Subway and The Tube Train
George Tooker, an American artist painted “Subway” in 1950. Cyril E. Power, a British artist, created “The Tube Train” in 1934. With a quick glimpse of the eye, one may think these two pieces of artwork are similar. After all, a subway and a tube train are basically the same thing. To a trained eye, one can see the many differences in the two pieces.
Tooker was associated with the Magic Realism movements, and is best known for his depictions of alienation in modern city life (Artnet). Tooker focused on urban loneliness and disillusionment. His subjects are often obscured by heavy clothing and appear sagging and shapeless, trapped within their own dull worlds (Leninimports). Tooker adopted a method of using egg yolk thickened slightly with water and then adding powered pigment, a medium that was quick drying, tedious to apply, and hard to change once applied, called egg tempers (Leninimports). “Subway” depicts office workers trapped in a maze of prision-like passageways (Artnet). The central figure in “Subway” is a middle aged woman with short, gray hair, cut and curled in the style of 1950s (Whitney). Her facial expression is fearful, appears anxious, and looks depressed. Tooker paints her in midstride as she walks toward an unseen destination. She is wearing a bright red dress. The surroundings are dark and dull and of neutral colors. The viewer’s eye is drawn to the woman because of the positioning of the other figures in the painting and because the walls and railings of the subway create a fanlike effect around her (Whitney). The other female figures in the painting are in the distance and hard to be seen by the eye. The men in the painting are threatening figures who lurk in the background, wearing long coats, all identical except for the color (Whitney). Some of the men are looking suspiciously around the walls of the booths at the woman. The woman wears red, white, and blue which may symbolize the...
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