Art History Formal Analysis - Comparison Essay

1660 Words Mar 6th, 2013 7 Pages
Formal Analysis Paper The pieces Ann Whitley Russell, done by an unknown artist in around 1820 and Lady Frances Knowles, also done by an unknown artist, in the mid-late 17th century are both examples of portraits that portray the sitters in diverse yet insightful ways to viewers. Both Ann Whitley Russell and Lady Frances Knowles are works of art composed of oil paint on canvas. Although these portraits are different, the aspects of space, color, and composition are all important elements that must be considered while comparing the woman in these two pieces.
The significant element of space comes into play while analyzing the portrait of Ann Whitley Russell. The figure of Ann Whitley Russell herself is very flat and appears to be two
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The viewer is automatically drawn to the center of this piece, which is the vivid three-dimensional figure of the sitter, Lady Frances Knowles. While studying the portrait Lady Frances Knowles I was able to detect a clear distinguishable foreground, middle ground and background. The artist positions the sitter in the foreground of the piece sitting on a stone bench with one arm resting upon the ledge of a stone fountain which is positioned in the middle ground. The stone fountain in the middle ground which has a statue of a Roman mythological winged figure attached has water flowing down from it and appears to be solid in space and volumetric due to this. The statue of a winged figure appears to be an angel, which is a symbol of love, peace, and protection. The background of this piece has trees with flowering leaves which may be where the flowers upon the lap of Lady Frances Knowles and the bench she is sitting on came from. The background seems to be slightly shallower compared to the sitter who is lifelike and three-dimensional. The background is less defined than the sitter is however the trees, fountain and flowers are distinguishable and give evidence that she must be sitting somewhere outside. The artist may have positioned the sitter somewhere outside in order to show the importance of nature and natural beauty because the sitter herself

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