Though some individuals in the painting reference Renoir's friends, the central theme of the piece is not any particular individual but rather the mass of vivacious life and amalgamation of French couples. Often considered Renoir's most important work, the painting is largely representative of early Impressionism. Unfortunately however, critics often reacted negatively to the painting given the general blurriness of the scene.
Unlike his fellow Impressionists, Renoir painted relatively few landscapes, preferring to use people as subjects instead. Nonetheless, In the Woods was one such landscape, portrayed as an assortment of colors. His proto-pointillist style ensures a greater blending of various hues, thus forming a vivid scene. Capturing the brilliance of the forested outdoors, Renoir brings out an array of greens mixed in with yellows, reds, and blues. The forest slightly wraps itself around the center, bending warping into an eccentric circular pattern around the end of the pathway, adding a certain level of depth to the piece. The perception of depth is furthered by lighter coloration farther from farther down the path. Redder hues near the bottom of the painting, blues near the sides, and yellows at the top create contrasting distinctions between each level, contributing to the lighting of the piece.
In the Spring of 1876, the Seine River rose past its banks, flooding the nearby town of Port-Marly - Sisley had moved Marley-le-Roi two years earlier as the chronicler of the village. Stunned by the terraforming capability of nature, Sisley produced six paintings depicting the overflowing Seine. Capturing both the moving water and two villagers in boat, Sisley illustrates the drastic impact of the flood at Port Marley. Artistically, he wields a wide array of light colors: light blues and browns, establishing a solaceful peace about the scene. As stated by Paul Jamot in 1928, the painting illustrates "a devastating invasion where the familiar, everyday, usual aspect of things was irresistibly substituted by a new, unexpected, enigmatic and disturbing expression"
A vibrant arrangement of colors, Bords de riviere instantly draws the audience's attention to river at the painting's center. Imbued with bright blues, even the trees take on an azure coloration. Furthermore, the water is largely contrasted against its grassy banks, Sisley having subtly intermixed orange hues, uses pointillist style to ensure an almost indiscernible meshing of green and orange. Given the similar coloration of the distant forms, the trees exist as the barrier between the sky and river, developing the impression of a blurry horizon to which the eye might otherwise have difficulty detecting.
Undoubtedly Munch's most famous motif, the Scream was part of a series of motifs known as the Frieze of Life. As described by Munch, the series was a cycle of love, life, and death. Based on an experience Munch had with two friends, where he had paused while walking to observe the majesty of the sunset sky. Often interpreted as representative of early existentialist thought, the Scream, as described by its artist, is derived from Munch's "sense [of] an endless scream passing through nature." Epitomizing Post-Impressionist style, the painting strays further from formalized guidelines, insisting upon emotional value as the key motive.
A cold, winter night as seen from Munch's house at Ekely, Starry Night achieves a flowing harmony through the use of round shapes and free-form curves. Heavily saturated with dark blues contrasted against pastel yellows, Starry Night establishes a cool, silent tone with its color scheme. Ignoring lines, Munch repeatedly overlaps - possibly accidentally - mixing colors and creating shapes of variable size. Warping and bending the scene to fit the artist's impression of emotional reality, no two sections of the painting look the same. A shadow, likely Munch's, can be seen cast upon the steps of the veranda overlooking the village, possibly symbolizing his loneliness. One could also interpret the shadow as that of Borkman's - from the Hendrik Ibsen play with which Munch was highly interested in at the time - the old man heading out into the winter night to die.
Taken by the beauty of Provence, the location of his birth, Cezanne attempted to capture the environment in this minimalist, watercolor painting. Using semi-amorphous blobs of color to distinguish between forms within the piece, perceived lines and undefined borders establish a quaint village scene. Cezanne uses the white background as an interesting medium, lacking clear definition between what is and isn't actually there. As he uses more brushstrokes, the white of the paper emerges more as a contrasting color in itself. Painting a preponderance of horizontal images relative to vertical ones, Cezanne suggests the wideness of the landscape, imbuing the piece with extensive qualities.
One of Cezanne's great multitude of still lifes, Still Life with Onions uses neutral, pastel colors to illustrate a mundane scene. As an artist of the "silent life," Cezanne was widely intrigued by the ordinary. To create an illusion of depth, Cezanne places a knife at an angle, a technique borrowed from Chardin. The onions, whose spherical shape matched Cezanne's experiments into volume,are coupled along with a drapery, a bottle, a glass, and a knife. Though he had previously painted such objects in other paintings, Cezanne was primarily interested in the arrangement of his subject articles. Cezanne paints different objects from different perspectives, leading to a unique sense of dimension; the legs and side of the table are raked while the top frontally faces the viewer,
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