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What Makes Good Art? Essay

691 words - 3 pages

In this essay I will be discussing what, in my own opinion, makes good art. To justify what I consider to be a good standard of art, I will be analyzing the work of French symbolist Eugene Carriere and contrasting this with artwork I consider to not be 'good art'.
The art piece, by Eugene Carriere, I chose to look at first is The First Communion, due to its significant use of symbolism. Sybolism is often used to provoke emotion in a viewer, an example of how this is used in The First Communion is the inward eyes of the subject. This conjures up a mysterious and isolated atmosphere for the viewer, suggesting the idea of an inner world of thought. I believe that a piece of artwork with symbolic reasons behind its concept does contribute towards creating good art. Symbolism allows artwork to become a means of visual communication beyond what's obvious.
The First Communion was painted during the beginning of the French Symbolism movement. During this time artists were ...view middle of the document...

This is achieved by using his signature monochrome brown under-painting, representing the idea of stability and support found in his commonly painted scenes of domestic life. By placing thin layers of white paint over this under-layer it softens the tones allowing them to gradually blend into one another, creating a hazy form.
The colour white, was also used for symbolic reasons, alike his common use of browns. In The First Communion for example, white is used to echo the religious connotations of purity and innocence. Symbolist artists wanted the use of colour to be more than just a visual function, this demonstrates how much time goes into creating a thoughtful piece of art.
To further explain why I think that Carriere's work is to my standard of what is 'good art' I am going to compare his technique, that I previously explained, with world famous artist Van Gogh. I chose to compare two self-portraits, for Van Gogh I will be looking at his technique in his Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear, in comparison to Carriere's Self portrait.
Van Gogh is well known for his bold outlines to create his forms, I think this is a rather naive technique, although this could be the artists intention. The paintbrush stokes are made in a loose and paintily fashion, which all lines are left visible. For me, the illusion of texture is exaggerated and not realistic, each brush stroke is short and leading in the same direction. Where as Carriere's self portrait flows, as every brush stroke echoes the background, making his form further appear as a ghostly presence and the whole piece works in harmony.
Van Gogh's self portrait also appears flat, this is because his use of shadow consists of block colours. Rather than using tone to create a form, Gogh relies too much on the element of line. Carriere however, focuses on light and shadow to create his piece, which is what makes his work appear realistic. Using the formal elements to an acceptable ability helps create exceptional art.

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