Understanding paintings     Krishnan, GTC Talk
Seeing vs Looking• Easy access to great paintings today  – Greeting cards  – Internet• Seeing involves opening your eyes• ...
Six guidelines for looking at paintings• Subject – Sometimes historical or mythological figures• Techniques – Use of oil p...
Bacchus and AriadneSubject     Each painting has specific subject with meaningful message     Subjects could be mythologic...
The Arnolfini marriageBy Jan Van EyckKnown for mastery in oil paint
The supper at EmmausRecognizable objects stand for abstract ideas and concepts
Las MeninasAll artists have to create an illusion of space and light in different ways
What creates a masterpiece• Virtuosity – Skills + knowledge and  imagination• Innovation – Rewriting the existing rules – ...
Frescoes• Fresco is a technique of  mural painting• Executed upon freshly laid  lime plaster• Water is used as vehicle for...
The annunciation• By Guido de Pietro at the Fra Angelico Altarpiece• Things to look for  – A closed garden – symbolizing M...
Giotto: The adoration of the magi
The adoration of the Magi• Painted at the Arena chapel c. 1304-1306 by  Giotto de Bondone (1267-1337)• Things to look for ...
Adoration - Hieronymous Bosch
The Deposition• By Roger van der Weyden• Look for  – The similarities in posture of Mary (with blue robe)    and Christ  –...
A dance to the music of time• Painting by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)• Four allegorical figures:  Pleasure, wealth, indust...
The oath of the Horatii• By Jacques Louis David (1748-1825)• War between Roman Horatii and Alba Coratii• Theme of heroism ...
The experiment with the air pump• By Joseph Wright• Things to look for   – The experiment: Will the bird survive if oxygen...
The Hay Wain• By John Constable• Quintessential English painting, painted in  Suffolk, green countryside• Things to look f...
The awakening conscience• By William Holman Hunt• Look for  – Depiction of luxurious items in the girls house  – Nostalgic...
The vanities of life• By Harmen SteenWyck• Shell represents wealth• Chronometer represents finite time, the  sword (a symb...
Impressionist paintings• No story to tell or moral  to communicate  – Common ordinary    subject matter• Had pre-mixed col...
Autumn effect at Argentuil• By Claude Monet• Look for  – Rainbow palette  – Bold brushstrokes at the bottom, finer with   ...
The bedroom at Arles• By Vincent Van Gogh, 1888• Color is everything, can suggest emotion  regardless of the subject• Unso...
Le Grande Jatte• By Georges Seurat• Technique of divisionism – instead of mixing  colors, put them separately and let the ...
A bar at the Folies-Bergere• By Eduardo Manet• Set in a Paris night club• Look for  – Mirror  – Inaccurate reflections dep...
Guernica - Picasso
Guernica• Painted during Spanish civil war• Look out for  – Bull depicting brutality  – Woman with dead child  – Severed h...
WikiPaintings site
Smart History project
Thank You
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
Understanding paintings
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  • The annunciation
  • SteenWyck – Vanities of human Life
  • Transcript of "Understanding paintings"

    1. 1. Understanding paintings Krishnan, GTC Talk
    2. 2. Seeing vs Looking• Easy access to great paintings today – Greeting cards – Internet• Seeing involves opening your eyes• Looking involves opening your mind and taxing your intellect• Look, don’t just see !
