Although different pieces of art come from different eras and different artists, what makes a composition fine art is its ability to evoke emotions in the viewer. These emotions can range from misery to ecstasy and everything in between. Conversely, if there are no feelings experienced by the majority viewers, no matter if they’re positive or negative, than that piece does not fit into the genre of fine art. The great thing about genuinely fine art is the fact that the experience of emotion is absolutely subjective.
It is true that a work of art has a certain message embodied in it and an intended emotional response; however, with fine art the experience is different from person to person. Great artistic compositions do trigger similar responses in the viewer; yet, each individual has their own unique interpretation of the meaning and orientation of feelings towards the piece. No matter how similar or different these results are, none of them are the same. Out of all the amazing creations at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, four paintings stand out among them all.Order now
These are Paul Cezanne’s Bottom of the Ravine, Paul Gauguin’s Arearea II, Vincent van Gogh’s The Rocks, and Georges Seurat’s Young Woman Powdering Herself. What makes these painting prominent idols of attraction is the fact that they are so simple, yet they convey a deep meaning. And like all fine art each viewer has their own personal perception and reaction to these paintings, perhaps because of their uncomplicated surface appearance. What all of these compositions have in common is that they all depict natural occurrences.
Whether or not the events and the contents are based on something or a scene that actually did exist is irrelevant. What matters is that these paintings are composed of images and settings which actually can exist or could have existed. This elicits a personal connection between the viewer and these fine arts since what they are viewing is something that is actually tangible rather than surreal and abstract. Paul Cezanne was a painter of the Post- Impressionism era which was a further extension of Impressionism with fewer boundaries; yet, both of these styles contained images that can exist in the real world.
The major difference the distinguishes these two different styles of painting is that Impressionism strives to achieve a photographic type of quality (just an example of the degree of which these paintings resembled real life since cameras were not yet invented), whereas Post-Impressionism does indeed contain elements that do exist in life but with a less rigid attempt to depict how the images would appear in real life. Thus, Post-Impressionism is less limited by precision yet composes life-like scenes. This gives these paintings an almost cartoon like appearance.
This era is also distinguished from symbolism in that symbolism is more of a reflection of ideas. Paul Cezanne was the genius behind the composition Bottom of the Ravine. This painting fits perfectly into the scheme of Post-Impressionism as it displays a mountainside, a life-like image, but in a loose cartoon-like fashion. This is done by using fewer colors and shades than would actually appear on a real mountain and also having each color distinguished from its surroundings rather than blending together as it would naturally occur.
The main subject in this piece is the mountain that is prominent because of its large size and the fact that it is the dominant figure with all the other objects, which are trees, existing on it and the background, the sky, being the only thing contrasting with it. The sky is far too plain to be the subject of the painting and each trees is too undistinguished to be the subject; yet the fact that it contrasts with the mountain causes it to play a vital role in this work in that it brings out the green shrubbery and the mountain as a whole.
The colors are shades mainly of blues, yellows, and greens. They were applied with blotted strokes and dabs, but they come together in such a way that the scene as a whole gives an invigorating, refreshing, and happy feel all while having a three-dimensional appearance. This is done by the natural setting of the mountain being uninterrupted by people and all the colors together giving a refreshing natural feel; the pure blue sky especially ccontributes to this overall feel. This painting was actually based on something that did exist.
It was the hills behind Cezanne’s mother’s house in Estaque, France. Cezanne pays special attention to the facets and nooks in the mountain which is composed of the sun-baked earth. It is the dense build up of paint along with the solidity of the structure allows Cezanne to convert this actual visual experience into a timeless image. Another Artist of the Post-Impressionism era was Paul Gauguin. He was the master-mind behind Arearea II. This painting fits well into the Post-Impressionism era in that it is composed of a life-like scene; it is also made up of inaccurate shades of colors.
The images and subject in this painting is so dramatized come together in such a way that they give this painting significant meaning. In fact, it was these deep meaning, along with those of his other works, that has allowed Gauguin to help launch the Symbolism era. The subjects in this work are two happy young women. The one to the left is wearing a very skimpy shirt with one strap for her shoulder, leaving her small breast exposed. The one to the right is full topless and also has small breasts. This woman is playing a musical instrument that looks like a piccolo.
