Masterpieces with Single Tree Composition

Fundamentally, all landscape paintings have a focal point, which draws the viewer’s eye to the heart of the paintings composition. For instance (as shown below), the cypress trees serve as the focal point in Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Wheat Field and Cypress Trees’, the sun in Claude Monet’s painting ‘Impression’ and the central tree in the painting ‘Banks of the Marne’ by Paul Cezanne.

But what if the composition of the painting comprises of a single tree, the focal point diminishes and the central figure is the lone subject of the painting. Which genre would the artwork fall under – Landscape, subject study or symbolic art? The theme sounds vague, boring and bland but surprisingly this rare composition has been captured beautifully by many master artists. We explore few such masterpieces that aesthetically illustrate this atypical theme.

The Mulberry Tree by Vincent van Gogh-
The isolated tree shown against a rocky terrain has its branches spread out with a blast of fiery colors. Vincent managed to create a magical autumn experience by means of just a single tree.

 

 

Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt-
The canvas is like a confetti explosion of various shades of greens and yellows. Klimt’s unique composition of a single tree with rich foliage, depicted with tiny specks of brush strokes is one of his most popular masterpieces.

 

 

The Tree Series by Piet Mondrian-
The solitary trees in the series are depicted in their most basic and simplistic form, true to Mordrian’s art movement ‘De Stijl’ / ’The Style’. Cleverly angled brush strokes, and limited palette void of greens are the unique characteristics of this series.

 

 

The Bonaventure Pine by Paul Signac-
Painted in pointillism style a huge Umbrella Pine tree stretches across the canvas. The subdued background highlights the majestic form and the interesting shape of the tree. Following the pointillism technique of small dots applied in patterns, pixels of lighter tone sprinkled around the tree, suggest sunlight filtering through the leaves, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

 

 

Autumn trees by Egon Schiele-
The bare lone trees made by the expressionist artists are metamorphic, the series deal with the themes related to death and rebirth. Grey palette, twisted trunk, cloudy sky and entwined branches are a compelling portrayal of a stormy winter, allegorical of misery and loneliness.

 

 

Pine Tree near Aix by Paul Cezanne-
The composition of this artwork differs from the rest, it’s unique and abstract, much like the other artworks of the post impressionist artist. The central figure (i.e. the pine tree) gets cut from all sides and is used as a frame for the painting. The mesh of the branches connecting the sides, combine all the elements to the center of the composition.

 

 

The Oak by Edvard Munch-
The artwork has an interesting color scheme, cool sky tones gradually descend to warm earthy color, diagonally from top left to bottom right. Though the color gradient of the tree is reflected on the background, yet Munch successively managed to highlight the tree as the central figure.

 

 

The Pink Peach Tree by Vincent Van Gogh-
The painting depicts a peach tree in bloom during springtime, despite being painted with subtle and pastel shades the artwork looks vibrant and spirited. The perspective exaggerated by the tapering flow of the brush strokes helps in highlighting the tree as the main subject.

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Th.V. Doesburg, Drei Haeuser by Juan Gris-
The abstract treatment represents the tree as a three-dimensional form viewed from a single perspective. The cubist artist’s composition despite its simplified geometric forms retains the look and feel of a landscape.

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Tree in flower near Vetheuil by Claude Monet-
The father of impressionism’s technique of capturing light and its effect on the color of the object is at play in this painting. The light and shade on the solitary tree are represented brilliantly with precise dabs and dashes of varied tones.

 

 

Little Oak Tree by Franz Marc-
The simplicity of the painting is reminiscent of ‘The Mulberry Tree’ by Vincent van Gogh (first painting on the top), spirals of fresh green leaves are highlighted by the brilliant blue sky and animated strokes of the ground.

 

 

The Fig Tree by Paul Klee-
The lone trees’ composition, monochromatic tones and the arrangement of the colored shapes reflect the artists experience in stain glass.

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L’Arbre (The Tree) by Pablo Picasso-
Picasso’s neutral colored artwork illustrates a stylized tree, with array of bold strokes and distorted shapes, the composition is compact with interlinked forms.

 

 

A Great Tree by  J. W. Turner-
The Watercolor artwork projects a powerful and majestic tree, the composition partly cuts the tree from the sides, highlighting the sunlit part of the tree as the focal point.

