One Work of Art Discussion and Responses


Posts: For this post, select one work of art (two-dimensional or three-dimensional art) has NOT been already analyzed or extensively discussed in the course readings or videos…part of the fun in learning about art is in DISCOVERING it!  You are required to make one post.  In a narrative format, the post should contain the following elements:

Define and Identify: Brief information about the artist and work.  For example, birth/death dates, place of birth or work, where work is displayed, name of work, medium of work, context for creation of work.  
Experience and Appreciation: For example, where you found the work (website, another book, museum), what made you select the work, what about this work speaks to you.
Observe and Analyze: Use and underline three terms that were introduced in the module to observe/analyze your chosen work.  Add any other relevant information to improve your paper.
Critique and Compare: Compare your work to similar pieces or to examples used in the module.  Consider the impact of the work on a particular social angle and/or the evolution of the media.  Consider the impact of experiencing the work on your general outlook on the medium or appreciation of art.
Apply Social Angles AND Context: Identify at least one social angle from the list below that can be observed or analyzed as part of the work.  Address how the social angle is connected to the work.  Plus, a thorough contextual analysis of the historical, cultural, and social implications should be discussed.

race and ethnicity,
gender and sexuality,
class and highbrow/low,
colonialism, postcolonialism, place and regionalism,
nature (environment, ecology) and culture,
memory, history, generational identity,
food culture, and
body and mind

Students will be expected to define, identify, and apply at least three terms (underline them so I can quickly find them) from the module in the post. Make sure to underline the terms so that I can quickly identify them.  College-level writing and mechanics are expected; however, the purpose of this assignment is to move from experiencing art to analyzing art to evaluating art. Make sure to include a references section at the end of every post, even if you only cite the lecture video. All in-text citations and references should be in MLA.
Comments: For each of the two comments, select a classmate’s post, read the post, critique the post, indicate your reaction to the chosen work, discuss a comparison work from the module or any other outside source that is similar to the work identified in the post, and either add personal commentary or pose a question to stimulate conversation.
EXAMPLE: Here is a pdf file containing a discussion post from a previous semester that earned an “A” to help give you an idea of what is expected.  Click HERE . 
Discussion Board Grading:
               Original Posts—30 points possible per module: Student has actively connected with the materials and has made a thoughtful and engaging post that considers multiple perspectives in relation to the readings and videos. Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure are utilized, as well as direct references to the course materials and an image of the selected work.  It is crucial that you cite or reference some material from the class at least once during each original post to earn full credit.  Minimum of 600 words per original post.  Indicate your word count at the end of your post (example: “Word Count:1553”).
Comments—20 points possible per module (10 points per comment): Student stimulates the conversation and has made a thoughtful comment that is directly related to the original post.  Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure are utilized, as well as direct references to the course materials.  Minimum of 200 words per comment.  Indicate your word count at the end of your post (example: “Word Count: 283”). (the 2 classmates’ posts are attached)

By: Fatmeh Ali
For my 2-D contextual analysis, I chose Georges Seurat’s oil painting, “A Sunday
Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Georges Seurat was a French Painter during the
post-impressionest era. He was born on December 2, 1859 in Paris, France and passed away on
March 29, 1891 in Paris, France. This painting is an example of Pointilism, as he invented the
method and was known as the “Father of Pointilism.” This was a method he used when creating
this piece which consisted of using small dots of color in certain patterns in order to form
images. He studied at the École Municipale de Sculpture et Dessin, which was an art academy
run by a sculptor near his family home. He later moved to the École des Beaux-Arts, where he
focused on drawing and copying other artist’s work (Prahl, 2019). Later, he decided to diverge
from the art style taught by his school and traveled to the island of La Grande Jatte, where he
found his inspiration for this piece. Additionally, a source of inspiration for Seruat was a
Grammaire, which was known as a book created from ideas on color that were derived from
many different artists (“Artble”, 2017).
When looking at the oil painting many visual aspects stand out to the viewers. The first
thing a viewer many take into account is the composition of the piece. Seruat carefully position’s
everything to create balance ( which is known as the distribution of apparent visual weights), and
make the entire piece intriguing to look at. The river towards the left of the painting is filled with
yachts and boats, while the right side of the piece is filled with large amonuts of people to match
the balance. Also, his placement of people in the middle such as the mother and daughter holding
hands, makes the piece more appealing, as there is activity in all directions. Additionally, he
chooses to have all the people face sideways or straight, which makes the people seem more
rigid and toy-like. Moreover, the color palette used by Serauts attracts the viewers. Traditionally,
in painting shadows are portrayed by the color black; however, Seruat is able to create his
shadows based on the color they come in contact with. An example that depicts this is the skirts
of the women. The skirt of the woman sitting on the grass towards the left of the painting
portrays a blue shadow on the ground. This is also repeated with the woman on the right as the
light mixed with green cast a yellow halo on the trees. Her dress created a yellow line before the
arrival of the shadow, this yellow hue (which is known as a specific visible color) can be seen
towards the back of her dress. Furthermore, perspective ( which is identified as creating an
illusion and depth on 2-D surfaces) plays a major role in this piece, as the figures towards the
front of the piece are closer to the viewer; thus, intentionally making the woman’s dress enlarged.
