Free Essay

Two Paintings in Mfa

In: Other Topics

Submitted By wendymqliu
Words 1072
Pages 5
During the 18th-19th century, although European colonists settled the lands and manipulated the economies of the cities in America, they could not prevent the emergence and restrict the development of the art history. Nicholas Boylston and Nathaniel Sparhawk were two portraits made by John Singleton Copley, an American painter who is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England. Both created in the same time period and by the same painter, these two portraits share some similarities and differences.

John Singleton Copley painted Nicholas Boylston and Nathaniel Sparhawk in the 60s in 18th century, the former one in 1769, and the later one in 1764. They are both oil on canvas. However, they are of apparent difference in dimension. Nicholas Boylston is 125x99.5 cm and Nathaniel Sparhawk is 231.14x149.86 cm, which is almost twice as large as the former one.

Unlike Nicholas Boylston, Nathaniel Sparhawk is Copley’s first full-length, life-sized portrait. Sparkhawk is standing in the outdoor hallway of a villa with his left hand leaning on the corner pillar and holding an architectural drawing, and with left hand in the coat pocket, and looking ahead with fortitude. This pose was inspired by King George III, who was the King of Great Britain and King of Ireland. On the contrast, Boylston chose to portrait an image at leisure. He is sitting on a rosewood chair in a silk damask banyan morning gown with a red-velvet turban on his head and two books under his left elbow. Although he dressed down in this picture, the texture of his frock and the exquisite design on it show out his status and richness in the society.

Copley made some conscious distortions in the portrait of Nathaniel Sparhawk. the villa in this portrait is completely imaginary. Also, Copley exaggerated Sparhawk’s belly width. He intended painting more buttons on his coat to show his excess weight. According to the perspective people had at that time, an excess of weight represented health and prosperity. Unlike Nathaniel Sparhawk, the background of Nicholas Boylston is real. He is sitting in a room with silky curtains and a painter behind. He is right in the middle of the picture and his body accounts for 80% of the total area of the picture. However, the full-length portrait of Sparhawk only accounts for 50% of the total picture area.

Copley used Linear and volumetric perspective in both portraits. There are three spaces in Nathaniel Sparhawk: Sparhawk himself, the outstretched railing and the villa gate in the behind. The European style railing was highlightened in grey and it is the medium that divides the other two spaces apart. Comparably, there are only two spaces in Nicholas Copley: Copley with the table, chair and the books in one space, and the view out of window in another space. Because of the dominance of the image itself, the sea view from the window is not easily noticed at the first glance. However, Copley did not just randomly chose the sea view as background. He painted it because Boylston accumulated his fortune by running business on sea. Possibly Boylston wanted his offspring and all the people who have seen this portrait to remember his social status and the financial significance in the colonial period of America, so he used the sea as background along with his own portrait to make it a heritage in the American art history.

What is similar in these two paintings is their lightening skill -- Copley applied naturalistic light in both Nathaniel Sparhawk’s and Nicholas Boylston’s portraits, and the lights are both coming from the right side. The lightening source in Sparhawk is more like sunlight, because he is standing outdoors and his left face, which is facing the pillar, is in shadows. The edge of the buttons on his coat is glazing, and the highlightened drape of the outer layer implies the power Sparhawk has got. Unlike Sparhawk standing outdoors, Boylston is sitting back against the window. Obviously the light is not coming from the window, so there must be another light source on the right side in front of Boylston. It might be a door or another window in the direction that Boylston is looking into. The light is very intensive so that it has made his left cheek look waxy. In the meantime, the light has also intensified the material difference of Boylston’s green gown – with fabric leaf-shaped design on the outer side and glazing silky lining on the inner side.

From these two portraits, we can also figure out that all the cultural patterns were actually used to show their economic capabilities and social statues. The imaginary villas background in Nathaneil Sparhawk implies that Sparhawk did have the financial ability of having a European style palace-like villa. The chart he is holding in left hand may prove it or at least shows that he has the ambition to build a villa like it. As I mentioned at the end of the third paragraph, the exaggeration of his belly width indicates his prosperous life for the much food he ate. His inspired pose, facial expression and all the details show that Sparhawk is an ambitious and wealthy person celebrity back in the colonial period of America. In reverse, Copley presented Boylston at leisure to impress people about Boylston’s luxurious life. Although Boylston is dressing down, but it can be seen as “up” to many people. Velvet hat, green coat and even the scarlet tablecloth are all silky. Also, the expansive view of the sea and the sailing ship point out from where Boylston accumulated fortune. Although Sparhawk is dressing up in his portrait and Boylston is dressing down in his portrait, Copley did good jobs on describing the details through pigments and paintbrushes, which present us two images of wealthy, ambitious and elegant men.

