Heroic Movement - (Juan Duran)

This gallery exhibits depictions of heroism throughout the ages, as portrayed through painting and sculpture, with an emphasis on works which make use of movement.

Belisarius depicts Byzantine Roman General Belisarius, who is blind, carrying his guide who has been bitten by a snake. Belisarius eyes are closed as he carries his unconscious guide in his left hand, in his right hand is a walking stick to guide his path. Belisarius wears a red cloak familiar of Roman soldiers, and his helmet can be seen hanging by his side. His guide is unconscious in white garments and a snake is wrapped around his feet. With only landscape in the background the composition is creates a sense of focus on Belisarius, while movement is used to give the impression of Belisarius walking his guide to seek help. Where Belisarius stands is a great use of proportion, with the mountains in the distance, he appears larger than everything around him. Geometrically his is at a right angle, his torso makes a triangle which creates a sense of stability and strength. Belisarius is represented strong and muscular, heroically saving his guide.
The education of Achilles depicts the wisest of all centaurs, Chiron, teaching young Achilles how to hunt. Achilles rides on the back of Chiron drawing his bow as Chiron points out a bird in the sky for the young hunter. Line and shape are used to provide a sense of movement, as the horse like body of Chiron gallops diagonally one direction the torsos of the subjects of the piece lean in the opposite diagonal direction. The form of an animal can be seen fleeing from the hunters in the lower left portion of the painting following the same diagonal path as Chiron’s arms, although in the opposite direction, which gives a greater sense of movement. The composition of the piece, with it’s use of vast landscape, creates emphasis and focus on our hunters.
Warrior of the Middle World on the Road depicts a warrior riding horse back with his sword drawn while galloping down the road into battle. The warrior is crouched in a classic riding stance which allows for speed, as he is prepared to enter the fray. The horse has its head down and legs extended behind it suggesting full gallop. The use of lines in the main composition as well as the landscape give the sense of movement. The dynamic shapes in the main subject and using repetition by making warriors and birds in the background move in the same direction, complete the idea of movement.
Tlahuicole, the Tlaxcaltecan General, Fighting in the Gladiatorial Sacrifice depicts General Tlahuicole as he is about to take part in combat in order to save his life and win his freedom. Design principles such as movement can be seen through the use of contrapposto, which gives the impression that the general could strike at any moment, while balance and proportion give the general a lifelike appearance.
Jason with the Golden Fleece depicts Jason, from Classic Mythology, after he has successfully retrieved the golden fleece. Jason who wears a helmet, appears to be glancing to his left, he is holding a spear in his right hand which is resting on his right shoulder. He wears a strap around his chest which holds his sword. In his left hand he holds the golden ram’s fleece. This Neo-classical piece makes use of Classical heroic nudity, while the use of contrapposto creates a since of movement making it appear as though we are seeing Jason mid stride.
Eight Hundred Heroes of a Japanese Water Margin, All Told: Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki depicts the hero Jiraiya killing a giant snake. The hero stands one foot on the snake with his firearm pressed against the snake’s head. The use of curving lines give the snake a sense of movement, while the sharp lines on the heroe’s left leg which pins down the snake give the sense of stability. The use of vibrant colors creates emphasis on the hero.
Aeneas and Anchises escaping from Troy depicts the hero Aeneas carrying his father Anchises as they are fleeing Troy. Aeneas is dressed in military gear carrying his father who holds a statue, his son is by his side holding onto him pressing forward, while his wife is falling behind him. The dynamic shapes throughout the work create a sense of movement as the family escapes and the wife falls behind. The variety of characters keeps the viewer’s attention, while strong geometric shapes in Aeneas give him a sense of strength and emphasis. The hero moves forward.
Jozef Poniatowski depicts Polish general Poniatowski riding a horse and pointing a sword, the statue is made in the likeness of the Marcus Aurelius statue. His hear is curled like that of Aurelius and he wears classic Roman robes and sandals. The horse takes on the same mid stride position. Through the use of proportion, the image takes on a life like appearance, while the dynamic shapes give way to a sense of movement.
Napoleon on the field of Wagram depicts the emperor Napoleon mounted on his horse, on the high ground above the battleground of Wagram. In the background a battle rages on as the emperor’s forces overwhelm the enemy. Perspective is used to give a sense of movement on the battlefield, while allowing Napoleon to dominate the scene giving him focus. The dynamic shape of the horse, with its mane contrasting the direction of the leg, creates a sense of movement. Conversely Napoleon himself appears still, as his body forms a right angle to the horse, giving him a sense of stability and courage.
The Life Line depicts a man rescuing a woman amidst the water from one ship to another on a pulley system. Rope transverses horizontally across the scene, in the center a pulley connected to a rescue device and a faceless heroic rescuer. A woman lay unconscious across the rescue device. Geometric shapes create a sense of stability, as the rescue device is a triangle suggesting stability. The device also forms a right angle to the main line. The dynamic shapes of the rescuer and woman’s limbs, along with the shapes of the crashing waves and the flags flapping in the wind in the distance, gives the scene a sense of movement. By constraining the scene to the rescue attempt and implying the ships we are forced to focus on the main subjects.
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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