    3. 3. Six guidelines for looking at paintings• Subject – Sometimes historical or mythological figures• Techniques – Use of oil paints, frescos• Symbolism – Many paintings use language of symbolism and allegory that was understood by the artists and audiences of the time• Space and light – Artists mastery in creating space and light• Historical Style – Each historical period had a style – Renaissance to Modern times• Personal Interpretation – What you see with your knowledge of history, symbolism and techniques
    4. 4. Bacchus and AriadneSubject Each painting has specific subject with meaningful message Subjects could be mythological figures
    5. 5. The Arnolfini marriageBy Jan Van EyckKnown for mastery in oil paint
    6. 6. The supper at EmmausRecognizable objects stand for abstract ideas and concepts
    7. 7. Las MeninasAll artists have to create an illusion of space and light in different ways
    8. 8. What creates a masterpiece• Virtuosity – Skills + knowledge and imagination• Innovation – Rewriting the existing rules – Giotto and Picasso• Patronage – Catholic church and Royal coursts• Artistic vision – Michelangelo’s ceiling
    9. 9. Frescoes• Fresco is a technique of mural painting• Executed upon freshly laid lime plaster• Water is used as vehicle for the pigment• With setting of the plaster, painting becomes part of the wall
    10. 10. The annunciation• By Guido de Pietro at the Fra Angelico Altarpiece• Things to look for – A closed garden – symbolizing Mary’s purity – Classical architecture – slender corinthian columns – Archangel Gabriel – Youthful, energetic – Halo around Mary – Handmaiden of God – verses upside down (so God could read them) – Gothic style of Mary’s chair – Holy spirit – dove as the symbol
    11. 11. Giotto: The adoration of the magi
    12. 12. The adoration of the Magi• Painted at the Arena chapel c. 1304-1306 by Giotto de Bondone (1267-1337)• Things to look for – People’s position and character – The country lad in ill-fitting clothes – Kneeling king Caspar – sign of humility – Mountainous scenery – Shooting star – Giotto had seen a comet
    13. 13. Adoration - Hieronymous Bosch
    14. 14. The Deposition• By Roger van der Weyden• Look for – The similarities in posture of Mary (with blue robe) and Christ – The plain clothes on the left and royal clothes on the right offset one less person on the right – Bracketing by people on the side focuses attention on Christ and Mary – The skull symbolises Adam (Christ was crucified at spot where Adam was buried, one signifying fall and the other the rise)
    15. 15. A dance to the music of time• Painting by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)• Four allegorical figures: Pleasure, wealth, industry and poverty• Look for – Circular motion of dance in a triangle – Permanence and transcience – Statue of two faced Janus with flowers – Poverty and wealth holding hands
    16. 16. The oath of the Horatii• By Jacques Louis David (1748-1825)• War between Roman Horatii and Alba Coratii• Theme of heroism and civic virtue, painted before the French revolution• Look for – Strong profiles of soldiers, gentle curves of the sisters – Child pushing grandmothers hand to look at the swords – Austere columns signifying masculinity and military
    17. 17. The experiment with the air pump• By Joseph Wright• Things to look for – The experiment: Will the bird survive if oxygen is pumped out – in a home setting – typical of 18th century – The lovers: not attentive to the experiment – The scientist: looks of a magician – The person with the clock: Timing the experiment – The girls reassured by their father – The boy – not sure if the cage should be lowered/needed – The philosopher – pondering the consequences – The moon: Sign of enlightenment
    18. 18. The Hay Wain• By John Constable• Quintessential English painting, painted in Suffolk, green countryside• Things to look for – Washerwoman in front of cottage – Dog drawing attention – Cooling the horses – Clouds and the pattern of light
    19. 19. The awakening conscience• By William Holman Hunt• Look for – Depiction of luxurious items in the girls house – Nostalgic song – Oft in the silly night – about a woman reflecting on her childhood innocence – Cat and bird – Reflecting that salvation is possible for the woman – Discarded glove – The woman’s fate if she does not mend her ways
    20. 20. The vanities of life• By Harmen SteenWyck• Shell represents wealth• Chronometer represents finite time, the sword (a symbol of power) reminds power is powerless before death• Reminded of vanities of love (shawm) and knowledge (book)• Extinguished lamp depicts life may end anytime
    21. 21. Impressionist paintings• No story to tell or moral to communicate – Common ordinary subject matter• Had pre-mixed colors in metal tubes, earlier artist had to mix the colors himself• Renoir – Girl with a hoop
    22. 22. Autumn effect at Argentuil• By Claude Monet• Look for – Rainbow palette – Bold brushstrokes at the bottom, finer with distance – Reflected images – Rippling of the wind on the right
    23. 23. The bedroom at Arles• By Vincent Van Gogh, 1888• Color is everything, can suggest emotion regardless of the subject• Unsophisticated and authentic• Look for – Thick brushstrokes – Violet walls in harmony with green windows and contrast with yellow beds/chairs – Portraits of Van Gogh and his sister on the wall
    24. 24. Le Grande Jatte• By Georges Seurat• Technique of divisionism – instead of mixing colors, put them separately and let the eye mix it• Look for – Boating on the Seine and Woman fishing – Mixing of the classes – Perspective scheme – Woman with umbrella larger – supposed to be seen at 45 degrees
    25. 25. A bar at the Folies-Bergere• By Eduardo Manet• Set in a Paris night club• Look for – Mirror – Inaccurate reflections depicting difference in time between subject and reflection – Difference in drinks (champagne and beer) depicting different classes of society
    26. 26. Guernica - Picasso
    27. 27. Guernica• Painted during Spanish civil war• Look out for – Bull depicting brutality – Woman with dead child – Severed head – Horse – Woman with hands up raised to protect from bombs
    28. 28. WikiPaintings site
    29. 29. Smart History project
    30. 30. Thank You
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