Stylistic analysis of Alfred Leslie's famous painting: the thirteen americans

Essay by bambigoelCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2003

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The painting I have chosen to carry out a stylistic analysis on is 'Thirteen Americans' by Alfred Leslie.

The painting is larger than any that I have previously studied. Its grand size is important because it certainly contributes to the effect of the painting. The effect is overwhelming and intimidating as the painting shows a group of life-size people staring directly at the viewer. The scale of the painting and its individual components is definitely very effective.

The painting looks like it is oil on canvas. The technique used is linear and not painterly as is reminiscent from the fact that all the individual figures are carefully delineated and detail plays an important part in the painting. The brushstrokes serve to describe and not to suggest. The artist has not painted using several layers of paint as in the Impasto technique. It seems as though the artist is trying to make the painting look as realistic as possible.

In this painting, primary and secondary colors are both used although there is a dominance of secondary colors as is seen from the generous use of purple and orange. The colors are not saturated; they are muted by addition of other colors. The artist does not make use of pure colors. Gradations from light to dark play an important role in this painting. The use of gradations causes the man's jeans to look stonewashed and used. The woman's green robe has dark and light gradations of green and one figure makes use of gradation to define the contours of the legs.

Line plays a very significant and conscious role in this painting. The artist uses line to delineate and separate one figure from the other. It is because of the careful and precise use of...