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This Is A Compare/ Contrast Style Essay On Albrecht Durer Vs Brett Whiteley

1229 words - 5 pages

In this paper I will compare and contrast the work of two well-known and quite contrasting artists that stand out in their approach towards the handling of the figure in their art. While searching for two artists that would be not only interesting to compare and contrast, but in doing so, further my understanding of the relationship between the artist and their attitude towards their artwork, I came across Brett Whiteley and Albrecht Dürer. I was drawn to these artists because of their capacity to capture so clearly what they saw. Their talents in approach and craftsmanship while so vastly different in some areas were closely related in others.Both of these artists were exceptionally talented draftsmen and shared a keen sense of observation for realistic detail. Dürer believed that, by using geometry and measurement, he could create a rational system of perspective and bodily proportions, whereas, Whiteley, although having the ability to draw realistically, was more concerned with abstraction, distortion and exaggeration to create emotion, especially when portraying the human figure. Both Dürer and Whiteley's art demonstrates their extreme proficiency with line and their ability to depict the human form in ways that many artists could only dream of.Whiteley's use of line was equal to none, in that with just a few lines he could encapsulate the sensual, feminine curves of a voluptuous female nude. He had a highly evolved instinct for making marks on surfaces, he had the ability to change a dull, blank sheet of paper into an emotionally charged artwork with a fluid like swipe of a paintbrush. Dürer's use of line on the other hand was quite different. The use of millions of fine lines to render an image is typical of German renaissance engravers but Durers astonishing and unequalled achievements in woodcut and engraving permanently changed the graphic arts and heightened its possibilities. Through his two visits to Italy, and his contact with such brilliant renaissance artists like his contemporaries Mantegna, Leonardo and Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), Durer was stimulated and influenced to develop his unique style.While looking for two specific artworks to compare and contrast, I first found Durer's widely familiar work 'Hands of an Apostle' or 'The Praying Hands', which was finished down to the last detail. Above a network of veins the somewhat thin but gnarled fingers point skywards and come to a 'point like a Gothic arch'. I then came across Brett Whiteley's 'My God, My God?Why?' which depicts Christ on the crucifix with his arms and his largely out of proportion hands held sky ward. The hands are cartoon-like and are grotesquely distorted becoming a strong image of intense of pain, so much so that the rest of the painting becomes seemingly insignificant. Whiteley used his ability to distort an image to intensify the feeling of the picture to its full extent but he also knew he could rely on his tremendous skill as a...

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