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The Banjo Lesson - Term Paper Example

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Eakins brought new painting methods such as carrying out studies of live models, overt discussion of male and female anatomy as well as dissections and bisections of cadavers to enable further comprehension and familiarity of the human body. Consequently, the ideologies of Eakins had tremendous impact on Tanner, who proved to be among Eakins’ favorite artists, thus, two years after Tanner’s departure from the academy, Eakins had to paint his portrait as an honor. During the entire period that Tanner was in the Academy, he secured thorough anatomy knowledge and was able to apply his comprehension of the weighty human figure structure to painting. Later on during the First World War, Tanner worked for the Public Information Department in the Red Cross and was able to paint real life images from the war. The Painting The Banjo Lesson was painted by Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1893 when he returned to visit Philadelphia in the United States from his newly found home in France. In this painting, an elderly man is engrossed in teaching one who is assumed to be his grandchild the lessons of playing banjo. When given a first glance, one may not notice how tanner explored very important painting themes. In the culture of America, black community was highly regarded as a group of entertainers, and similarly, the painting of the black elderly man teaching how to play Banjo is seen in all the 19th century American art (Linn). This implies that the banjo instrument was closely associated with the black community. However, such paintings are always reduced and portrayed as minstrel type. In this regard, Tanner strives to work against the highly regarded stereotype by giving a much sensitive interpretation through his painting. The two protagonists in the painting portray a very important aspect in human life known as specific time of human interaction. Both the teacher and the learner are intimately attached on the important task right in front of them. The two are oblivious of the rest of the world around them, thus magnifying the sense of actual contact and meaningful cooperation. The painting portrays a real world and contact, ultimately achieving the most important ideology of Tanner of human quality exploration, through a masterful painting. Tanner successfully employed the difficult task of merging two different and varying sources of light. For instance, a natural white-blue light glow from outside comes in from the left side, while from the right, enters a warm light from the fireplace. The illumination of the picture is achieved where the two sources of light meet. Analysts have interpreted this aspect to imply Tanner’s personal transition between his American past and his new home in France. Tanner is considered to be amongst the most talented and highly esteemed African American painters. This is wholly attributed to his hard work in making painting a reality, since his painting mostly relied upon depicting accurate form of human nature as well as the natural surroundings. Throughout his entire life, he was fully devoted to carrying out studies of the world that he was living in, and most importantly, the actual people he encountered face to face. For instance, Linn asserts that the popularity as well as the importance of The Banjo Lesson was as a result of searching for post Civil Rights symbols of the African American heritage ...Show more
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Name: Tutor: Course: Date: University: The Banjo Lesson History Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), one of the well renowned African American artists was accorded high worldwide recognition for his unique style of painting. He is also the first African American painter to achieve international acclamation (Linn, p 73)…
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