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Ingenue And The Gold Dress Essay

1939 words - 8 pages

Ingenue and the Gold Dress
The focus of this paper will be “Ingenue” by Richard Judson Zolan and “The Gold Dress” by Bill Brauer. The focal point of both paintings is a beautiful woman and this is where the similarities stop. Zolan’s focus is completely within the boundaries of the painting while Brauer’s leads your eye off the plane insinuating there is more going on than is captured within the boundaries of the painting. The word ingenue refers to a naive, innocent young woman while the woman in “The Gold Dress” is definitely more provocatively situated. Both artists are Americans, Zolan from Chicago and Brauer from New York. Zolan studied under Louis Rittman, a personal friend and ...view middle of the document...

The work can be considered Abstract as the subjects are stylized and simplified, especially the man. Brauer’s suggestive and moody work uses a single light source to illuminate intense colors and poses, emphasizing the female form. Brauer, who doesn’t use models so that his figures remain edgy, bases his work upon themes of beauty, mythology and dancing. The form is oil on canvas and the content is a woman in a gold dress with her back to the viewer dancing with a man whose face is obscured by the back of the woman’s head. The tops of their heads extend beyond the edge of the left side of the painting and their right arms extend above the top edge. The painting is balanced as the two bodies are equally spaced in the bottom right and top left of the painting. Brauer uses shadowing to blend the two corners not filled by the subjects.
Zolan’s use of line is expressive and romantic. It is like you are catching just a glimpse of this beautiful young ballerina when she is alone and preparing for her dance. I get the feeling that she does not know anybody is watching. It is as if she is alone with her thoughts in the dance studio either preparing for or reflecting after her dance. There is a feeling of voyeurism, although not in a perverted way. My eye starts at the young woman’s head and shoulders then works its way down her extended leg and back to her left leg around the curve of her buttocks and back up to her head. The flow of this painting has my eye repeating this movement repeatedly. The young woman appears innocent and naive, truly ingenue.
Brauer’s line on the other hand is implied, as if he wants you to follow the curve of the woman’s body up the gold dress and up her right arm and off of the painting. There is a mystery about the couple. You can’t see either dancer’s face as they are locked in the embrace of their dance face to face. This couple may be dancing at a grand ball or all alone on a romantic interlude. It is up to the viewer to determine where this might be taking place. The curve of his line is classical and deliberately curved emphasizing the woman’s form, beauty and grace. The painting first draws my gaze to the center of the woman’s back, up the curve of her body, and off the painting in the top left corner as if my eye is drawn to what is taking place out of view. My eye then returns to the middle of the painting and I first notice the gold dress and follow the implied line down and to the bottom left of the painting. Brauer’s use of the woman’s body, color and curve draws my eye in a way he must truly have intended.
Zolan’s use of color is painted in the impressionist style of Monet. The background appears dark and murky using atmospheric distortion to shade and darken the surrounding area so that your eye is focused on the beautiful modeling of the ballerina. The hue in her dress, slippers and hair band uses tone and value perfectly to lighten the areas where the light falls and darken the areas that should be...

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