In conclusion, John Singleton Copley painted Nathaniel Sparhawk’s and Nicholas Boylston’s portraits in some similar ways, such as the spatial illusion, lighting and the luxurious lives they had. However, the techniques that Copley chose to present his work in are of slight differences, just like the dimensions and the extent of distortion in paintings. In the art history of the colonial America, these two masterpieces reflect the great lives of two celebrities and they bring us lots of cultural concepts to help us better understand the historic meaning behind the portraits.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Paintings on Paintings on Paintings

...Edward Johnson HUM 110-IT1 November 4, 2012 Paintings on Paintings on Paintings The Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh struggled as a painter. His frustration often caused him to destroy certain parts of his works.  He became renowned as a mad genius that cut off his own ear and for his revolutionary experiments with form and color. Van Gogh was a very productive painter. He painted well over 800 paintings.  Interestingly, there is actually much more of his work that we don’t know of. It’s estimated that almost a third of his existing paintings have another painting hidden a few millimeters below the surface. He was a modern artist who rejected the classical techniques of the Salon Painters (his Academic contemporaries of the 19th century). He was overwhelmed by a passion to craft new forms in his images. Van Gogh’s vibrant painting titled “Patch of Grass” was studied intensely for years in the conservation studio of the Kroller-Muller museum in the Netherlands. Thanks to the damages of time, the color of a human cheek is visible in one of the larger cracks of the painting’s surface. Scientists and conservators began to collaborate, knowing from x-rays that there was a mysterious head of a woman underneath the surface layer of the field of flowers. The Kroller-Muller museum allowed the scientists to take Van Gogh’s “Patch of Grass” was taken to an atomic particle accelerator in Hamburg, Germany, known as the Doris III Synchrotron, to map the pattern of hidden......

Words: 802 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Comapre and Contrasting Two Painting

...The two paintings that I chose for our second writing assignment are Self-portrait on the Borderline between Mexico and the United States and Model with Unfinished Self-portrait. I chose these two paintings for two reasons. The first reason being that both pieces include people. I thought that might make it easier to compare and contrast the two. The second reason is even though they both have people they each have a totally different feel to them. Self-portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States has an almost confusing feel to it. Kahlo is standing between Mexico and the U.S., and seems lost in and confused about where she belongs. The right side, the U.S., is dominated by industry, and the left, Mexico, is represented by landscape and the Mexican culture. The painting has variety and unity. I think that if I looked at this painting without knowing the title and the intension I would say that this piece has only variety, but because I understand what Kahlo wants to communicate, the variety is unified. Model with Unfinished Self-portrait has a simpler feel to it. It seems to be more peaceful and relaxed. A painting to look at and enjoy, not deciphering the “true” meaning behind it. I think the most confusing part about this piece is the title. Without looking at an outside source to see what the artist looks like, is the model sleeping or is the model sitting at the table. My first guess would be that the model is the one asleep and the artist is......

Words: 1075 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Painting Critique

...This week I chose to write my paper on a painting by a local man named Doug Miller. He began his professional art career in 1981 in Leavenworth, Washington, painting the spectacular landscape of the North Cascade Mountain Range. The rugged wilderness and plentiful wildlife of the Northwest inspired many of his earlier paintings. Much of his work is displayed in his own gallery, Doug Miller Gallery, located in the Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth. Doug’s paintings have been acknowledged for numerous awards in Northwest art shows that he attends, including the former Arts for the Parks competition, held annually in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Collectors often remark that his paintings are peaceful and serene; they exhibit a depth that “makes you feel like you can escape into the painting.” In this painting, there are pink carnations, with green stems and are hanging in the air or are baseless. The pink color of the flowers is bright while the foreground color is a subdued brown. The background color ranges from a smudgy yellow to a light green. The shape of the painting is asymmetrical, and the texture of the flowers, foreground, and background is rough. There is a bunch of pink carnations with green stems. The landscape of the painting is indoors because there is no source of light, and the bunch has been suspended in the air. The color of the background is light green with some elements of yellow, and it creates an illusion of a light-source. The orange and green colors......

