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Frederic Remington's Picture Of The Old West

1015 words - 4 pages

Will Hanna Art Appreciation 11/3/01 Frederic Remington's picture of the "Old West" Frederic Remington is revered as one of the best at being able to depict life in the "Old West." Remington's art depicted the harshness and the struggle to survive in those times. This theme is expressed in such works as The Lookout, Aiding a Comrade, and Fight for the Water Hole.The Lookout was one of Remington's first works of art. Remington painted this picture while working for Harper's Weekly in 1887 (FredericRemington.org). The painting is about an old cavalry soldier on duty, surveying a harsh desert plain. Remington uses an almost monochromatic selection of colors to depict the barrenness of the soldier's surroundings.Brown is the dominant shade in this painting. The soldier's clothing has a brown tint to them, showing how dusty the area is. He rides a brown horse, and the ground and rocks below him all have shades of brown. The plain he looks out over is also a light shade of brown, once again, suggesting the dustiness of the reason. The only contrast, and a light one at that, is a very passive shade of blue to depict the mountains in the background (Neff, 41). The apparent movement of the horse's back leg, and the intentness of the soldier's gaze, indicates that he is preparing to move, most likely after an Indian target. This shows the struggle to survive in this environment (Neff, 42).In Aiding a Comrade, Remington comes at the viewer with a different perspective. In this work, the horses and riders are rushing towards the viewer. The work is very similar to a previous work he did, Dash for Timber in 1889, which depicts a group of cowboys rushing for the woods while being chased by Indians (Neff, 43). The work also came after Remington won the silver medal at the Paris International Exposition in 1889 (FredericRemington.org).Aiding a Comrade, once again depicts Cowboys running from Indians. Through X-ray examination of the picture, it is seen that Remington actually put trees to the right of the picture at first to make it almost a continuation of Dash for Timber. In this work, the central character, has fallen off of his horse and his two "˜comrades,' one on each side are trying to help break his fall. With the horses and cowboys rushing at the viewer, it depicts the action and drama of the situation. More specifically, the white leg of the horse and orange lip of the horse contrast the picture, and make the characters almost jump out of the picture at the viewer. In addition, the proximity of the Indians in chase adds to the suspense (Neff, 44).As mentioned above, Remington uses contrast in this work to emphasize certain points. For instance, the black horse and dark shirt of the central character contrasts the brown horses and brownish clothes of his "˜comrades.' In keeping with his reoccurring theme, a dusty, harsh backdrop is once again set. The brown plain and brownish grass, once again...

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