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Art Appreciation Essay

  1. #1
    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Art Appreciation Essay

    This is an essay I wrote for a community college art appreciation class. My teacher isn't expecting brilliance, just basic knowledge and thought. I kind of think I over did it XD Anyways, if anybody could give their input on anything they think I need to fix, I'd love feedback! I'm not doing so great in this class (I'm hovering between a B and C and I'm used to As T_T). Help is appreciated! lol

    The works I have chosen are Wheat Field with Cypresses (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh and Landscape Near Figueras by Salvador Dali. In this essay I will discuss how the paintings are similar to one another and different from one another.
    In terms of color, the paintings do share one thing similar; they both utilize the color green. I think this because both are landscapes and have plants in them. Green is the first color one thinks of when you think of “nature” colors. But that’s the only similarity. Van Gogh uses bright jewel tones to evoke a feeling of summer and warmth: the bright yellow of the wheat field, the clear dark blue of the sky, the deep indigo of the snowless mountains (1). Dali’s colors are darker than Van Gogh’s; I think this is partly a lack of experience on his part as this painting was completed when he was six years old (3). Perhaps he would have added more contrast and light had he been more experienced, but with what he has done, the painting evokes a mood of its own.
    The subject of both paintings are landscapes. Van Gogh has a wheat field with some sort of bush, a small clump of flowers, cypress trees, mountains, and an azure sky. Dali’s work also appears to have a cypress, maybe a reference to Van Gogh, as well as mountains and possibly some shrubbery. He also put in a house or two, but the bulk of the painting is of the land. Van Gogh’s painting is focused more on the feeling of summertime as made obvious by the bight colors (1)(2). Dali’s looks almost misty and exotic. It reminds me of possibly the Himalaya Mountains, or even the volcanic mountains in Hawaii – any mountains you would find in an exotic land. I think he does this with the dark emerald plant life and snow capped mountains.
    When it comes to technique both use loose brush work. Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese art where each stroke of the brush was considered significant (2). Rather than try to blend his colors all into one solid shape, he chose instead to let the eye blend them. Each stroke was thoughtfully executed: length, thickness, color, straight, curved, impasto, flat. This also helped to create texture. Dali’s brushwork in Landscape Near Figueras is somewhat more blended but is certainly not hard edged or sharp (3). This lends a misty look: lack of detail, blurred. Almost like he was more focused on the over all shape of the “big picture” than the little details and textures. It looks like he put lots of small little brushstrokes right next to each other to where they weren’t fully blended and each stroke is visible, but not fully distinct (5).
    Both artists used oil for these paintings (1)(3). Many artists prefer to use oil because it doesn’t dry quickly and so they can go back and change anything they don’t like (5). Van Gogh like to use oil in part because he could put it on thickly and this created texture and a feeling that the painting itself was coming off the canvas (2). Dali’s painting was considered his first masterpiece (3). He painted Landscape Near Figueras on the back of a post card. The paint was so thin in some places that part of the design was visible (3). I believe he did so on purpose for the purpose of aesthetics.
    Another common element is that both make use of diagonal lines. Diagonal lines give a feeling of space, and help move the eye through out the work of art. Van Gogh achieves this in Wheat Field with Cypresses with the shape of the mountains in the background and the edge of the wheat field in the foreground. This causes the viewers eye to bounce for the tallest mountain to the tip of the tallest tree to the bushes to the wheat field before being directed up from the tree to the sky, down to the shortest mountain and across the to the tallest mountain again. Dali’s main diagonal lines in Landscape Near Figueras consists of the thin pathway in the foreground, the slope of the grass and the line of tree and roof tops in the middle ground, and the slope of the mountain in the background. This has the same effect as Van Gogh’s: the eye latches first on the brightest spot of white in the pathway and is drawn to a dark patch of trees in front of the house. From there they eye moves up to the lowest edge of the mountain’s slope and follows that to where it meets a white snow cap of the mountain behind it. Your eye follows the slop of the mountain down to the tallest tree and drops to Dali’s signature before sliding right to the bush in the corner. It follows the branch of a bush back to the path and starts all over again. These masters of art knew intuitively how to get an eye roaming and used their techniques shamelessly.
    In relation to lines, as discussed previously, both artists used vertical lines in their paintings. Vertical lines give a feeling of strength and stability. Van Gogh’s cypress in his painting is a strong vertical line and the only one in his painting. Trees are also traditionally associated with strength and stability (maybe because they are vertical). In Dali’s painting, he too uses a cypress tree to create a vertical line. This is like some sort of silent conversation through the ages, a nod, an acknowledgement. With this one, almost insignificant detail, you can see just how much influence a master artist can have on future generations of other masters.
    In conclusion, The paintings share very many similarities. I believe that Dali was very influenced by Van Gogh in his early years just from comparing these two paintings alone. It seems to me that art is like a signature; it’s unique, and even though somebody else had to teach you to do it and you sometimes learn by copying, it’s always your own and the best way to say, “I was here. I felt, I thought, I lived.” Art leaves a mark on those who follow and the best thing you can ever hope to come from your art is that people will like it so much that they will copy you, and carry on your legacy.