Words: 707 - Pages: 3

Free Essay


...Madhubani Paintings Introduction The closest to the universal medium of communication is "Art". Art can manifest into numerous forms and if we listen carefully to each one of these forms, they have a story to tell from mythological events to future scenarios of the world. Art educates us by speaking a universal language and Madhubani art which originated from Bihar is one such revered Art-work recognized internationally. We have chosen Madhubani paintings for this exercise. Body Madhubani paintings are characterized by the vibrant and bold use of colors and traditional geometric patterns that supports the main theme. Some of the main attributes of all the Madhubani paintings are double line border, ornate floral patterns, abstract-like figures of deities and bulging eyes with a jolting nose of the faces of the figures. Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants.Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and hindu religion, and the themes generally revolve around hindu deities. Natural objects like the sun, the moon and flowers are widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Types of Madubani paintings There are 3 styles of Madhubani painting 1.Brahmin Style 2. Tatoo Style 3.Kshatriya Style Colour Scheme •Black – By blending soot......

Words: 402 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Paintings to Kill for

...An eerie atmosphere surrounding the first niveau of the castle . The walls are bare stone floor is cold and rough , a thin strip of moonlight intrudes through the two dilapidated windows , and do their best to brighten up the room. Stein and Robert could agree that the moon is not entirely successful with it - but they would on the other hand do not have a lost lean to light the way for them, so they did not complain . There, they carefully walked across the cold floor so they know someone kept an eye on them . A black eye with a hard, cold eyes followed our two adventurers in every step they took , every movement they undertook . This was Stein and Robert mentioned blissfully unaware . Or , so very happy they were not where they nervous crept through the room , but it is an indisputable fact that they would have been much more nervous if they knew they were under someone's attention - and definitely if they knew who that someone was. Yes , I would go so far as to say that it probably would have been a gust down the back of anyone and everyone if they knew who the spy was, but I 'm not going to ruin your sleep to some by revealing his or her identity , let me just say that the clues are there, would anyone want to untangle the strings , so it is certainly possible.     The next room is almost identical to the first - apart from a staircase leading up to the second niveau . You decide heroes to not go up, but rather continue on to the next room. The next room again has only...

Words: 1114 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Interpretation of a Painting

...Event Paper #1 – Painting ARTS 1301.002 Milan Baweja October 5, 2013 I attended the The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art on October 3rd 2013. This Exhibition had many different paintings with styles varying from the different eras of European Art. The painting that caught my eye was The Union of Venus and Bacchus (L'Alliance de Bacchus et de Vénus) by Nicolas Chapron. Chapron successfully demonstrates a union being made between these two gods due to his use of color, texture, and his line technique. In the painting The Union of Venus and Bacchus (L'Alliance de Bacchus et de Vénus) by Nicolas Chapron paints the goddess Venus with the god of wine and fertility Bacchus. Directly underneath them there is a satyr holding a fallen goat with two infants at each of the goat’s hind legs. They are in a forest with what appears to be a stone table with a vase on it and cloth surrounding the back of the trees to make a hidden area in the woods. On the right hand side of the table intertwined in the cloth are two more infants. The vase on the table has a face on the front of it and the spout is in the shape of a bird’s beak. Underneath the infants in the bottommost right hand side of the painting, there is some sort of cracked stone and a base of a column. In the background of the painting the sky is in turmoil and there is the rest of the forest and a path that leads to the area of the painting. In the center of the path lies a boulder. At......

Words: 1018 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Painting and Its Mediums

...Artist and its medium Painting Artists these days have now several painting media to choose from but such is not the case in ancient times. Ancient time painters usually use media that are usually available to them such as wood, pottery and walls. This is the reason why most of the artefacts that are found today are from wall paintings such as frescoes and paintings in potteries that are used in burials and wines. Wood paintings such as panel painting are susceptible to weather conditions which is why there are only quite few of these artefacts are found. Some of these panel paintings are just bits and pieces of the original masterpiece. Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519, Old Style) An Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination". He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. The Mona Lisa  is a half-length portrait of a woman by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, which has been acclaimed as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied...

Words: 4687 - Pages: 19

Premium Essay


...Neoclassical is the style of painting that showed a large amount of realism and accuracy within the artwork; however, Neoclassical does not show or give facial expressions or poses to define an individual within he painting. The paintings that are Neoclassical do show a large amount of detail such as the painting “The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries” painted by Jaques Louis David, which gives a large amount of detail and clues to Napoleon’s stature in life. The use of the style Impressionism developed in the 19th century by french artists is a bit different than Neoclassical due to Impressionism uses more realism in the style of painting. This would be the same as reading a children's book which depicts an image you want to see, where as a novel will give the reader an abstract view or insight. Impressionism uses abstract techniques within a painting, they use not only a brush to show texture and light, but also dots or blobs. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting “The Luncheon of the Boating Party” does not show smooth clear images, the painting has more of a blur or smearing type of look with the use of blobs to show light. I would say Impressionism does look as if created with color pencils or oil crayons. The American form which has a look completely different than the styles of Neoclassical and Impressionism is the style developed by Jackson Pollock in the 20th century is known as Abstract Expressionism. Jackson Pollock’s painting of “Autumn Rhythm......

