The paintings featured in this assignment are all similar because they all offer an insight into the artist’s mind and what there thinking or feeling. They achieve this using several different techniques, but the most notable aspect of the three of the paintings examined in this assignment is they all create a scene that is not exactly abstract, that is the viewer of the painting can easily recognize most objects in focus. But the scene painted has been warped into an unnatural, dreamlike state.
The three paintings that will be reviewed in this assignment are; The Carnival of Harlequin, The Persistence of Memory, and The Scream.
The Scream was painted in 1893 by Edvard Munch. It was created using Tempera and pastel on board and is 91 x 73.5 cm. The painting is Edvard Munch’s most famous work. This painting is a reflection of an incident that happened to Munch as he was walking with friends in Oslo, an entry from his diary on 22 January 1892.
“I was walking along the road with two friends.
The sun was setting.
I felt a breath of melancholy – Suddenly the sky turned blood-red.
I stopped and leaned against the railing, deathly tirrecognizableed – looking out across the flaming clouds that hung like blood and a sword
over the blue-black fjord and town.
My friends walked on – I stood there, trembling with fear.
And I sensed a great, infinite scream pass through nature.”
This painting is different from the other paintings reviewed in this assignment because its main purpose seems to be to foreground an emotion rather than a concept or an idea.
The Persistence of Memory, painted by Salvador Dali in 1931is a painting that foregrounds the artist’s theory about space and time. The soft watches that are the focal point of the painting symbolize Dali’s thoughts about the pliability of space and time. Dali even felt that this work foreshadowed the discoveries of nuclear physics that matter is discontinuous and time is nonlinear. This painting is a vehicle for Dali’s thoughts about the subject.
Joan Miro’s 1924 painting The Carnival of Harlequin uses recognizable as well as abstract objects placed chaotically though out the work. By themselves, many of these objects seem to symbolize Miro’s humorous interpretation of occurrences in everyday life and social issues, etc. For example, the upright animal walking the dog-like animal may symbolize Miro’s thoughts about the human relationship with dogs. But because of the disorderly way the objects have been placed throughout the painting the cumulative effect seems to be a representation of the chaotic world we live in. The purpose of this artwork is the same as Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, which is to allow the viewer of the painting to think about the subjects represented in their work.
Similar to the differences in the subject matter of the paintings, The Scream also differs from The Persistence of Memory and The Carnival of Harlequin in the painting techniques used. Labeled Expressionism by art critics, The Scream creates a vivid emotion of madness by distorting the landscape and person in focus facial features. The most important factor that gives this painting such great effect is the unity achieved between the focal point (the man at the center-front of the painting) and the surrounding landscape. Both the focal point and the landscape use the same unnatural swirling lines and contrasting colors. The swirling lines create a feeling of bewilderment and disorientation while the melancholy colors that follow the swirling lines give the effect that this person is truly disturbed.
Dali’s The Persistence of Memory and Milos’s The Carnival of Harlequin both use similar painting techniques and are labeled as Surrealist paintings. They both paint more precisely and realistically than Munch. Dali especially is known for painting in minute detail and this gives his painting an extra dimension. The closer the viewer looks at the painting the more they notice other objects that aren’t immediately noticeable at first glance. In this case, an object in the painting not noticeable at first like the ants coming out from the inside of the watch may help re-enforce his idea of time being hollow.
Davis’s painting also gives an impression of open space and gives an empty but peaceful feeling to the painting. Miro’s use of space is a binary opposition to Dali. In Miro’s painting, almost every space is filled with comical world characters. This is the most important factor in creating the chaotic representation of the world.
The artists represented in this assignment have all based their paintings solely on conveying an emotion or a concept. This was a significant influence in creating the work but Dali and Miro have also taken ideas from nature. It is believed that Dali gained inspiration for the soft watches in his painting from a dream about runny Camembert cheese.
The artist that employed an emotion or idea most successfully was Edvard Munchs The Scream. This painting has created an intense emotion, not achieved by the other artists to the same extent.