Artwork By Gustave Dore

 Write a critical response paper discussing (comparing and contrasting) a minimum of 3 works of art created by Gustave Dore. These can be from your text, the online lectures, or the videos. (minimum of 4 pages).  Be sure to incorporate some of the items mentioned in the handout “Analyzing Art.”   There is a sample paper under “Content”, then “Course Resources”. It gives you an excellent example of how to write a paper for this class. 

Minimum 4 pages.  APA style. 

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Attached is the “Analyzing Art” and Sample paper.

First Thoughts and Reactions

What did you notice about the art when you first looked at it?

What struck you as being unusual or interesting about the forms or images?

What was your feeling as to what it may have meant?

Did you like what you saw or did you have another sort of feeling about it?

Why did you like or not like it?

Form and Content of the Picture or Art Form

List all the things that you can name in the picture. Indicate some that are repeated.

If the work is abstract name the figures, forms and visual content of the art. For abstract art use words like color, shape, area, line, etc. (the visual elements).

Does the work seem to express one of these qualities more than others.

“Emotional content,” “Intellectual order,” “Sensual form” or “Prettiness or beauty?”

What the Artist May Have Tried to Express

What do you think the picture is about? What is the artist trying to say?

Identify parts of the picture or art form that provide clues about the meaning.

Do colors provide clues to the meaning?

Do line movements suggest clues to the meaning?

Visual and Design Features of the Art Work

What kind of space is the artist portraying? Flat patterned space, Shallow 3 Dimensional space, or deep perspective in 3 dimensional space.

What is the dominant color in the work? (The color that seems to be used more than others)

How and where do the line movements travel in the space? (Mostly horizontal, mostly vertical, intercepting angles, circular or radial.

Where can you find repeated forms that create a rhythm? What are these forms?

What colors are repeated? What is the affect that repeating these colors produces?

What part of the over all design seems to be emphasized?

How is the emphasis achieved? Size dominance, Color illuminates it, lines point to it? Other?

Is there any evidence that the artist was using textures? No, mostly smooth and blended; yes, the use of details seems to produce a texture; yes, the physical use of materials produces a texture.

Where can you see contrasts? The colors contrast; dark and light contrasts, large and small forms produce a contrast; There are contrasting line sizes; There are contrasting line types, – – angular, curved, and straight lines.

How does the artist make the work harmonious or integrated? Unifying colors, unifying rhythms, line movements take the eye smoothly around the spaces, others?

Art Skills, Methods and Technology

If you had done the work what things would have been difficult or challenging for you?

Do you see forms of expression that are unknown to you?

Does a particular kind of technology or ideology seem to influence the art work?

Is there anything experimental in nature about the work?

Where can you see the artist use special creative gifts or skills being employed?

Influence of the Historic Period of the Work

What are some of the characteristics of the art style or period of which the artist is a part?

What was happening in the world or in the country of the artist at the time the work was done?

Was the time a time of peace or war?

Was the environment a risky one in some way or another?

What important events happened during this time?

Biographical Insights

Where did the artist grow up?

What was the time period of his life?

Who were some influential people in the artist’s life?

What challenges did the artist overcome?

Was the artist successful in his own time?

What was the artist’s principle interest that becomes a recognizable feature of his/her mature work?

What have you learned by learning about the artist life and looking at his/her work?

Why is this artist different from others that are known to you?

How is the artist like or unlike you?

SOME CRITIQUE QUESTIONS ON STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES IN A VISUAL PROJECT

First describe what you see.

STRENGTHS

* Technical

What is strong about these materials in this project? What is strong about the way those materials are used? Contrast with your understanding of how these materials are traditionally used.

What sorts of surfaces are used/made – and how do those contribute to the whole?

What seem to be the artist’s principal technical skills evident here?

*Formal

Pay attention to points, lines, planes, masses, and their connections; how are these used in a powerful way? Does the scale of the piece seem adequate to the subject and materials?

Where does the viewer position him/herself in relation to the project, physically? What seems strong about the physical orientation of the project to the viewer?

How is the piece displayed? What seems strong about the method of displaying?

What is strong about the use of negative space?

