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The Link Between Painting And Life

1091 words - 4 pages

Malott 5Dominique MalottProfessor Jessica CresseveurHUM-151-01-414810 October 2014The Link between Painting and LifeThe artwork this paper will be analyzing is Artemisia Gentileschi's painting titled, Judith and Her Maidservant Beheading Holofernes. Upon first inspection, the viewer realizes the high intensity of drama preserved in this painting. This dramatic effect has been achieved by the use of formal elements such as value and space, and principles of design like emphasis and subordination.Each element and principle does not exist as a separate entity in Gentileschi's painting- it functions more like the cogs in a clock with each vital piece contributing to make a functional clock. The principles go hand in hand as well as the elements and in the end the elements and principles complement each other nicely.The cause of such a dramatic effect in the painting is due to a simple practice of the formal element value, the degree from light to dark. It is obvious where the light and dark portions of the painting are, but what makes the value in this painting really pop is that there is no gradient between light and dark. What is dark is almost pitch black and what is light is very illuminated. The lack of a gradient leaves such a large gap between shading and highlighting that the other formal element space can be seen in this piece.Generally thinking, space is merely the distance between things. However, in art, space can be seen as either positive or negative areas in an artwork. Negative space exists in dark or shadowed areas whereas positive space lies in illuminated or light areas.In the painting, the deed is taken place inside a dark room with the only light source being by the bedside to the left, yet not in the viewer's sight. The light source casts light over Judith, her maidservant, and Holofernes revealing the scene in this story. They're faces are illuminated, but shadows are still present on their façade thus heightening the drama in this painting. The viewer can notice how the shadow accents their facial expressions and allows the viewer to take in the seriousness of the scene. The texture of the fabrics also has fine detail in value. The entire background of this painting is negative space and the dark shadows are adjacent to the highly illuminated positive space in the painting. Negative space almost completely surrounds the positive space from corner to corner in this painting- such an extreme difference between light and dark (value contribution) to create dense positive and negative space is called chiaroscuro- heightening the dramatic appeal in the painting. The combination of value and space helps create the focal point the painting- what is being done or plainly said, the act or murder.The focal point is Judith and her maidservant killing Holofernes (moreover, his head), the negative space easily brings out the positive space as the focal point. The focal point draws the eyes' attention and this is what emphasis is...

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