Her and the man beside her are largest figures in a painting of vast proportions and their size
plays a role in balancing the piece. Seurat’s intention was to depict an interesting glimpse of
wealthy Parisian life during the 19th century. The island itself is located in Paris and represented
a high class get away for the Parisian community (“Artble”, 2017). Personally, when I look at
this painting it reminds me of power and privilege. This piece indicates that certain individuals
had the luxury of relaxing on Sunday afternoons in beautiful parks. As seen in the painting, they
are all dressed similarly (fancy attire), which indicates that this area was solely for the
upperclass. They have the luxury of taking days off and resting, as during that period the
government favored the wealthy, and left the lowerclass working. This painting to me represents
the leisure granted to Paris’s wealthier citizens.
The piece of art I am comparing this piece to, is another oil painting by Georges Seurat.
This piece is, the Bathers at Asnières which he created in 1884. This painting has a clear and
bright tonality, and the bridge in the distance shimmers in the haze, which occurred because of
the heat and smoke leaving the factory chimneys; thus, clouding the environment. Additionally,
it portarys factory working men sitting near a river, which at the time were not identified as
wealthy or apart of the upperclass. Suart portrays the lowerclass men relaxing, and from their
skin tone illustrated in the painting, one can assume they hardly go out in the sunlight (Mattews
et al). Both pieces depict different social classes, we can see that in this piece they are dressed in
shorts, while in the first they are dressed in suits and dresses.
A social angle this painting would compare to is class and highbrow/low. His work
included a variety of characters including: women, men, soliders, boaters, the old and young
people of different classes of dress (“Artble”, 2017). He illustrated the upperclass, otherwise
known as the wealthy class on a typical Sunday for them. It portrays the lavish lifestyle they live
in comparison to others. The painting depicts boats, yachts, animals, etc which were all
indications of the presence of classes during the 19th century. Where on the other hand, the
lowerclass has to work day and night to survive and make a living with hardly any rest days.
Furthermore, the women and men are dressed in fancy attire, the women in dresses and skirts and
the men in suits, this was also an indication of a lavish lifestyle. Seurat illustrates a normal
Sunday afternoon for Paris’s highclass of citizens.
I decided to choose this specific piece for my contextual analysis, as the concept of social
classes (high/low) always intrigued me. Therefore, while I was conducting research I recalled a
website I used in my visual arts class in highschool to discover artists. I began searching through
the website and came across Geroge Seurat. I began looking into his work and this specific piece
caught my attention.
Word Count: 1003
Works Cited
“Bathers at Asnières.” The National Gallery,
Mathews, Simone Mathews, et al. “Overview.” About This Exhibit,
Prahl, Amanda. “Biography of Georges Seurat, Father of Pointillism.” ThoughtCo, July
“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Artble, 19 July 2017,
By: Caroline Quast
The art piece I chose to analyze is Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory”.
This very well known piece falls under the category of painted art and is classified as “surrealism”.