Words: 573 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Painting Styles

... Painting Styles Chiquita M. Thomas ART/101 Instructor: Ann Wood July 27, 2014 Painting Styles “Neoclassicism is the movement that shaped the thought, minds, and civic ideals of Americans for 150 years” ("Neoclassicism", 2010). “Neoclassicism was a revived interest in classical forms and ideas that saturated European and American intellectual thought, fine arts and politics during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries” ("Neoclassicism", 2010). “Neoclassicism was a transatlantic phenomenon” ("Neoclassicism", 2010). Neoclassical artist seem to not have shown emotion in the artwork from the look on Napoleons face. “Careful examination of the details embedded in this portrait reveals the key to David's success as a painter during the time of Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Napoleon: the artist's ability to transform his subjects into politically powerful icons” (Kress, 2014). “Napoleon is standing in the center of the room wearing is military uniform” (Kress, 2014). “David strategically placed the sword on the chair to allude to Napoleon's military success, while the prominent display of the word "Code" in his papers, suggests his administrative achievements” (Kress, 2014). “Impressionism is a 19th century artistic movement that swept much of the painting and sculpture styles of the period” ("Impressionism Art of Impressionist", 2012). “It was not just a passing fad but has defined an entirely modern way of expressing one’s artistry that eventually rubbed of in other art forms......

Words: 767 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Cavanas Painting

...this artwork looks like it’s about how storms can cause many deaths, and there isn’t anything we can do about it. - Mother Nature is something we cannot prevent, and natural deaths happen because of them. - I know this because if you closely observe the picture, it is pretty much cut into two parts. - The first part is the strength and devastation of the storm, and the crashing of powerful waves. - The other half is nothing but a graveyard where people have died probably from this storm. - According to the credit line, this artwork was created by Adolf Hiremy- Hirschl. - He was an Austrian, and was born in 1860 and died in 1933. - He named this artwork the Seaside Cemetery, and was created in 1897. - What significance this may have to Adolf was that he probably experienced a tragedy because of a storm. - For example, people from hurricane Katrina will never forgot the disaster that happened when their whole life changes because of nature’s raw power. - People that experienced that storm had their lives changed forever. - If Adolf experienced this same tragedy that is probably the story he is trying to tell in this painting. - What makes me think this is because this painting is about the power of nature and how it can impact human life significantly. - The emotions I receive from this artwork are a lot of sadness and devastation. It really does make an impact and has a lot of meanings. - One of the things that come to mind is that we are never safe. -......

Words: 776 - Pages: 4

Free Essay


...Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette * Medium (Material) – Oil * Style - vibrant light and has saturated color * Judgment – a typical scene from Paris 1. What is it about? The painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris. It was an open-air dancehall and café that was frequented by many artists living there. In the late 19th century, working class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening. Renoir attended Sunday afternoon dances and enjoyed watching the happy couples. For him, it provided the perfect setting for a painting. This canvas shows Renoir's friends, Frank Lamy, Norbert Goeneutte, and Georges Rivière gathered around the central table. 2. What is it for? And who is the intended bodies / audiences? Especially for working girls and their young men together with a sprinkling of artists who enjoyed the spectacle and also found unprofessional models. The dapple of light is an Impressionist feature but Renoir seems especially to have welcomed the opportunity to make human beings, and especially women, the main components of picture. 3. What are its materials? Or what are the materials used? Renoir used oil on his canvas painting. It is vibrant light and has saturated color. He uses brightly colored brush strokes and opts to blend colors that suit him best. He uses patches of soft color and combines this with......