Is there anything surprising about the way the visual traits are being “described” in this piece?

*Conceptual

What sort of psychological or emotional impact does this make, if any?

What content, beyond perhaps the identification of an object or situation, is being communicated? What references or emphases are being made?

What surprises do you experience in considering this as a solution to a problem?

What to you is the best aspect of this solution of the problem?

WEAKNESSES

*Technical

First, what are the principal materials used in this project, and what do these materials usually do best?

How does the use of the materials seem inadequate to the task the artist has taken on?

Is the artist fighting the materials, or using them creatively?

Given what the artist is attempting in this project, would other materials seem more appropriate?

Could this piece be more effective with more care given to its execution, or less; keep in mind that the answer depends on the intent of the project.

What other skills or techniques might have worked better in this project?

*Formal

Are the visual elements expressive as well as descriptive in this piece?

Are there enough variations among the visual elements to create tension, yet enough similarity among some of the elements to suggest a cohesiveness?

Is the scale adequate to the solution here?

How should tones, textures, point of view, etc., be used differently?

What seems ordinary, stereotypical or clichéd in the artist’s solution to the problem?

*Conceptual

How could this project imply more than its simple visual description? Does it do that?

What does this project need to make it more surprising?

What has the artist not thought fully enough about? Or not taken enough care to execute better?

If this piece were to be done again, what would you suggest to the artist that they change?

What is the overarching least successful aspect of this project?

YOUR RESPONSES

*Immediate

What are you initially attracted to or dis-attracted to?

Is your first sensation comfort or familiarity? Discomfort? Do you know why in either case?

*After Time

Is there anything provocative about the piece that accumulates over time with you?

Are there aspects to the image that you’ve never seen before?

Do you ever think about the piece after your initial encounter? What might be the reasons?

METHOD FOR INTERPRETING ART

1. Describe what you see and only what you see (articulate details, colors, textures, forms, composition, materials, how it takes up time and space, describe its craft, properties and characteristics as an object, the details of each image and the characteristics of the image., etc) Avoid free associations at this time.

2. Describe what the work or object feels like and how it makes you feel – avoid free associations.

3. Analyze possible meanings of the object or image and/or the intentions of the artist.

4. At this step we can now freely associate possible meanings.

5. Give any possible historical or contemporary art contexts for the art, process, object or image.

6. Research statements by the artist about their own process of making the work.

The Satire of Gerald Scarfe

Union Institute and University

GART125 – Humor in the Visual Arts

Professor Frances Carter

February 25, 2018

 

 

            Humor is a wonderful thing and has been documented as having healing capabilities. Art enables an audience to enter the mind of the artist, escape into another place or world, and to feel a plethora of emotions. Combining the two would be like when someone had an amazing idea to combine chocolate and peanut butter, or peanut butter and jelly, or cookies and cream, etc. Like music, there are several different forms or genres of art. Some people primarily listen to country, rock, jazz, rap, or rhythm and blues, just like how some people prefer art that draws out deep, emotional art that draws out tears of sadness or sympathy, some prefer art that makes them smile, laugh, or cry tears of joy, while I believe the vast majority of people all enjoy art that makes them laugh out loud or provides a good chuckle. Political satire is easily some of the most amusing types of art and can be made even funnier when done in cartoon art. Political satire makes people aware of what is going in our society or the world even when one shuts off all news media outlets. It can also reflect a great deal of concern and cause for change with powerful, yet subtle and hidden, messages embedded within the artist’s work. Gerald Scarfe was a well-known cartoonist that specialized in political satire. He addressed global concerns and provided powerful messages and thought provoking ideas in his art work that spanned several decades.

            Gerald Scarfe was born in London and suffered from severe asthma as a child, and since Scarfe suffered from such severe asthma, he was bed ridden for the better part of his early years and drawing became one of his only outlets and escapes. There is speculation from many people that the reason behind many of the strangely grotesque or diseased characters is that it is reminiscent of his experiences as a bed ridden child suffering from his asthma. Scarfe, himself, stated that much of his work can even be traced back to what he believed were his poor treatments and the reliance of what he felt were incompetent doctors (Gerald Scarfe, n.d.).

