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Legendary artists like Antoine Vestier have come up with masterpieces while doing their painting, and in the end bring out the exact state of feeling that the viewer desires in that painting. Professional artists do not just come up with perfect paintings, but also clearly bring out a certain theme, which is the biggest selling point of their work. Professionals combine color, texture, material, shape, genre and creativity to do a certain job, yet the common eye may miss some of these details. This detail causes the value of these paintings to be amazingly high, so that everyone wishes to own such a painting in his or her area of residence. Nevertheless, only a few people understand the implications of each detail in the masterpiece.
The work below is an in-depth analysis of one of Antoine Vestier's paintings. It is a 1785 piece of artwork whose preservation is because of some of the details that the paper intends to discuss. In the analysis given below, the focus will be more on the description of the painting done and the interpretation thereof. Color, size, shape, material, style and shade will possibly help bring out Vestier's idea while coming up the conclusion about the painting.
Description and Analysis
Antoine Vestier was a French national and a professional painter. He trained under the hands of Jean-Baptiste Pierre and began showing some of his skills in Paris' "Salon de la Correspondance" after he gained enough confidence on his skills. At a ripe age of 45 years, he came up with the "Eugène Joseph Stanislas Foullon d'Écotier", which is the painting that is under analysis in this paper. Antoine did this piece for Eugene after he got his promotion as Intendant in the region of Guadeloupe. He also did some more paintings, some of which were "Portrait De Mademiselle" and "La Declaration De Tartuffe". The current prices of these paintings are between €17,000 and €20,000, and therefore, a probable indication about how much value there was on this artist. After his demise, his paintings have been shifting from one auction house to another, going for extraordinary prices as mentioned above.
As stated earlier, the painting was a portrait of honor to Eugene Joseph after his appointment. The painting on face value shows Eugene, the subject, holding something that seems to be a folded chart. He is in a dark blue velvet suit matching with a white spotted scarf. The subject is on a sitting position, with his left arm grabbing on to the folded chart while the same arm comfortably lies on a table. The chair that he sits on does not seem to have a backrest. The picture shows that he is sitting in an upright position in front of the table.
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The table and a shelf are right behind him on the background. The shelf holds some books or possibly some scrolls or charts of which one is in his right hand. The painting also reveals some of the content on the table. Near the table are some writing materials of the 18th century, consisting of a feather-like pen and a gold-coated ink container. The subject seems to be of the upper class in society, depicted by his dress code and mostly through his hairstyle. His white curly hair runs down the back of his neck onto the color of his suit.
The painting is oval, currently having an upstanding wooden outline all around it. Eugene is the main feature of the painting, meaning that his position is paramount, and his picture is the largest of all other objects in the painting. The piece of art appears on canvas material that measures a maximum of 32inches on the longest length, and 25inches on the longest width, making it a normal size painting that can be of use as a home-based wall decoration. This 1785 piece of art is a vertical painting that contains detail from the top of the painting to the bottom and all around it. On face value, the painting seems to have a domineering blue color, largely due to the color of the subject's suit. In addition, the painter has given the artwork a blue shade all through, though one can clearly define the objects that surround the subject and their domineering colors.
Finally, the picture is an up-close representation of a photo, which in modern terms would be a passport size photo of an uprightly sat male, who is probably in his early 40's. This deduction is mainly because of the mature look that the painter projects of him since the painter has given him such a complexion. Antoine Vestier has made Eugene look straight into the viewer's eye, giving him a look that is in between a smile and a serious face. The subject seems confident and alert, and he seems to be a scholar who spends most of his time doing research, writing or architectural designs.
Research and Interpretation
The paper has thoroughly done some description of the piece of work by Antoine Vestier. As stated earlier, there is more to a painting than meets the eye. In a painting analysis like this one, doing some art research is necessary in order to discover the real objective behind Antoine's work. There will be a keen eye on a few of the discoveries made while describing the piece of work. In addition, the paper will give a viable interpretation of the analysis, and hereby stating conclusive evidence as to the real objective of the painting.
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From a distance, the painting is a smooth one, with most of the features in and outside the background appearing clearly like in a photo picture. All through the painting, the painter has expressed himself significantly through his use of lines. Lines constitute part of a painting's element of expression. Figures that elementary school children come up with achieve pure line quality. Anyone can understand and interpret these figures, yet they lack all the detail that other complex drawings have. Complex figures employ the use of different thick and thin lines in order to bring out the effect that the painting requires.
If one takes a deeper look at the painting, lines have created some amount of depth, so that the items on the foreground are distinct from the items on the background. On the table, the lines used are sharp and planar. This means that their location is in the background, yet are not so far behind the subject. Blurry lines would have depicted that the table is quite far and that the concentration is not on the table. This feature seems to reveal one of the agendas that the painter had while coming up with the painting. He deliberately concentrated on the background in order to give more details than that of the human figure of Eugène Joseph. In addition, darker lines get more use predominantly on the foreground than in the background.
The other element that has created quality in the painting is the use of color. Color is one of the main attractions to the painting. For example, anyone using a dominant red color on his painting tries to portray attention, danger or a feeling of urgency. The color code of a painting is essential in analyzing the feelings that were on the painter's mind while he was doing his work. In addition, the color shade that the painter chooses to use gives viewers a certain aspect or feel about the theme of the painting.
