- Lesson details
In the Foundations of Composition video lesson series, world-famous artist and instructor Glenn Vilppu offers you a rich understanding of the complex subject of composition in fine art. Glen lectures, demonstrates, and analyzes the Old Masters in his usual straightforward and concise style as he digs down to the practical tools of composition and how they can be applied to your own work.
In this eighth lesson, Glenn explores the subjective, or psychological element in art. You will learn how to create a mood, or modify themes through the use of expression, staging, and other human elements.
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artist and instructor Glenn Vilppu offers you a rich understanding of
the complex subject of composition in fine art. Glenn
lectures, demonstrates, and analyzes the old masters in his usual
straightforward and concise style as he digs down to the practical tools of
composition and how they can be applied to your own work.
In this lesson, Glenn explores the subjective
or psychological element in art. You will learn how to create a
mood or modify a theme through the use of expression, staging, and other
probably one of the more
obtuse ways to think of it, talking about the emotions
or the subjective element of a painting. Now this
you have to be careful because you put
in too much and it starts looking like a caricature.
But it's still a very useful tool and everybody,
literally everybody, can take and look at Da Vinci, look at
Michelangelo. They all did a lot of drawing
trying to capture expressions and bringing emotions
into the paintings. Because it's storytelling.
That's a big part of it. When we're talking about Poisson,
Titian, everybody used the
subject element. But let's look at the subjective thing
purely as itself to start with. In other words
what effect do we - how do we
take and make the eye move just by
suggestion? Okay, what we
rely on is basic and we
relate to people. If we see somebody turning their eye
we have a tendency, we wanna look at where they go.
What are they looking at? In other words we'll be standing in a street looking at a bunch of people
looking up, everybody's gonna look up. Okay,
so we're very suggestive. That's why I've already been
using and most of the stuff that I've been doing, the gesture, the
movement of the hands or the arms to lead the eye.
Okay that's a big part of it. Also we're talking
a little bit about space. Where the empty space,
the empty space is just as important
as the positive forms that we're dealing with. So we need to
think about the whole thing. It's
capturing this whole volume. Okay so let's take and let's
show you, let's take an example here. Now start out
Simple figure, we're dealing with simple, straight
And look what's happening.
Fortunately this is the way all people start
out doing this.
straight on. Now
if we take and
move that eye,
just that one eye,
it creates - look at the...
Now even the expression
on a thing. See.
Take - I haven't even drawn it here but just the way -
intensity of that eye coming over.
Now if I take and couple that
now I'm taking and adding
in here but now if you're looking
at that, if you think you know what that expression is.
Okay watch what happens.
Now I'm gonna cover this up for a second.
Remember we have the
sense of what that expression
was. Okay let's -
we still got that now, we got that expression.
But it's totally changed.
It's like magic. This thing happens.
Okay so now we've got this
And then we start to - and see look at the eyes
I'm pulling and these expressions.
Okay now if I take
that and - let's just take this, let's put this
into context here.
Now at this point
and the head is taking
up one corner of the space of the canvas.
Yet you're really conscious about that
what's going on over here. Okay. Now
if I start to take and well if I
put something over here, let's take and
do something a little different here now.
Okay. If I look at this figure here
in the foreground let's - oh I'm gonna give this a
story content here. Let's see here,
let's say you're in a restaurant and this is a
He's got the waiter. Okay now
and this is a restaurant full of people. This is maybe a
wall here so I've talked about blocking off
space. Now if I take and
come over here
and I put - let's put
a thing full of flowers.
in a pot.
Sitting on a table.
And what we got over here behind this now
is say all we're seeing, we're not seeing anything.
What if I take and say there's a figure behind this
and all we see
is that. There's a whole story
going on now. This guy's obviously looking at her bosom.
Okay. That takes a whole thing
a little quick [indistinct]
Now what I'm trying to do is to how do we subject
how the motions take and play.
So the shape of the vase here
and the hands getting lost there
in all these flowers.
Okay. Now we're coming through, now
as we do this, now we get
the eyes going there. And so
I'm gonna take with this and put a simple straight through here. If I
take the hands, he's moving now. See I've got
sort of turning the arm.
He's reaching back.
And he's got this
big grin on his face.
Okay. It's very little elements
if you will.
Okay so now I can take and
you can play with that and start taking
and have another figure in here.
