Form, Content, and Subject Matter
GENZ 220Z-Art Critique Paper
Shelby M. Dykes
In this paper, I will discuss the form, content, and subject matter of three different paintings. Each of the paintings represents the following: representational painting, abstract painting, and a portrait. The paintings I have chosen are: Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks 1942, Wassily Kodinsky’s Colour Studies: Squares and Concentrentic Circles 1913, and Pablo Picasso’s Self-Portrait 1907. Representational paintings show clear objects or events and have a clear subject matter in the painting. The subject matter is quite evident in Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. The subject matter is the dominating, brightly lit diner. The diner is proportionately large. It is built on mostly straight lines, both vertical and horizontal. With the exception of the curve located at the intersection of the two streets. The line of the ceiling of the diner and the line of the green window ledge intersect with the vertical lines depicted by the window frame. The interaction of the horizontal and vertical lines seems to be an essential element in the painting. It produces a pronounced angularity in shape. The overall shape is a rectangle. This is seen with the windows of the diner, as well as, the vertical rectangle in the building in the background. I notice a triangle formed by the silver light on the background building’s window. The lines formed by the diner window seem to trap the people inside the ominous diner. The dramatic uses of light colors against dark colors add variety to the painting and give the painting the feeling of depth. The darkness seen outside the window really gives a feeling of impending doom to the customers inside. Outside, there is no one seen walking the street. The yellows painted show the electric light from inside the diner. This achieved by the high value of the yellow. The low value of green is evident in the building in the background. The brilliant streak of green along the...
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