In Eugene's painting example by Antoine Vestier, the color blue is the most outstanding color; given that most of the subject's attire is blue. Though the suit the subject had on may have been blue in color, the painter had more to it than just painting the subject's color in this dark shade of blue. In addition, the other items, the background and his whole environment in the painting have a blue shade.
Color analysis has shown that using blue brings about a feeling of calmness and thus depicts sadness. In other circumstances, the color blue may symbolize official purpose; more as it does when government officials wear blue ties. While in a blue suit, the subject brings out calmness in the whole piece of art, giving the piece of art a soothing effect on any viewer. In addition, the color blue brings out the official aspect of the piece of art. This piece can comfortably fit in an office, since it does not have conflicting or screaming colors like those found in a more casual setting.
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In addition, the shade used throughout the piece of work is blue. It seems like the painter's intention was to give the whole setting a dull look, to complement the official state of the painting. On closer observation, one can notice how some of the lines used in the papers, tables and background have a blue touch to them. Apart from the whole piece being comfortable to the human eye, the painter has managed to bring out newness to the piece of art. In essence, the painting will always look new, refined and out of the ordinary. This is because blue always enhances clarity of the object. Color white seems brighter with a blue shade added to it, and so it does for all the colors that blue compliment.
Finally, the depth of all the colors that he used in coming up with the masterpiece also has significance. Painters use these color schemes to portray certain emotions to their work. The depth that he uses suggest power and authority, while some painting that use lighter shades of color may suggest serenity and liveliness. The shades here also give an indication of either how far the background is or how much light the room has. In this case, depth and shade have suggested that the room does not have powerful lighting, but the other objects behind him are quite close in proximity.
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Another painting element that will need analysis is shape. Right from the shape of the painting itself to the shape of the objects that appear on the piece of art, Antoine Vestier desired to portray a certain aspect of art through this simple element. First, mounting of the work is on an oval-shaped frame has a certain meaning to it. Although this shape is geometric in nature, most people view it as organic. Rectilinear shapes bring about a feel of chaos and conflict. On the other hand, curvilinear shapes bring about a natural aspect of the artwork. This may be the reason why the painter chose the oval frame to mount his masterpiece. Another probable reason to why this was the case is because too many objects in the painting have rectilinear features.
Considering the papers, shelf and books that are behind the subject, it would better suit the whole setting if the outline were an organic one. Otherwise, the whole painting would be imbalanced. The balance made by combining the rectilinear and the curvilinear aspects of the painting bring about a perfect balance to the whole piece of work. To prove this theory, we may want to consider the example of a landscape painting. Most of these paintings come in rectangular outlines, since the artist realizes that there is a need to balance the organic and inorganic elements of shape within the painting.
In addition, there is reason to believe that the painter desired to achieve maximum use of space. The rectangular outline corresponding to the oval shaped outline made in this painting is quite large. This means that the painter would have a lot of unused space in his piece of work, causing the painting to look unprofessional and ambiguous.
Though subdued, most of the objects used in the painting complimented one another. The painter wanted to bring out another aspect of art. He has used an illumination of light, focusing on the subject, in order to draw attention to one area of the painting. The other areas are just additional information that tells about the subject's work, or the subject's actions at that moment. Shapes and objects are vital complementary to the theme of the painting. In general, they tell the story behind the subject's appearance and from them, one can deduce massive information.
For example, in this case, the objects used tell the viewer that the subject is a serious man, and probably a professional or practitioner. Apart from his dress code, we can view the writing material behind him and tell the age or generation in which he served. The paper held on his left arm also gives away some of this information. We can conclude that since the subject lived probably in the 17th century, and had a feather-like object for a pen, then he must have been a leader at a highly ranked level in those days. Leaders had the privilege of having such material as the one witnessed in the painting, and the poor did not even know how to read or write.
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Making an analysis about the materials used will also help in deducing some facts about the artist's work. Firstly, the painting is on canvas material, done using oil paint. Considering this point alone, one may expect the painting to be rough and blurry. Nevertheless, Antoine Vestier has combined the oil paints and their different shades in a way that produces opulent texture to the viewer's eye. Even on closer observation, the painting still maintains its finesse, showing each detail as it should appear in a real-life situation.
The deduction from this is that the painter is a professional. Most painters cannot create this sense of accuracy while working on canvas, unless they are professionals. The painter uses "illusionary texture" in order to bring out smoothness in the subject's face. In addition to this oil paint, the painter uses fine strokes of brushes to accomplish the smooth finish that he has done.
Antoine Vestier not only wanted to accomplish a picture of a portrait in mind, but also wanted to send a message to any viewer in generations to come. The use of such a subject gives the viewer a desire to accomplish. It tells the viewer that the subject is a hard worker, and therefore, has earned his position. Its essence, even while reading the painting's origin, is to inspire any viewer to attain whatever goal he keeps his eyes on. Eugene in the painting seems determined and focused. As much that there is a depiction of prior achievement, the painting tells a story of a man that has not yet achieved the goals that he has in life. He seems to want more and is doing something about it. The work is a perfect definition of a picture having the ability to tell a whole story. Not only is the painting well balanced, artistic and of high quality, but also depicts Antoine Vestier a poet as well as a painter.