Irma Stern - the Hunt

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The Hunt - Irma Stern
The Hunt is an oil painting painted by South African artist Irma Stern in 1926. The painting depicts a scene of a tribe preparing for a hunt. Within the group of people there are three dogs, a naked child, an elder and the hunters holding their spears and shields. These figures overlap one another creating a pictorial space by creating a foreground, middle ground and background almost as if the scene is falling forward. Linear and atmospheric perspective have also been used to create depth by blurring the detail in shapes and figures as they get further into the background. However, the illusion of three dimensionality has been denied by the heavily cropped, crowded and claustrophobic format and composition. Positive and negative spaces are difficult to define because of this. Furthermore the delineation of the forms flatten the subject matter. Line, in The Hunt, is often bold in its’ delineation of form and remains dark and gestural throughout the painting. A strong use of sharp and angular lines have been used to simplify and stylize their facial features and surrounding plants. The use of curvilinear line gives the painting a rhythmic and electric energy that keeps the viewers eye constantly moving across the painting. Diagonal lines in the figures arms, legs, spears and torsos all direct the eye into the centre of the painting and act as compositional devices, creating a focal point. Although line is irregular and intermittent at times the painting remains unified. Thin line has been used on the dogs to express their lightness and agility whereas the contrary is often true for the people. Lighter and brighter colour has also been used on the animals to contrast the darkness and heaviness of the people. Colour is highly expressive, saturated and acidic, similar to the works created by the German Expressionists. Complementary colours have been used throughout this polychromatic painting as can be seen in the blue lips, spear heads and...
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