Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Modern Art (pt. 18)

Andrew Wyeth's paintings frequently contain profound imagery of stark emptiness, harsher than the soft brushstrokes of Edward Hopper.  Wyeth's colors, too, often muted and considerably darker, tell of a more callous world, tougher and sterner than the subdued melancholy of Hopper's paintings.  In this unconventional portrait, the artist paints a solitary sitter in almost total darkness, with his back and side to us.  That Gentleman (as the work is humbly titled) sits calmly and thoughtfully behind a closed door.  His shoes are neatly placed upon a desk behind him, below a board of hanging scissors, also neatly placed; and in front of him is darkening wall fading off into black.  The only ray of light in the painting glides across part of the man's back, his right shoulder, and his left hand, delicately resting on his lap.  Our only vision of the man's face reveals the back of his balding head, his ear, and his thin cheeks.  Apart from that, the man sits in isolated anonymity and peaceful simplicity.  The rugged man of the world sits in the dark with naught but a small beam of light to illuminate his thumbnail; and yet this, too, is a scene relaxing and quiet, quite calm.

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