Now he's taking and frowning
at this guy taking and grinning.
He's like the boss who's gonna take and come over
and you can take and put his arms
folded in here. Or
maybe this is the husband who sees the guy's taking and
ogling. I've created all
kinds of situations now. Storytelling
I've really, this is illustration.
But you can see the effect of just
the subjective elements is very very good sense
of movement under the - the emotional reaction
to these parts. You could come in and make this
all kinds of shades here and stuff and
but we would be taking and it could be anything.
we use emotions to take and
communicate. Now let's take and look at another situation here.
Look at some other things that we
already dealt with.
We have a -
we were looking at in the paintings that we had
everybody taking and really going in.
Okay we have figures
coming through, going this way
going this way. But the
were looking in the opposite direction.
Somebody up here looking that way
so the weight of the look is counteracting
the movement that is going through
this way. Just the look is taking
and has a weight
on all these figures.
So we take and you use it constantly.
When we start going through and looking at computer works now
we'll look at different artists, we'll look Degas
is an excellent example. There are some other emotion things that we take
and look at where you feel there's like a really
stretching. Now let's just take and this is sort of
example of the paintings we're gonna look at.
But there's the figure
it can be going both ways, we can take and say we have a figure
going back in,
really strong, pushing
back. Okay at that
point we think that is just a simple
figure going back now.
But if we take and add
you can hear the terror and I put the weight
up in the face.
And we drop this all into
going from light into the shadow.
So I'm taking and feeling up something
we don't know what it is.
But there's something outside the frame
that is taking and
a sense of terror
to take and create
the movement. That can
bring a really strong emotional quality to it.
And see okay here as we can see this [indistinct]
what if this is something we see here
and we have a bicycle
leaning against the bicycle, they've got shorts on
What is - is it an outline?
What's going on?
It creates a mystery
okay. So leaning in,
attention is then shoving up into the corner and here
we have the shadow coming off the figure,w e don't even have to show
what it is that's doing the menacing.
And that's what actually even makes it stronger.
and foremost you have to decide and make
a very explicit - actually write down
what is the point of the drawing. So
that you have a very clear idea, what is it. This is as if you were taking and
doing an illustration for a story. What's the
subject? What are you trying to communicate? Okay then
you take and what you do
is you go through a series
of steps. You - like I said you write down
say okay fear. Fear of
say high places.
You could take and start saying well how am I gonna do this?
What things - well obviously you start thinking of
That looks pretty high, you've got this figure up there.
I don't know if I like that, what do I do. So what you do is
you take and this is the process. And this is what we've been
talking about composition. Well you're constantly taking and
dealing so maybe I gotta
maybe here, maybe I'm looking down between the
legs and maybe there's this huge canyon
down there. Now
that doesn't work very well either. So
I'm gonna - now you could be going through, you can go through
30, 40 of these things. Say well maybe
somebody taking and sort of
an edge of something
is really, really down.
Well I don't know if that communicates the fear of
high places, it looks just fearful but maybe
what we're talking about it somebody
taking and inching up
to a high -
okay to take and look - maybe you're thinking about looking
down but maybe holding onto something
where he doesn't fall. So you have to go through a series
of things. Now let's say
if I chose this one,
now that's just a symbol, that's just okay
somebody inching up to somebody instead of taking and doing this teetering
or something like that. Then I would have to start thinking and I would take and be drawing
how what kind of
expression am I gonna take and create
to take and
feeling that coming through
and maybe holding on to something here
through, looking down. Now this looks like a pretty tough
situation to deal with. And he would start,
maybe the angle's wrong, maybe I would have to come down and start to draw
visualizing what is it,
how am I gonna show that, how am I gonna
show this? Maybe the arm going back in space.
So I would take and keep working around
the thing. So you notice that I'm not really particularly worrying about how the drawing
is. I can't worry about the drawing until I figure out what it is
I'm gonna draw. And so now I can take and say well I'm
gonna take an arm going back up and
going back down. Or
maybe I'm seeing somebody looking maybe
I take and maybe somebody they
quelling and they can't look.
Got their hand over their face.
And taking and seeing now I'm starting to think maybe
the foot here and it's coming back, leaning back
and can't look.
That's what you do, you start
searching, you look for it. But you have to know what you're looking for.
