May 24, 2011

Henri Regnault's "Execution without Trial"

On this Day in the History of Art: Rosa Bonheur died (1899), "Star Wars" released (1977)

Born-Died: 1843-1871
Creation Date: 1870
Media: Oil on canvas
Size: 119 x 57.5 in. (302 x 146 cm)
Location: Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France

This is a grim painting with many artistic virtues, but one in particular involves the technique with which it was painted. Of course the paintings of Jackson Pollock do not qualify as art from the Objectivist standpoint (instead I would call them terrible works of design), but it wasn't because of his splatter/drip technique. While most of the subjects depicted here were rendered in a more-or-less traditional way, some of the blood was rendered by dripping and splattering the paint in a way that is not essentially different from Pollock's technique. The difference is that in Regnault's painting the paint has been carefully integrated into the subjects.

This is a photograph I took of this painting in France in 2001 (hence the low quality.) On an interesting side-note, just before I took this picture I saw a very small child run up to this painting and smack the canvas with both hands!

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