Formal Analysis of Art

We are going to be looking at four different paintings, The Wall Drawing; The Starry Night; Las Meninas; Nighthawks, by four different artists, Sole LeWitt; Vincent van Gogh; Diego Velazquez; and Edward Hooper. We will be determining how their choice of line, color, light, and use of space create such an effective effect on the painting.
When looking at Sol LeWitt??™s painting, The Wall Drawing No. 681, the lines are controlled, precise, and mathematically rigorous. This piece of art work was put together by museum staff that must follow strict directions from the artist. It shows that the artist is very organized with his artwork. As for Vincent van Gogh??™s painting, The Starry Night, the lines are ?????¦imprecise, emotionally charges, and almost chaotic.??? (Sayre). LeWitt??™s paintings do not show much personality of the artist himself. LeWitt rarely painted his own paintings, but instead wrote directions on how to paint it and left the work up to the museum staff of the museum it was to be displayed in. Van Gogh??™s painting shows life and death, he stated ???my paintings are almost a cry of anguish??¦??? (Sayre). Van Gogh??™s painting showed his personality and how he viewed the world around him as LeWitt??™s did not.
Diego Velazquez??™s painting Las Meninas shows that the artist used the space of the painting to draw the viewer??™s eye to particular places in the painting. It appears that the artist wanted the viewers to first look at the ???young princess, the infanta Margarita??? because she is in the center of the painting. (Sayre). Velazquez, however, placed multiple people around the infant Margarita but the people do not look at the infanta. Instead the artist makes them seem as if they are looking at us, the viewers. Velazquez used the mirror in the background as a great use of space. He draws attention to this mirror that reflects the king and queen yet the reflection appears larger than it should and leaves the viewers to wonder if it is actually a mirror or a piece of artwork. Velazquez did a wonderful job of placing each individual in the painting in particular positions to make the viewer??™s wonder what the real focal point of the painting really is.
Edward Hopper??™s painting, Nighthawks, represents the feeling of isolation and loneliness. His use of color and light help show the emotion of loneliness. The yellow wall of the restaurant gives the emotion that is unwelcoming, which contrast with the darkness outside of the restaurant which shows that the streets are empty. With the streets empty and dark the artist is portraying the emotion of emptiness and loneliness. Hooper shows that the street is dark but yet uses enough light to see the lonely man on the left side of the restaurant. I believe that the Hooper painted this lonely man looking to the darker side of the restaurant to represent how the man looks at the world. The artist himself could be this lonely man looking at the world as a dark and lonely place.
All four of these artists are very talented, and all four of these artist paint with different techniques. By looking at these four paintings it taught me to not only look at paintings for the picture itself but to look deeper, for the meaning behind the painting.
Sayre, Henry M. (2010) A World of Art, Sixth Edition. Published by Prentice Hall.