The Lady of Shalott is one of John William Waterhouse‘s representative works. What we can see is in the gloomy thorn jungle, a pretty blonde in long white dress sat in the bow. She raised his head slightly and her eyes full of bitterness. Do you couldn’t stop wondering that why she looked so sad, why the three candles set in the bow, or why her hands shackled by the chain? All of these bring us to another world. So what happened behind this painting? What does the painter want to tell us?
Actually, all the elements in this oil painting, no matter the gesture, arrangement or the image, are comes from a beautiful and sad literary allusions which Tennyson wrote in his long verse The Lady of Shalott. This poem described a girl of congenital deficiency name Shalott who has to live in the shadow and mustn’t step into the sunlight, what she could do was doing embroidery repeatedly and seeing her residence and the scenery outside the window through the image projected by the mirror, but all the images were unreal. One day, she suddenly
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a Dutch-born, British painter. His works are remarkable for the way in which flowers, textures and hard reflecting substances, like metals, pottery, and especially marble, are painted – indeed, his realistic depiction of marble led him to be called the ‘marvelous painter’. He likes painting stories or scenes in the ancient world. This painting is called Bluebells which is a kind of blue flower like bells. Scotland is rich in bluebells. Alma-Tadema was influenced by the strongest spirit of romance, so even though he was a classical painter, the painting is a romantic painting.
In a forest, under a good many trees, bluebells cover all the ground. Sunlight filters through the gaps between the leaves on the ground. It is so placid and wonderful. Two women are immersed in the beautiful scenery. One woman is against a tree restfully in a little far distance. It seems that she is thinking something, or she enjoys the scenery so much. We can’t see very clearly her facial expression, but it must be joyful. The other woman is sitting in a fabric with her left hand against the ground. The pose is so natural and comfortable. She enjoys the beautiful view. For romanticism, natural scenery is a good bridge to connect the reality and fantasy. All the painting, the people, the objects, the colors express a strong romantic feeling. People who see the painting will be attracted by it and look forward to it.
The painting Embarkation for Cythere was a famous representative work of Watteau. The theme was taken from an opera at that time, depicting a group of noble men and women were dreaming to have a carefree love paradise. Cythere was a beautiful island full of love and amusement in the Greek mythology where the cupid Venus lived. Watteau tried to describe the scene that the noble men and women were ready to visit there. Since it was a pleasant ground, the painter took the azure blue sea as the background and used the wide mist-covered waters to make people crave the environment wings of imagination.
In this painting, the three sisters were depicted to embark for Cythere with their lovers and seek the heaven scenery and eternal love. The painter divided the characters into several groups. The foreground was three siblings and their lovers. They were in couples to be ready to leave with their dear lovers. The painter carefully conceived the plot which men and women sitting in the front extended the audience’s attention gradually to the pair of lovers who was getting up, walk slowly and then check out. The whole oil painting formed a flow of time curve, resulting in the contrast between the characters and the peaceful activities silent scenery.
As this painting was very successful, Jean Antoine Watteau was appointed as the academician by the French Art Academy on August 28, 1717. Henceforth, he gradually became famous. Lots of people were looking for his paintings, so that he was too busy to attend to all. His life had greatly improved, but he was still diligent in painting. In early 1716, he finally had a separate house provided by Xiluwa and he was able to feel at ease in his painting creation. This painting was completed in 1717, which measured 129 x 194 cm and now preserved in the Le Louvre Museum in Paris.
The famous oil painting Et In Arcadia Ego is difficult to find out the inter meaning. It is known as the most difficult workings to interpretation in art history. Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness in ancient fame. The painting depicts a wild land where warm sunshine overshines the tombstone. There are only several trees around the tombstone. The background is blue sky. Four shepherds, wearing crowns, taking crosiers, are reading the inscription in the tombstone. A shepherd with beard are kneeling down and reading out the inscription. He turns around and says something to the female shepherd in his left side. The inscription is “Et In Arcadia Ego.”
According to art historian, Et means death. So the meaning of inscription seems that even in the land of heaven, death is inevitably avoided. Obviously, this is a kind of exclamation that scenery is good, but life is short. From the left shepherd’s facial expression, who leans on the tombstone, he is looking down which seems to miss the dead in contrast to the woman. The woman wears blue dress which is the most outstanding color in the painting. The female figure is difficult to interpret. It is said that she represents the wonderful life. Even though she looks down and listens carefully to the inscription, which gives us a sense of comfort. Doubt and comfort, melancholy and sorrow, all are about philosophy of life, which makes people thinking deeply. The female and male shepherds show us a contrast of different emotions. It seems to tell people: “why do we need to fear death? Arcadia is the place which people dream of.”
