Paintings give us a feeling of despair, disgust, hope, rebellion, splendor, love and beauty among other emotions. Each artist had something the artist believed important to say, some message the artist needed to communicate when creating the painting. This is an essay describing, comparing and contrasting three different paintings by three different artists. We will examine The Heart of the Andes by Frederic Edwin Church, Battle of the Amazons by Pieter Pauwel Rubens and The Volga Boatmen by Ilya Repin . The theme of The Heart of the Andes is a Landscape. It is a picturesque observation of nature. The serene seen draws your eye from the shimmering pool served by a waterfall at the center right of the mountain landscape to the snow-capped mountain appearing in the distance. Your eye is led by the darker, closer slopes that decline from right to left. Human presence consists of a hamlet and church lying in the central plain. Two people are seen before a cross. The painting displays the landscape in detail, a sweeping portrayal of nature. The presence of the cross brings to mind the peaceful coexistence of religion with nature and the landscape. Peace is contrary to the feelings I get when I gaze at The Battle of the Amazons painting by Rubens. This Battle scene is an explosion within the picture space. The use the yellows and browns gives the appearance of a ferocious fight while with blurred lines gives a feeling of constant motion. The swirling colors and charging horses seem to leap off the canvas. The subject of The Battle of the Amazons is from mythology, it represents the battle between Theseus's Athenians and the women-warriors of Telestris. The artist's intent is to portray the fierceness of battle and the passion of war. The surging movement throws opposing forces together; men, women and horses charge into combat and the result is like a whirlwind within the picture space. The subjects are engaged in a frantic struggle for survival as they meet in the center of a bridge. They are hurled from their horses down into the river at the base of the picture, while a horse rears, and the wounded go swirling into the background, drawn by the current of a river. Another type of struggle is portrayed in by Ilya Repin This painting represents protest and opposition of powerful youth to the passive submissiveness of the mature men around him, broken by habit, time and natural forces. In The Volga Boatmen the Volga River is spread out in the background. In the foreground of this study in realism, a gang of barge haulers tread heavily along the sandbanks. Harnessed in straps, and hauling on tow ropes, eleven men march, bending their bodies inside their yoke as they haul a large boat against the current up the river. No whole shirt can be seen on them. Their shoulders are burnt by the sun, not a single intact hat or cap; they are all in rags. Only one young man stands straight, a boy, with long, blonde hair, barefoot, and who is the centre of haulers and the painting. His pink shirt draws your eye to the centre of the painting. While his angry glance and reproachful frame seems to rage at his condition. Water nourishes us; water is required by all living things. The Heart of the Andes is a painting about nature, in its entire splendor, with a small village. Nature and the village are each fed by a mountain stream. In The Battle of the Amazons we see opposing forces clashing in the center of a bridge that spans a river. In The Volga Boat Haulers we see water used for transportation with men struggling against the tide of a river. Each of the three paintings we are examining is connected by rivers; a mountain steam, The Thermodon and the Volga. But more then Water each painting also is a portrayal of struggle. The struggle of Nature to endure over the encroachment of man, the struggle of women over the dominance of the masculine over the feminine and the struggle of men over oppressive reality. The Heart of the Andes is a study of natures endeavor to persevere over man. A deeper inspection of the painting reveals exposed roots in some trees that are struggling against being washed away by the stream. We see men dominating over the Amazon women and their allies in The Battle of the Amazons. Women are struggling for survival over superior male forces while we see some women begging for mercy of the men as the women struggle for survival. The Boat Haulers are struggling over the burden that life places on us, the weight of the yoke in which we all must struggle. Some contrasts of the three works discussed are the differing colors, imagery and vividness used by each artist. In Heart of the Andes Church uses light and airy colors and paints so that every detail jumps out at you Rubens uses many dark colors and blurred lines in Battle of the Amazons, In the Volga Boatman Repin uses bright colors and vivid crisp imagery. The differing moods and themes used by each painter in their respective pieces are that a dark mood in The Battle of the Amazons displays death prominently. In contrast, the Heart of the Andes displays death much more subtly and the mood is more serene then dark. The Volga Boatman has a subtle but positive, brighter mood displaying the hopeful youth struggling to overcome his surroundings. Painting evokes many feelings and emotions. Every painting has its own theme, mood, and meaning. Artists have their own purpose for creating their works. What each person sees in each work of art depends on the viewer's circumstances and life story.
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