Visual analysis is an art that involves studying, interpreting and most importantly reliving photographs, images, portraits, videos and generally all types of artwork with a visual effect. It involves the application of the visual aspects into word and requires a lot of sobriety and composure. The photographs and portraits analyzed in this essay are different designs of work done by different artists. They were probably done at different times too. However, what stands out in all of them is their ability to communicate the artist’s intentions in a way an equivalent amount of words can never do (Needhan et al, 26). That is, if there is a means or scale of measuring the number of words against the message of the photograph. Indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The first photograph is a Portrait of a Mummy, the face of a man dating back to thousands of years ago, from the ancient Egyptian civilization. It is a small sized portrait, laying focus mainly on the face with some little details on the neck and the upper part of the chest. The use of a direct approach is applied in the photograph, as the main object of focus is the face of the man with little background detail. The artist must have been facing the subject. The portrait is set on a dark background with little light, and could have been drawn in a dark room or probably at night. The portrait provides a lot of information about the culture and way of life of the Egyptians. The man is dressed in a white cloth, which is actually not a shirt, but some kind of cloth wrapped around his body. It also communicates the appearance of the subject. The heavily bearded chin and the thick curly hair tell about the facial appearances and the external looks from the community from which this portrait is taken. The portrait is drawn on a stone surface. It is slightly asymmetrical as it slants slightly to the right. The painting has a rough outline. Nevertheless, it gives many facial details, which go a long way in presenting the facial expression of the subject. With a well-contoured face, a long nose, red lips and brown, deep- set eyes the image presented is that of an expressionless man but with striking facial looks.
The Portrait of Augustus presents a young man and a little child by his side. The sculpted image of the two creates a father-child appearance, and presents a composed look from the man who looks to be addressing someone. The sculptor applies a direct approach and focuses on the two characters, in the process creating a splendid design (Stocchetti et al, 115). The photograph also presents a wholesome image, showing all body parts of the two, with the child looking to be hanging from the young man’s cloak. The child appears naked and has no clothes. The young man however, is fully dressed with a white cloak that hangs over his arm, and a knightly suit. This hints that he may be a member of the royal family or a highly placed person. The image has little background details though. The sculpture is asymmetrical, with the subject raising one foot and a hand as if he is trying to gesture or stress on something. Overall, he looks majestic in his posture and the white color of the portrait only makes it look more attractive. The sculpture looks to be made from stone and painted all through so that the paint does not give a difference between the clothes and the skin tone of the subjects. The curving nevertheless brings out the difference between these two clearly. The curving also highlights the body of the two subjects, with the young man having a well-built, muscular body and a dominating stature. The child also has an uncharacteristically muscular body. The purpose of this sculpture would be to present the dressing culture of early Greeks. The child hanging from the cloak of the young man could be used to show his influence over the people, so that they hold and lean on him so that they do not fall. This proves the belief that he could be a leader or a deity, a god of some sort.
The Portrait of the Seated Christ is also a sculpted Image. It shows a man wearing a cloak and seated on a stool. The cloak hangs loose over the subject’s left shoulder and knee and covers all parts of his body almost to the toes. The sculpture and the photograph focus on the subject matter only; the man sitting on the stool. From his sitting position, it looks like he was making some kind of movement, with his left foot dragged behind the rest of his body. The sculpture also looks asymmetrical, as it is tilted to the right. From the photograph, the subject has an amputated right arm and appears to be holding an object in his left hand. His right foot is also amputated while the left one is sandaled. The cream portrait sits upon a background that has little details. The background and the sculpture in general lack value in terms of color, as the range of colors used is limited. The outline of the portrait, however, is smooth. The sculpture was carved out from stone as shown by the three-dimension presentation of the portrait. The message sent by the artist through the sculpture is that of a man who is still hopeful and optimistic despite his shortcomings. From the expressionless face that is looking up and the raised right arm (or what is left of it), the subject appears as he is not deterred by the fact that he is handicapped. This gives hope and acts as a sign of determination to those who have such shortcomings, physically and spiritually (Neeedhan et al, 198). The exquisite features on the face including a small nose, thin lips and burning eyes complete the look of a man looking forward to tomorrow, an optimistic man.
The Head of the Roman Patrician is a painting of an old man’s face. It is a small-sized piece of art that focuses exclusively on the face and the neck of the subject. Set in a dark background, the painting highlights the aspect of being ancient by using a faded paint. The face highlighted is that of an old man with flabby skin and creases on the face. It is a three dimensional image showing many details of the face. The bulbous nose and the eyes that look like they are popping out of their sockets give the man a more menacing look. His aging skin is also highlighted, not just on the face but also on the neck, with the skin of the neck having more prominent lines of Langer traversing it. The baldhead and hairless chin may point to a perception by the Romans that a hairless face is a more presentable face. The tattoo on the face may be proof of the situations the subject has passed through. There appears to be a cloth hanging round his neck. Generally, compared to the other portraits, especially the Mummy Portrait, this image is tougher looking, even though the artistic work is far greater. The smoothness of the outline of the portrait and the precision in detail, especially on the face, gives it more details.
The last photograph is that of the Portrait of Constantine. The Portrait, just like that of the Roman Patrician, has elements of ancientness. It too focuses on the facial features up to the neck and for that, matter applies a direct approach. However, unlike the former, it is sculpted out of stone and is not painted. The portrait presents an expressionless face of a man with the eyes looking at a distant object, giving it an imposing look. The broken neck and the rusty face and neck particularly, further give the portrait an ancient feel. The subject’s plaited hair is tied round his head and his thin lips rest on a divided chin. A thin long nose separates his big eyes and all these features are set on a well-sculpted smooth face. The whole sculpture, however, sits on a brown background that again, bears little details. The sculpture is symmetrical and the polished ends and surface give it a smooth feel, despite being sculpted out of a stone material (Leeuwer et al, 178). The sculpture hints on the cultural practices of the Royal emperors in Rome, with a unique hairstyle unlike that of the Roman Patrician with a baldhead.
The photos presented not only highlight the different works of art created by the different artists but also the cultural differences in the communities from the portraits. Despite the fact that all the paintings and sculptors were created a long time ago, they still present the information they were intended when they were created. Art really communicates messages in a way, words cannot.