The Marvelous Sauce

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The Marvelous Sauce painted by Jehan Vibert in 1890 is a part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's permanent collection. Located in Buffalo, New York, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is best known for its collection of modern art rather than its number of older masterpieces. Therefore this late Nineteenth-century painting kept hung on the gallery's wall is worth taking a closer look at. It is a delightful work of art to admire, but also holds a deeper meaning.

What first catches the viewer's eyes are the vivid colors used in the painting. Ultimately what jumps out the most is the man on the right's red robe. The artist intended this for a reason, discussed later. The room where the men are standing is front lit. Also the atmosphere is not hazy. There is no hint of sffumato. It is very much unlike the Romantic works produced earlier in the century. Rather the edges of the figures and of other objects in the picture plane are clearly defined. The artist "renders every object in the painting with meticulous clarity" (Smith 1). To see this work in person is really quite impressive. The painter has achieved a great sense of depth in the painting, as well as a strikingly realistic quality. The picture taken for this paper from the Albright-Knox's web page simply does not do this work justice. One's experience of standing in front of this painting is that of awe. The artist has depicted everything in the scene so realistically, and yet has made it look better than it probably did in real life. Everything in the painting has a rich, glowing quality about it.

The nineteenth century saw many stylistic changes in art. From neo-classicism, to romanticism, to realism, and then from impressionism to post-impressionism, artists worked in the style of their time. The Marvelous Sauce, though very realistic in style, can not quite be labeled as a realist work. It is much too late in the century for realism. Also it is not merely the artist depicting life according to what he...
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