Formal Analysis of Art

We are going to be looking at four different paintings, The Wall Drawing; The Starry Night; Las Meninas; Nighthawks, by four different artists, Sole LeWitt; Vincent van Gogh; Diego Velazquez; and Edward Hooper. We will be determining how their choice of line, color, light, and use of space create such an effective effect on the painting.
When looking at Sol LeWitt’s painting, The Wall Drawing No. 681, the lines are controlled, precise, and mathematically rigorous. This piece of art work was put together by museum staff that must follow strict directions from the artist. It shows that the artist is very organized with his artwork. As for Vincent van Gogh’s painting, The Starry Night, the lines are “…imprecise, emotionally charges, and almost chaotic.” (Sayre). LeWitt’s paintings do not show much personality of the artist himself. LeWitt rarely painted his own paintings, but instead wrote directions on how to paint it and left the work up to the museum staff of the museum it was to be displayed in. Van Gogh’s painting shows life and death, he stated “my paintings are almost a cry of anguish…” (Sayre).   Van Gogh’s painting showed his personality and how he viewed the world around him as LeWitt’s did not.
Diego Velazquez’s painting Las Meninas shows that the artist used the space of the painting to draw the viewer’s eye to particular places in the painting. It appears that the artist wanted the viewers to first look at the “young princess, the infanta Margarita” because she is in the center of the painting. (Sayre). Velazquez, however, placed multiple people around the infant Margarita but the people do not look at the infanta. Instead the artist makes them seem as if they are looking at us, the viewers. Velazquez used the mirror in the background as a great use of space. He draws attention to this mirror that reflects the king and queen yet the reflection appears larger than it should and leaves the viewers to wonder if it is actually a mirror or a piece of...