I joined the class for the trip to the "Big Apple" on the eve of Halloween. We departed from a campus parking lot early Saturday morning. Our destination was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is located at 82nd Street and Fifth Avenue. I had never been to "the Met" before and I was very impressed. I wandered throughout the museum going from gallery to gallery until I was able to find the two paintings that interested me the most.
The first painting to catch my eye was the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, which was painted by Albrecht Durer around 1519. The German artist lived from 1471 to 1528 and is considered by many the greatest German Renaissance artist of them all. Albrecht Durer used an oil medium on a wooden support to create this wonderful piece of art. The painting is a very realistic portrait of two women and a child depicting people in history. It is a portrait of Saint Anne with her daughter, the Virgin Mary, and the Christ Child.
Durer used biomorphic lines to form the organic shapes in this artwork. He used mainly curvilinear lines to form the traditional triangular shape of a portrait. The triangular shape in this painting forms a closed composition, which keeps your interest on the three figures.
The artist's palette had a fairly wide range of colors when painting this artwork. The use of many different colors makes this a polychromatic work of art. He used a few warm colors along with a lot of black and white. Most of the areas of this painting that are painted with warm colors are low in saturation. This is shown in the clothing of the woman holding the child.
It seems the source of light comes from the top left hand corner of the painting. The light source causes the three figures to have a high intensity level. This is shown on the child's face, which is not only the focal point of this picture but also the highlight. Durer also used chiaroscuro to show the depth in the painting. The shadow on the woman with the child makes the painting appear to be three-dimensional. After seeing how representational a painting can be I decided to take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum.