Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin
 

 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun

Posted by Charley Parker at 1:00 am

Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun was a major figure in 17th Century French Painting. Here, in his Adoration of the Shepherds (also here), he displays his skill with composition, color and light, using them to gently guide our eye through several aspects of a complex scene.

The immediate focus, of course, is on the mother and child, their illuminated figures accented by the darkened silhouettes of the foreground figures. Our eye then sweeps upward with the rising smoke, through the curves of the angelic banner and out into the heavens which have opened into our scene. When we settle back into the foreground, we have a wealth of other figures, earthly and etherial, on which to focus in turn.

Le Brun’s rich blues and deep orange-reds balance and complement each other beautifully, reinforcing the path of our eye and giving the painting a lively, vibrant character overall.

2 comments for Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun »

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  1. Comment by Andrew C
    Saturday, December 25, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

    He has done a very good job on the baby which actually looks babyish, instead of like the bizarre homonculus I’ve seen in a lot of early painting.

  2. Comment by EEH
    Sunday, December 26, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

    Le Brun’s obviously a magnificent painter, but, somehow, I always found his use of light to be a bit disappointing. Maybe it’s just me …

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