Examining Art

One of the few art critiques that I had done was one on the Apotheosis of Homer (827), done by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. It is composed of many elements of art, one of which being symbolism, which will be further discussed later on.

The holy power of Christ and the demonstrated power of Homer are best described in this painting. Even at first glance, it is shown that this painting displays a significant event going on. It is showing an angel descending from heaven in order to give Homer a crown. This angel is can be shown to be representing victory as also a resemblance of great power. People all around him (probably of a high status) are all focused on watching this crowning. Behind him is a facade of an Ionic temple that is being used as the background. This building is being used to show the Greek style within the painting mixed with the biblical art. As you can see, many of the people standing by Homer are presenting gifts as a sign of peace and respect. I feel the artist’s main reason for creating this work of art is to show the great power which can be obtained and he shows this theme by using the certain elements and principles contained in art.

This painting uses many elements of art which are all stunning. The first thing that pops out to me is the fact that this whole painting is emphasized on one person (Homer). He is in the very middle of the piece of artwork and this really shows how the painter definitely stressed in creating this feeling of significant towards Homer. To further accentuate the power located in the center, Ingres placed all the spectators around this main point and are shown to be focused on it. This throne that he is shown sitting on also helps with this main emphasis because thrones are usually shown with high dignity and that is what is trying to be demonstrated. Another element of art that Ingres uses is color. The colors used in showing Homer and the angel are white which represents holiness. The people watching, on the other hand, are not wearing specific colors. It is an unorganized clash of colors which could be used to show the flaws and disorder in human nature. This painting also uses a form of balance and that of which is symmetrical. The people on either side are shown to be close to equal which goes back to that emphasis on the middle.  Furthermore, this artwork is done using three-dimensional figures. The space in the work of art is shown in a realistic manner with the images of humans are shown with dimension creating that sense of depth. Also, it has a sense of harmony to it. There is not really any motion shown in the people and each of them is uniform which produces that elegant, smoothly-flowing design.

At first glance, I thought that this painting had more of a holy meaning and significance to it. But as looked deeper into it and got a little bit more information, I feel it is showing Homer resembling “the leader of the Greeks” because of the fact that he is represented as a man of great power. The spectators all surrounding him may represent the humble beings of mankind because they are all “bowing down” in a way to Homer. I feel that each person throughout the entire painting is used to represent something, by the way they were created. Some of which are: the ones holding scrolls are scholars meant to show knowledge, the one holding the bible is shown as a priest representing religion, the angel shows wisdom, and Homer represents great power.

The artist’s main intention in making this painting is to demonstrate the power in which one can hold and he shows this theme by using the certain elements and principles contained in art. In creating the painting, one element Ingres was using a form of art known as imitationalism. This is a way of creating the piece meant to be realistic and show the qualities of realism. They want to show the literal qualities to demonstrate what can be seen in the real world. The artist also contains a little bit of emotionalism because he wanted to feel the feeling of power given using emphasis and symmetricality. What I feel he was trying to communicate using emotionalism and symbolism was the power of which one possess.


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