If you don't know what you're looking for, you're not gonna
find it. So take and
actually have a clear idea of what it is that
you're trying to take - what emotion you're trying to take and create.
It can be quite subtle,
it doesn't have to be as extreme but when you're gonna have to find a way
to take and communicate that.
thing we're talking about the subjective element
on a picture. Now this is often sort of the
ignored in the fact that we're taking and constantly
focusing on how we move the eye, how we
push the eye. Now this is a
Degas painting. I'm gonna ghost this down a little bit and
talk about this. The first thing to take
and be conscious of, the fact that notice that
the primary elements in the subject here
are all occupying just a corner of
the upper right hand corner of the painting.
Okay. The figures are literally looking
out of the canvas or looking down.
And absent minded, in fact the painting was called
the Absinthe Drinkers. Which is a narcotic.
Okay. So how does
Degas get away with taking and doing that because we've got these figures
just looking out of the picture? Those are subjective things, we go with
the look of a character that we are using.
So the psychological direction that's
created and the psychological feeling that's created,
well first of all as you look at the painting, that he's really leading you into the picture.
We have a series of lines that are taking you across
and going back. But even more so
what we have is the spatial element that
we're taking and he's got a space here, we're starting up high.
You can notice that we drop
down into the floor here
and we essentially now are moving
back into the picture as a series of diagonal
elements in space.
You're moving back in, the figure sitting here, even the
timing now, we get these shadows behind and we're moving
constantly back into the picture.
Very strong verticals. One of the elements that you take and think about
in terms of Degas, and this will become more obvious as
we take and look at some more of the paintings,
is that he was actually influenced by the camera.
In that what we're seeing is these very sort of
close up, these fragments of actions
is not to say that he took and was copying the camera
but he was obviously influenced by it and he did take
camera shots. We know this from looking at his stuff.
So but the idea here is the subjective, the way the figures are looking
out, going back. Okay. And the space now
becomes a counter movement to the
gaze of the figures looking out.
Okay. And we can
just blow this up a little bit here. So you can see the whole
sense of how this works, even the way
the pulling things into the picture, the vases on the table, the bottles,
the things that are going across.
another Degas. Now
in this, it's a little different.
Notice that we have a - well let's start by
ghosting it down so we can talk a little bit more
about this. Okay first
we have this figure taking and obviously playing
but he's literally, he's looking out
this direction. Okay.
Now if you'll notice that this has become so
obvious, we've got the ballerina right behind him,
pointing in the opposite direction.
Also the space itself is going in the opposite direction.
So the space - he's taking and working with
not only the way somebody looks
but he's working with the way the space within the picture looks.
In other words we are directed through this thing
through the space. Now in the last painting we talked about
we were taking and working with
how the series of planes in the space take and lead your eye.
So what we see is okay well obviously we have this
dark figure, foreground, right up front.
Foreground. Now the ballerinas, what we have is
this series, a series of layers
of figures stepping back into the picture. So we get
a close layer, we get another layer going back in here
and then we get the windows behind that. So
we're getting a stepping back
and elements going this way. And notice now
what we're also picking up. He's got this strong red
here in the foreground. This front figure.
And then he's playing that against the blue in the backs
so the eye is actually attracted to carrying back that little bit of color
that we start getting in this gal's neck here.
Again this is reinforcing the comment I made about
a snapshot feeling about the
composition with having the legs just cut off
sticking into the picture. Also, notice that as he's
doing this he's got this series of long, horizontal lines.
These are long lines going into
the picture. We've got the perspective lines on the floor.
You got the windows, all this stuff going back. Then even
the violin now, this becomes a part of
the sense of what we've got with the -
so he's - he's got all these horizontals
in this case I should say diagonals going back in space
and then he's playing that against
obviously the very strong verticals that are coming through.
And he's creating a strong perspective as he's doing on the ground
so we're creating a movement going back in space
which is countered by
the movement going across the picture in a
series of planes, of figures going in.
So it's again very simple, you find that this
device that he's using, the look of the figure
of playing the space against that look,
the paralleling of planes going back is very, very, very
common element within his work. Now you can see
the - notice how the warm tones now are
reflected and he's also taking and playing with a rather cool
colors through the picture. In the next lesson we start to
dealing with color, you'll find that this is
a common theme within the things that we discuss
but it's color, it's the subjective, it's perspective,
it's the space that he's using through here.
picture here. Now let me again ghost this down a bit so
we can talk about. First,
this is quite unusual now. Notice what he's doing. He's
taking and - okay we have this woman looking into a mirror.
