Posted: October 17th, 2013
Analysis of a painting
Glenn Ligon: America has a painting of Malcom X currently on view. This is a group of artists brought together by Whitney Museum of America Art and Scott Rothkopf. The painting is a portrait of Malcom X. He is wearing glasses and his mouth is opened, suggesting he is talking. The colors used are blue pink, red and brown. His posture suggests he is addressing people about a certain matter. Malcom X was a civil rights activist who mainly advocated for the rights of Islam community. The painting actually depicts his work by his look as he talks. He seems to be putting across a certain point that must be very important.
The three main elements of this painting are color, space and tone. Color is the most important element of painting. The painting of Malcom X has four primary colors. Blue, red, brown and pink. The colors make a painting look attractive and it lively. A painting is an imitation of a real object or person. This is why colors are used to improve its appearance and make it resemble the real object. The colors show that the portrait is wearing a coat with a brown collar and another garment with a blue collar.
Space is the form a painting takes on the surface where it has been drawn. Different paintings have various perspectives depending on the choice of the artist. The painting of Malcom X has an upclose view the artist designed to appear close to its audience. Other artists may choose to make drawing that have aerial view or overlapping view. A painting that has used overlap view, some drawing will obstruct others. The space of a painting may be determined by culture in some communities. Space also includes the dimension of a painting. There are paintings with two or three dimensions. This painting has two dimensions.
Tone is also referred to as value of a painting. It is the amount of light or darkness seen on a painting. In many circumstances, tone influences the colors to be used because they contribute to the appearance of a painting. It creates the mood of the painting and helps in communication the theme of the painting. The painting on Malcom X uses tone in its description. The colors used are dull colors and they are few. Part of the painting should have color but the artist chose to leave it out. For example, it is expected that there would have been color and design of the hair. Instead, there are only faint lines that show the shape of the head.
Generally, the painting looks dull, which could be the motive of the artist. According to Malcom X’s biography, he was an activist of human and civil rights. This was influenced by his experiences as he grew up. The artist may have intended to express the hardships and injustices that existed during his life time. His posture is likely to suggest that he is making a conversation about improving the living conditions of the Black race. The tone of a painting can be used to tell a lot more about the purpose of a painting and the motive of the artist.
There are other elements of a painting that artists must consider before they start their work. Some of them are the size, direction, texture, line and composition among others. Size is a factor considered on the paper or surface where the painting should be done. If the painting on paper, the absorption rate is added or reduced using the size. Less size increases absorption and more size decreases absorption. Size also refers to the length and width of the paper or the dimensions. Direction is how the painting will appear. For example, it could be vertical, angled or horizontal. Texture is the pattern of the drawing or it could be the feeling of the painting. The painting on Malcom X is vertical but it has a slight forward tilt of the head. It texture could be described as smooth since it has a plain pattern. Line shows the out line of the painting and where two things intersect. Composition is the arrangement of all the elements that make up the painting. They must correspond for the artist to be successful.
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