La Confidence by Elizabeth Jane Gardner

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Art Criticism Essay

The piece of artwork by Elizabeth Jane Gardner, La Confidence, was painted in 1880. Gardner was the first female to be enrolled in the all-male Manufacture Nationale Des Gobelins et de la Savonnerier drawing school. She dressed as a man to be enrolled into the all-male school so that she could be taught by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre and Bouguereau. She accomplished this challenge in 1873 where she became the first female to attend this school. Seven years later, Gardner created this painting, La Confidence. Representational of a common trend in this Victorian Era, La Confidence portrays a secret being passed from one girl to another. With various accounts of formal elements, iconography, and symbolism within the painting, Gardner is able to reveal a significant story behind the strokes of her paint brush.

La Confidence is a unique painting with many significant accounts of various compositional elements. This particular piece of artwork is representational because it is a natural-looking painting and has elements of everyday life within it. As you can see, the girl on the left is wearing a blue dress that is rimmed with red at the top. This painting is extremely naturalistic that when one is viewing the artwork that it seems as if the girl on the left side is following the viewer with her eyes. Her eyes seem to stand out the most in the entire painting because of this reason. La Confidence appears to have a two-point linear perspective because of the cubed seating the girls are sitting on is off to the left side of the painting. It diverts the viewers’ eye because the block is not parallel to the plane of the painting. The girl on the right portrays implied movement as she whispers a secret into the other girl’s ear. Her hand is caressing the girl on the left’s hair as she whispers this very secret. In contrast, the girl on the left appears to be extremely stiff, almost statue-like.

Analyzing La Confidence in a more...
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