Martin Johnson Heade is a notable American artist whose works – landscapes and still life – are inspired by the splendor of Mother Nature, and his desire to show it to the world is considered a success. Let us examine one of his masterpieces, Orchids and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds Taken from the National Gallery of Art collection, Cattleya Orchids and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds (34. 8 x 45. 6 cm) uses oil on wood. It was completed in 1871. This was a gift of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation to the gallery.
Subject Matter: The artwork is a landscape, which is one of the most genres that most artists from different centuries get captivated by. Although landscape is common, it is not always that an artist explores the tropical scene like Heade does. He presents not a combination of wild animals and plants but a fusion of beauty and madness in the wilderness. Style This masterpiece explores the “exotic recesses of nature’s secret garden” 1 with hints of the 19th century style called Impressionism.
Style comes about when artists invest themselves in their works, giving their feelings and experiences forms which are satisfying to them (Dudley et al, pp 425). In this piece, the artist gives us his idea of nature’s hidden wonders fused with emphasis on the mystery that surrounds a place rarely seen. The artist also offers a depiction of his own emotions and life – dark, mysterious yet with enthusiasm. He is an aesthete who ‘stops by to smell the flower’ on his journey and an adventurer who finds a lovely face in the soils of the earth.
The painter, as interpreted, preserves the mystery in all the beauty that feels too delicate, that in the future, looking back, this work would be a reminder of the purity of the world. Not only is the idea realistic but the painting as well based on shadows, direction of light and the way that the object stands out. As this may appear like a still dream, the work is still life and Impressionism magical and mysterious. Compositional balance Looking closely, Cattleya Orchids and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds is symmetrically balanced in terms of the subject distribution.
The orchid is placed on the left side while the three hummingbirds are place on the right. Color-wise, it is asymmetrically balanced as the colors are clearer on the left. Elements: Color The use of cool colors is prominent on this piece. The use of green is indeed mild while combined with darker hues to feel the ambiance that artist wants to express. The impressionist painters were especially interested in the effects of natural light on color (Dudley et al, pp. 225), which leads us to the next element – light.
Light gives the subject in the painting depth. The use of light may be subtle or strong. In this piece, the light used is subtle to strong to highlight the main subjects in which the faintness of pink and strength of red.
http://www. nga. gov/cgi-bin/pinfo? Object=60978+0+none yellow and green, giving off a rather dark but comforting impression. The shape of the subjects is neither complicated. The artist tried to create a realistic work through the shapes in which the elements were formed, as well as through texture.
Combined with the mild interaction between the light and color, the soft texture provides our imagination as to how this world tastes like. This masterpiece is a clear depiction of the mystery that lies in nature’s womb. The size (13 3/4 x 18 in. ) made it possible for the observer to see the details. Works Cited Dudley, L. , Austin, F. (1978) The Humanities. New York: McGraw-Hill The Collection: National Gallery of Art, USA. http://www. nga. gov/cgi- bin/pinfo? Object=60978+0+none