– Museum Report Essay, Research Paper
It was the day of April 13, 2000. I woke up at exactly 12 o’clock because my boyfriend was to pick me up at 1 like we planned the night before. The day looked quite nice, but I was in a fowl mood. I got into a car accident the night before and had a huge argument with my parents about the car. I finally dragged myself into the shower and got ready in half an hour. Then I went downstairs, sat on my couch, and repeatedly told myself the day would hopefully turn out better than last night. At around 1:15, my boyfriend came to pick me up. We took the 5 freeway to the 57 since it was the only way I knew how to get there. As we approached the 134 freeway, my girlfriend veered to the right, taking the 210 which was wrong way and got us lost. So, we exited the freeway and got back on the right track. Then finally, before long, we reached Norton Simon.
As we reach the museum, the exterior was very beautiful. The first things I saw were the bronze statues in the front. We took a couple of pictures in front of them and in front of the Norton Simon. The entrance where the glass doors had sat was very unique and elegant. The glass walls that the glass doors were attached to, added to the elegance and beauty. When I had first walked in, I was very shy, timid, and unwilling to go on, this was due to the more mature audience that I had seen when I had first entered the museum. I was still unsure on how to act in a museum, being this my first time, so I was very calm, cool and reserved, but as time went on I saw college students my age probably doing the same thing I was doing. So I then I felt more at ease. Plus my girlfriend was with me so I was not alone.
We walked and walked looking at each art piece, which were all well displayed. Then as I looked at the back wall, a large oil canvas painting looked right back at me. I could feel its pain and so then, I decided to do my paper on this piece. The painting was The Ragpicker by Manet. (The Ragpicker. Edouard Manet.1865.Oil on canvas.) The painting was so enormous that it was hard to miss. Such a huge painting for one man, it almost looked life-like. The dimensions of this work is 76.75” x 51.25”. This scene seems to take place of a lower-class man late in his age, probably near his seventies, appears to be looking out of the corner of his eye. The walking stick seems to symbolize the old age as most walking sticks do. He is geographically set in the middle of the canvas as the center of the painting. His facial expressions seem to look like something is bothering him. He wears a gray hat and has grown a long white beard on his unshaven face. The bags under his eyes seem to compliment the walking stick and both show the aging process of man. His clothes look to be unwashed and is probably the only clothes he owns. His clothes consist of a long white v-neck long sleeved shirt and a pair of torn blue jeans to cover his legs. He also has a sack that is hung over his right shoulder. This sack is the same color or appears to be the same color of his hat. The walking stick he carries clenched in his left-hand stands from feet to chest. The knees of the old man are slightly bent and his head is hung over to the side. His shoes look to be worn down and are gray. Next to his shoes is a pile of trash. In the garbage, there is broken glass, wrappers, a piece of fruit that was bitten into, leaves, and branches. It looks to be that he is on dirt but the background fades to gray.
Manet did not use vertical lines in this painting; instead, he used bending line. The bending line indicates hard working, tired, and weariness. The man’s walking stick appears to be very vertical but is actually at a slight diagonal. His life does not at all look like a proud one but more of a laboring, hard and tired life. The bending line gives away the feeling and emotion of the piece.
Chiaroscuro was used in this piece. There is no real light source and no line to distinguish the ground from the sky. This gives you a sense that he is just standing there, almost like he is posing for the camera on a backdrop. The odd light, the not real light source, makes him look like he is alone in the world, like there is nothing else there.
The colors are ambiguous. You do not really know what color is where, and what color is what. It is a lot of different shades of the same basic color yet still are very ambiguous. The colors can represent emotion. The white of his shirt could explain his purity and kind soul and the blue of his jeans represent the infinity. He knows that he is going to be like this for a very long time, if not forever. The blue also puts me into a melancholy state. Its like I am just here and I do not really get excited that I am here, but I am not really feeling sorry that I am here either. The shading in the background also adds to that state of melancholy.
This piece has an implied or simulated texture, which means that it appears to have texture but in reality, it does not, actually, you cannot feel it. Manet fools the eye because the fabric of his shirt and the roughness of his jeans appear to have texture but they do not. If you actually touch the painting, you will find it to be flat and it does not have that feeling of thick application of paint.
The painting has realistic 3 dimensional space by the use of linear perspective and chiaroscuro. It also looks to be 2 dimensional as well, because it almost looks like some influence on the Japanese print, like flat patches of paint. The lines converge from the edges of the paint to the center letting off the effect of a background and a foreground. It looks as though the trash is in the foreground and the man is in the background. In the back of the painting, it is darker which also adds to the effect of the 3 dimensional space.
My first experience at the museum was a good one. I had so much fun even after we were done with the Norton-Simon. Being a business major, I did not know that art could speak to me as it did. It has not influenced me so much as to change my major, but it did open my eyes to a whole new world. Now when I look at art, I do not just see a pretty picture, but what the artist is actually trying to say.