On a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I took a tour of the museum with a lecturer. During the tour, the leader lectured on particular paintings. She told the know history behind each shown painting. She also gave the history of the period in which the painting was painted. The lecturer also helped everyone to understand what the colors in the paintings brought to each painting.
While viewing the many paintings, the first one that caught my eye was Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife by Jacques-Louis David. This portrait was painted when David was at the peak of his powers and had become the standard-bearer of French Neoclassicism. Lavoisier, who is pictured sitting down to the right of his wife in the portrait, is best known for his pioneering studies of oxygen, gunpowder, and the chemical composition of water. Lavoisier's wife was thought to have studied with David. Lavoisier was involved in a political scandal. This even led him to withdraw the painting from the Salon in 1789.
Jacques-Louis David used dark colors in this piece of art. David used the color red and different hues of grays. These colors may suggest a feeling of unhappiness. The focal point of this painting, in my opinion, is Lavoisier's wife. She is standing up in the picture wearing a white dress. The whiteness of her dress brings much attention to her body. That is the brightest color used in the entire painting.
During the Neoclassical time period, artists at first sought to replace the sensuality of the Rocco Style with a style that was logical, solemn in tone, and moralizing in character. When revolutionary movements established republics in France and America, the new governments adopted neoclassicism as their official art style. Neoclassical art is a form of art based on fixed, ideal values.
The next painting I observed was one from the Baroque time period. Venus and Adonis by Rubens interested me. Peter Paul