Visual Analysis of Young Man Desires Position
Upon walking into a room in the upstairs of the Swope Art Museum, the first piece that stands out is a large painting by Gordon Samstag, titled Young Man Desires Position. The painting was done in the 1930's and was done with oil on a canvas that measures 50 ¼ by 47 ¼ inches. The lighting in the gallery isn't exceptionally bright, but there is a light shining onto the top right of the piece. This compliments the artist's rendition of value on the figure in the painting. Directly on the left side of Young Man Desires Position is a tempera painting on a panel done by Reginald Marsh entitled Battery Belles. This painting is in a rather sketchy style, and only makes Samstag's painting stand out more. To the right of Young Man Desires Position is The Missed Leap, a lithograph done by John Stewart Curry. It achieves a lot of value by use of lines, and is a rather shadowy piece. The intensity of use of lines brings more attention to Samstag's piece and its immense quality of realism. It is also surrounded by a wide, white mat board, which strengthen the idea of the light source for Samstag's piece coming from the right. Young Man Desires Position depicts a fellow art school student sitting in a chair after a long, draining day of trying to find a job, or rather a position in the art world. In the background you can see his portfolio leaning against the chair, and his dark overcoat hanging on the wall. The image evokes such hopelessness, pressure, and hardship an artist goes through after graduating from school. The time period the painting was done in also casts a shadow over the piece in that during the 1930s the Great Depression was at its worst. The choice of using oil compliments the piece enormously. Oil allows beautiful blending of form to create lifelike figures. Samstag was handsomely successful in depicting the mood of the art student with use of oil. Immediately upon viewing the piece you can't help...
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