Words: 596 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Two Napoleon Paintings

...1B 23 April 2015 Napoleon Crossing Saint-Bernard and Leading the Army over the Alps There has been many artists throughout the years that have captivated the audience with their works of art and/or sculptures. Some of which still remain in important museums like the Musee du Louvre and the Brooklyn Museum. There has also been many artists of today that recreate past paintings and change the message being delivered to the audience. For example, in 1801 Jacques-Louis David created the painting Napoleon Crossing Saint-Bernard. This painting is now located in the Natural Museum of Château de Malmaison which is 12km from Paris. In 2005, two hundred and four years later to be exact, an artist named Kehinde Wiley created the painting Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps. This painting has been placed in the Brooklyn Museum and has become part of their collection. These two paintings are considered to be practically the same thing yet deliver a distinct message, as in the modern version it changes the main character as well as his appearance and message. Therefore, Wiley’s painting is better than Jacques-Louis painting as it expresses a different aspect of humanity being in power. Napoleon Crossing Saint-Bernard was a creation of the early 18th century painter Jacques-Louis David. It took Jacques-Louis around four months to complete this work of art, it was done from October 1800 to January 1801. Posterior to all of the terrific situation France was going through, as well as......

Words: 1174 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Compare and Contrast Two Paintings of Jesus

...The painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds of c. 1607–10 by tan Italian artist Domenichino Zampieri. Oil canvas 143 x 115 cm has been in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. Baroque Period Christ Before Pilate (oil on canvas) 417 x 36 cm, Munkacsy, Mihaly (1844-1900) ,Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary , The Bridgeman Art Library. Realism Period The life of Jesus Christ is one that is both fascinating and a mystery. The true origin of when Christ was born is not truly known. This one man’s life is very well documented, both in words and in art. There are many question raised if this truly happened or was a myth created to give the public hope in times of need. The two works of art I decided to use for my milestone essay is the painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds by Domenichino Zamperini (21 October, 1581 – 6 April, 1641) and Christ before Pilate by Munkacsy, Mihaly (20 February 1844 – 1 May 1900). The two paintings I chose to focus on are of Jesus Christ on his life, humanity and his spirituality. I chose these since they represent Jesus' fragile humanity through his infancy and death. These paintings struck me as different from the other religious art I had seen because it represents humanity without losing spirituality of Jesus holiness. Domenichino created this painting in an oil canvas. The Realism period was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 Revolution (Finocchio 2004). Realists rejected......

Words: 1533 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Frida Paintings

... and creative artist, all her paintings had so much meaning about events that happened in her life. “Diego and I (1949)” is all about her and her husband Diego and what their relationship was truly about. Diego and Frida’s relationship had so many levels and each so full of pain or happiness. The thing I like most about this painting is that it shows the anguish that Frida has towards Diego Rivera. One key thing many people don’t know about Frida is that her husband cheated on her, constantly, and she knew that but still stayed with him. The significance of Frida’s painting is love and the joy and heartbreak it can cause. The meaning of Diego Rivera on Frida’s forehead is that she always has him on her mind and she loves him so deeply no matter how badly he hurts her, Diego is Frida’s third eye. Diego on the other hand, has an actual third eye resembling lying, and cheating, it shows that Diego does not think about Frida because if he did Frida would have painted herself on his forehead. The third eye references Frida made in her painting shows how their relationship works or how it was formed. The portrait includes a variety of symbols and objects including tears falling down her cheeks, a third on Diegos forehead, Diegos face on the middle of Fridas forehead, hair closing around Fridas neck and her mono-brow. The paint has been well blended and has been applied smoothly, but not to the extent that the portrait looks photographic. Her painting style is naive as she had no......

Words: 973 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Chinese Painting

...Final Project: Art Timeline The Art of Chinese Painting “Landscapes” Axia College University of Phoenix Art /101 Chinese paintings can be found dating as far back as the Neolithic period. These paintings incorporate a combination of Western and Chinese painting styles. There is one category of Chinese painting that has increasingly become more interesting to artist and viewers. It is Chinese landscape painting. “Chinese Landscape painting is the most popular style of painting in the rich artistic legacy of traditional China” (Art Realization, 2005). This particular category of painting includes two schools of painting, Northern and Southern. The Northern school includes professional and court painters, while the Southern school includes amateur and gentle man painters. (Ethnicpaintings, 2011). Artist expressed themselves by painting the natural world around them. The view of nature allowed people to seek comfort and safety. Dong Qichange was a controversial politician regarded as an outstanding Chinese landscape painter. He was born in 1555 in what is known today as Shanghai, China. In addition to being a painter he was also a calligrapher and theoretician. His most remarkable contribution to art was introducing new ways to present thoughts in painting landscape views. Thus, you have the Northern and Southern styles of art. The Northern school of art taught about obtaining truth through art, and the Southern School......

Words: 2142 - Pages: 9