In the background there are three more topless women. They all appear to be praying. This event, along with the happy women with one of them playing music, gives this painting a very spiritual feel to it. The colors of the painting are reds, greens and yellows and the painting as a whole is medium sized and fan-shaped. The colors are very dark and are all distinguished fro one another. Even though the painting is indeed made up of dark colors it conveys a very light and happy message; the dark colors serve their role in establishing the seriousness of the work.
The message is that the dedication a lot of time to prayer and worship in the past, i. e. the three topless women in the background, will lead to happiness, joy and freedom, i. e. the two exposed and cheerful women in the foreground of the painting. The fact that there are three women in the back instead of two is to represent the heavy load of worship. The two women in the front resemble the lighter load of happiness. The topless state of the women in the background signifies their exposure to the idol(s) or god(s) that they are worshiping.
The fact that the subjects are also exposed stands for their freedom since they are happy, unlike the other three women who are too deep into worship to be able to enjoy life. A third artist of the Post-Impressionism era is Vincent van Gogh. One of his many spectacular works is The Rocks. This painting fits all of the characteristics of this era in that it is composed of a natural setting despite the fact that colors, strokes, and overall appearance of the painting is unnatural.
This painting, along with his other works, has a meaning that goes much deeper than its surface value and this is why van Gogh, along with Gauguin, triggered the existence of the Symbolism era. The subject of this painting is a tree which is on top of a hill. Yes, there are rocks as the title would imply, but it is the tree that is distinguished from the rest of the contents in this painting in that it is the largest structure at the highest point. The rocks serve as a contrast to the tree as well as the other surrounding foliage making these images stand out with vibrantly.
The tree is tilted drastically to the left as though a strong wind is blowing it; yet, none of the other plants seem to be effected by this. The colors of this work are mainly bright with few dark spaces. This contrast along with the depth of the images gives this painting a three-dimensional effect. This is an oil painting with both blots of paint and long strokes built up to give this painting a lot of texture. The colors do not flow together or blend with one another; rather, they are clearly separate from one another contributing to the cartoon-like characteristic of the Post-Impressionism era.
The emotions evoked by this painting are negative even though most of the colors are bright. This is because the subject has a lot of dark in it especially at its core. Also the tree is being swayed by the wind when nothing else is. This tree represents strength and sturdiness and the fact that it is being swayed by the wind indicated that it is not serving its function. The weaker, less significant foliage is remaining stagnant and since this is so, it makes the meaning clear absolute strength and power can easily become corrupt.
The last artist who had painted one of the most fabulous works of art in all of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, is Georges Seurat. The title of his painting is Young Woman Powdering Herself. This painting also belongs to the Post-Impressionism era and it fits its characteristics perfectly. First off, it is composed of something that could have really happened. Secondly, the colors are lacking the necessary shades that would allow this painting to actually look real. The subject of the painting is an attractive woman holding a powder puff.
She has very large and round breasts which contribute to her attractiveness. She seems very upset as she is applying her makeup. The colors in this work are very light and are pastel colors. There are different shades that do blend together but it is the fact that they are so faded and pastel-like that causes this painting to seek unreal in its appearance. The painting is composed of tiny little dots that come together to make the painting as a whole and allow the painting to look solid from a distance; this is the same effect a television set has.
The fact that the woman is so upset while she is putting on her makeup, gives the sense that she does not want to be objectified any longer. Obviously she is getting ready to go somewhere and with somebody and she feels obliged to have to do this. This causes the viewer to feel a strong sense of compassion and sympathy for the subject. The light colors also play a part in this feel in that they are faded just as this woman’s dignity is. These paintings have their similarities and differences.
They are similar in that they all come from the same era and for this reason and because they have the same basic characteristics of this time period. The Bottom of the Ravine is similar to The Rocks in that they both have a mountainous setting; however, both of these works are different from the other two works because they lack people as subjects. Furthermore, besides the similarity that they both contain people, Arearea II is drastically different than Young Woman Powdering Herself since the former has a handful of people in it, dark colors, and a happy theme whereas the latter has only one person in it, light colors, and a sad theme.
Whatever a critiques taste in art is, they can surely appreciate any work that makes them feel something. These four paintings are rich with emotional undertones causing the viewer to have a certain attachment to these works. Because of their quality of evoking emotion in the individual experiencing the painting, these four compositions are clearly samples of fine art.