An Analysis of Roberto Matta's "Eat Us Sir Fire, Eat Us"

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UNIVERSITY OF NAMIBIA
RESEARCH METHODS FOR VISUAL ARTS
ANALYSIS OF A PAINTING

YANA JAEGER
201124351
DUE DATE: 15 MARCH 2013

The purpose of this paper is to find a painting, describe it and analyse the piece. The structure of this assignment will be as follows: information about the artist, an overall description of the piece and a detailed analysis. For the conclusion, I shall attempt to interpret the work and give my personal views. The artwork I have selected is a painting done by Roberto Matta, titled “Eat Us Sir Fire, Eat Us”. Roberto Matta was born in Chile, Santiago 1911, and died in Italy, Civitavecchia 2002. Many artists influenced this painter, such as Dali, Duchamp, Picasso and Tanguy. The inspiration for his paintings and subject matter came from mythology, cosmology and microscopic images. Matta’s subject matter usually included paranoid visions of technology gone amuck, themes of Man versus Machine, otherworldly landscapes, alien beings involved in various unexplainable activities, conflict, eroticism and whimsical fantasy. However, several of his works can be categorised as ‘inscapes’. ‘Inscapes’ is a word created by two other words (also known as a portmanteau): interior and landscape. This conveys some idea of the artist’s psyche and state of mind. Basically, ‘inscapes’ show what the artist’s mind would look like if it were splashed onto a canvas. Matta officially joined the Surrealist Movement in 1937. He was well-known as a Biomorphic Surrealist painter. For clarification: Surrealism was “A 20th Century movement in art and literature aiming at expressing the subconscious mind.” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary: 8th Edition, 1990, p.1228) This movement was divided into two styles: Naturalistic and Biomorphic Surrealism. Biomorphic Surrealism can be described as natural occurring patterns or shapes indicative of nature. The images are usually not recognisable, but sometimes they can be represented by cells or morphing shapes. “Eat Us...
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