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Five works of art you should know

Published On: November 3, 2017 10:56 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

You don’t need to understand the language of brushstrokes to admire an art piece. Some masterpieces will naturally grab your attention and win your heart. While some artworks have the potential to stimulate your emotions, others will just bring a bright smile across your face. Hence, every month we compile for you five famous pieces of artwork to help you start your morning on a fresh note as well as get to know some artists a little more.

Here are some outstanding pieces of work that you cannot help but appreciate.

The Sleeping Gypsy by Henry Rousseau, 1897

This oil painting by Henry Rousseau portrays an African woman sleeping in the desert wearing an ornamental costume. Henry Rousseau was actually a toll collector in Paris. This self-taught artist was famous for his bright colored paintings, fantastic imaginary and accurate outlines on his artwork. In the painting you can see a lion passing by a black woman under the moonlight. The woman lies beside a jar of water and a stringed instrument. Both these objects have a cultural significance in which the woman belongs. The tone of this piece of art is very poetic especially because of the well-painted moonlight. The style of this artwork is derived from the popular print culture of those times. 

Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk by Leonardo da Vinci, 1512

This painting is widely accepted to be the self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. It is said that Vinci made his self-portrait when he was about 60 years old. Many historians and artists, however, disagree on the true identity of the person on the painting. This portrait drawn on a red chalk paper depicts an elderly man facing the audience. The person on the portrait has long hair and beard almost covering his chest that is unusual for paintings during the Renaissance. If you look closely, you will see that the paper has ‘fox marks’ which is caused due to accumulation of iron salts. The painting is now at Royal Library in Italy. 

Le Reve by Pablo Picasso, 1932

The woman in the painting by Picasso is said to be his 22-year-old mistress, Marie-Therese Walter. Picasso was 50 years old. This painting was purchased for the first time in 1941 at $7,000. In 2013, this artwork was sold at $155 million, which is said to be the highest ever price paid for an artwork by a US collector. Le Reve belongs to the period when distorted artworks were in fashion. Like most paintings of those times, Le Reve has undefined and abstract lines. The painting also seems to be inspired by Fauvism because of its array of contrasting colors and inaccurate outlines. The painting even made its appearance on an episode of Family Guy back in 2010.

 Liberation of Saint Peter by Raphael and Giulio Romano, 1514

This painting was painted by the popular Italian Renaissance Artist, Raphael, and his assistant, Giulio Romano. Liberation of Saint Peter depicts how Saint Peter was liberated from Herold’s prison by an angel. In the painting you can see three different scenes in a symmetrical balance. The center of the painting shows the moment when an angel wakes Peter. The right side displays the scene where the angel guides Peter through the sleeping guards. The left side shows how one guard is waking a comrade after noticing the light generated by the angel. This painting gives out a very dramatic effect that is extremely interesting to look at. 

The Burning Giraffe by Salvador Dali, 1937

This artwork was painted by Dali just before his exile to the United States. The painting depicts Dali’s struggle in his home country and his views on political consciousness. The painting has blue female figures with drawers opening from their bodies. This painting is inspired by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical method. The open drawers in his painting refer to the inner consciousness within a man. This painting is based on a twilight mood depicted by its deep blue skies. The female figures are undefined which is not new in Dali’s painting. Back in the distance you can observe a giraffe’s back on fire. It is interesting that the title of this painting is The Burning Giraffe when there is no giraffe in the foreground of the painting. 

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