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Big Apple Moments Essay

Description John Marshall’s Big Apple Moments is reflective of Marshall’s ability to capture a busy New York City. There are various travel cards in the foreground as a narrow alley bears off to the right and a busy street to the left. There are skyscrapers depicted on both sides of the painting. A little off center to the right is a silhouette of a couple. Upper right two thirds of painting is a green park with trees and a wide open path. Upper left one third is blue sky over skyscrapers with some printing over laying the blue sky.

All of these components come together in John Marshall’s Big Apple Moments. Formal Analysis Marshall creates a collage of several images to depict New York City. He draws you through two different New York’s – one distant and one up close. The up close is about two thirds of the right side of the painting. The distant New York takes one third of the left side of the painting. A darkened view on the right of the painting. This area is very gray and shadowed. More detail is seen in the buildings and sidewalks on the right side of the painting.

At the top of the painting’s right side is a green open park with a wide path and sun light. The view on the left is brighter – and the buildings are more distant. The buildings seem to be lit with a bright sun and a blue sky is seen at the top of the left scene. The center of the painting is the silhouette of people. At the forefront of the painting is a Metro card and a ticket stub. Marshall uses a lot of darkened colors and nothing is defined with clean sharp lines. Interpretation Big Apple Moments begins with the ticket stubs.

On the right side is an up close look of the city. A narrow street, a detailed ticket stub, and a cluttered side walk – they all bring the visitor to a close encounter with the Big Apple. A long street with a closed in feeling. Yet at the end of the street – on the top part of the painting is the green open park for the travelers oasis on this journey through New York City. On the left side of the painting – the visitor is more distant from the city. The feeling on this side of the painting is the visitor is just passing through.

The two billboards seen at the tops of two buildings state clearly “The Journey” and there is “Parking Available” if you want to stop. The silhouetted figures in the center could be any traveler in the Big Apple. These figures are also open to viewer interpretation. Is it two people – one looking at the left and one on the right? Each with their own agendas? Or is this a couple – man and woman – together just enjoying the city – whether it be passing through or to see the town up close and personal? Judgment John Marshall succeeded with this work – and this title.

Big Apple Moments. He captures the activity of the city, the variance of the Big Apple. He does so with subtle clues as to what the city is like. The city is to any person who visits there – whatever they want it to be. Some go to pass through and see the post card sites. Some go for a personal encounter with the culture of the city. Marshall goes so far as to paint the white lines on the road – not as a straight dotted line – but in angling different directions. Some sharp left, some sharp right, some slightly point one way or another, yet none are straight.

That is because the city is open to individual experiences. Does the visitor want to do this or do that? Does the visitor want to go this way – or go that way? No matter what the visitor decides – there is that calmness of New York City. Whether that calmness be found in a taxi ride down a wide avenue – or at a serene park at the end of a hectic visit through and up close view of the Big Apple. There is not right or wrong way to see it. You just have to feel it – so grab a Metro Card – and lets go.


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