Usually I m not a big fan of surrealistic art, however, Dalí is someone who has inspired me from a young
age and I have long enjoyed his artwork. Thought provoking and often abrasive, Dalí’s work is
nonetheless the epitome of surrealism. He broke norms within the surrealist movement during post-World
War I, and he is to this day considered as one of the greatest artists of all times. Salvador Dalí was born at
the brink of the 20th century, on May 11th, 1904 in Catalonia, Spain in Figueres, a small village outside
of Barcelona. He died in 1989, aged 85 years old and is buried in his hometown. From an early age, Dalí’s
talent for art was encouraged by his parents and in 1921, at age 16, he was enrolled in the San Fernando
School of Fine Arts in Madrid which ironically, he was expelled from only 5 years later. In 1929, he
visited Paris, France where he joined the surrealists group, led by André Breton. Here he was influenced
and inspired by other surrealist such as Pablo Picasso. By 1930, Dalí had become a notorious figure of the
Surrealist movement, sponsored by wealthy aristocrats. This very piece that I chose also is a prodigy of
that time and today we can find the original hanging at the MOMA – Museum of Modern Art in New York
When looking at this piece, before even starting to analyze it one may want to look at the physical
attributes, or elements that make up the Form of this piece. The Form refers to the seven fundamental
elements that make up the physical nature of an art piece. One thing that stands out to me are the colors he
uses. Composed in mainly cool colors, the light blue horizon gradually fades into a warmer yellow. It
contrasts the lower portion of the painting quite drastically as the bottom half (or the ground) is painted in
mainly black and brown colors. The element of value is also represented as he, in order to create depth,
used lighter browns in the background in contrast to darker browns in the foreground. This juxtaposition
is a fundamental element in surrealism, the contrast between certain attributes such as color or shape,
position or even symbolic reference of the objects in a painting. Furthermore, looking at the dimensional
makeup of this piece we have to consider the lines Dalí used to depict each object. Depending on the
shapes of the objects he is working with, he uses both, geometric as well as organic lines. For instance,
while the mountains and the platforms are composed of mainly straight angles, making them very linear
and symmetrical, the clocks on the other hand are much more fluid, composed of organic, free flowing
curves and are much more asymmetrical in their linear composition. As abstract as this piece may seem, it
is incredibly detailed. From the faces of the clocks, to the ants on the pocket watch to even the tiny
shadow the fly on the other clock casts (which ironically looks more like that of a human than a fly), each
of the elements is depicted in a very detailed and precise manner. Dalí uses a type of anthropomorphism
to depict the white, pinkish figure in the middle of the painting, which appears to be a type of face, with a
nose, a mustache and very detailed eyelashes, which still has a distorted connotation to it. The width of
the lines he uses throughout the painting also vary from object to object. Most of the elements are of
average width and length, with the exception of the eyelashes which are very thin and vary in length, as
well as the contour of the mountains in the background.
When looking at the texture of this piece, I was able to identify different brush techniques around certain
objects, for instance, everything surrounding the clocks appears rough, whereas the clocks themselves are
fluid and smooth.The shading of this piece, I believe is the soul of this piece, creating a surreal
environment, giving the piece it’s well known “out-of this world” feel. Not only that, but the shading and
the color in combination with the fluidity of the clocks give the piece a three-dimensional look to it.
Although it may not seem so, this piece is very dynamic.
Overall, all the above mentioned elements bring this piece to life.
Analyzing surrealistic art, including this piece, can become a bit of a challenge, however I believe that is
also one of the intriguing aspects of analysis. It makes the viewer think and reflect and interpret certain
elements from their own perspective. In terms of Iconography, Dalí is known for his symbolism. Just like
in many of his other works, in this piece he uses a variety of techniques while incorporating reoccurring
elements that portray a certain style that is typical for all of Dalí’s work. Being the focal point, the clocks
for instance represent time, the fluidity in their appearance may mean that time is not as rigid as we often
assume, while the ants on the other hand, are an indication of decay and death, while the mountains and
ocean landscape are a reflection of his childhood in Catalonia. I believe that Dalí wanted to create a
eulogy to time and was trying to say is that as humans we let time get in our way far too much. Always in
a rush and always pressed we don’t think about spending time on things we truly enjoy. All of these
elements, I believe can be an indication of an internal struggle Dalí was battling pertaining to growing old
as well as death. According to, Dalí’s mother passed away when he was 16, stating that
“In February 1921, Dalí’s mother died of breast cancer. Dalí was sixteen years old; he later said his
mother’s death “was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her… I could not resign
myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my
soul” (dalipaintings, n.d.).
Since in Humanities we do not look at art from the angle of critical analyzation alone as we would in art
appreciation, we also have to take the socio-cultural context into consideration. When we try to analyze
the context of this piece we may want to consider the time it was created. It was painted in 1931, a time
when surrealism was at its height. In a historical art context, the 1930’s were a time within the surrealist
movement in which artists explored the prospect of automatism which, as stated by “refers to
creating art without conscious thought, accessing material from the unconscious mind as part of the
creative process” (Tate, n.d.). Although it had started as an artistic movement, surrealism quickly evolved
into a social revolution, since alongside Dalí, other artists at the time followed suit, wanting the public to
consider the concept of free thought and the mind. This being said, Dalí uses automatism to guide his
process, letting his mind control the creation rather than consciously thinking about what he is creating.
