The Brown Angel and other Works of Art by Jacob Lawrence

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Arts

Document 1

His works of art focuses their attention on Civil Rights of the Black Community in the United States such as slavery abolitionism. Lawrence’s art employs a narrative style in printmaking and paintings to narrate the history and experiences of the African-Americans over time. He intertwines the past and present events and experiences to describe their origin, beliefs and practices in a figurative manner. Among his widely acclaimed collections are: History, Labor, Life; John Brown Series and the Migration Series. These paintings draw the specific experiences of the people in Lawrence’s neighborhood in Harlem as well as the past histories that depict the experiences of slavery, war and migration of the African-Americans through a dramatic, graphical and visual representation (Caruso and Caruso, Jr.

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He is considered according to the words of Leslie King-Hammond, an art historian, as being one of the greatest artists of the 20th century who was widely trained and educated in the technical and artistic creation of art that focused on the experiences of his community at Harlem. His works revolved around the life experiences of the Black community at Harlem during the end of the Renaissance period (Bonnet 87). Charles Henry Alston played a major role in mentoring him at WPA workshop with regards to the development of arts tailored and depicted from the African culture. He also spent much of his early career moments studying the African-American literature materials concerning the historical research on black culture of the Africans. This is depicted throughout most of his works such as The Migration of the Negro and L’Ouverture paintings.

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The Brown Angel masterpiece (1959) depicts the African culture and art through the adoption of modest materials such as tempera on gesso panel which displays the picture of an African Motherland. This piece of art is a recreation of Harlem night life through the images created that shows the visual appearance of a bar with men wearing porkpie hats others playing pool and one chatting up a lady in a red dress. There are also some of the individuals drinking alone while others are drinking in groups. This art also take into account the small details about the bar such as the arrangement of the bottles and the different types of corks as well as the creation of a bending angel with arms stretched upwards.

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Section 2: Visual Analysis The Brown Angel painting is composed of various shapes because it is in a form of a two-dimensional structure. The different colors enhance the visual appearance of the bar in this painting. For instance, the woman in an electric red dress depicts the warm colors of the painting while the dull colors is a clear portrayal of a dull section of the painting (Bonnet 10). The men in dull colors are seated alone and seem to be in deep thought. The walls and the floors have different colors to show the change of the items. The color also depicts a change in the plane of a 2 D dimension of the painting. This section of the bar has depictions of different images and objects unlike the other sections.

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For instance there is an arrangement of bottles with different corks and there are also people seated in pairs chatting. The pattern in the bar focuses attention on different sections of this pictorial environment (Amrutkar and Singh 22). This painting has a balanced equilibrium in that, the two dimensions of light and shadow are symmetrically balanced with regards to the shape, line, color, form and texture of the painting. The different items in the painting are interrelated and there is cohesion and coherence that shows the completeness of this painting. He also used the print media strategies to create stories that narrated the experiences of his characters through descriptive captions and graphics in his painting. The media used for the image in The Brown Angel is a painting that describes the night life of the Harlem community.

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He uses different colors to depict various experiences and expressions in the painting and in the process creating the realist themes (Amrutkar and Singh 25). These themes show the relevance of bright colors with regards to the civil rights movements that the Black community was fighting for. This painting in a way, is a celebration of the achievements that the community had attained at the time and the prospect of a brighter future. Bundele, Priya, and C. S. Satsangi. "A Performance Enhancement of Image in Painting Technique using Texture Analysis. " International Journal of Computer Applications, vol. " Journal of Contemporary Painting, vol.  4, no.  1, 2018, pp. Greated, Marianne. "Painting in extreme environments.  3, 2014, pp. Monahan, Anne. "Anne Monahan. Review of "Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series" by Leah Dickerman and Elsa Smithgall.

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