The Street to Mbari-Painting Review

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Art to me is an individual’s way of expressing themselves in a very complex or unique way other than writing in simple text. One of my favorite black history pieces of artwork is the painting of “The Street To Mbari”. This masterpiece was painted by Jacob Lawerence, a profound African American born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1917. Lawerence was notorious for his paintings using the tempera method, in which he enjoyed the most out of all of his many crafts and talents. This painting in particular is 56.5 X 78.4cm. it is of course tempera style based over graphite on wove paper. This painting is currently located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Tempera is latin for “to mix”. It means pigments that are mixed with egg yolk, a binder. Painting styles similar to tempera are: watercolors, and gouache. Tempera is the more famous technique of the three. This painting is very similar to Piero Della Francesca’s portrait of Federico da Montefeltro. In the sense of both paintings are very rich in colors painted in an unusual color scheme. Both paintings are tempera style and portray images of people in their everyday environment. Some of the most obvious of differences would be the types of environments each painter is displaying. In Francesca’s painting it portrays a middle – upper class couple posing for a nice family portrait by the country side, with green fields and flowers. . While Lawerence’s painting is portraying almost the exact opposite. Lawerence’s painting displays a very busy street in a village in Nigeria with people performing their day to day choirs and conducting business as normal. The pattern scheme in this painting is very unusal and unique. The term that would be best used to describe the pattern scheme of this painting would have to be chaotic. Although the people in the painting do have humanoid features, such as ten fingers and ten toes. The facial and body parts of villagers’ are very cartoonish giving them an unreal...
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