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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Figure as Focal Point

I'm drawn to the figure. The inclusion of a figure in a landscape or cityscape adds an instant sense of narrative to the image. As viewers we project our own interpretation on a painting containing a figurative element based on our own experiences, it is part of human nature, there is an automatic affinity.
The inclusion of a figurative element is just the beginning, the choices we make in the painting will either unify or isolate the figure from the setting. Sometimes we may want one or the other.
I've posted a few paintings that use the figure as an element in different ways.
In the painting of Campo dei Fiore in Rome the cityscape is the subject, the statue and architecture set the mood, the inclusion on one central figure looking towards the viewer is meant to draw the viewer in and place us in the cityscape as a participant in the scene.
The painting of the violinist in Venice has one figure which is clearly the focal point and subject with the other elements there to support the image, add to the narrative and serve as compositional elements.
The Asbury Park New Jersey painting emphasizes both the architecture and figure in equal proportions. The arch frames the figure and the one point perspective and surface quality of the structure make it an equal player in the content of the painting.

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