You are on page 1of 3

Look at Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez on pp.

154-155 of A World of Art and


describe its formal qualities in terms of organizing space. Do the formal qualities
create a particular effect? If so, what is it and how is this accomplished? ·
Summarize your description of Las Meninas in 150 to 200 words.

The artist Diego Velázquez's painting Las Meninas uses space to draw the viewer's eyes
to several places in the painting that he wanted to emphasize. It appears that Velázquez
wanted viewers to first look at the "young princess, the infanta Margarita" because she is
right in the center of the painting (Sayre, 2010). In addition, there is light on her face, and
her blonde hair seems highlighted. Velázquez also placed two ladies to her right and left,
both facing her, which draws the viewer's eyes to Margarita. However, Velázquez placed
several people near Margarita that aren't looking at her, but almost at the viewer, so their
attention "lies outside the picture plane" (Sayre, 2010). Since there is a couple in the
mirror, which Velázquez placed in the back, left side of the painting, it can be assumed
that these people are looking at the couple who is having their portrait painted. This is an
interesting and ingenious use of space, because it makes the viewer think about why
Velázquez has placed these people in certain positions, and forces the viewer to draw
conclusions about what the real focal point of this portrait is.

Look at Nighthawks by Edward Hopper on p. 510 of A World of Art and describe


its formal qualities in terms of color and light. Do the formal qualities create a
particular effect? If so, what is it and how is this accomplished? · Summarize your
description of Nighthawks in 150 to 200 words.

It's been long known that Edward Hopper is trying to evoke the feeling of isolation in
loneliness in his painting Nighthawks. The color and light contribute to this emotion in
many ways. Firstly, the color inside the restaurant is very bright, and almost artificial.
The beige/yellow/orange wall (I'm unsure of the exact color) is stark and unwelcoming.
Perhaps this is meant to mirror the idea that many relationships are artificial and therefore
humans are truly alone in the world. But the light contrasts with the darkness outside the
restaurant, which shows a street without activity. Secondly, the light also creates an effect
of loneliness. If the viewer looks at the street, he/she can see a place that's dark with
shadows, but yet bright enough to be illuminated by a fake moon (the streetlamps and the
near-empty restaurant). This street is even darker when viewed through the window on
the left side of the restaurant, which is the side that the lonely man is facing. Perhaps this
is meant to show how the lonely man views the world, as a place that's dark and scary.

Related Interests