The Link between Painting and Life

Essay by Dmmalo04University, Bachelor's October 2014

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Malott 5

Dominique Malott

Professor Jessica Cresseveur


10 October 2014

The Link between Painting and Life

The artwork this paper will be analyzing is Artemisia Gentileschi's painting titled, Judith and Her Maidservant Beheading Holofernes. Upon first inspection, the viewer realizes the high intensity of drama preserved in this painting. This dramatic effect has been achieved by the use of formal elements such as value and space, and principles of design like emphasis and subordination.

Each element and principle does not exist as a separate entity in Gentileschi's painting- it functions more like the cogs in a clock with each vital piece contributing to make a functional clock. The principles go hand in hand as well as the elements and in the end the elements and principles complement each other nicely.

The cause of such a dramatic effect in the painting is due to a simple practice of the formal element value, the degree from light to dark.

It is obvious where the light and dark portions of the painting are, but what makes the value in this painting really pop is that there is no gradient between light and dark. What is dark is almost pitch black and what is light is very illuminated. The lack of a gradient leaves such a large gap between shading and highlighting that the other formal element space can be seen in this piece.

Generally thinking, space is merely the distance between things. However, in art, space can be seen as either positive or negative areas in an artwork. Negative space exists in dark or shadowed areas whereas positive space lies in illuminated or light areas.

In the painting, the deed is taken place inside a dark room with the only light source being by the bedside to the left, yet...