Redon liked painting flowers very much. The reason why Odilon Redon loved painting flowers was that he was able to see people from the flowers. He once said, “The flowers are similar to the people’s faces. A flower is a mystery. It is the reflection of the soul.”This painting was made in the four years before his death. Various bright colors picked from the field in the long necked vase released the gorgeous and dazzling brilliance, showing enthusiasm, gentle, pure and noble beauty. It was the embodiment of pure personality and a song’s Lyric ebullience. Wild Flowers In A Long Necked Vase was made in 1912 and collected in France Orsay Museum in Paris. The flowers appeared in an indefinite space with no fixed position. The flower in the painting was a garden in the dream. The flowers in the painting were bright and colorful and not like the nature of the plant, but a bouquet full of mysterious artistic conception which embodied the painter’s innermost feelings. This reflected his heart was deeply intoxicated and immersed in the nature and quietness.
Wild Flowers In A Long Necked Vasewas a representative work. The white vase was inserted a bunch of varieties of hybrid apricot and colorful wildflowers. The painter excluded the light role and made the bright colored flowers with a strong color show in front of people. For the sketches with an emphasis on light and color effect, it was a very novel creation. From the painting, we could see this pursuit of Redon. Various flowers were treated so harmonious and coordinated in the painting that they seemed to form a symphony of each part and various instruments. Therefore, some people also called Redon “mystery color composer”.
Odilon Redon (1840-1916) was an outstanding French symbolism painter. From 1870 until he was 50 years old, he only used two colors (white and black) for painting. His charcoal drawings and flat paintings developed a very unique style: the paintings with strong fantastic colors; the body or a part of the human body was blended together with the plant, animal or something like that. The Cyclops was the work created during his second artistic creation period (new Redon period). The Cyclops in the Greek mythology was climbing out from the ground. He used an eye watching a naked woman that was buried deep in the ground. The naked woman was the symbol of the joyfulness, but she seemed to be sleeping. The giant’s savage fierce heart also still had the requirement of desire and joy. Redon used this giant image to symbolize the great power of primitive desire.
What the painting showed was the Cyclops grown from the earth. It gave people a gentle and amiable feeling with no fear although its image was bizarre. Some people said that once the monster of the painting appeared in the world, it seemed to coexist with people. This suggested that the monster that Redon created was the imagination in line with humans. Redon had the natural feeling for music and had studied biology because the influence of the poet. Many aspects of self-cultivation made his works have a poetic and elegant atmosphere. Redon’s art creation made a great influence on the modern art, so he was regarded as the founder of surrealism.
Gustav Klimt was born in Vienna and when he was 14 years old, he entered Vienna Austria Museum of Arts and Crafts School to receive 17-year academic basic painting training. After graduation, he, his brother and his friend opened a design studio to paint the murals at home and abroad. His early works basically adopted the methods of traditional expression, which was featured by the rigorous style and strong color. After the establishment of the separatists, he began the exploration of the combination of symbolic and decorative phase style. Judith Ii Salome was based on the biblical story: on the Jewish King Herod’s birthday, the niece Judith Ii Salome danced for his birthday. He had promised to agree to her any request. The niece was ordered by her mother to require baptizing the head of John (because her mother and Herod were accused of adultery, her mother grudged and wanted to revenge). Thus the king beheaded John.
The image of Judith Ii Salome in the painting was placed in a long composition, surrounded by two distinct arc lines. The upper two breasts were full of sexy sense. While the stiff hands showed the murderous look. Her beautiful face implied the remorse. This was a very complex and contradictory artistic image. In the lower painting, the half head of John appeared indistinctly. The painter realistically portrayed the cold face and the bare chest shoulder of Judith Ii Salome and made the rest of the painting filled with various shapes and colorful patterns. This decorative painting hided a tragic impact, intertwined with the contradiction between love and death. Coquettish, death and dream were filled with this decorative space.
Hieronymus Bosch‘s The Garden of Earthly Delights was riotous with colors, and portray the elements in details, followed the tradition of the Northern Renaissance. Although it was based on the theme of Bible, it had strong secular. We can not help but praise the colorful scene and dazzling objects.
In this oil painting, there were a variety of exotic fauna and flora. In the upper part of it, the tree with sword shape branches was dracaena that wrapped around by vines. At that time, people believed that dracaena’s red juice has magical healing power, and the grapes means wine, so that it metaphor the blood of Christ. In the upper right corner of the central pool, there existed a jujube tree which wrapped around a black poisonous snake. At the foot of the tree, some ugly creatures, such as snake, fro,climbing out from the pond. In the center of it has a pink living fountain, whose color looked like the robe o f Christ. The shape of this fountain is very strange, its color and texture were similar with crab that represents the moon—source of strength for alchemist in astrology. In addition, the root of the fountain had many rare stones, while a lot of birds perched on the residence. If we have a closer look, we could see an owl peeped out from a black hole in the center of fountain’s circular base. The owl is the symbol of stupidity and evil in Netherlands legend, it represents the man that stubbornly resisted the will of god or turned a blind eye on the darkness of this world.
