The depiction of sadness is all about shape. Although one often hears about a sad expression
most of the artists we surveyed did not show their subject’s faces, preferring to use their
subjects posture to indicate their feelings. If anything the lack of direct eye contact, the hidden
and unapproachable poses, serve to heighten the feeling of deep grief. Nor was sadness
associated with a gray or colorless image as one might imagine. Very often intense colors and
contrasts were used. Although blues and greens were more commonly used, there were a fair
number of warmer colors in evidence as well. The other striking feature of the work is the
almost total absence of supporting background detail. The world recedes from the sad into a
place of isolation.
The works cover a span of several centuries and represent work by both masters as well as
lesser known artists.
Please also note our selection of background colors to support each individual image rather
than the use of a common or plain white one.
1. The Sad Man, Shea Holliman, Oil on Canvas
2. Major Depression - A Sad Day Indeed, Asbjorn Lonvig, acrylic on hardboard
3. A Sad Girl, Carlos Saenz de Tejada
4. Femme aux Bras Croises, Pablo Picasso, lithograph oil
5. untitled (sadness), Carolee Bennett Sherwood, acrylic on canvas
6. Portrait of Sadness, Helena Wierzbicki
7. Old Man in Sorry (On the Threshold of Eternity), Vincent van Gogh
8. Cry From Many Nations, Lidija Ivanek
9. Sadness, Maris Sherwood
10.Sadness Like Water, Kerri Blackman