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The Norton Simon Museum: Exhibition of Different Mediums and Styles

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The Norton Simon Museum presents its visitors to the exhibition of different mediums and styles used to execute the following three artworks. All artworks are empowered to tell a story and send a message to its viewers. For decades, artists have used various techniques such as styles and mediums to create outstanding art pieces that tell a story about the time period they were created in and why they were created. The following is a glimpse of three artworks done by artists, Jean-Honore Fragonard, Edgar Degas, And ….. shown to bring out the beauty in the different types of mediums and styles used to create them, and the ability they have to voice the stories of their creators and their times of living.

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Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Happy Lovers, Oil on Canvas, 1760-1765

Norton Simon Museum welcomes visitors with French artist Jean-Honore Fragonards’ beautiful masterpiece“The Happy Lovers”, created between 1760-1765. The Happy Lovers is an oil painting on canvas that measures 35 ½ by 47 3/4 inches making it a typical size. The artwork shows a young female and male teenager enjoying themselves as they rest on each other in the middle of what seems to be a secluded yet beautiful area. Throughout the artwork, the artist shows great use of texture in the linen clothing of both teenagers. Folds and wrinkles are definitely depicted and enhance the semi-realism in the image. The artist presents beautiful green feathery plants around the teenagers, as well as a bright blue sky, putting these two characters in a natural scenario. The composition of this artwork works out very well. Both teens are placed in the center of the image and are surrounded by other smaller elements, making them the focal point of the art piece. One of the most evident details of this artwork is the significant use of vibrant, soft, and pastel colors, very typical of the Rococo art period. Overall these color choices give the artwork a soft and relaxed feel to it.

The Rococo art period started around the 1730s in France, and is popular for its theatrical style of architecture combined with asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, and sculpted molding. The style features details with an abundance of curves, counter curves, undulations, and elements models in nature, clearly shown in Fragonard’s artwork itself. . The style has since spread to other parts of Europe, specifically Italy, Austria, and Southern Germany, Central Europe, and Russia.

What this artwork depicts is the pleasure of a young couple enjoying themselves in a secluded area. The way artist Fragonard sets the characters apart in an environment of isolation, indicates intimacy and affection between a boy and a girl. The way both characters look at themselves, speaks for itself, the love and compassion shown in this artwork are immense.

The romantic scene is a hallmark of the Fragnards style adapted to the pleasure-loving court of King Louis XV. The artwork was created during the 1760s, only a few years later, the French Revolution toppled the aristocracy and shifted to a more severe approach and subject celebrating heroism and self-sacrifice. Artist Fragonard, who was once known as the toast of Paris, eventually died in 1806 at the age of 74 and was left forgotten.

Edgar Degas, Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, Bronze, Silk, Wax, Muslin, 1879-1881

Artist Edgar Degas created what was seen as one of the most beloved works of the Impressionism time period. The sculptor is that of a young girl dancer with her hands held behind her back. Her legs and feet are positioned as those of a ballerina and her posture is of facing up with her eyes closed indicating confidence. The posture of the young girl also shows balance. While the upper half of her body is slightly bent back, the bottom half is slightly towards the front. It’s not too overwhelming but just right. She is wearing a real bodice, tutu, ballet slippers, and even has a wig of real hair. Besides her hair bow and tutu, she is covered in bronze and is silky to the touch.

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This artwork depicts a student dancer, Marie van Goethem from the Paris Opera Ballet, who was also the student model for this sculptor. She was the daughter of a Belgian tailor and a laundress and was from the typical working as most of the other student dancers. Despite the difficult position she was in physically and psychologically, she showed dignity though her head held high. Through this artwork, Degas represents a working-class subject, with both realism and compassion about the difficult tension between art and real life.

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