An Art Criticism of the Painting “Flora” Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 01:48:45
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Category: Art

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In the oil painting, Flora (Carrie Mainsfield Weir), by Julian Weir, a well-dressed Victorian woman is depicted, portrait style, sitting next to a small black table. The woman, Carrie, is also holding an array of flowers in her hand and several more stems of flowers are strewn across her lap. A silvery-gray vase sits on the table next to a large bowl filled with flower buds. Behind Carrie is a plain, flat wall decorated only by a narrow garland of roses which hangs above and behind her.
The painting appears washed-out emphasized by the use of many shades of soft white. Carrie’s dress is a mixed gray shade of white and the lace trim on her dress is an antique yellow-white. The flowers everywhere (on the table, in the bowl, in Carrie’s hands, on her lap, intertwined in the garland) are all various shades of white with a few streaks of pink and red mixed in. Even the wall behind her is a dull brownish-white color. The cool splash of green in the garland and the strong black of the round table add interest and balance to the picture.
The lines in this painting are for the most part thick, graceful, and often curve each of which emphasize the gently rounded flowers, the crescent shaped leaves, and the loose folds of her dress as is bunches up around her knees and feet. The black table and bowl next to Carrie appear even darker due to the lightness of her dress and the pale scattered flowers. The soft, smooth wall behind Carrie, silky petals in her lap and gauzy, almost transparent, sleeves of her dress all add texture.
The rounded curves of her womanly figure bring Carrie forward to the viewer’s perspective as the garland seems to hang above and behind her somewhat in the distance. As the topic (and even the title) of this painting, Carrie fills the majority of the canvas. The smooth texture and rounded, soft-edged shapes in the center of the painting draws the viewer’s focus upon Carrie. The velvety smooth flowers held in her small curved hands and the sharp, detailed texture on the lace trim (in a sloping V-shape) along her bodice continually brings the view back to Carrie.
The contrasting textures of the leafy garland, sleek table, and delicate fabric of her dress balance the painting and centers the focus of attention upon Carrie once again. While the painting is a portraiture, Julian Alden Weir is not only attempting to create a life-like picture of his sister, but he is also to symbolically represent the ancient Roman goddess of flowers, Flora. Weir is known for painting family portraits and floral still-lifes. This painting therefore combines both of these types of art.
A feeling of dignity and contemporary Victorian pomp is created by Carrie’s style of dress, posture, and facial expression. This work of art is a good example of early impressionistic paintings. Julian Weir’s use of a bright background and a lot of white mixed with other light colors is significant to the Impressionism era of art. The small, blurred brush strokes that can best be seen from a distance are also typical of the impressionist artists. I really enjoy this work because of its visually soft feeling and serenely depicted character.

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