Edward Hopper’s painting called ‘Portrait of Orleans’ pictures the town of Orleans back in 1950. The painting shows the point of intersection of a town road at daytime, with the viewer standing a little to the right in the middle part of the road. There are buildings on the further right side of the viewer, and a section of foreboding trees on the left side, which extends to the further end and curves backward to the right, straight to the area of buildings. Main Body
The seven formal elements of art design are the following: (1) line, (2) shape, (3) form, (4) space, (5) texture, (6) light, and (7) color (School of Art, Design and Art History n. d. ). Going over Hopper’s Portrait of Orleans, we analyze it based on these seven elements: Line. Hopper’s painting is filled with either vertical lines or two congruent lines that converge at the middle to form a sort of triangle, which lead the eye upward to space (a cloudless sky). Curves were used to lead the eyes to the motion aimed by the painter.
The curve of the looming trees, for example, extends vertically to the end and then curves backward to arrive at the right side of the road where the buildings are. From there, the horizontal lines of the road lead the eye to the right to extend beyond the picture. Shape. Shapes that were used were usually squares, circles, rectangles, and triangles. The shapes were usually connected through the use of perpendicular angles and right angles that lead one shape to the next. In the trees, for example, angles lead the eye from the rectangular trunk to the circular leaves above the trunk.
Form. There are forms in the 2-dimensional items in the painting, as it creates depth, width, and height. The circular forms in the trees accentuate the form by using the right shade that darkens as the color progresses to the bottom. This creates depth, width, and height, which is emphasized also by the shadows that the looming trees are projecting. Space. The use of space is more apparent on the nearer portion of the intersecting road as well as the cloudless sky. Space gives huge impression on a painting, such as this one by Hopper.
Because of the huge amount of space, it projects a feeling of isolation on the side of the viewer… quietness, stillness, and a little of the feeling of alienation. Texture. Texture contrasts from the rougher ones on the trees, roofs, and tires to the smoother ones on the buildings, road post, and traffic light. Texture, together with shades and use of color, gives an added depth that makes the picture more realistic. This can be seen in Hopper’s painting, wherein texture makes the viewer feel the reality attached to the scene. Light.
Light here was used basically to give emphasis to other elements like texture, shape, and form. It was also used to exaggerate the mood, as it gives a more isolated projection by emphasizing empty space, which cannot be made possible with the use of a dimmer light. The effect of the scene cannot also be made possible proper use of light. Color. The type of colors that was used here can be described as light, luminous, and realistic. The harmony does not develop a mood that is heavy, although it does not develop one that is happy and gay either.
The use of colors (e. g. , tangerine), as well as the other elements, forms a sort of mysterious aura, creating a sort of tension on the side of the viewer. Conclusion Arthur McDowall wrote in 1918: “At the bottom of realism, in all its variations, seems to be the sense of actual existence; an acute awareness of it, and a vision of things under that form” (3). The ‘Portrait of Orleans’ is nothing different from this: it is art applied for a sense of existence, with a vision of how reality appears in mystery, tension, and motion.
Appendix: Edward Hopper’s Portrait of Orleans (1950), available at <http://www. allposters. com/gallery. asp? aid=86913403&apnum=1813789&DestType=7&Referrer%20=http://search. yahoo. com/search? p=edward+hopper+portrait+of+orleans&vc=&fr=yfp-t-501-s&toggle=1&cop=m&GCID=C15100x011&KEYWORD=1813789&SEM=item%3D1813789%26AID%3D86913403%26GCID%3DC15100x011%26Keyword%3D1813789> Works Cited McDowall, Arthur. Realism: A Study in Art and Thought. London: Constable, 1918. Portrait of Orleans. 2008. Allposters. com.
21 May 2008 <http://www. allposters. com/gallery. asp? aid=86913403&apnum=1813789&DestType=7&Referrer%20=http://search. yahoo. com/search? p=edward+hopper+portrait+of+orleans&vc=&fr=yfp-t-501-s&toggle=1&cop=m&GCID=C15100x011&KEYWORD=1813789&SEM=item%3D1813789%26AID%3D86913403%26GCID%3DC15100x011%26Keyword%3D1813789>. School of Art, Design and Art History. ART BASICS: The 7 Formal Elements of Art Design. N. d. San Diego State University. 21 May 2008 <http://art. sdsu. edu/geninfo/homepages/art157/projects/elements. html>.
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