Early American Artist Benjamin West

1763 Words8 Pages
“And I looked and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger and with death, and with beast of the earth.” [Rev. 6:8] Early American artist Benjamin West, details his conception of the scripture in his smaller study Death on the Pale Horse, in which the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse —Death, War, Famine and Pestilence waste the earth. Considered in his earlier works as a Neoclassical painter, his later works began to shift in the new direction of Romanticism. This transition of art was meant to evoke an emotion within the viewer. Recalling the eighteenth-century aesthetic values of Edmund…show more content…
Format, Proportion and Scale: Death on the Pale White Horse, created in the year 1817 is painted horizontally through the application of oil on canvas.The dimensions 176 inches x 301 inches. that correspond to the scale of the figures within the painting come across disproportional and are somewhat misleading to that of the overall height and width of the piece. However, undisturbed by the edges of the canvas, the centralized pyramid shape : formed by the figures in conjunction to those figures within the foreground and the background, is not only placed harmoniously but sporadically together to begin the process of guiding the viewers eyes across the canvas.
From what can be understood by the viewer, West has created the piece with a head-on perspective. Through the use of many imaginative sharp diagonal lines, that can be drawn from either the more centralized figures whose hand rest atop his head and back is turned toward the viewer or the figure from the far left corner who learns at an angle and holds a spear across his body, towards the very last beast that is placed near the far upper right corner, West is able to create space and distance. The pyramidal construction of figures, foreshortening, and atmospheric perspective also work collectively to draw the viewer into the painting more closely.
Three-Dimensional Aspects and Composition: Benjamin West, was considered the first
Open Document