Stephanie Solanki, Seminar 9/10/12

Today in class we looked at the Mona Lisa. We actually gazed at the Mona Lisa and the background. We said in class how it looks like a desert, and a scary forest. I thought it looked like a mix of different landscapes, which adds to the fact that the painting is so dynamic and deep. Most people in the class saw different things, and very seldom were too opinions exactly alike. I think that is the allure of the class, that we can all experience art in New York but we all experience it in different ways. I think it’s interesting that the the background is so complex, yet I haven’t noticed it since before looking at it in class.

I think it’s interesting and very telling of the time period that Mona Lisa is painted with perfect skin, hair, and clothing. I think that maybe this woman was a patron of Da Vinci’s, so he was forced to idealize her. This also shows that the Renaissance woman was ideal and perfect.

It’s interesting that this painting is part of the “Big Three” most famous paintings. I like that it’s so simple at first glance, but one I start gazing at it I see so much more. I notice the oval patterns in the painting, and I now see a connection with the “Last Supper” in which Da Vinci painted many triangles.

This same principle applies with Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. I learned how to see patterns in paintings like the rectangles on the building in the back, and the rectangular shape of the diner itself. I now see the language of painting, that there are patterns and different ways of expressing an idea.

A connection I thought of between the two paintings is the use of light. The background in the “Mona Lisa” is darker than her face and skin, which is done on purpose to draw attention to the face. The same thing is done in “Nighthawks” with the woman in red, because the painting is done so that it seems that the lighting fixture is directly on top of her. It really works to grab attention and make that portion of the painting stand out more.