Compare and contrast how Monet, Seurat, and Chuck Close use color in the development of their paintings.
Compare the use of color in Monet’s, Haystack at Sunset; Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte/ Bathers at Asnieres; and Chuck Close’s Bill Clinton. How did it affect the development of each painting?
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In his impressionist paintings such as Haystack at Sunset Monet attempted to capture his impression of the scene he was painting. He applied paint to his canvas in a rough, quick style to capture a fleeting impression of the colors he was seeing. Often times, he applied unmixed paint to the painting, allowing them to combine visually from a distance. This resulted in a luminous use of color because the unmixed bright colors were actually present on the canvas.
Seurat was the master of visual color mixing. Unlike Monet his style was not rough, but precise and almost scientific. In his paintings, A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asnieres, He specifically placed tiny little brush strokes of unmixed color using his pointillism technique, so that the viewer’s eye would combine the colors at a distance. The pure hues are present in his paintings, but it gives off a more controlled overall impression than the work of Monet.
Chuck Close’s work is directly connected to photography. All of his pieces, such as his portrait of Bill Clinton, started with a photographic portrait taken by himself. He then followed a specific process that involved dividing the photographic print into a grid, duplicating the grid on his canvas, and then creating tiny little abstract reproductions of the values and colors present in each square of the grid. The result, when executed on a large scale, is a hyper realistic representation of the original photo. Up close, the picture seems very abstract. The pure colors, again, are very visible when close to the picture. It is only when the viewer gets further away, that the image appears realistic. This allows Close to use bright vivid colors often in complementary pairs that visually mix together from far away and end up appearing very real.
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