The Gray Tree is an oil on canvas by Piet Mondrian in 1911 when Mondrian was trying to experiment with Cubism. Piet Mondrian was a world-renowned abstract master whose most famous works are abstract paintings of colored squares, rectangles, and thick black lines. He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group.
The Gray Tree is a masterpiece which Mondrian took cues from Braque and Picasso, however Mondrian had merged his artistic style with his spiritual pursuits, it’s about as expressive that way as he’d ever be. It’s a Cubism painting that reveals Mondrian’s application of Cubist principles to represent the landscape and early transition toward abstraction. He painted interlocking blocks, which form together in the shape of a tree. Mondrian reduced the three-dimensional tree to lines and planes using a limited color of grays and black. By using basic forms and colors, Mondrian represented the tree naturally. He simplified the subjects of this artwork down to the most basic elements, the pure primary colors and flatness of forms, choosing to distill his representations of the world to basic vertical and horizontal elements. He showed a very true and lyrical balance in this landscape painting.
Mondrian believed that art reveals the underlying spirituality of nature. Although Mondrian used to painting these pictures for a living, believing the delicate elegance that these paintings showed was very rare, his greatest desire to achieve the most pure realm drove him to seek the most honest part of the art.
Hunters in the Snow, which was also known as The Return of the Hunters was created by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Bruegel was a master good at genre paintings. He specialized in painting vivid and lively rituals of village life—including agriculture, hunts, festivals and so on, revealing both physical and social aspects of 16th century life with integrity.
Hunters in the Snow is the most famous one of Pieter’s several winter landscapes depicting the severity of winters during the Little Ice Age. The overall visual impression this painting leaves on viewers is a calm, cold, overcast day in winter. It’s a profound landscape describing people’s activity. It shows a wintry scene in which three hunters with hunting tools in their hands are returning home accompanied by their dogs without big harvest. The hunters seems to be tired and weary, and the dogs appear downtrodden and miserable. Nearby, there are some adults and a child setting fire to prepare food. On the icy pond, some people are fishing and skating. The earth is covered by white snow and trees are bare of leaves, creating an atmosphere of solemn and quite. Bruegel used muted whites and grays to depict an ideal country life in winter, expressing his love.
The Hunters in the Snow by Bruegel is believed to influence Tobias Wolff’s classic short story with the same title and featured in In the Garden of the North American Martyrs.
Edgar Degas created the painting The Cotton Exchange New Orleans after he returned from New Orleans in 1872. This Impressionism painting was to the description of a contemporary
closest to us was the figure wearing a hat. He seemed to be a little older with slightly closed eyes. Behind him, there was a man raising his head and reading the newspaper. Degas tried to paint like the realistic painters, but he did not believe the realism art. As a result, he emphasized on the vulgar sense of this subject. The Cotton Exchange New Orleans marked the end of Degas’s so-called academic realistic period in the style development. In this period, he became the captive of the form. However, in some sketches of Degas, there were also some themes and artistic conceptions that could prove that he was gradually getting rid of the captive position. These themes and artistic conceptions in the next period of his creation had developed.
Edgar Degas was known as the master of painting dynamic characters. He was able to accurately capture the striking
moments like the camera’s shutter. A lot of ballet works he painted reflected the dancer life from different aspects. The ballet dancers Degas painted were mostly unknown dancers.
In 19th century, in French society, only the poor people were willing to take their daughters to the ballet. After the long-term and strict dancing training, these girls had the opportunities to perform on stage. The competition between the leading roles was very fierce and these girls were mostly the supporting roles who had the extremely low pay. Some were eliminated and misery. Dance Class at the Opera was an exquisite work and appeared to be very normal compared to other ballet works he painted. Therefore this Edgar Degas painting was less considered as his masterpiece. The alluring miniature had the good composition and good depth of space expansion. The classical and meticulous depiction and all the beautiful postures of the dancers were emphasized. The main tones were gray, gray blue and dark yellow. When we saw this painting, we would feel it was not a masterpiece.
