The art of James Whistler was very contradictory to those of other painters. This is in such a way that his works “were absolutely not reflections of his aggressive personality. ” (Pioch 1996). Whistler adhered to the notion that paintings should exist in a world of their own, in direct contrast with the styles of his contemporaries, to stand alone in its appeal to eye and not to express ideas and moral tales of the creator of the work, and the essence and beauty of the works should be solely beheld on the “canvas, color, light and shade.
” (“Great Artists in History”) and moreover, Whistler had stated, “as the music is poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight. ” He named his paintings after musical titles to transmit his message that art alone should not be “only pleasing to the eye, but also to be like music to the ears. ” (Pioch 1996). In addition, Whistler rejected the concept that paintings should emphasize values and religious and mythological themes and always prioritized the harmony of the composition of color than the realism of a photographic-like illustration..
He was very critical of his works, which he refers to as “arrangements”, “symphonies” and “harmonies” for the reasons above aforementioned. An example of his merging with visual beauty which possesses “music” is his works on the beautiful Thames. Whistler interesting personality was as extraordinary as his artistic aptitude. His contemporaries in the field of literature branded him as a “dandy”, and concurrently, “he was thought of and portrayed as egotistic, proud, contemptible, and rude.
” (“American Attitude”). He was never disheartened by such accusations and always shielded himself, convinced that those who found blemishes in his works simply lacked the understanding, the understanding of his work, and the understanding of art itself. II. The Work of James Whistler The works of James Whistler “are closely associated with Impressionism, Aestheticism and Symbolism, and he played a significant part in the modern movement in England. ” (Pioch 1996).
His inclination in aesthetic creed was evident in his work Ten O’ Clock Lecture in 1885 and countless of influences in modern art and to society. This work of his was published for a second time in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies in 1890. The earlier works of Whistler was the very realistic painting of a girl model named Joanna Heffernan, his partner for seven years. Heffernan was depicted in Whistler’s “contentious Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl. ” (“Great Artists in History”).
After his work in which Heffernan was the subject, his eventual works were of similar designs and themes, often dwelling on female subjects in whole figures. But the most famous of all works of James Whistler was yet to come. As his mother came to England to be with him, the result was one of the most influential paintings in American culture, her painting of her mother as Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, commonly more known “as Whistler’s Mother. ” (“American Attitude”).
Another one of Whistler’s most important works, his Nocturne in Black and Gold, was the culmination of his fascination and “impulse to merge the Eastern and Western Worlds together in his paintings and merge two cultures in a single canvas” (Power 2007), and to be precisely elaborate, to see the West in Japan and bring Japan to the West. On the surface, the work was just a keen description of the wonderful view overlooking the Thames that possessed a similarity with the works of the Japanese artist Hiroshige.
Whistler conferred a distinct name on his work, entitled Nocturne: Blue and Gold or Nocturne in Blue and Gold, in “accordance and recognition of the French painters’ ability to relate their works to music and the latter part of the title in an indication of the influence of Hiroshige’s utilization of the binary color scheme. ” (Power 2007), was evidenced in his earlier “moonlights”, a variation of his Hiroshige’s influences upon his work. Yes, Whistler’s aim in merging two worlds was apparent, but he should have stuck with “moonlights” for he could have evaded confusion had he done so.