History of Western Art Essay

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It entered into the register in 1593 and was there for a period of 47 years. Venus is the goddess of love, while Adonis is a handsome mortal. The woman image (Venus) is seen, assisted by a small child, trying to restrain Adonis from setting off. The woman is naked while the man is in a hunter’s attire. Some hunting dogs are also seen by the man’s side. This painting shows only a small part of Adonis and Venus. The artist focused only on the two characters; Venus wanting Adonis’ embrace but Adonis is refusing and this is clear in the painting.

It can also be seen that behind her, there are some flowers and a small thicket. In this painting the artist has tried to use the least poses or none at all. This makes it unique from most other paintings. Another ingredient of the uniqueness of this painting is that the artist has fairly restricted the gestures belonging to the two hovering figures. He has actually used calmness in such a situation that is so emotional. Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe (1863) This was first presented to the salon in 1863. There is minimum use of lines. A naked woman with two men seated together in an absurd manner.

At the background is another image of a woman slightly bending and appears to be bathing and facing the two men and the woman. The background is also dark as compared to the foreground. In fact, the woman looks brighter than anything else. The naked woman has her clothes spread all over with some food stuff in a basket at the lower side end, while one of her legs is stretched towards one of the men’s own space. How these two men are seated suggests that they have no business to do with the woman and they seem to be communicating with each other. Being ignored, this woman chooses to just look at the viewer shamelessly.

On the other hand, the two men are in attire which is actually decent and it probably was fashionable during this period. And contours here have not been used; the artist has utilized light and paint. It is evident that a viewer’s emotional response will be determined by the image of the naked woman and at the first glance, will be left wondering about the situation that these two men are in; nicely dressed men sitting next to a blatant woman who has not even a single piece of a covering on her body, in fact on an open. Grande Odalisque by Ingres Created in 1814, it fit into the romanticism of between 1750 and 1850.

It was fist shown in salon in 1819. It again has an image of a naked woman lying in something like a sofa and also posed in an unhurried manner. She has a small head, looking at the viewer, and a stretched out arms and legs. She has only shown her back and small part of her breast in the ingress painting; it is polished smoothly on the surface and has simple contours drawn round in a rhythmic manner. The eventful material by the woman’s side complements the smooth body planes. The painter seems to be bringing out a relationship between colors and tone in a way that it is hard for one to forget.

During this period, the concubines had a duty of merely satisfying sultan’s bodily pleasures. For this purpose, the artist has symbolically elongated the area around her pelvis. Furthermore, the way this woman has posed and her position in relation to her pelvis is an illustration of how deep and complex the emotions and the thoughts of the woman are. The romantic founders cast-off some common approaches and looked for freedom of expression through their art work. By doing this, they concentrated much on freedom in self-expression, mantic love, individualism, and adventure.

Another dominant concept they used is the inspirational idea of dealing with pain, terror, power and darkness. This, of course, is not difficult for humans. Hence romantic artists have engaged a variety of styles and ways in their work even in neglecting the strict academia. This is displayed by Ingress in his Grande Odalisque work. From the above, it can be seen that the three images differ in some way. First, how the paintings are done differs from one another. For instance, while we are have wide use of lines and contours in Grande Odalisque, minimal of these features are employed in the Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe. another.

The difference is that, the images were produced at different times and hence their themes are also different and each has a theme that is in line with the period it was created. Thirdly, we have different artists for the different images and as such since every artist has a different taste from another, definitely their work will be different. In as much as these differences exist, there are also similarities between these images. It is clear in all images that romance has been the major, or one of the major, themes and in every case the main character is a woman. Another major similarity is the nudeness of the women in every image.

With all these, I still disagree that these nudes were consistent with the general trends of the period. This is because at some instances, the nudes behaved in a very awkward manner such as staying completely naked in public, and leaving the viewer questioning their moral standards. The difference is as a result of the fact that the artists have different ways of symbolizing events ant ideas and, as said earlier, they have different tastes. The similarity is as a result of the fact that each of the artists wants to divert from the tradition of the academic style and wants to embrace freedom.

Every artist in these three images has shown the woman to be the major character and a suitable object of bringing out the real feeling of what each of them wants to communicate. Nudeness was actually such an enduring subject in western art because every one of the images tries to bring out a theme in the best way possible and every artist did not want to be left behind and subject of the nudes had to be considered by them.


Calley G. K. , (2000). “Romanticism”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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