Dance Class at the Opera was portrayed charmingly. The well-proportioned composition, profound space, delicate classism and graceful postures of the dancers were shown all. The main tones of gray blue and dark yellow were shown in the dancer like a bride. Their feather-like and transparent skirt was like the frost, or the light snow. The pink toes gathered all the poetic languages. It seemed that as long as the shoes and the skirt were worn, even the ordinary woman became a piece of flying cloud.
The Absinthe Drinkercreated by the impressionist painter Edgar Degas measured 92 x 68 cm, which was made between 1875 and 1876. Now it is collected in Orsay Museum in Paris. The painting, The Absinthe Drinker had the rough and broad strokes, which vividly and concisely depicted two people’s state of mind. A cup of absinth showed two people’s frustrated pain. The composition seemed to be a little strange: people were pushed to the upper right corner and most of the space was used to describe the furnishings of the bar. This empty feeling and the characters’ sense of loss cast beautiful reflections, which was hailed as a thoughtful narrative painting.
What Degas’s this impressionism artwork depicted was just an ordinary life scene. The leading actor in the painting was the printmaker Taisisedan and the heroine was the actress Andelei. Degas made this painting with the special
rough generalization, far-reaching conception and strange composition.
This painting showed the instant reality Edgar Degas captured before the formal start of the horses racing and the horse’s gallop. The jockey facing the left was created based on a sketch of Degas in the late 1860. Thus, his creation was not completely in accordance with what he saw, but in accordance with the requirements of the revised paintings. Because the pastel was painted faster than the oil paint and was ready for arbitrary modification, Degas took advantage of this characteristic to paint this genre painting. In this painting, people could see the continuous stack traces of Degas’s pastels, and the experiments of use of color. The painting was very bright and saturated, conveying a rich feeling.
From 1862, Degas began to take an interest in horse racing, which provided relatively complete subject for him. Race Horses by Edgar Degasmade between 1877 and 1880 showed the observation methods of Degas had changed. The lines were indistinctly shown and did not damage the color relationship of shading arrangement. The color formed the unified whole. On the whole, highlighting the rider’s body tone was identical with displaying the tone of horizontal houses. From the unification of the visual image, incompleteness of the painting also produced an air sense which could make all the objects freely breathe. Well, the body lacked the dimensional sense, but the space did not show it. However, it was not the defect, because these factors did not affect the completeness of the impression. The figure’s back cut by the painter in the foreground was the painter’s unnecessary creation.
However, these riders were combined to activate the overall color effect. Their coats’ mottled sparkling yellow, rose, red, light blue with green, blue gray and yellow gray in the background were very harmonious. The achievement of this effect was because Degas made the figures immersed in a rendering and easy breathing atmosphere. As you can imagine, he created this painting completely based on his memory not the external light. And what his memory depicted was not the abstract shape, but the specific image of shape and color.
The half-length portrait put all the attention of people to focus on a young woman’s face. The artist only saw her shoulder. Her body was a little tilt and three fourths slant to the right. She wore a black dress and seemed to be very serious. Her chestnut hair wore a black velvet ribbon, but the smoothing hair now was probably not very neat previously. Only the lips were painted bright red, and an earring set off the harmony of brown and grayish brown. Edgar Degas was different form his Impressionist friends and he did not treat the black as a color. And impressionist painters almost completely abandoned such tone, and no longer used it to paint the shaded part of landscapes.
When the young Degas created this painting, he chose a fairly thick rough cloth as the canvas. In this way, it was easy for coloring. He put a cloth to be stretched on the canvas frame. Then, he used a precise and accurate action controlled by the depiction and carefully painted. The accurate and free contouring performance performed the uplifted matter and the subtle facial expression.
Degas inherited the great traditions of French portraits since Keluai in the 16th century and had the fine brushwork of the ancient masters (especially Vermeer). He was guided by Ingres who was a prominent person in the 19th century in the treatment of contour and lines. In the process of this Impressionism painting, he painted slowly and began the in-depth thinking. His style changed, as several small bright brushworks lighted the model’s eyes and a few points of the hair. The color of the background was not strong, but very thin. Although some people thought that the portrait depicted Degas’s aunt or cousin in Italy, but it was not sure that the models were them. The model’s sad eyes made her shrouded in a sad and melancholy atmosphere. In 1847, after the death of his mother, the atmosphere had been accompanied by Degas.
