From the title, Venus, we can suppose that the woman is a goddess, not an ordinary woman. Perhaps only idealized by the painter, the piece is so unusual as to inspire a deep sense of mystery. Intriguing in its veiled meaning and dark somber background we wish we could see more of the figure behind the cloth. The artist, Raphaelle Peale was known for his still lifes and we see the masterful technique in the rendering of the sheet. The drapery and folds of the cloth are so voluptuous, the 3-dimensional quality places such importance on it, that we barely notice the woman behind it. Perhaps this is what the deception is, at first glance the work appears to be the fabric alone and we must look closely to see the woman at all. ?? Without many elements in the painting it is easy to see its different parts. At first we are confronted with the sheet, bold and overpowering both in size and brightness when seen against the dark ground. Next we see the strip of fabric it hangs from as we look more closely. Once we come to the top of the canvas we see the arm reaching above the drapery. After we recognize this as a female figure and begin to understand the image we see her foot and the flowers around it. The background recedes so much that we don’t really notice it itself but become aware of it in sharp contrast to the foreground because of the dark values. It is difficult to tell if we see it earlier or only after looking at the elements placed in front of it. ?? At first glance, my response to the painting is that it is a wonderful contemporary piece, almost photographic of a plain white sheet. I then came to discover that the painting was done in the early 19th century, 150 years before I had imagined. The artist was from Philadelphia and this probably would have first been seen there as part of a local exhibit although his work was shown in other exhibitions in other parts of the country. This painting did not serve any special purpose. Painted in oil on canvas it departs from the artist’s main body of work in still life to include a figure. Study for Aspects of Negro Life: An Idyll of the Deep South by Aaron Douglas “Study for Aspects of Negro Life: An Idyll of the Deep South” is a narrative painting depicting a celebratory scene of musicians gathered in a field. Painted by Aaron Douglas, one of the most influential painters of the Harlem Renaissance, the scene most likely recounts the life of African Americans. The Harlem Renaissance was a movement in New York, born in the same self named place. Members of the artistic community hoped to portray African Americans and bridge the gap to the predominantly white world. Artists, writers and musicians all played a part in the “rebirth” of African expression. The musicians we see behind the geometric, Art Deco style circular pattern seem to be enjoying an evening of song and dance. Alongside them we see men working as if sowing the land. The setting appears to be a forest or wooded area in the evening. Long known for singing to pass the time while planting the fields, this piece is reminiscent of early African farm workers. The mixture of elements, trees and field, evening and people at work, musicians in the same field as the workers, all add to the surreal quality of the painting. The first thing we notice in the painting is the surface layer. The concentric circles create a veil we must look through to see the picture behind it. After enjoying this geometric glow of
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(“Venus Rising from the Sea; A Deception by Raphaelle Peale Essay”, n.d.)
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(Venus Rising from the Sea; A Deception by Raphaelle Peale Essay)
“Venus Rising from the Sea; A Deception by Raphaelle Peale Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/visual-arts-film-studies/52004-formal-comparative-analysis-of-aaron-douglas-study.
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Number Date Venus Rising from the Sea-A Deception by Raphaelle Peale The painting “Venus Rising from the Sea-A Deception” is quite modern in feeling for the time period in which it was created. At first all we see is a white sheet, gracefully draped from the top…
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