 

 

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Top 10 Biopic Movies of Artists

Frida (2002), a biopic drama film of the celebrated Mexican artist Frida Khalo, played and produced by Salma Hayek. The bold and free-spirited artists’ life has been illustrated starting from her tragic childhood accident, tumultuous relationship with her husband/artist Diego Rivera to her worldwide achievements in the art scenario. The movie was has been adapted from the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera.

Casting- Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Ashley Judd
Directed by- Julie Taymor

Frida_

Salma Hayek as Frida Khalo, shown here painting her popular self portrait titled ‘The Broken Column

Frida

 

Mr. Turner (2014) the movie projects the latter half of the eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life and career. The film highlights the artist’s obsession with seascapes, the warm relationship he shared with his father and the admiration he won of his patrons and contemporaries. Timothy Spall plays the role of the artist in all honesty as an uncouth, flawed individual and a romanticist who explores the relationship between God and mankind.

Casting- Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson
Directed by- Mike Leigh

Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall as J. W. Turner, shown here with the artists masterpiece artwork ‘The Harbor of Dieppe’

Mr Turner

 

Lust for Life (1956), one of the most popular biographical film, it’s about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The artists’ role played by Kirk Douglas is considered to be his careers best performance. The film marvelously illustrates Vincent’s disastrous personal relationships, fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, obsessive passion for art and his inner struggles as a tortured genius. The movie is based on the 1934 novel ‘Lust for Life’ by Irving Stone.

Casting- Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald
Directed by- Vincente Minnelli

Lust for_Life

Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh, shown here painting the artists last artwork- ‘Wheatfield with crows’

Lust for Life

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) a biographical film of the renaissance master artist Michelangelo, mainly focusing on the difficulties and dilemmas he faced while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II. A fitting cast of actors Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II made the movie a classic piece. The movie is based on the book ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone.

Casting- Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Alberto Lupo
Directed by- Carol Reed

The Agony_and the Ecstasy

Michelangelo played by Charlton Heston is shown here painting the Sistine Chapel.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

Modigliani (2004), biopic narrative of Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, spotlight of the movie is the artists’ rivalry with Pablo Picasso and his tragic romance with a beautiful Catholic girl Jeanne Hébuterne. The tear-jerking moments of the artists struggle for survival and his unconditional love for his muse and lover are profoundly moving. There is little fiction added to spice up the movie but that doesn’t stray the storyline from the actual events of the artists life. Andy Garcia’s performance as the title role is spectacular.

Casting- Andy García, Elsa Zylberstein
Directed by- Mick Davis

Modigliani

Andy Garcia as Modigliani with one of the artists painting.

Modigliani_

 

Pollock (2000), a film about the life and career of the expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, directed and played by Ed Harris. The story mainly focuses on the latter half of the artists’ life, how he gradually after decades of experience headed towards abstract expressionism and eventually his increasingly unstable nature, progressively deteriorated his career and personal life. Marcia Gay Harden’s remarkable acting as Pollock’s wife Lee Krasner, adds depth to the couple’s troubled relationship. The film is an adaption of the book ‘Jackson Pollock: An American Saga’.

Casting- Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connelly
Directed by- Ed Harris

Pollock

Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner.

POLLOCK, Marcia Gay Harden, Ed Harris, 2000

 

The Impressionists (2006) the docudrama is a biographical account of Impressionist artists- Claude Monet, Renoir, Degas, Édouard Manet, Cézanne and Bazille. The series depict how the founders of the art movement ‘Impressionism’ rejected the conventional rules of painting and created their own unique style, much to the annoyance of the traditionalist. The movie is based on documented letters and interviews of that era.

Casting- Julian Glover, Andrew Havill, Charlie Condou, Aden Gillett, Will Keene
Directed by- Tim Dunn

The Impressionists

Andrew Havill played the young Claude Monet, shown here painting the popular artwork- ‘Arrival of the Normandy Train’

The_Impressionists

 

Big Eyes (2014), is a biographical film of American artist Margaret Keane. Her unique styles of making figures (mainly children) with melancholic big eyes become commercially successful in the art market. The movie narrates how her husband Walter Keane took credit for her art as the creator of the paintings, eventually Margaret decides to reveal the truth and expose Walter as a fraud. The legal battle for reclaiming her name and her self-discovery are the highlights of the movie. Starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz and directed by Tim Burton, the movie is a must-see.

