Various discuss the works of Paul Delaroche, The Execution

Various
artistic works that date back many centuries ago continue to inspire many
artists and people in general in the contemporary society. The impact these
artistic works have transcended many generations, and it continues to do for as
long as humanity inhabit the planet earth and probably as long as art is valued
and treasured. The kind of impact artistic work has include inspiring upcoming
artist, the basis of teaching art, taking humanity back to the ancient lives
and bringing back ancient memories. Most importantly, events captured in
artistic work such paintings and songs among others, never cease to exist.
People, especially young and future generation learn about these developments
through such works. It is advantageous that the current society values and
treasures art. As a lover of art, there are various artistic works that I find
appealing and inspiring because of its elements, the setting, artists, and the
reaction that people have expressed concerning the work. In this discussion, I
discuss the works of Paul Delaroche, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, bringing
up the various aspects of this work that I find appealing.

The
painting, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, depicted in figure 1 shown in
Appendix 1 below, was painted by Paul Delaroche in 1833 (Norman and Norman,
12). Delaroche is among the greatest artist in history not just in the 17
century. The name Paul Delaroche is widely recognized as the best French
painters. His death left an unfilled void. Delaroche was born in Paris on July
17, 1797 (Delaroche, 1). The Execution of Lady Jane Grey is among the famous
historical pictures clearly composed and painted with a consummate technical
ability (Honour and Fleming). Delaroche completed The Execution of Lady Jane
Grey 1833. This painting appears on an oil-based paint on canvas measuring 2.46
X 2.97.

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The scene depicted in The Execution
of Lady Jane Grey occurs immediately before the beheading of Jane Grey (Wallert
et al., 166). Lady Jane is blindfolded and dressed in white, appears to fumbles
for the block. She is guided to the execution block by a masculine figure,
which seems to be Sir John Brydges, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London. On
the right stands the executioner. He is holding the axe on his left hand. It
appears as if he is leaning on the axe. The executioner seems composed as he
gives Lady Jane Grey a merciless look. He is just ready to execute Lady Jane
Grey. On the left are two ladies, probably waiting to be executed. One lady,
who seemed despaired is facing the wall. The other lady has her mistress
discarded dress across her lap and appears to have fainted (Wallert et al.,
166).

The
painting is currently exhibited at the National Gallery in London. This
painting was produced in France, and during this period, painting in France in
the nineteenth-century followed a certain sequence of steps (Wallert et al.,
166). The composition of this painting also followed these steps making it a
great picture. These steps include initial drawing after which it is outlined
on prepared canvas. After this, it is modeled with a reddish brown sauce. The
final stage entailed refining the painting further (Wallert et al., 166). This
work is a result of a well-established procedure (167).

Other than being painted using
well-established procedures, this painting incorporated various elements and
principles of art in an outstanding manner. One of the element well used is emphasis.
Delaroche emphasized darkness by translating the execution from open air. Color
is another element used. Color also brings emphasis and to attract the viewer’s
attention. The painting depicted moments before the Execution of Lady Jane
Grey. The center of interest is, therefore, Lady Jane Grey. Delaroche brings
out this out with the use of color. In the picture, Lady Jane Grey is dressed
in white. The whiteness of her dress captures the viewer’s attention. The
author also incorporated texture in this painting. There are white things in
front of the execution block. The texture of these things appears rough. The
dress of Lady Jane Grey appears to have a soft texture. In the background
appears some curving and ancient designs appearing on a wall. Its texture
brings out the ancient aspect in the painting. The other principle of design
evident is balance. Balance is the distribution of weight, actual or visual in
a work of art. It results in physical stability or sense of equilibrium among
visual units of a composition (Fichner-Rathus, 17). The Execution of Lady Jane
Grey has stability and sense of equilibrium. The images tend to appear in the
foreground and distributed equally. A viewer looking at this painting will see
all images without being pulled strongly towards an edge. The other important
aspect of this painting that appeals is the manner in which it was produced;
that is the method and materials of painting used. As indicated by Wallert et
al. (167), this painting was as a result of well-established procedures. Delaroche
made a detailed drawing before transferring the design to canvas. The
compositional study for this painting is a small watercolor in the Whitworth
Galler in Manchester. The figures and background were laid in using brownish or
grayish shades of paint. In addition, the paint used for the red of the
executioner’s tights contains two red lake pigments mixed with vermilion and
lead white. One is believed to be the cochineal lake used in the glaze and the
other less crimson in color Wallert et al. (167, 172). This painting was
produced with high-level craftsmanship. Wallert et al. (172) argue that
Delaroche’s craftsmanship and knowledge of the material are evident in the
painting. The painting used led white and ochres and lacked traces of bitumen
gives it the good condition over the years. The painting also has cobalt blue
and synthetic ultramarine. The velvet black of Sir John Byrdges’s garment is
composed of different colors. It contains a subtle combination of black,
Prussian blue, red lake and translucent yellow pigment. Quite marked brushwork
is depicted in the black garments of Sir Jon and the executioner. This shows
that varnish-type painting medium was used. Despite the use of varnish-type
paint, this painting remains in a good composition.  

The other important thing that
emerges is criticism. Many people criticized the works of Delaroche’s works
that it was theatrical rather than dramatic (Wallert et al., 166). Others
labeled his painting as romantic, sentimental, and melodramatic (Ives, 236).
However, despite the various criticism, the painting is a perfect work of art
that demonstrate a high level of artisanship and expertise. It brings out
clearly the events that happened during that day. In fact, Ives (236) argues
that Jane Grey lives today because of this piece of work.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey is
artwork produced many years ago that confirms that art lives and continues to
inspire many people around the world. The painting by Delaroche is appealing
due to many things. It was produced at the time France was strict about the
procedure of painting. It depicted moments before the execution of Lady Jane
Grey, where up to now Lady Jane Grey lives. The author’s materials and design
of production is also appealing. The painting has most element and principles
of design, which helps bring out the theme that occurred during the ancient
time. Despite various criticism, The Execution of Lady Jane Grey remains to be
the most important piece of artwork depicting a high level of craftsmanship.