    PS sorry there aren't clear paragraphs, this didn't copy well from microsoft word!
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  2. #2
    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    Well, I turned my paper in yesterday... I don't know if I'll get a good grade or not :/
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    HH Block Leader kriminaal's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    I'm academically challenged and prefer to work with my hands rather than my mind. Much less stressful.
    Good luck on it. To be honest I skimmed it.
    I'm not an art enthusiast and find most of that abstract **** a waste of time.
    I do have a respect for those talented artists though, be it on canvas or photo.
    No offense top you. If that's your kettle of tea--drink up.
    Mike

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    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    Lol I love art and I'm very surprised with how hard these classes are! But I think it's because in High School, the teacher really holds your hand throughout the whole learning process, and in college you're left on your own! I have a hard time reading a text book on my own when I'm not in a class setting and this class demands that you read every week on your own for homework! But i completely agree, I'd rather work with my hands too!
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    Registered User JoeMasturbaby's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    I actually majored in Art and Design. As an artists I get sick of people only knowing already well-known artists (which is great to know of course!), but there's so many amazing artists in the world with a style made pretty much just for you. I always recommend researching the type of art you like and seeing what else is out there.

    As for your actual essay I'd be honest and say its pretty good. I don't feel you overdid the essay at all either. BUT I would suggest spicing up the writing you do by expanding your vocabulary in writing. Like I said your essay was good in my opinion, but it really lacked the creative finesse of a passionate person. Though I am not sure what you're in college for, so it wouldn't be such a big deal if you weren't in a creative degree.

  6. #6
    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    Actually, I have no clue why I'm in college either :/ I just can't make up my mind. I'm considering taking a carpentry class. I want to open a business, because I like doing things at my own pace and I hate being told what to do lol right now I'm thinking that since I like creating things, it might be fun to build custom reptile habitats, and possibly range into other things like furniture if I ever get good enough. My main point of interest is basically anything involving animals, though. I love animals lol
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    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    Oh, and this is a painting I did in high school in my art class, as well as a tattoo design. Art is my other passion right up there next to animals lol
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  8. #8
    mld
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    Those are incredible! Wow, I'm impressed, I am really loving the daisy and heart. Daisies are my favourite flower, I had mostly daisies and sunflower for my wedding!
    Michele


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    Registered User DaliKalak's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    I'd spice up the intro a bit so it's not something like "hey I'm writing an essay ok here it is". Include some sort of interesting facts or engaging, eye-catching introduction. That way your paper stands out and your instructor isn't bored with ANOTHER PAPER. lol

    Also, I'm in the same boat as you for the whole "career" thing. I'm an artist/animal lover as well. You just need to do what you love and do it WELL, and you will develop an audience eventually. People really connect to an artist who is doing what they love. You can tell in the artwork whether or not an artist is having fun painting it.

  10. #10
    Elite Member DimitrisDaisy's Avatar
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    Re: Art Appreciation Essay

    MLD, I love that Daisies are your favorite flower! That Daisy and Heart picture was for my boyfriend <3 I hope he gets it tattooed one day XD I very much plan on marrying him (but not any time soon!)

    DaliKalak, yeah I was so worried about getting every thing she asked for, I may not have made it very interesting. The paper was supposed to be 2 pages double spaced and I ended up a little over writing 3 pages. I did take AP classes in high school, and I've written essays on classic literature for my English class, but writing an art essay was very different. I do wish I had made a better intro, though, for sure! And yeah, I really do hope to continue my art, just never as a career. I think I would feel like painting and drawing would become obligations rather than expressions if I did, you know? But you're an artist? I want to see pictures
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