Although we don't see the mirror, it becomes very obvious that that's what it is
that's going on, it's a mirror. But then the other figure
which is, in other words, the eye, the gaze here
and we have another figure that's literally, partially out of the picture.
And the head of course, it's all hidden behind. But that
is going in the opposite direction. But very unusual
to take and have a figure where you see nothing
of the head. Or I should say nothing of the face. All we get
is the figure itself. And so it's the play -
notice that the again, working with the color, well we get the
cool colors down below, we feel it into the hate. But
very, basically neutral areas.
The psychological element here now is that we get
a strong direction with her looking. It's a subjective point
of what is she doing here. And then the person behind
taking and gesturing back out
with another hat. And this is sort of - you
notice how the colors in the hat here, this color here
is being reflected into the colors that she has under her
arm. And besides just the light and dark pattern.
But majority of the picture is really quite neutral.
Except for we can see the ground picking up light
and back. But the subjective element, looking out, it's like
interesting that we don't see her
reflection in a mirror, which is a more common thing than we
think of somebody doing a painting, somebody looking into a mirror. You show
the reflection in the mirror. Here we don't see the reflection, we see her looking
and the other figure we don't even see the face at all.
But we know that she's there and she's actually gesturing, holding out a hat.
So the subjective movement of the hand
coming out is playing with the gaze
looking in. And as we've talked before, the space in the
picture is actually going back to the
left. Let's take a second
to look at this some more here. Now this is a
pastel. But notice that the intense colors, with the exception of
the blue are really minimal. The blue
really becomes the key points that are in the picture.
Very little bit of warm tone or hot tone I should say.
As you notice that's in the corning and the gals hand going - actually going
out of the picture.
the French artist Greuze. Now here you get a real
storytelling. Look at there you get the
wide who has dropped - or I guess maybe it's the
little boy in the corner, he's looking not too happy.
But we have some broken eggs. And
the grandma is taking and berating the
young wife but the broken eggs are what allows a
housewife, she is, etc. And the husband is taking and holding -
holding his mother back, protesting
his wife. Now this is really
subjective. You take and you
look at these paintings and Greuze is very famous for taking and
giving, illustrating the morals
of the French middle class.
Now if we take - let's take and now
also at the same time look at a little bit of the structure here. It's a very -
in a sense a very classical picture. He's creating a very strong
pyramid type element. Notice that the subject
of the thing is the broken eggs here.
And he's created a literally a spacial
circle that he's created in here for that egg
to be involved in. You get the
mother leaning out or the wife I should
say. We got the little boy. Look at the face.
All of these
plays of emotion that are in here. The strong movement but it's
coupled - the subjective element is coupled with the
abstract element of the flail, pull
movement, the pulling away line, the rhythm
going and actually we get a very, very strong rhythm within the
mother or the wife. And then we get the
woman coming back and
pointing at the eggs and obviously doing a little bit of lambasting.
This is theater and so we get this -
okay if all these things. And from up here the light's coming down
from outside. He's stepping down, the series is stepping down
coming down to the egg. So it's a progression,
step down, step down, step down.
So the picture is really about emotions. It's the difference
in the looks of the figures and
today I think we'd call it melodrama.
So it's maybe a little overdone.
Now notice the color here. We have a whole picture
that is fairly neutral with a little bit of red in the center.
Interesting picture, interesting picture.
But it makes a melodrama or sentimental.
I'm not sure, I guess it would be melodrama.
about melodrama. Here,
we have the father who apparently has died,
of course the son,
is coming in the door, all of the lamenting and moaning and
groaning is going on. You don't need to have written
words to take and communicate what's going on here.
Let's take a little moment and look at the composition beyond
just the subjective elements. The subjective element
is really of course what it's all about.
The gesturing, look at the
emotions that feel the pull. Feel the pull. As we're
taking - I'm not quite sure, looking out
this way, looking back this way, looking
up this way, and
all of this movement. In fact notice how the drapery
and everything is building, building up.
Now Greuze was actually
had wanted to be a history painter. And in his works
he was actually classified as
a genre painter. But he used these grand,
composition devices to create
these melodramatic scenes
in genre painting. And he was criticized for it.