Every artist had every painting theme preference. Like Edgar Degas, he was known for painting the ballerina. The person who focused on a subject not only had the unique character, but also showed very clever personality. He knew people’s limitations in the ability, so he was willing to make efforts to portray the subject that he was interested in until he formed his own unique style. The reason why this Degas painting was favored by people was not the quiet beauty of the painting, but Degas’s eyes’ focus on the casual details. In this painting, these brief details were solidified.
The technique used in this painting, Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper, did not have big difference with other paintings. The soft light and gentle colors were reflected in his devoted brush. The main body of this Impressionism painting was a dancing girl sitting on the floor. Her left leg was naturally straight, and right leg bent. Her jaw was near the knee so as to make the hands reach the right foot to tie the shoe laces. Maybe her shoelace was loose, or she felt that her slipper did not fit her feet. Therefore there was a separate dancing shoe besides her left leg. The white dress being dragging behind and her entire action formed a perfect triangle composition. Just as the ornament, other several dancers in the rehearsal hall window far from her were shown at the top of the painting. The shoelace of the dancer was loose, so she wanted to tie it. It was a very simple scene and a short process. It was difficult to draw people’s attention, even the dancer herself was unlikely to have an impression of such a trivial thing. But for Degas, nothing was more important than the details. No matter what could explain the problem was only the details. No matter what artworks, only the details could leave an unforgettable experience. Almost it could be said that only the details made art awesome.
Above the Graveyard was also translated Above The Eternal Tranquility. In this Isaac Levitan painting, the poetic illusion of the overcast weather was portrayed particularly powerful. The painting was finished in Wuduomuli lake in Tver Province. The hillside’s green white birch was bent by the gust wind. The white birch forest set off an old church built by the log. A quiet river led to the distance. The gentle rain contracted the grassland with a dark color, the sky was like the vast sea. A group of dark, heavy clouds hung low over the earth, such as oblique rain covering the whole space. Before Levitan, there was no a painter who was able to portray the boundless vision when raining in a desolate and majestic momentum. It was so quiet and solemn that made people feel grand and solemn.
With a sincere heart, Levitan expressed the admiration and infinite love for the nature in landscapes. Without this kind of emotion, he could not see the changing clouds in the sky and he also could not draw the flowing groundwater. Neither had he seen the trees swaying in the wind and the log cabin lonely struggling with the wind and rain. Levitan used higher artistic standards to discipline himself. He mainly made a change about the sky and the earth which was fine and delicate. The processing of time, space and color also proved the rich art knowledge and deep understanding of the nature of Levitan. The depiction for the sky was enough to arouse people’s admiration. The turning clouds and the subtle changes of the nature were depicted incisively by the artist. This painting showed the natural scenery after the rain: the earth had been washed by the stormy weather, the wind was still blowing, and the trees were still shaking. The yellow water was surging. This realism painting also hided the deep “artistic conception”: the person’s life and death were used as a metaphor for the vegetation, small and null. The utmost was to get a cross. Only with the great nature, she could have the magical and magnificent eternal power, such as the torrential rain flood. Although the endless flow increased the melancholy mood, his writing style was magnificent.
The Poplar Avenue at Moret Cloudy Day Morning once exhibited in “French Rural Landscape Painting Exhibition in 19th Century” in 1978 attracted numerous audiences in China with its strong artistic charm. The Poplar Avenue at Moret Cloudy Day Morning was made in 1890, which could be said to be the representative work of Alfred Sisley‘s later works. During this period, the painter’s strokes were quicker and
partly proved the dark transparent thin and high light opaque coating in the traditional painting techniques. Look at the surface of the canvas: the brush dipped in paint of Sisley was very thick. Sisley almost neither used the color oil, nor mixed the colors, but painted the original colors in the canvas. And the adjacent strokes were not linked together after complete drying. Different colors and brush strokes made the painting produce the vivid collision and vibration of air molecules.