Analysis of similar Themes in Barret’s 1785/1819 Untitled (Landscape) and Lacroix’s 1763 A Shipwreck

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Although often inspired by natural landmarks and places, crafted landscapes are separate from the land the pieces attempt to depict (Andrews 1). A piece of artwork is a vessel to judge how an artist or culture saw, felt and depicted nature. As of a result, citizens of similar cultures may depict similar themes in their work in a variety of different styles. Both Barret’s 1785/1819 Untitled (Landscape) and Lacroix’s 1763 A Shipwreck display distinct European attitudes towards nature while attempting to captivate the audience in a similar way.
From the foot of a creek, Barret allows the viewer to witness the rolling hills of a countryside. And although there are natural landmarks presented in the work, it may not be possible to identify where the hills are located. Making the painting more of a representation than a depiction of the muse. This too may be why the artist chose to leave the piece untitled rather than placing an unrelated or weak title. Did Barret categorize his piece as a “landscape” or did the curator? The end goal of the piece was to do just that, form a landscape that is pleasant for the mind’s eye. At play with regular western landscape motifs Barret paints both shimmers of luminous blue light shinning through calm clouds and darker, more sinister clouds of which inhabit the corner. The experience is “totalized” as one scene for the viewer to see the landscape as nature (Andrews 18, Meinig 1). Barret plays to the audience’s susceptibility to see the scene as natural habitat. The brightest section of the painting, the foreground uses earthier green tones to balance the brighter yellows of the grass. Employing complementary colors, the artist uses the color scheme to allure the viewer. The middle ground itself is se...

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...n a state of nature that was not to be tamed or domesticated. Two men, pictured wearing bright red and yellow, are attempting to save this women’s life or recover her body. Life is of greater value in the presence of – or threat of – death.
Although Barret’s British piece employs a panorama of the sky, Lacroix’s use of the technique is more dramatic in order to exalt the piece. The artist exploits the land in turn providing a climactic painting with various scenes within. The castle on the cliff could have been its own painting but it signifies the French crown constantly over the heads of its citizens. France, at the time A Shipwreck was painted, entered the 7 years war. The castle’s pillars, falling apart brick by brick, are a metaphor for state of the country. The 7 years war left France in debt and would be a contributing factor sparking the French Revolution.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how artwork is a vessel to judge how an artist or culture saw, felt, and depicted nature. both barret’s 1785/1819 untitled (landscape) and lacroix’
  • Analyzes how barret plays to the viewer's susceptibility to see the landscape as natural habitat.
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