Birth of Venus
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Writing Assignment #8
The work that I have chosen from Chapter 19 is Thomas Cole’s The Oxbow (Connecticut River near Northampton) (1836) on page 462. Principles of Design:
• The focal point of the painting is the sun-drenched valley and river. The emphasis comes from the diagonal of the tree to the left that directs the view of the scene down the valley toward the farmland. • Vertical balance can be seen with the firm horizon line that separates a bleak landscape with a bleaker sky, where most of the visual weight in the composition occurs in the lower half of the painting. Formal Elements:
• The artist uses lines to outline forms and evoke movement. In this painting, firm lines carve out the figures from the rigid horizontal of the horizon and the verticals of the trees. Straight lines carry the breath of Zephyr from the left and the curved lines of the drapery imply the movement of the Zephyrs and of the nymph to the right. Implied compositional lines give this work an overall triangular structure. • The artist’s use of warm colors against a calming blue background gives Venus an ethereal quality and makes her stand out. This use of color also creates unity and variety. • In this piece, the light source is not seen. However, the light source is to the right of the artwork because Botticelli uses chiaroscuro, or shading on the left side of Venus’s face which makes it seem like a glow is cast upon her face. Content:
• The painting’s composition presents Venus, born of the foam of the sea, floating to the shores of her sacred island on a large half-shell, aided in its drifting by the sweet breaths of entwined zephyrs amidst a shower of roses. • The nymph Pomona awaits her with an ornate mantle and is herself dressed in a billowing, flowered gown. • The purpose of the painting is to show how Venus came to be. Time Period:
• This painting is a part of the Renaissance in Italy at...