Many pieces of artwork are known quite well throughout history and appreciated for its various elements. However, I believe that art is something that, in the end, is perhaps the most subjective form of idea in our society, and as such it is not without reason for many to question it.
Upon researching through the text of the 7th edition of "Artforms", I came upon one such image located on page 402, plate number 573. It is a piece entitled "At the Moulin Rogue" painted by a French artist by the name of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Appearantly, this was a prime example of the said artist's work, for whom "painted the gaslit interiors of Parisian nightclubs and brothels" and was known for creating awkward themes to invoke emotion from the viewer. .
Though does it truly invoke such a vivid response? For me, personally, I think no. It is true that commonly uses of hue shift and altered gradation can be known to presume a sense of abnormality, such as in the more modernistic and well-known works of Andy Warhol, but as an oil painting done in the post-impressionistic style, I feel this can be an often too easy solution. Notice the coloration of the face presented most vividly in the bottom right corner. While the opaque light blue and smooth texturization gives the woman a haunting, alien tone, I feel it does less to construde emotion from within the character, but rather takes away from it. Emotion from within human characters in art is largely contributed to sympathy from the viewer, and when that humanity is transcended into inhumanity through abnormality, it becomes somewhat moot. And while it is true that art is not merely seen through literal means, I feel it is more effective within a depiction of humanity and realism to be consistant with the subject.
Aside from that point, the central area of the painting, I feel, has somewhat of a vague dullness to it that strikes me as, for lack of a better term, rather boring.