Visual Analysis Making Meaning of Painting and Portraiture

Topics: Lucian Freud, Clement Freud, Freud family Pages: 5 (1496 words) Published: May 16, 2013
22nd February 2011 Lecture 2:

Visual Analysis
Making Meaning of Work

A visual analysis is the process of unpacking, the decifering of the meaning and the making of a work of art. All works of art are Multi Layered. Aims of Lecture: 1. Analyse the complex transactions which exist in portraiture. 2. Looking at the power dynamics in the power triad/ transactions 3. Approach to analyse how a portrait can produce multiple meaning as apposed to looking for one fixed meaning.

The Artist-Sitter-Viewer Triad:
Artist: − Always the primary viewer of an artwork, hence the one who creates the portrait. − The artist's own Identity is embodied within the artwork. Sitter: − Has expectations of their own personal representation. − Thus becomes personally attached to the portrait. − Also has his/her own agenda and investment in the final product of the portrait. Viewer: − − − − Judges the artwork based on sociological and psychological position and context. Relates the work to other art, as well as the specific artist's other work. Compares the work to convention and own tastes. Has an imaginative identification with the sitter.

The Shifting Relations of Power within The Triad: Artist O
Sitter Viewer

Lucian Freud. - Harry Diamond Portrait Francis Bacon – Strong, distinct style. In this way the artist's identity is more prominent and overpowering than any other aspect of the work. His style gives birth to his intention.

Artist O Sitter

Queen Elizabeth I, Coronation Portrait – A rtist Unknown All of Queen Elizabeth's portraits fall under this same category She had complete and all control and say in the representation of her portraits during this time, due to the nature of her reign.



Peter Lely – “Nell Gwynne” Lover of King Charles II Primary sitter commissioned the work for own personal viewing pleasure.


O Viewer

Note: When viewing and analysing an artwork, always look out for the Conventions used and also read and make sense of the Sign Systems in the images

2 Portrait Painters Examined:
In analysing Lucien Freud & A ndy W arhol we will look at 1. 2. 3. 4. Choice of subject Their approach to making the work Their approach to the subject Their respective contravention of convention

Lucien Freud
1. His subjects are usually connected to his 1. immediate personal life. He paints his wives, daughters, friends but also rarely high profile people among artists which are commissioned. His style is raw, truthful, slow and tedious. Subjects: -Leigh Bowery Performance artist and friend -Francis Bacon Artist For Freud it is a matter of intimacy and relationships VS the consumerism and comodities which Warhol's work is centred around.

Andy Warhol
His subjects are people who present themselves as 'ideal constructed images' already to themselves and to the world. It is a prerequisite that they are associated with fame, glamour and wealth. Warhol works with publicity images and images which are easily mass produced or mass producible. Subjects: - Marilyn Monroe Actress and Singer - V ladimir Lenin Marxist Revolutionary - Mao Zedong Chinese Communist - Liza Minnelli Actress and Singer


Freud makes use of a gestural style with very thickly applied paint, obvious brush marks, he builds the paint up over a prolonged period of time (comparable to clay modelling). With the use of this technique the viewer can sense a trace of the artist. Freud uses a scrutinizing method of looking and intensely studying his subject over a long period of time in order to achieve the mood and feel of his works. The scale of his works are rather small considering the amount of months and hours a day which he invests in creating the actual works. The size and time both substantiate the level of intimacy involved in the final portrait. - Acute observation - Painter's attitude embedded in work - Change and time is captured - Expressionistic/emotional splurge


When Warhol creates a work or more...
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