In the background of The Garden of Earthly Delights, we could see exotic creatures, elephants and giraffes were some of them. May be Bosch knew these animals from the manuscripts of his generation. Eden seemingly calm, as a matter of fact, the contest of sin and righteousness has begun.
Tintoretto completed The Miracle of St Mark Freeing The Slave in 1548 and finished Finding of The Body of St Markbetween 1562 and 1566. About St Mark, there was no complete record in the Bible. According to The Book of Acts, Letters of Paul, First Epistle of Peter and so on, the disciple of Jesus was very young when Jesus lived. He had written Gospel of Mark based on Peters’ narration. All the painting deeds about Mark were from the Jesus’s missionary miracles on the Three Gospels, which were also called the miracle of the gospel. This painting referred to St Mark’s remains after being killed there when Mark did missionary work in Alexandria. Under Christ’s guidance, several martyrs relics including remains of Mark were found in a temple.
These paintings related to St Mark created by Tintoretto had a close relationship with St Mark Scuola. And this Scuola was a half-secular and half-religious charity guild in Venice. The participants were mostly the middle and lower handicrafts-man and businessmen. The democratic tendency of this organization was obviously better than any other guilds. A series of St.
Mark’s Christian martyr stories with the relics showed by Tintoretto were in line with some poor believers there. In 1563, when the St. Mark’s guild required the decorative paintings of the zenith, the painters only submitted the drafts for approval, but Tintoretto submitted the completed manuscript. The guild thought that it did not meet the rule and refused to pay the remuneration. Tintoretto did not care about that and still completed the work and gave it to the church. He had created more than 50 works for St Mark Scuola and the theme was St. Mark’s miracle. This painting Finding of The Body of St Mark was one of these.
Unexpected Visitorswas made by Russian critical realism painting master Ilya Repin in the late 19th century. It depicted that an exile (left one) suddenly returned home. This oil painting showed to the audience that a revolutionary suffered from lots of pains through the character’s facial expressions in detail. His family members were sad, but they did not expect the exile returned unexpectedly. The family felt unexpected and excited. This was made by the Russian realistic master Repin in the late 19th century. The painter created the revolutionary intellectual image under the persecution at the Tsar autocratic rule. After a long exile and slavery, the revolutionary suddenly returned. A thin and bearded middle-aged man walked into the room and still dressed in prison garb. The maid in the door regarded him as the “stranger” and his aged mother surprised to stand up from the sofa. His wife and two young children were also shown on this painting. This painting was displayed after many setbacks.
The painter’s talent was embodied in this work. Every character in this painting was very vivid: a black old woman stood up from the chair she sat before and turned to the “unexpected visitor” and seemed to rush to embrace him; among the two children sitting at the table, the older one happily looked at him with his mouth half open as if to shout; the younger one timidly turned his eyes into this “stranger” from the book. Look at the returned tall and thin exile with unshaven face, beards in his face, faded mast coat and heavy muddy boots. It was apparent that he had gone a long way to meet his relatives. He seemed to be hesitated and even not confident. He felt like an outsider in this home that he had no time to stay, but his expression was strong and brave. From the exile we feel the revolutionary heroism spirit. Repin caught hold of the complex emotional feelings when the exile crossed the threshold, the expressions and actions of he and every family member to show the surprise.
Zaporozhian was the association organized by Cossacks in Ukraine between 16th and 18th century, most of whom were the serfs escaped from the slavery. They were very brave and indomitable had an army consisting of more than 20,000 people. The Turkey Sultan King once advised them to surrender to the Empire of Turkey. But these Cossack men loved their motherland and never surrendered, so they wrote a letter to the King of Sultan.
What this painting depicted was about the reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mahmoud Iv. People were ridiculing at the languages that the king of Turkey used, which made all laugh. All the people in the painting were laughing, but their smiles and expressions were different because of their different positions, backgrounds, attitudes and personalities. It could be said that this was an encyclopedia of human laugher. To create this work, the artist visited the places where Zaporozhian lived and not only studied their history but also painted many props and accessories with national cultural characteristics in order to show the Great Russian national spirit and traditional culture. Repin featured two figures back to the audience in the foreground and decorated many items at their back and waist. These microscopic items not only reflected Zaporozhian people’s love for life, but also contained philosophy, namely the Russian Cossacks had their own cultural tradition. Everyone in the painting had its distinctive characteristic to show a nation’s spiritual image as a whole—they could not be conquered. Repin once said about the conception of the painting, “The freedom of Zaporozhian made me very happy. They created the equal brotherhood to defend their beliefs and personality. Warriors of these small stocks nation with a strong spiritual power not only defended Europe against oriental predators, but also made fun of the Oriental predator pride.”
