Art History Formal Analysis - Comparison

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Formal Analysis Paper

The pieces Ann Whitley Russell, done by an unknown artist in around 1820 and Lady Frances Knowles, also done by an unknown artist, in the mid-late 17th century are both examples of portraits that portray the sitters in diverse yet insightful ways to viewers. Both Ann Whitley Russell and Lady Frances Knowles are works of art composed of oil paint on canvas. Although these portraits are different, the aspects of space, color, and composition are all important elements that must be considered while comparing the woman in these two pieces. The significant element of space comes into play while analyzing the portrait of Ann Whitley Russell. The figure of Ann Whitley Russell herself is very flat and appears to be two dimensional, rather than three. The two dimensionalism of this portrait says something about the skill level and amount of training that this unknown artist holds; they were most likely self-trained. Since there is a shallow depth of field in this piece the viewer is automatically drawn to the sitter, Ann Whitley Russell, who is positioned in the foreground of this piece. Ann Whitley Russell is illustrated sitting on a chair with a decorative cloth draped over the left arm, which is positioned in the middle ground of the portrait. The background is monochrome, blurry and is indistinguishable to make out other than the column to the side of the portrait. The column looks as if the artist based it on Greek and Roman architecture due to its rounded appearance and indented texture. These columns would have been found in Europe throughout the early to mid eighteen hundreds, which was around the same time that this portrait was created. By including this type of column in the background the artist may be trying to portray the sitter, Ann Whitley Russell, as someone who is elite, wealthy and privileged enough to live in a place where this type of architecture exists. Although the artist made this column visible, it is still impossible...
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