            Scarfe’s artistic technique revolved around cartooning, specifically revolving around the political satire spectrum. Scarfe has done work for a number of different major publications such as The Sunday Times, Time; he was asked to do illustrations for the Vietnam War, and even asked to do illustrations for Pink Floyd’s albums and animations. Cartoons allow a lot of flexibility in their drawn images. The subject of the piece can be drawn with larger heads and smaller bodies, enlarged body parts, drawn in infant’s clothing, drawn doing random, atypical acts, or any other such things. Cartoons are and can be inherently humorous, and their general nature is assumed to be humorous; however, that is not always the case as we can see in cartoons, cartoon animations, comic books, or graphic novels such as what comes from Marvel Comics, DC Comics, etc.

            No matter who the audience is that Scarfe’s cartoons come in contact with, it is important to note that his subject matter is almost like a news media outlet. Scarfe creates political satire through the use of cartoons about politicians, about important social issues, and worldwide political issues. Scarfe may potentially be an unknown to many, even his own countrymen; however, he still creates an awareness with his work to those that are exposed to it. Although he is a London born man that likely resides somewhere in the United Kingdom, he creates political satire cartoons that depict the President of the United States even though the President elect does not directly or immediately affect the people of the United Kingdom. The parliament of the United Kingdom may have immediate relationships with the United States government, but other than that, there are and should be few dealings with our President. The fact that Scarfe is still alerting people of the United Kingdom or making even United States citizens to the potential dealings that we engage in is creating a sense of global awareness. Scarfe is effectively combining both humor and news coverage to help educate the people that are exposed to his artwork. For example, Scarfe used a Superman parody for former President Barack Obama and I viewed as two different perspectives to view it. Many people that supported Obama could easily view him as a true superhero that was set on a path to save the United States from any and all travesties or difficulties. Scarfe utilized this image several times in several different pieces of work. On the opposite side, many people that did not support Obama could easily view his representation as a superhero as pure sarcasm. Their views of his action or lack thereof, would instantly be supported in Obama’s facial expressions in Scarfe’s artwork or the meekness that he displays. Scarfe generally depicts President Trump often as a large talking head which he has always been seen as, especially considering his nickname of ‘The Donald’ that was so widely popularized.

Political satire is generally biased towards one side or another and political satire cartoonists will generally push their agenda towards their biased side. One of the things that I particularly enjoy about Scarfe’s work is that he shows as little bias as possible and makes fun of both sides. “But at a time when people feel that politics and politicians have less and less relevance to their lives, one wonders if the political cartoonist, whose art is fed by the adrenalin of topical events, will have to scale ever more extreme heights of satire in order to hold our attention” (Irving, 1998, p. 39). Whether one chooses to believe in this idea or not, artists such as Scarfe hold and have held quite a bit of power in their artwork. They can present their message, ideas, and agenda just like any other news media outlet and hope to impart those same ideas and beliefs onto other people. Obviously, this notion is not set in stone and is only an assumption on my part or many other peoples’ parts; however, it bears mentioning that the social construct of influence could somehow potentially change another person’s beliefs. For example, Scarfe drew a piece that depicted his Super Obama character changing into his suit to fight the world, and then showed him getting punched or knocked out by a fist that represented different issues such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Vladimir Putin, etc. Especially for the people that supported Obama during his presidency, people may question Obama’s foreign and domestic policy with those organizations and how he handled the situations.

Political satire cartoons clearly have a place in the art world and within our society. It helps to provide some light hearted humor concerning serious topics within our current society and world. Gerald Scarfe accomplished both of those feats through his political satire cartoons for several decades. He expertly and efficiently combined humor in his artwork, as well as utilized his artwork almost like a news media outlet. He commented on our social and other worldly issues by making people aware and questioning what is occurring in our society. Scarfe, whether intentional or not, was able to keep people informed and up to date on sociopolitical issues, and provided powerful messages within his artwork. Art can definitely be humorous, however, we must also be able to recognize the message or any message, if any, that an artist is attempting to convey to be able to completely appreciate their artwork in its entirety.

References

Gerald Scarfe. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Scarfe

Irving, M. (1998). Between the lines. New Statesman, 127(4407), 38.

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