The Origin Of The Milky Waywas made in 1578, which was a representative work in the painter’s late time. This painting was very large, measuring 148 × 165 cm, which is preserved in London National Gallery. This work was based on the Greek mythology: Hermes was ordered by Zeus to bring the new born Heraclas to Hera; he wanted to such the milk when she was asleep for longevity. Hera woke up from sleep, and the milk gushed into the flashing Milky Way in the sky. Here the painter wanted to show the moment that the flying Hermes was bringing Heraclas to Hera. Because Hera was unprepared, so he was a bit bewildered and hurriedly dodged. His body seemed to be out of balance. Then Hera’s milk splashed and formed the galaxy od nowadays. So in English the galaxy was also called Milky Way.
This was certainly a beautiful legend. The painter intended to show his artistic characteristics based the theme of this painting. He was good at accurately describing the characters’ movement, no matter how difficult was to depict the forms. He was able to accurately reproduce on the painting screen. At the same time, he was good at the performance of the human body, especially the beauty and charm of the female nudes. This painting fully displayed Tintoretto‘s human skills. In this painting, we can see the artist’s incomparable performance in characters’movement, naked beauty as well as the rich and complex light changes. In addition, the painter paid much attention to the rich composition. The little angel around, the giant eagle (symbolizing the lord Jupiter), the green Peacock in the lower right corner were all the decorations to make the painting full, which made the whole painting show a magical world of myths.
But we had to point out that The Origin Of The Milky Way was not perfect. Although it was full of imagination, the character’s psychological description of performance was not enough. The panic and sudden surprise look of the goddess was not profoundly portrayed. The painter only paid attention to the performance of characters’ movement, treatment of naked beauty and space, while ignored the subtle changes of human inner and psychological feelings.
This painting was named Venus And Mars Surprised By Vulcan, which was made by Tintoretto (1518-1594), a famous Italian Venice painter in the 16th century. He was born in Venice and died there on May 31, 1594. He was formerly known as Jacob Losity. In his 40-year creation career, he mainly stayed at Venice. His works inherited from Titian‘s traditions and already made some innovation. In the aspect of narration, he stressed on the strong movement with colorful fantasy. He developed a unique way of painting. This painting showed a flirting scene. What the painter used was the figures’ gestures, interleaving pleats and reflected lights, which made the painting with very vivid screen processing. Eros languidly reclined on the black-white bed and the light casted on her rosy skin which was quite sexy; in the face of a beautiful love, Vulcan seemed to be somewhat uncomfortable, and the Mars wearing the helmet and dressing in armor looked sly and showed his head under a table.
This painting had one of the biggest characteristics that the painter adopted a very modern and all-round performance method of using perspective and a round mirror behind the painting to achieve this goal. We can not only observe the Vulcan from the mirror, but also see his embarrassment after Vulcan clumsily found the beauty of Eros and pulled a cloth to cover her key body parts. In addition, there was a little dog under the painting. Its barking direction made the audience find Vulcan hiding under the table. The structure of the whole painting was built the diagonal line extending from the left to the right, the upper to the lower, which not only was cute filled with flirty but also added a bit of banter taste.
The Birth of Venus is Botticelli’s masterpiece, it is said that this painting is painted for one of Medici’s distant cousin, and according to Arnold’s long verse. What the verse described about Venus is that she is the beauty of classical mythology god who born out of the water. This painting’s composition is relatively simple, which set Venus in the center. A large shell that holding her looks like a blooming flower, it floats toward the shore slowly in the help of Aeolus. While the god of spring Fauna welcome her at the shore with starry woven silk, waiting to put new cloth on the naked beauty of god. Venus is slender and fit, and her posture is
Actually, under strict ideological control in the Middle Ages, Venus, the god of love and beauty, was being considered as “the sirens of pagan.” But in the Renaissance, the Italian citizens who yearned for classical culture thought that she is a new era goddess like messenger brought beauties to man’s world. Consequently, Botticelli has the image to challenge religious asceticism, and he is the forerunner who set the naked goddess as the main image.
This painting employed light and shade technique of expression, emphasized the contour line at the some time, which made the body has a sense of relief, and increased the decoration in this picture. From the charming and nude goddess, what we could observe is a sense of spiritual beauty that making it originally a work with pagan theme become deeply touched our hearts.