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Investigate the Iconography in the Work of John Singleton Copley - Term Paper Example

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Running head: John Singleton Copley Iconography in the Work of John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark Insert Name Insert Insert 23 September 2011 Iconography in the Work of John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark Introduction The field of art has been in existence since the prehistoric times…
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Investigate the Iconography in the Work of John Singleton Copley
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Download file to see previous pages The image is intended to convey some messages to the viewers through its facial expression. The pictorial likeness of the face of the image is of utmost concern (LightPoseGuide, para.3). It could also be kept in some gallery to pass some information onto the future generations. As such, it is necessary that the artist design a portrait that has some facial expression. The image should be natural to enable the observer develop a logical eyesight towards the intended meaning. Iconography is concerned with the symbolic nature of the portraits or any other artistic images. It is the study of the themes expressed in visual arts and their hidden meanings (Straten, 3). It involves identifying and providing a description of the contents of a given portrait. This then leads to an interpretation of what the contents imply in relation to the subject of the work (Straten, 3). This paper presents an iconographic examination of Watson and the Shark, a piece of work by John Singleton Copley, the eighteenth and nineteenth century American artist who later moved to London where he died. The symbolic nature of this and other works by the artist is examined. The artist is seen to have brought a significant impact on the nature of the American and British portraiture. John Singleton Copley’s Background John Singleton Copley is an American painter born in Boston in 1938 of an Irish immigrant into the US (Olga’s Gallery, para.1). At the age of ten, his father died and the mother, Mary Singleton Copley, was married to another man by the name Peter Pelham in the same year. The stepfather contributed significantly to the early education of Copley. He was a teacher as well as an engraver, and so Copley learned a lot when he worked at the stepfather’s shop. While working there, he learned various skills involved in engraving and developed relations with various painters in Boston (Olga’s Gallery, para.2). The stepfather also died within three years and Copley was forced to continue learning the art of engravings on his own. Copley began to paint portraits at the tender age of fifteen years. Even though these early works were seen to be immature with no proper facial expressions, the efforts of the artist could not be mistaken owing to his tender age (Olga’s Gallery, para.3). The artist borrowed elements from works from America and Europe. He interacted with more artists from Europe and other parts of the world that led to rapid development in his artistic skills. He was invited to various exhibitions in the colonial America and Canada, most of which he turned down. In 1766, Copley attended the exhibition of the Incorporated Society of Artists, where he gained fame among the public in England (Olga’s Gallery, para.8). His first work presented at the exhibition impressed different people and he was accepted into the society of artists in the country. The artist had further creative and innovative developments and moved to various counties with his home based in London. He developed portraits of important persons in the colonial New England. Most of his works are kept in the National Gallery at Washington, D.C. Copley later died in his home in London in 1815 following a stroke (Olga’s Gallery, para.21). Watson and the Shark, 1778 The works of Copley could be a regarded as an important milestone in the American portraiture. Ideally, the portraits ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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