One of the most interesting types of art that has always been depicting the main specifications of different time periods in the art history were paintings. Special place here has to be given to portraits that depicted people that lived in different time periods and the way people were seen by the painter in particular and the society in general. Artists have been using women to express their attitude to society for centuries. That is why women’s portraits are used for the current project proposal.
The current project proposal is connected with two artworks from very different time periods: “No Woman No Cry” by Chris Ofili and “The Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer. Chris Ofili is a modern British painter, who has presented “No Woman No Cry” in 1998, while the second work of art was finished around 1665 and is considered to be one of the brightest Dutch artworks of the Baroque period (Higgins 2010). These two paintings represent the core themes of the two great époques and give a possibility to find common features between the Modern art and Baroque.
“No Woman No Cry” is a mixed media with such elements as oil and acrylic paint, golden elements and polyester been used by the artist. This canvas depicts a mourning woman that is one of traditional female images used by painters to express their emotions and address to the audience. The main inspiration came from the great tragedy – a murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. The painting depicts a black woman with braids, who is crying with tears that have small collage portraits of a Stephen inside them.
“A Girl with a Pearl Earring” differs from Ofili’s work – this painting has not been first meant to be a portrait. It is tronie that depicts a typical woman that lived in Europe in 17th century (Spenser 2013). However, there are also exotic motives present in the portrait as she is wearing exotic clothes and a turban. This portrait has also been made with oil on canvas. It was also painted with the usage of intense colors to underline the emotional component – it is believed that Vermeer depicted his daughter Maria and therefore these emotions are also powerful, although different from Ofili’s.
Both of these paintings represent a serious interest for further research and analysis. Both of them are connected with one of the most deep and mysterious themes of all times of art history – women and their role in the development of painting. Although these two artworks seem to be very different, the further research demonstrates the series of common points they have. Therefore, the current paintings will be a perfect theme for study as they have never been compared and contrasted before and such analysis opens a new dimension in the women’s portraits studying, observation and research.
Higgins, Charlotte. “Chris Ofili: A journey from elephant art to mother nature's son.” The Guardian. The Guardian News and Media Ltd., 25 Jan. 2010. Web. 25 Jul. 2015.
Spenser, Ruth. “Girl With The Pearl Earring: what's the story behind the famous painting?” The Guardian. The Guardian News and Media Ltd., 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Jul. 2015.