Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, John McCrady,oil on canvas,1937.The piece’s subject is clearly stated not only in the title; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. But, the illustration is a clear depiction of the famous hymns message; when death is upon a good soul the angels will come to take them home. The scenery offers many focal points. Such as a small wooden shack filled with a three person family and doctor watching an older man on his death bed. Above the shack are a group of angels with horns rejoicing in anticipation of a righteous soul coming home(heaven).Up in the rolling clouds is an opening leading to the heavens; where a parade of angels followed by a chariot are exiting . To the viewer’s right of the shack a battle ensues between a devilish figure and an angel. At first glance the devil vs. angel is the first thing I noticed. After studying the piece longer I noticed a group of domestic dogs outside the small shack focused on the angels hovering above it. I personally enjoyed the rolling clouds in the night sky the most due to the artist use of value and texture. The strongest element of art showcased in this piece is McCrady’s use of color. Most of the portrait is cast in different shades of brown and black except for the focus areas. The viewer’s attention is immediately drawn to the devilish figure and what looks to be an angel fighting. The devils bright red coloring gives the viewer no choice but to explore the battle ensuing right before their eyes. The mixtures of black and white coloring to create the rolling sky add to the array of color already displayed. Also the parade of angels moving towards the shacks rooftop is an attention grabber. Golden halos decorate every angels head as white robes compliment their melado skin. There are many focus areas in this piece and I believe the artist uses color to direct the viewer’s attention to each of them. The strongest principle of organization displayed in McCrady’s piece is his use of...
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