At the outset there is always a mystery. We cannot know what a painter brought to painting or what drew him to it. (Homer 130).
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The flow of time and historical changes or peculiarities cannot but be reflected in the art. The reality of each epoch should be fixed in mankind’s development. In this respect the reason for making visual art based on portraiture can be outlined in a desire of artists to display everything which was connected with a particular time and people living in it. John Singleton Copley is widely known as an American colonial portrait painter. His works inspire visitors of different exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad due to a colorful palette of tones and features. His masterpieces are considered to be a part of the national heritage of the US. Moreover, Copley’s style of painting and the background according to which he was induced to reflect his understanding of portraiture is compared with another portraitist of modern art, namely Lucien Freud. The second painter is an outstanding artist being well-known worldwide for his capability to reflect structural changes in appearance of his character, reminding about great transformations in life styles of humanity on the whole. For the compare/contrast analysis the paper lays emphasis on two works by above-mentioned artists: Portrait of Rebecca Boylston (1767) by Copley and Susie (1988) by Freud. Distinctiveness of details and the pre-text for explanation of masterpieces of art should be analyzed entirely for a growth of peoples’ aesthetic thought.
First of all, for the analysis two portraits with the image of a woman were chosen. In this respect it is easier to talk about the implementation of details and their estimation in terms of beauty and grace features. In other words, it is rather interesting to analyze the step-by-step artistic realization of a woman’s image in the form of a portrait. It is the first similarity of both pictures. A viewer at once sees the difference in colors application: in Copley’s work it is quite bright and distinct; Freud, on the other hand, uses elements of blur in contours of main details. However, one also can admit the difference in backgrounds of both portraits. Copley is apt to provide more points on background’s description, so as to make an idea of colonial times and event which preceded and followed that period in the early history of America. Freud is intended to point out the theme and idea of his work more symbolically. The use of different colors implements some features of impressive elements. In other words, the role of colors is underlined in Susie most of all.
An aristocratic outlook of Copley’s Rebecca Boylston provides the wholeness of significant attributes of her position in the society. Thereupon, her bright and wealthy dress is accompanied with a well-performed hair-done. Her complexion is white and the look is persuasive and proud. The experts relate to this manner of painting by Copley his 1760s decade, when he was apt to widely lay “an emphasis on sumptuous fabrics and lifelike flesh tones” (Dallas Museum of Art para. 6). One more feature which contrasts in both works is the manner of description of characters. Freud, from the other side, does his best in making only the face and its details significant for his portraiture. He seeks for make his picture more concentrated on the woman and her intentions depicted on her face. Even the stratum of her can be identified simply: she seems to be from upper classes, but first glimpses at her provide an idea of her negative attitude toward life and sadness of hers.
As far as it can be seen, the artists chose different foreshortening while painting their characters. Copley in most cases, if not in all, painted in a front position providing the fullness of a character’s achievements in life and natural features of outlook in a frontal wide perspective. However, Freud’s picture seems to be done just near a character from the upper look at her. Here Freud implements a twisted life of a woman. The hair of hers promotes an idea that a woman is anxious about something and because of it she was constantly setting her fringe.
Mythic motives are illustrated in both pictures. In Copley’s and Freud’s variants it is considered with the gaze of characters. In it, particularly, a deepest mystery is concentrated. The point on soulful anxiety and strong attitudinal framework of Rebecca Boylston and tiresome and apathetic attitude in case with Susie are included in the perspective of the both pictures’ vividness. Moreover, one can judge about both women’s relevantly same attitude to life due to an assumption about their sameness in age prospects.
To sum up, the idea of portraiture maintained in different periods of American history is outlined with the development of mankind and its reflection in the art. Time is constant and cannot play by peoples’ rules. On the contrary, people should be able to project tendencies of time. This perspective was greatly outlined and estimated in the work of two American outstanding portraitists and on examples of Rebecca Boylston and Susie portraits.
Copley, John Singleton. Portrait of Rebecca Boylston. Hyperlink: Web.
Dallas Museum of Art. Colonial Portraits by Copley. Cameos of Art Museums’ Collections of Historic American Art. Hyperlink: Web.
Freud, Lucien. Susie. Hyperlink: Web.
Horner, Stanley. Sincro.NIS’Tee: Reaching – The Analo.Gos E Ching: 64 Orij’n’l Imajes and Po.Emz. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2006.