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Art Analysis: Delacroix Vs. Vigee-Lebrun

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Art History 6C Paper- Prompt 2- Delacroix Vs. Vigée-Lebrun
– This paper will be structured as a dialogue between Sam, the collector and Sanket, the advisor. –
Sam: Sanket, should I acquire the self portrait of Eugéne Delacroix or Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun? Frankly, I don’t have enough money to purchase both of them.

Sanket: Sam, I know of you as a man of taste. You are a man that would want a portrait to represent the personality of the artist. I am confident that you would prefer the Delacroix over the Vigée-Lebrun, because Delacroix represented his emotions and nature into his artwork.

Sanket: It is clear from the use of lines that Delacroix wanted to show his confident and firm nature. The rigid lines from the furrow of his eyebrow to the lines on his lips form a very rigid outline of his face. This outline shows his strong nature through the bold lines on his face. In contrast, Vigée-Lebrun uses very circular, thin, and definite lines. The use of lines in this way creates a very soft image; however, this may not have to do with the artist’s nature. In neoclassical paintings, women were depicted with thin curving lines that showed off the fragility of femininity. Vigée-Lebrun probably used lines in a similar way limiting her own personal style in her portrait. On the other hand, Delacroix uses lines to show his nature and style of art.

Sam: Arriving at a conclusion based solely on the lines an artist uses is not very reassuring.

Sanket: It’s more than just the lines! Artists can use space to bring into focus objects in their artwork. Delacroix uses space to focus on his body in the portrait by removing all objects from the background of the image. Viewers are forced to move their eyes away from the mundane background and to ...

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...y actually be a choice that the artist has taken to better fit the theme of the artwork. Delacroix most likely used the broad brushstrokes used in the background and the clothing to show that the painting was not lifelike. He wanted to show that the painting was his creation that followed his style and personality. On the contrary, Vigée-Lebrun followed the rules set by neoclassical art. Her brushwork was not visible, she shown as fragile, and all parts of the painting seemed ideal. While Vigée-Lebrun probably spent more time on hiding her brushstrokes, Delacroix is the more skilled artist because he was able to capture his personality into his artwork.
Sam: I am convinced. Delacroix used his skills to create a piece of art that conveyed his personality, while Vigée-Lebrun used her skills to a create a piece of art that followed a strict set of apathetic guidelines.
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