Analysis: Painting the Merry Widow

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  • Topic: Yellow, Oil painting, Color
  • Pages : 2 (897 words )
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  • Published : November 9, 2012
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The Merry Widow
In searching for an art piece that was relevant to our reading, I stumbled upon Jessica Li’s “The Merry Widow”. It is painted on an oil canvas that measures 7x9, located in the Dana gallery in my hometown of Missoula Montana. Jessica, the artist grew up in Mill Valley in California and painted in New York City for 20 years before moving to Northwest Montana. Jessica unusually meticulous oil painting techniques is grounded in the varnish mediums of the Dutch Golden Age. The New York Times has described her works as “Straightforwardly beautiful” with “an element of weird”. Her work has been noted for its color and luminosity, it’s imaginative and evocative content, and for the high quality of her technique. This is exactly what I notice when I saw the painting of “The merry widow”. The painting depicted a heavier set women sitting down next to what looks to be a table and in her right hand she holds a yellow fan. The more I look at the picture the more the story unfolds. The title of the painting tells me that she was married and her husband died. What is interesting is that it seems as if the funeral just occurred or is about to happen. She is dress up in a black revealing dress, pearl earrings, her curly hair and makeup is done as if she was going out or doing something that required her to be all dolled up. The yellow fan tells me that she could have been in a church, perhaps it was handed out at the funeral. That could explain why she is dressed up. This painting gives me an odd feeling because it makes me think about why she would be happy, when most widows would grieve when they have lost their significant other. Makes you as the viewer wonder what really went on in the relationship. Maybe he was an abuser and got what he deserved in an accident or maybe he was a very well off man that left her the world of riches. Or it could just be that she is ready to move on in her life and is happy. One will never know what happened to her husband...
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