That was the subject was inappropriate for
serious compositional considerations.
Here you can see the gesturing out.
This is a acting, this is acting, this is theater.
But notice that we get the movement going up,
the action taking and coming down. Beautiful play
of opposites but the lines, notice that the lines are carried
through into the painting, all the way up. These are being echoed
in the drapery. As we look at
notice that everything's held across.
He's got - coming across - he's got a little bit of foreground and stuff leading
in. All the painting now is working
pretty much in this section, then playing
that against very, very, very simple areas.
But this is the ground, grand
gestures that are taking place.
We even get the figures leaning down, going back in. Notice that this is
following the arm on the, even two dimensionally here.
Going, following through. We got a series of horizontals.
The leg, the dog, carrying through.
But it's drama. Drama. Each one of these
characters has a different attitude, a different expression
we're dealing with.
Let's take a second and look at the picture.
Notice the way he's working with the lights
also. The way the light is working within
the figure also. As you take and if you can see the
thing. Notice that the way the flow, the flow
of the heads, the timing, we feel this pulling across
through. He's taking and
again we're getting the building up
but the really strong differences, the figures
leaning one way and going back
the other one leaning forward. The whole emotional elements
of the picture.
this is Pontormo.
Pontormo is an
This painting I took and
made a very concerted effort to go out of
Florence to take and look at this painting. And
in a small church where it was that we
had to sort of bribe a drunken caretaker outside in front
to let us in and to turn the lights on,
it took and made everything
else in the room look drab. Notice the
simplicity, notice the simplicity of the background. And notice how
the figures in the back, the two figures in the back
are looking straight out at you. And then the other two figures
are looking at each other. It really
it takes and when you see the painting
it has an extraordinary presence about it.
With these figures looking at you you feel like you are a part
of the whole scene. It's very, very much a -
there's an intensity in the painting.
And looking at even the color here that
and which will be talked a bit more on the next section on color
that the way he's working with these very light
tones that he's created and then playing those
colors against the neutral, the black,
the secondary greenish color,
but the whole severity
of the background is
very, very gray, really abstract quality.
to the work. And how that makes those
figures really come out and the intensity,
the intensity of the gaze looking at you. It's really
an amazing bit of painting.
The boldness of the design,
thinking of this, the boldness
of the perception and conception of this thing
is for the time is really revolutionary.
But think of the psychological, the psychological, he's really looking at you.
is classical. So what does classical mean?
Classical means sort of a
universal, it has to do with
longevity, it's the quietness, it's
an intellectual progress.
You looking at the painting it's a very, very -
it is very quiet. Notice that the composition
itself - and I'm gonna go over this
actually I was gonna say in my youth
I wasn't all that young, it was in my 20s
or maybe close to 30 I did a very, very
careful study of this painting. There is nothing
ambiguous about anything or nothing and I should say ambiguous
but there's no loose ends in a painting. Everything
in the picture take and have some kind of - it's tied into
not only the frame into the one figure
to the next. But there's a stillness to it that has a universal
quality to it.
Poisson is one of those artists that is well worth
studying. You don't have to like his subject matter,
you don't have to like his painting style, but look at the organization.
We've talked about him before. But
if you just look at this, now we're talking about the psychological. I think the
psychological in this case is really
the quietness that
created in a classical composition.
It has a stability to it.
A look that's - we have this group that's plain, it's out in front.
we get the flow of the eye, we have the figure moving in,
the next figure is taking and coming out this way.
We're looking up at the figure here. I'm not
quite sure what the subject is but you look at the painting and it has
just a very quiet, classical quality to it.
And we look at the color a little bit here, you see that again
very limited pallet actually and then the strong
limited use of taking - the red takes a very
small element in the picture. Notice how the eye
even as we're coming through, the child here
looking up, we're looking across
so the movement, the movement
is all taking and going with
the thing. The gesture coming down. I'm not sure
what's going on, whether this is is Orpheus taking and
writing music or being
transcribed. And the [indistinct]
being awarded. But
as you - with all this movement going, you can see the gestures, the
expressions, the eyes. They are moving up. But at the same
time now, you find that we get a series of diagonals
that are taking and going the opposite direction.
