Practicing Visual Description

First Paper Assignment: Practicing Visual Description.

1 typewritten page, single-spaced

Carefully describe Agustina Brunias’s Portrait of Louis Francois Roger Armand Gatereau (See images below). You can use what you have learned in lectures and readings to interpret the image. However, don’t get too caught up in analysis and don’t include quotes from the readings. Instead, focus on describing what you see. 

You can make use of the following guiding questions to help you facilitate your description:

What is the effect of this painting? What is its mood and why? Also, think about how you look at the painting and its details; where is your eye drawn? why? How does he depict the three-dimensional things and persons of the world on a two-dimensional surface? How does he suggest space? What kind of space does he create?  How does he use color? And light? Tell us what aspects of the physical world interested the artist who made this painting. Try to characterize those interests by focusing on specific aspects or areas of the painting. You need to point out to the reader what part of the picture you are describing — “The white cloth hanging in the background…” THESE ARE SUGGESTIONS: DO NOT TRY TO ANSWER THEM IN THIS ORDER.

Ask dumb questions and remember every quality is relative (ie one picture A makes picture B look simple and empty, but picture C makes it look crowded and dense with detail; or bright or dull, animated or still etc): How many figures are there? How large are the shapes? How varied are the shapes? the colors? How dark or brightly lit is the scene? How deep does the space seem? Do things resemble one another or differ from one another? ie is there a resemblance of shapes, forms, persons, things, colors, or a great deal of difference among them? Does the scene seem empty, crowded? concentrated, dispersed?

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