Friday, April 27, 2012


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If we want to be able to describe the attributes of a work of art and be able to

express our reactions to it, we shall see how the elements of art, such as a line,

colors, and shape, are composed into a work of art. I will cover the three of them

representational, abstract, and nonrepresentational and having style, form, and

Help with essay on UNDERSTANDING ART

iconography. I choose this piece of art Dieric Bouts’s Mater Dolorosa, I will explain

why it is best as representational, and I will provide an analysis of its style, form, and


First, one could also say that the representational art refers to art that represents

people or objects in something of recognizable form, those images look very

much like images in the natural world. An example of representational art, is

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (150-06). Abstract art, applies to art that departs

significantly from the actual appearance of things. It may convert reality into forms

that can be appreciated for their own sake. Constantin Brancusi’s The Kiss (108),

sculpture is a good example, though abstract, it refers to realistic subject matter.

Nonrepresentational, does not represent the natural world , only shapes

and some colors, or visually textures. There is no identifiable imagery. Jackson

Pollock’s Convergence (15) is an example of nonrepresentational art.

Style, refers to the characteristic ways in which artists express themselves.

It is a function of its historical period, in other words, the time in which a work of art

was made. Form, is the way that a piece of art looks, its shape, size, material and

technique used to make the artwork. Iconography, the key to works of art, is the

study of the subject matter and symbolism of works of art, groups paintings and

sculptures in terms of their themes rather than their styles. The development of

subject matter becomes a major focus of critical study.

The Dieric Bouts’s Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowing Madonna) (1470-1475),

is a representational piece of art because it combines traditional forms expressing

medieval piety with sensitive observation of the natural world. The artist viewed the

subject as a religious and highly emotional expression. Her eyes overflowing over

with tears, she contemplates something with a tender gaze. The artist use of a simple

gold background in which the figure is placed by focusing on the head and hands of

the Madonna, illustrates a very intense feeling of love and sorrow. Her head

tilted to one side looks almost as though it is falling, giving an image of movement.

Her gesture is a very natural one. She has very little color in her cheeks, as she lacks

the same color over the rest of her body.

In conclusion without this background of information we find the painting lovely,

But how much more interesting it becomes when we understand its iconography.

It is well worth the effort to learn more about it.

Reference list.

Fichner-Rathus, L. (14). Understanding art. New Jersey Prentice Hall.

Gilbert, R. (18). Living with art. (5th ed.).New York McGraw-Hill.

Mater Dolorosa (sorrowing Madonna) by Dieric Bouts, (1470-1475)


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