Essay about Jack Levine 's The Arrest

Essay about Jack Levine 's The Arrest

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Jack Levine’s The Arrest (1983), is the piece of artwork that I have decided to interpret for this paper. When I saw this piece hanging in the Hunter Museum of American Art I was instantly pulled in and wanted to learn more about it. It is a simple painting in composition, but the message I believe it represents is a powerful one. I believe that this painting is a representation of the social injustices that the underrepresented individuals of our society face on a daily basis, and the misuse of authority from those who are in charge in this country.
The Arrest is an oil painting, and it was made in the year 1983. In the painting there are three individuals, two are police officers and the third individual is a prisoner. The thing that grasped my attention when I looked at this painting, was that the prisoner is wearing a sheet or covering over his or her face. Because of this covering, the gender and race of the prisoner are unknown. The prisoner is also dressed in the typical orange jumpsuit worn by inmates. The officer on the prisoner’s left is positioned more so behind him, so most of his body and face cannot be seen in the painting. The officer to the right of the prisoner stands out more to the side, allowing for his nondescript face to be seen. Both of the officers have the prisoner in their grip, as to keep him or her in place. The prisoner is also in the foreground of the painting as if he is being presented to us the audience. These three individuals are the only figures in the painting, and they are standing in front of a brown background.
Levine makes a great use of the elements and principals of art in this painting. His use of texture in this painting is the most evident of all of them. Levine gives a real and percei...

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... most of the impressionism style. The apparent brush strokes and lack of defined details are similar to the impressionism style. The subject matter of this painting, on the other hand, reminded me of the realist artist Honore Daumier. Daumier created images that represented the little man while exposing those in power. The specific art piece that came to my mind was the Gargantua (1831). In the Gargantua image, Daumier depicts the common and poor people at the bottom of the image loading their possessions onto a ramp that leads to the mouth of King Louis Philippe. This image is also an example of the powers of those in charge being misused.
The Arrest, made in 1983 and Gargantua, made in 1831, shows us that the misuse of power is not something that is new to our society. These images show us that we still have a long way to go, if we are going to improve our system.

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