Space is pushed back behind, going down, in. We can take
and start to feel the way the lines are carried up. These will
carry all the way through. You will find
that the lines coming down from here will tie in very carefully
This is building. I can see there's no loose ends in this
painting. Everything is building up, we got a series of verticals,
we got the diagonals that take and carry through.
I spent a very long time taking and just doing a
very, very careful copy of this work.
this is Daumier. Now this is very different than the
Poisson we just looked at. Now in this case what you have
and again this is actually a fairly small painting.
Daumier was doing these paintings for himself.
Very few people knew that he actually painted during his
lifetime. He was a political cartoonist
He spent a lot of time in jail and in later years he lost his eyesight.
And he was actually supported by [indistinct]
Now what you have is all of these figures now.
Look at where we're going. Everybody
us taking and looking off,
looking down, going out. So the movement
is all in this direction.
Okay now he creates the panel
then the space now is using the space going
in the opposite direction
But he's really pushing the figure,
the movement is going outside the picture.
Everything is going out, out, out.
And then he's countering that out movement
with the sense of the space going back.
He creates - helps creates space because we feel it going behind
this group. Now notice also what he's doing. He's giving a
certain planal sense to this. The figure with this light shirt
is obviously in front of this crowd that is taking and wrapping
around it. So we feel this movement and
I was saying out to the left but if, you know, if you're actually looking
at this and look at the crowd, what it is, and it's the way I drew this,
it's coming out towards it three quarter.
But this is coming towards us, out this way, and
this is directly opposite then of the space that's going back
in behind. But you look at the eyes
to the left.
Now he did so many paintings,
he was a really a social critic.
And he was a critic of the
government, of the church. Primarily of the church
and the war of civilization. But look at here
he's dealing with symbolism. There's no effort
to be realistic in terms of scale
or anything, he's creating a subjective quality.
to the thing. Some of his paintings are incredibly
impacting or so modern. And primarily he's considered one of the first
modern artists. But also
a lot of people don't realize of course that he went deaf.
Lost his hearing. And actually
his doctor was one of the people that created sign language.
seen this painting in the museum in Prado
in Madrid and its incredible
impact. It's hard to imagine somebody
doing something that had more of an impact
than this. And you think of people trying to take
and shock the -
hard to beat Goya. He's extraordinary
and notice that in the painting there is really
it's all feeling with really symbols
of legs, symbols you don't even - he doesn't worry about whether it's drawn
well. Totally unconcerned whether the drawing
is correct. It's irrelevant. You don't look at this, you
can't look at this and think about is it drawn correctly.
It's the whole impact of the subjective element
in there. We are totally taken
by the subject. And this figure taking
and eating I think
it's - he's eating his own child. And l
look at the face and through the tormenting
I would find it very difficult to find any kind of contemporary
artist trying to outrage - who can outdo Goya.
Who can take and have the impact. And when you see this,
it's unbelievable when you see it,
it's really a shocker, people don't sit there and stare at this.
It's a bit too much.
what's important to look at here is what he's doing.
This is - we talk about
the sort of modernness in a sense
that look at the way he's creating these figures.
These are symbols, they are not related
to the reality of the scene. What we have is soldiers
shooting and killing. And here we have these figures
floating in this space. He's looking up
to - now I personally I
don't know what the symbolism here but I get the feeling that what he's
showing is the church up on the hill.
And what we've got is this battle going on
and the shooting and the black elements.
Again just a little simple thing. Look at the color now,
little bit of play of color in the right hand corner, soldier's hat
to the robe lapping up but it's -
this is a symbol, it's floating. It's floating
in the sky. If you would look at, say,
some of Alphonse Mucha's large paintings, he
used the same thing with very realistic paintings
and then with painting literally symbols within the painting
of large, floating figures. So here we have
a precursor to that. But we already have a precursor of that in looking
at the Michelangelo Sistine ceiling.
And this is the same kind of taking and
adding elements that
give us a look or give us a message
within the symbolism of what they're dealing. So you're dealing with
this very, very definite story, a subjective element, that
read into it. That is something beyond just the actual
nothing else, this is for fun. You look at this picture
and he is the ultimate
social critic. He - nobody is spared
the commenter or characterization.
He's having a great time taking
and dealing with these people. Sometimes you wonder what's going on - looks like
we have a dentist in here, on this area here, taking
and pulling something out of somebody's teeth.