When people saw the painting, most of them loved it at the first sight. The woman is so beautiful in the evening scene. Human integrates with nature, and nature sets human off to beauty. There is a new moon in the sky and the sky is dull. What’s more, the distant mountains, the stones around the woman, the ground are all dull. The painter uses the black fabric to cover part of the woman’s body. The fabric seems to blow in the wind. There is a detail that the woman’s right foot is rising and against the left foot, but the left foot is on tip-toe. The posture seems that the woman is dancing among mountains. All the colors the painter uses in the oil painting are dark-colored except the woman. Her head cocks to one side with a hand holding and eyes closing. So we maybe know why the painting called Evening Mood. Such kinds of color show the sad and depressed feelings. Because of the outstanding white skin’s color, the sad and depressed moods become stronger. The comparison between the dark and white colors makes people have strong feelings for the woman. We wonder what happen to her, what she is thinking about, or what her feelings are.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was an excellent painter of human figure. The painting is a good example. The figure’s emotions are depicted by the woman herself, and also by the scenery. The woman is dancing alone in the twilight. But she seems to be unhappy and sad. Maybe no one knows her, and she can’t find the right man or the man she loves doesn’t love her. People have many imaginations about why she is sad.
In 1853, when Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was 73-year-old, he painted the Princesse de Broglie according to the princesse’s husband’s request. The oil painting is a representative of realism. Ingres precisely showed every detail to people. We can easily find the details from the rich satin and lace of the princesse’s gown, the silk damask upholstery, and the richly embroidered evening scarf draped across the chair. Everything looks so peaceful, beautiful, and exquisite. Apart from that, the jewelry princesse wears is an important part to show her wealth, beauty, especially her taste, such as the golden necklace, the pearl earrings, the bracelets and ring. This kind of taste most of time means her cultivation. In that time, what you wore showed what you have learned and what you have gotten. Most importantly, it told others your status. This is very significant in that hierarchical society.
What impresses deeply people on the painting maybe the princesse’s slight smile. She is standing against the golden chair, looking straight. It seems that she is thinking some sweet things which make her smile slightly. She looks so peaceful and elegant. No matter who see her will be attracted by her beauty. She tilts her head and emerges in her thought. So we start to think about what she is thinking. What kind of thins can make the beautiful princesse smile and think devotionally. This is the reason why the oil painting attracts so many people’s attention more than a century.
Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife is Jan Van Eyck’s masterpiece in portrait work. He has been completely gotten rid of the restrained tradition in the Middle Ages, and reproduced the character’s appearance and personality traits faithfully.
Arnolfini is a real life person who was knighted by Duke Philip in 1420. Jan Van Eyck portrayed the image of a typical bourgeois, Arnolfinis’ appearance and personality. Besides, he also described the interior decoration which showed his talents in painting. In the painting, not only the gesture of Arnolfini and his wife but the space environment and props have significant meanings. Their gesture means loyalty, the husband would support his wife and the wife would be true to her husband forever. In the painting, chandelier hang on the ceiling lighted a candle, which means the way to heaven, the white headscarves means chastity and virginity. The colors also carry meanings, green stands for fertility and the red color in the bed stands for harmony. All of these symbols have religious faith in Christianity and the idea of secular, which Jan Van Eyck painted them particularity in the picture. In the middle of the figure, a mirror hangs on the wall, whose frame is circle by 10 prominent flower-shaped squares, and the square with a small circle that painted a religious story about Jesus in it. More surprising, the middle of this mirror can reflected the entire room.
Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife is a subtle and delicate painting which is a peculiar wonder in the world, and we can only see this kind of painting in Netherlands’s miniature. As we described, using a mirror reflection to expand the screen space is another distinctive feature of this masterpiece, all of which has a great influence and inspiration on the Dutch genre.
Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s self portraits, but there was a story in this famous painting. It is said that in the year 1888, Van Gogh invited P.Gauguin to live with him. However, the two artists are too stubborn to quarrel with each other. Later, Gauguin left with anger, while Van Gogh flew into a rage that he cut off his right ear then offered it to a prostitute as a gift.
colors and Ping Tu, which highlighted the portrait itself. In this painting, the color achieved a perfect integration in a strong contrast.
Cutting off the ears seems like a symbolic scene that summarizes Van Gogh’s life tragedy with self-injury. What the painting leaves us is a vivid description about his mental state when he lived in Arles. On the other hand, we can learn that painting is the art of silence, and you have to pay for the beauty, just like an artist would mess up his life on the way to art, but the truth is that his ears still alive.
Adam and Eve which painted by Fernando Botero, was another work reflected his painting style directly and obviously. Everyone would impress by the shape of characters and elements in his paintings, all of which are strong, large and fat with exaggerated. Contrary to the pursuit of being thin in contemporary, Botero provides us a totally different aesthetic standard, that is “fat is innocent, but another sense of beauty.”
This painting sets Adam and Eve in the Bible as the theme, snake and tree of good and evil also appear. Both the man and woman who stand in front of a tree are fat and naked with their back to us, while the snake twines round the big tree, attracting Eve to eat fruits in the tree of good and evil as what the Bible described. In this painting, we can feel a strong sense of three dimensional from the line of naked body and the snake was painted red color, because in western country color red represents evil and danger, which portrayed the story vividly. We can see that Botero was so meticulous about the use of colors, never excessive abuse nor excessive render the color. That is why we are very difficult to see the projection. He always relies on improving the image contrast and reflection so as to achieve the purpose of modeling.
Botero once said, “What important for me is that every one who sees my work should recognize it is Botero’s.” For him, art is the need to express his inner world. As we see now, he achieved it.
so that the screen showed the joyful and warm atmosphere. The painter deliberately depicted Europa’s excitement and nervous feeling and tried to depict the girl at the stunned excitement, with blue waves and mist confused the mountains, water and cloud to reach a colorful light, the charming effect.