John Lennon by Andy Warhol was created in 1985 (Christies.com), shortly after the Vietnam War ended in 1975 (Kennedy Hickman). John Lennon, who was an antiwar activist, was assassinated in 1981 (Wikipedia). Due to his pivotal role in the music industry, he was extremely influential. Andy Warhol executed his portrait of John as a tribute four years after Lennon’s death. As a medium, Warhol used synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen inks on canvas (Christies.com). His painting measured 40 by 41inches (Christies.com). Andy Warhol is best known for is Pop Art style. He uses bright colors and repetitive shapes to illustrate his opinion. Warhol also painted portraits of modern celebrities of whom he was very fond. Three years before the Vietnam War ended, Lennon recorded a song called “Imagine”. This song touched many lives, including Warhol’s, making him an enormous fan of Lennon’s (Wikipedia). Lennon’s song was the primary influence of Andy Warhol’s portrait, making it one of the most notable paintings done of John Lennon.
In Warhol’s portrait of Lennon, he uses value not only to depict his depressed mood, but also to shed some light on how inspiring Lennon’s life was. Warhol draws attention by highlighting the left side of Lennon’s face. He brightens one side to symbolize “the light” one might encounter when going to heaven. In the song “Imagine”, Lennon sings of “living life in peace”. Warhol wanted to depict how he now believes Lennon’s life is at peace. He also illuminates half of Lennon’s face to demonstrate the purity and kindness of Lennon’s soul. Lennon dreams of the “brotherhood of man”, which is ironic considering he was assassinated by a fellow human being with whom he wanted to “live as one”. This irony is interpreted through the shadowed, right side of Lennon’s face. Warhol was devastated by the death of John Lennon, as were millions of other people around the world. Warhol depicts his devastation through the dark rings... [continues]
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