We have clowns, we have this - he
did a lot of time in jail for his
caricatures. Particularly of the king. But you wonder what
was going on in these. So the subjective element
is the natural tendency is to look at it
and sort of a cartoony caricature. But these are all
definite feelings. Try to
read what is going on in these things.
Extraordinary bit of montage of
different kind of characters.
More than likely they are all recognizable characters,
especially for the people of that period, because he was a major
social critic. Everybody -
the guy here taking and pulling money out of his wallet
in this area here. Very, very interesting.
even as characteristic as these things are,
they're all really quite well drawn.
He's an extraordinary artist. He, as
we said, really working with the subjective element.
He was actually a revolutionary of his day.
is one of his favorite subjects.
The taking and working with judges.
Which he spent a lot of time dealing with.
Attorneys and judges. But if you look at this thing now, let's ghost this down a little bit
and look at it purely from a
compositional point. First, look at the differences in attitude.
Okay. Now we got this guy here who's looking up.
This one is looking
down. Not sure where where this guy's looking in the background.
And so we get - all that's different now is a front view, looking really
Then we get a profile in the back, we're really picking
up on the ear. Another profile
all in light.
So it's really
just a play on the heads going across. Looking
at the different, each of them has a slightly different attitude and feeling
to them and but the compositional point you're looking
at the variety of different heads, there's no two
heads that are alike. And there's no two that
actually have the same sense or feeling about them.
we have, we see this crowd
taking and going on and working with the drama on
the stage. All of the expressions here
really, let's ghost this one down and look a little bit more carefully.
Now what you have here now is
let's look - we're starting out here. He really leads you into the picture.
Got this figure here
you're looking at
next one's looking in.
All of these figures but look at the way he's taking,
leading you forward. Looking in.
This figure is taking and coming around the corner here. Looking in, then the arm,
he's really directly - he's directing everything,
looking down, going this way. And
of course then we get the overlapping so we get a plane of these figures
here and you get a next group, these are all -
we can direct it in, direct it in, direct it
in, we have the conductor down here with the orchestra in the pit
so he's stepping down, stepping down, stepping down,
stepping down until we finally get the -
there's a dead actor on the floor all the way down here. So all
of the movement now, all of this movement is the
going down and down in that way and then
we get even the figure here leaning back then
the pointing and the heroine taking
and going in the opposite direction and as we've talked about
with the Degas, the space, the space is going
back opposite to all of the direction of this movement.
And we've stepped in, the series of steps
through and even creating the opening that we would take and
But the painting then is really of simple composition.
The composition is a way of - just a way of
organizing the elements that you wanna communicate with.
And but it's the whole painting
is based really on the expressions
of people reacting to this theater here
where somebody has died
but the actor going out here and she's running off,
the drama of the whole thing. And you can see
all of the variety of expressions that
responding to the theater.
The way even the color
theatrical coloring and everything that's going on. It's pretty amazing.
But just stepping you back in, going in, going in.
So what you have to work with now is to think
the subjective element
of how the eyes -
how we follow or how we respond to
the subjects that we have in our painting.
It's not just the lines on the picture,
it's the elements of the expression
and the gesture and the body language of your
subjects. Poisson made the statement and I think I probably
said this before that you can read a painting
by the way the figures are
posed, the expressions on their face.
The whole gesture, the body language, the
organization, all our elements.
So the subjective element is just
as important as just all of the linear elements that you have in your
composition. You cannot ignore the subjective
in fact the subjective would be the thing that you actually start
with because that's the element that you're
taking and making in your painting. And you're taking a painting or a
piece of sculpture and the kind of feeling that you
want to evoke the experience that you want to create
is, in a subjective
element of yours, that is created not only just
by the lines but the directions of the form,
the gesture, and the actions of the figure.
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
6m 5s3. Suggested Assignment
3m 58s4. The Absinthe Drinker
4m 44s5. The Rehearsal
3m 24s6. At the Milliner’s
3m 36s7. Broken Eggs
4m 22s8. The Punished Son
3m 0s9. The Visitation
4m 31s10. The Inspiration of the Poet
2m 38s11. The Uprising
1m 20s12. The Colossus
2m 2s13. Saturn Devouring One of His Children
2m 29s14. Asmodea
2m 27s15. Meeting of Thirty-Five Heads of Expression
1m 47s16. Lawyers Meeting
5m 17s17. Honore at the Theater