Casting- Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz
Directed by- Tim Burton

Big Eyes

Artist Margaret Keane and her husband Walter Keane played by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz

Big-Eyes

 

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003) The movie centers around the relationship of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the model for his masterpiece painting ‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. The film events are mostly a work of fiction, as the model’s identity is still a mystery. In the film Grieta, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the model of the painting and a maid in the household of the artist Johannes Vermeer, played by British actor Colin Firth. The movie is an adaptation of a novel of the same name- ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ by Tracy Chevalier

Casting- Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson
Directed by- Peter Webber

Girl with a-Pearl Earring

A scene from the movie, where the artist is shown helping his muse wear the pearl earring.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

 

Loving Vincent (2016) a spectacular animation film based on Vincent van Gogh’s life. The uniqueness of the movie is that each frame of the animation is a hand painted oil painting on canvas. There are 56,800 frames, the coloring and compositions are inspired by Vincent’s art style and paintings. Thirty painters have worked together to complete the 80-minute movie in two years. The movie is anticipated to have a Christmas release, based on the trailer and its groundbreaking technique without doubt it’s going to be a breakthrough film.

Directed by- Dorota Kobiela

Loving Vincent_

 

10 Masterpieces that have Transcended Time

Art is decidedly subjective, what might appeal to you may not have the same effect on someone else. For instance, personally, I favor artworks made during impressionism and post impressionism era. There are some who only like realistic art from renaissance period in contrast to a section of art enthusiasts who are fond of modern and contemporary art. Consequently, jotting down a set of ‘Best Artworks’, ‘Greatest Masterpieces’ or ‘Most Famous Paintings’ as such is near impossible. However we have list out 10 masterpieces which are considered most innovative and remarkably intriguing by majority of the art lovers, each made by a different master artist.

Starry night (1889- Post Impressionism), the masterpiece is believed to be a view from Vincent van Gogh’s room in an asylum at Saint-Remy. The upper half of the painting shows a vibrant sky bursting with energy, the turbulent swirls are in sharp contrast with the calm and sleepy village in the lower half of the painting. Based on Vincent’s religiously beliefs, art historians interpret that the cypress tree in the foreground symbolizes the unification of the world with the cosmos.


Impression- Sunrise
(1874- Impressionism), by Claude Monet was displayed in the first art exhibition held by then struggling artists- Manet, Renoir, Degas and Monet. Rebuffed by the art critics, they used the title of this painting to phrase the exhibition as “The Exhibition of the Impressionists” hence accidentally defining the new art movement. His technique of loose and short brushstrokes captured the essence of the Sunrise. The uniquely unfinished look of this artwork is what paved the way for the new art movement- Impressionism.


The Kiss
(1907- Symbolism) Gustav Klimt’s signature style of clubbing decorative patterns with semi- realistic figures has been best achieved in his celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’.  The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. The masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown gradually merge in to the lady’s floral pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting of shimmering gold plated background.


Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
(The Young Ladies of Avignon) (1907- Cubism) by Pablo Picasso is considered to be the prototype that shaped Cubism and Modern Art. The masterpiece projects the creative maturity achieved by Picasso over the years, a style that fermented over time through his various experiments and techniques. The painting portrays five female prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona, with the simplistic and two-dimensional figures Picasso breaks the conventional rules of perspective and realism.


The Persistence of Memory
(1931- Surrealism) by Salvador Dalí, is widely believed to be the masterpiece that best defines the art movement ‘Surrealism’. The painting shows pocket watches melting against a barren backdrop. Composition is dreamlike and the execution is realistic, typical characteristics of a surrealistic painting, as stated by Dali himself “hand painted dream photographs”. The subject of the artwork is insignificance of time, the ants on the left suggest decaying and the distorted central form is often referred as a Self-portrait.


Mona Lisa
(1517- Renaissance) is undoubtedly the most popular portraits in the art world, the greatest creation of renaissance period and the finest masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci. This accomplished portrait is most known for its captivating and mysterious half-smile, it’s been an ultimate source of inspiration for visual and literary arts.  Art expert’s latest belief has been that for the hopping smile, the genius artist, applied optical illusion called sfumato, generated by clever shading around the cheek bones and mouth.


