Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exploring The Realm of French Art

Yesterday’s French Art seminar with Mrs. Everett was great! To even say it was “fascinating” is an understatement. French art is so vast, that Mrs. Everett couldn't cover it all in the amount of time we had. We didn't even get to go over architecture which is my favorite. However, the many phases of French art were quite enough to satisfy my curiosity.
She went over Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism. The two categories that stood out to me the most were the whimsical and somewhat naughty ideas of Rococo and the strong emotion of Romanticism. I like the rebellious ideas displayed by Rococo paintings because they show how artists are going to paint whatever they want, whether people agree with it or not. For example, one painting we looked at was of a couple, a man and a woman. The woman was on a swing while the man pushed her. In the painting, she is up in the air and you can see another man on the ground looking up into her dress. Many people condemned Rococo paintings as “immoral” but, I honestly find Rococo paintings humors and refreshing from the same ideas displayed in French art.
I find Romanticism paintings appealing because each work of art tells a story through brilliant use of colors which creates a very sensual emotion. Romanticism caught my attention instantly, to the point where I found myself staring at a painting for a long time. The painting that held my attention and had my mind racing with curiosity was none other than the Raft of The Medusa by Gericault. Painted between 1818 and 1819, the artist depicts the struggle of a group of sailors who have survived the wreck of the French frigate the Medusa off the coast of Senegal in 1816. In the painting, Gericault displays the horrors the men faced through his use of lighting and colors and also depicts the sense of hope for a rescue by his use of composition and his placement of a lone ship sailing away in the distance. If you study the painting, you will notice different emotions by different survivors. Some are calm, hopeful, and distraught while others are dying or already dead.

The Raft of The Medusa

Théodore Géricault- The Louvre 

During the seminar we received a slip of paper which had questions about the painting we observed. My favorite question is, “If you could sit down with the artist, what would you ask him?” If I had the opportunity, I would ask Gericault why he decided to make his work of art so large. It’s huge! Seeing a beautiful work of art in person has no comparison to seeing it on a computer screen. To be able to walk inside the Louvre and see this massive painting in person would be absolutely breathtaking. The Raft of The Medusa is by far my favorite Romanticism painting. What your favorite French work of art? 



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