Seminar Class 09/10/12

Yesterday’s seminar class was spent discussing two famous paintings. The first painting that the class analyzed was The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The Mona Lisa probably the most known painting in art history. Almost anyone could look at the painting and automatically distinguish which one it is. I was always a fan of The Mona Lisa and yesterday’s class helped me realize and analyze the true beauty of the full painting. When I  used to look a the painting I never payed any attention to the background of the painting. To be honest, I never even knew there was a background to the painting. When the class discussed the background of the picture, we all noticed that there were two different types of scenery. The background towards the top of the painting included a river and forestry while the background towards the bottom of the page seemed almost desert-like as if a wildfire had occurred. We also discussed the complexity of her facial expression. Her eyes look very serious while she has a slight smirk on her face as well. Her eyes, however, are the true focal point of the painting and are usually the first things a person looks at while viewing this famous painting. As a result of analyzing both the woman and the background, the class agreed that the background is just as mysterious as the subject.

We also looked at the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. This painting was created in 1942 and seemed as if it took place in a bar in New York City. It shows three regular customers and the man who works behind the bar. There is one man alone while the other is sitting with the only woman as if they were a couple. Unlike The Mona Lisa, Nighthawks is easily identified as an American painting. Just by looking at the style of clothing and the decor of the bar, many can people can tell that this painting is based off of American culture. In reality, this painting symbolizes the typical American trying to achieve the American dream. The people in the painting seem to be at the bar late at night after a long day of work and providing for their family.

Even though i enjoyed discussing both of these paintings, my favorite of the two was The Mona Lisa. Analyzing this painting in class truly opened my eyes to the full meaning of the painting. Before this class, I always thought of this painting to be simple. Now I realize that it is very complex ad difficult to analyze.