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Formal Analysis of Art

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Line seems to be a complete expression of an artist's true nature and view of the world. Two prime examples of this observation are The Sower by Vincent van Gogh and Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing Number 681 C. Vincent van Gogh was a disturbed man and much of his distress was evident in his work with the use of chaotic and sometimes unruly line groups. (Sayre, 2010). Although van Gogh saw the world through tormented eyes, he was constantly trying to portray his spiritual self through his paintings as is evident in the lines of the sun's overly exaggerated rays. "It is as if he wants his paintings to say: if our struggle is strong enough, we can see how marvelous our world is and what a fine place to live in it might be." (Stucke, 2009). This is in complete contrast to Sol LeWitt's use of line. LeWitt used a more refined and logical approach to his art. In his piece Wall Drawing Number 681 C, he simply gave instructions to the museum staff to construct his artwork in his absence. His precise lines and deliberate geometric proportions are obviously a reflection of his analytical personality. Additionally, his need for order and harmony in his art is most likely an indication of how he views the world. (Stucke, 2009)

Diego Velazquez certainly gave viewers much to think about when he painted Las Meninas. One of the formal qualities used in this painting is the use of illusion by way of a mysterious focal point. This deceivingly simple depiction of the child Infanta Margarita and her entourage is quite possibly much more complex than what first meets the eye. Although the focal point of this painting would appear to be Infanta Margarita, the gazes of the dwarf lady, Infanta Margarita, and Velazquez himself are suggesting a more external object of attention. (Foucault, 1970). Viewers can see a mirror on the opposite wall with a reflection of the King and Queen of Spain alluding to the idea that they are the true subject of the large canvas that Velazquez is painting on. Spatial depth is used to make the door on the opposite wall seem much smaller than it would be if the people were beside it. The image of the couple in the mirror and the man just outside the door on the opposite wall much are smaller than those in the foreground because of the artist's use of foreshortening. The open door in the back also grants more open space just beyond the opening. The vanishing point would be well beyond the far outside. (Sayre, 2010).

Artemisia Gentileschi's use of light and contrasting colors is that which causes this painting to figuratively jump off the canvas. Contrasting colors between the back wall and the clothing worn by Judy and her Maidservant is an excellent example of the figure to ground relationship. The colors along with lighting can help the viewer easily distinguish between the all of the objects in the painting. (Sayre, 2010). The dramatic light, at first glance, would seem to come



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