Museum Review Essay Sample

Published: 2022-09-27
Museum Review Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Arts
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 886 words
8 min read

The New York Metropolitan Museum is a world class state of the art place. Also known as The Met, the museum boasts of its iconic art collection which is stored in galleries. The art ranges from ancient collections which date back to over 5,000 years and contemporary art forms. For instance, the museum is famously known for having the world's oldest piano which dates back to 1720. Now and then, the Met has exhibitions where people from around the world come to view the spectacular art it has in store. I recently attended one of the exhibitions and blown away by the art the museum had in its various galleries. Two pieces of art caught my eye in the exhibit. The first one was "The Death of Socrates" by Jacques Louis David in 1987. The second was Mary Cassatt's painting known as "Young Mother Sewing." While the museum boasts of other great treasures, these two pieces of art stood out because they can be compared and contrasted based on their form, style, and visual meaning.

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The Death of Socrates is a painting by French artist Jacques Louis David. The painting displays the ancient philosopher Socrates on his deathbed. Jacques's painting shows Socrates reaching out to the cup of hemlock which would take his life.

The painting displays a visual effect from its form and style. The painting uses a dark form in the background to bring out the lighter forms of humans standing and sitting on the bed. Additionally, Jacques uses light and colors that contribute to the variety and dynamism of the painting. For example, the choice of fabric is masterfully chosen to bring out the almost dark and warm colors effectively. The background is painted with a dark color whereas the figures are brightly painted with the main focus, Socrates, embodied in a white robe. The style of the painting is in a horizontal rectangular setup. Characters are fit into the painting because they are captured from a horizontal angle. Hence, all the figures are well captured, and a viewer can understand what is going on in the painting. The medium and visual meaning of the painting is crystal clear. Only Socrates is seen facing in front of the painting, just as he is facing his death. The other figures are turned towards him or something else. The visual meaning in the painting is brought out by the use of facial expressions and gestures. Socrates' friends appear disturbed while Socrates appears bold and not afraid of his death.

Young Mother Sewing is a 1900 painting by Mary Cassatt. Cassatt uses the painting to show the domestic life of women during this period. She captures a young woman knitting as her child stands next to her. In the painting, the mother bends down concentrated on her knitting while the child stares at a viewer. It was like I could make eye contact with the young girl standing next to her mother.

Cassatt fills her paintings with multiple colors. The painting utilizes the whole fabric by filling it with brushstrokes of colors. In the background, the painting has green and yellow colors depicting flowers and nature in general. The medium of Cassatt's painting is oil on canvass. The paint uses an oil base to hold in the colors on the picture. The visual meaning of the painting is that of child rearing and mother nurturing. The picture portrays the struggle to accomplish tasks and still entertain young ones.

While comparing the two paintings, I noticed similarities in their form and medium. Jacques's painting is a virtual art form just like Cassatt's picture. Therefore, the two pieces of art have the same form since they offer a virtual experience for the viewer. The Death of Socrates is a visual art because it gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the event taking place by looking at the facial expressions and gestures of the figures. Consequently, Young Mother Sewing gives a visual representation of what mothers constantly go through when multitasking between household duties and child-rearing. The two paintings are also similar in the medium for they are both oils on canvass types. Hence, the two artists used oil-based paintings to hold the colors together.

While contrasting the two pieces of art, the distinction was realized in their style. The two paintings differ in the style when it comes to using of color and light. While Jacques uses dark and bright colors to form a horizontal rectangular frame, Cassatt uses a combination of colors to fill the canvas. The grey shade behind Jacques painting is effectively applied to bring out the brightly colored figures. On the other hand, Cassatt's painting fills the canvass in the background with colors of nature such as green. Additionally, Jacques's painting is luminous while Cassatt's painting is somewhat dull.

In conclusion, both paintings are exceptionally spectacular. They are virtual art forms that allow a viewer to interpret the experiences of the figures in the painting. The Death of Socrates allows the viewer to understand the fierceness in Socrates and the troubled emotions of his friends. Young mother sewing gives an understanding of the struggle mothers' face every day in conducting chores and taking care of their young ones. Hence, both artists were very talented in bringing out their styles and form to offer incredible pieces of art.

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