Birth of Venus
(1480- Renaissance) by Sandro Botticelli, is one of the best representation of the origin of the ‘Goddess of love’, a common mythological subject of the Renaissance Period. The painting shows Venus, who has just risen from the sea on a shell, she is gently being blown towards the shore by the God of Wind. On the right, Hora the Goddess of Spring reaches out to cover her with a cloak. Her elegant posture and melancholic gaze makes Botticelli’s Venus look like a mystifying beauty.


The Girl with a Pearl Earring
(1665- Baroque), often referred as ‘The Dutch Mona Lisa’ is one of the most notable painting made by Johannes Vermeer.  The expressions and pose of the subject makes it incredibly interactive. The startled, wide-eyed subject looks back at the viewer with an exceedingly engaging half smile much like Leonard’s Mona Lisa, it seems that the viewer has managed to catch her attention causing her to pause and gaze back over her shoulder.


Dance at le Moulin de la Galette
(1876- Impressionism) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir- The artwork shows, couples dancing in the open-air dance hall and a café on a Sunday afternoon. The joyful ambiance fashioned by Renoir reflects the typical life style of the Parisians. The figures have soft contours, mildly blending with each other, adding a dreamy feel to the painting. The entire canvas is covered with spots of light and shadow, suggesting sunlight filtering through the trees, adding a gleaming summery experience to the scenario.


The Fighting Temeraire
(1838- Romanticism), a seascape made by J. W. Turner, is known for its dramatic play of sunlight and its spectacular theme. The 998-gun ship, played an important role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in the seascape it is being towed away by a steamer to be broken up for scrap. The theme is a salute to the passing of the majestic ship, decolorized and faded it seems a thing of the past. For the sunset, Turner used the technique of glazing over impasto, captures the spirit of the moment in the most magnificent manner.

 

Turner: master of seascapes

J. W. Turner’s experimental seascapes were known for its drama and action. His art style was much ahead of his time, many art historians believe that his approach defined the bases for impressionism.

The Sun of Venice Going to Sea. Click to buy this Canvas Prints on our storefront on AMAZON.in or on our website OCHERART.com

The Sun of Venice- Going to Sea :- Click to buy TURNER’s Print’s on AMAZON.in

 

The artist’s obsession with seascapes was so great that it is said that he got himself tied to a ship mast in order to study and experience the stormy moods and turbulence of the sea. However art historians dismiss it as a story generated to justify the phenomenal experience the viewers felt seeing his paintings.

 

Turner’s artwork stood apart from his contemporaries because of his unconventional method in depicting the splendor and force of seascapes. His groundbreaking technique of glazing over impasto captured the volatile nature of the sea in the most magnificent manner.

Sheerness as seen from the Nore

Sheerness as seen from the Nore :- Click to buy TURNER’s Print’s on AMAZON.in

 

Although Turner’s style is said to have been an early step towards impressionism, his artworks’ theme like many of his contemporary romanticist artist was to depict and explore the relationship between God and mankind. Depicting nature in its most pure and raw form with dramatic play of sunlight, stormy sea and translucent fog was his signature style of depicting the might of the Higher power.  It is said that his last words uttered before he passed away were “The sun is God”.

The Fish Market at Hastings

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The uniqueness of his work was also the way he treated oil’s like water colors. The transparency, untamed application and brief brush strokes were considered very avant-garde and original in his time.

Scarborough town and castle- morning boys catching crabs

Scarborough town and castle- morning boys catching crabs :- Click to buy TURNER’s Print’s on AMAZON.in

 

In his later years, his approach became increasingly abstract, nonfigurative and expressionistic. Turner couldn’t care less to explain the meteorological accuracies of the weather and time depicted in his artworks, emphasis was to stage an action-packed enthralling act on the canvas.

Wreckers- Coast of Northumberland, with a Steam Boat Assisting a Ship off Shore

Wreckers- Coast of Northumberland, with a Steam Boat Assisting a Ship off Shore :- Click to buy TURNER’s Print’s on AMAZON.in

 

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