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Farewell to Autumn Formal Analysis Essay

In Farewell to Autumn, Leonid Afremov uses color, line and perspective to create a dynamic composition. He uses the elements and principles of design to express his ideas within his painting. He did a good job of articulating unity, rhythm, and balance. He also used rhythm to create emphasis to certain areas. With the piece being representational, it could be conveyed as personal to the artist. By using oil paints and a palette knife, Afremov was able to demonstrate the soft texture of the vertical brushstrokes giving the painting its realistic feature of the trees being engulfed in flames and allowing the painting to come to life. The dark figures that are walking away into the vast distance weigh more than the contrasting colors leading me to believe the subject matter is about the figures in the center. He uses scale to create the appearance of correct size of the trees in relation to the size of the figures. Afremov’s composition was well executed using the elements and principles of design.

When first viewing the painting, I felt passion and happiness as well as a sense of welcoming. Observing the yellows, oranges, and reds used in this piece made me feel this way because of the sense of warmth that advances in the painting. However, it also made me feel intimidated because of the confined space and loftiness of the trees. It looks as if the trees are in flames and parts of it are falling to the ground burning which gives the viewer a feeling of uneasiness. The warm colors that are in the foreground and middle ground along with the cool colors receding in the background give the impression of vast distance within the painting. Although you can’t feel the texture of the painting, you can see he used light brush strokes; perhaps to give a sense of realism in nature.

My second observation about the painting was the line used within it. I noticed the actual lines of the pathway taking you into the vast distance. These lines function as a visual force that guides the viewer’s eye to the two silhouetted figures walking down the pathway. These actual lines of the pathway are moving in a diagonal manner which creates depth in the painting. The repetition of the trees creates both rhythm and unity within the composition and is the source of directional force that denotes the point of emphasis to be the figures in the center. Another thing I noticed was the vertical lines of the trees. This gives the painting a sense of height that leads the viewer’s eye upward only to bring it back down again through the vertical brush strokes. The vertical brush strokes flow downward drawing the viewer’s eye toward the center of the piece. All lines seem to be pointing to the vanishing point within the painting giving emphasis to the dark figures in the center.

This one- point perspective image uses approximate symmetry, balancing two similar areas of trees on the left and right sides of the painting. Warm colors in the foreground create visual balance and contrast to the cooler colors used in the background. However, the cooler colors of the background are creating visual balance and contrast to the dark figures which create emphasis in the center. Contrast in color, also adds depth to the painting by creating a sense of dynamism. The dark figures weigh more than the contrasting colors which lead me to believe the subject matter is about the figures in the center. Afremov uses scale to create the appearance of correct size of the trees in relation to the size of the figures. The height of the trees gives the dark figures the correct life-like size as they walk away into the vast distance.

The figures walking away may resemble the meaning of Afremov’s painting Farewell to Autumn which conveys to the audience that the dark figures are the point of emphasis. Afremov’s Farewell to Autumn painting is well emphasized by the elements and principles of design. In his painting he uses the elements and principles of design to convey emotion and movement. When observing the painting, both the flaming trees and the repetition of the trees gave a sense of confinement leaving me to feel intimidated and uneasy. The colors used left me feeling warm and happy. Every line used within the painting leading to the center of the composition led me to believe that the dark figures were the subject matter.

Both vertical and diagonal lines created the sense of movement throughout the painting as well as the actual lines of the pathway. Rhythm and unity both were used to create direction and emphasis to guide the viewer to the center. Afremov also used visual weight with color as a way to convey that the dark figures were the point of interest. The figures that seem to be walking away are darker compared to the contrasting colors which make the figures weigh more. This led me to believe the subject matter resembles the “Farewell” part of Afremov’s painting. Afremov, articulated balance both visually and through using approximate symmetry. Overall, Afremov’s painting is well executed and quite representational.


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