Later artists such as Jackson Pollock are a good example of how automatism makes up a fundamental part
in surrealism. In reference to “The persistence of Memory”, Dalí never revealed the actual meaning
behind the painting but experts have speculated that it depicts a dream sequence. Unlike often assumed,
Dalí’s work were not drug-induced creations but rather inspired by his vivid dreams. Through his art, Dalí
challenged traditional views within art and he became to be one of the most sought after artists of his
time. Eccentric, bold, provoking and unafraid to express, attributes he did not only display in his private
life, but more so in his art, make him one of the most iconic artistic visionaries of his time. Having been
inspired by other surrealists, classical painters such as Rembrandt, as well as prominent figures within the
Sciences such as Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein.
The Social Angel I was able to identify here was not only memory and history but also identity as well as
body and mind. As above mentioned, his works often were inspired by his lucid dreams and I think he
portrays that very well in this piece especially since it has this certain unrealistic, “dreamy” feel to it. As a
vivid advocate of the sciences, Dalí was particularly interested in quantum physics, which explains his
fascination with time, represented through the melting clocks. Furthermore, the social angle of body and
mind can be discovered through a variety of elements in this piece such as the distorted figure. It may be a
self-portrait of Dalí himself which makes me think that he saw himself as decaying with time. All of these
angles may explain what the symbolic references are behind this piece. The concept of Psychoanalysis as
introduced by Sigmund Freud often guided Dalí’s creative process and as mentioned earlier, he used his
dreams and his own analytical approach to his dreams as sources of inspiration. According to Melissa
Soto, “In the 1930s, Dalí would pioneer what he coined ‘paranoiac critical method,’ where he would tap
into his subconscious to unlock his inner creativity and imagination” (Soto, 2017). This being said, the
unconscious mind is most certainly in the forefront when looking at the social angle of this piece.
In a historical context, there was a shift in Dalí’s work as those sources of inspiration changed post-World
War II. He became obsessed with the Sciences, the splitting of the atom and the atomic bomb in
particular. Some critics exclaim that anything Dalí produced after 1939, was considered to be junk,
however I believe that those works are just as powerful as any of his earlier pieces. As layered and
multifaceted as his work is, so was Dalí. As World War 2 took a hold of Europe, him and his wife Gala
moved to America, where he tried his hand in pretty anything art related. From Sculpting to Drawing, to
Fashion and so forth, Dalí was the persona of artistic expression. His obsession with the atom and
sciences are represented in another one of his work,The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory
which is a re-creation of The Persistence of Memory.
Painted in 1954, the elements he used are almost the same, the melting clocks, the white figure,the
mountains and so forth. It is critical to note however, that some of the main elements such as the
platforms are now dissembled and disarranged, clearly reflecting a different mindset in Dalí. Still holding
true to his style, he still used great detail and the symbolic meaning of this piece in comparison the The
Persistence of Memory also heavily leans on his mindset during that time. Knowing that he was obsessed
with the nuclear sciences and the splitting of the atom, the dissembled, neatly lined up blocks, represent
exactly that. In addition, he introduces a couple of new elements such as the dead fish above the white
figure, and the landscape of the picture has also changed drastically. While the clocks are still present, the
landscape seems to be flooded, and while the surface looks calm and smooth, the turmoil underneath says
otherwise. I believe that this represents Dalí’s new mindset about life as well as society since we have to
keep in mind that he had experienced a global war by then. I think the greatest indication of that is the
olive tree, which stands for peace, is broken with pieces flying around it. The Cold War I believe also
influenced his mindset greatly and while the atomic bomb is clearly represented in this piece, one can also
make out that this was the indication of change within Dalí as an artist. He had lost his interest in
surrealism, and with “breaking down” or splitting up one of his most iconic and original pieces, it may
seem like a goodbye per se to surrealism. While one could analyze Dalí’s work for a long time as there is
so much to discover in his pieces, I would like to conclude this analysis at this point. As eccentric and
bizarre as Dalí may seem and have been, in his public as well as private lives, he was without a doubt, a
genius of his art. He was unafraid to express himself and this confidence is something we can all take
away from his art. Not for nothing is he to this day, one of the (if not the) greatest surrealists of all time.
Word count: 2,150
Works cited:
Meisler, S. (2005, April 1). The Surreal World of Salvador Dalí. https://
Richman-Abdou , K. (2019, July 1). Exploring Salvador Dalí’s Strange and Surreal ‘Persistence of
Memory’. My Modern Met.
Salvador Dalí. Salvador Dalí Museum. (2020, December15).
Soto, M. (2017, January 3). Salvador Dalí, The Life Of The Iconic Surrealist. Culture Trip. https://
Tate. (n.d.). Automatism – Art Term. Tate.

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