3/ Critical Blog

1/ Which painting made the strongest impression on you and how did it amplify your understanding of any of the literary themes that we have been exploring. 

French 18th century enlightenment artist, Francis Boucher, and his painting, ‘A Young Lady Holding a Pug Dog’, held the strongest impression for me with its representation of enlightenment ideals. Primarily its core values of upper class, opulence and aristocracy that reminds me of modern society and its materialistic values.  

Boucher’s portrait painting, of an aristocratic lady was painted not long before the French revolution, in an era where many struggled with poverty and yet in this portrait it depicts the priorities of aristocratic women primarily her visual appearance and wealth. Many indicators of her opulence are her attire, consisting of a white dress that those poor would never afford to wear, staining easily in a day’s work. Makeup painting her paler to indicate her never working a day of her life and focusing instead on her beauty. As well as her pug, as in those times dogs would specifically be bred to accommodate to the yearnings of the rich. 

This much of the subject matter of wealth, material things and other values serve as the core belief of enlightenments, that romantics spite instead endorsing a humbler and more connected lifestyle with nature, resonates with me when looking at today’s modern society. Many forms of social media and televised articles with celebrity life place a heavy emphasis towards materialistic items that serve to flex one’s own wealth. Many high-end brands that make a name to promote large spending with many mediums from pop, music and celebrity culture that telling us that buying expensive things is a sign of success. 

I cannot help but make a comparison towards these acts to that of the values that enlightenment that focus on emphasising one’s possessions I cannot help but compare modern society with the enlightenment, and better understand what core values the romantics tried to enforce in spiritual fulfillment with nature then materialistic values of success. 

Image Found: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/118.1992/

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  1. Hi Dylan, I really enjoyed reading your blog this week about the strong impression that paintings from our virtual NSW Art Gallery visit had on you. I also liked Boucher’s painting ‘A Young Lady Holding a Pug Dog’ for its representation of enlightenment ideals and materialistic values. Your blog is well written and has correct spelling and punctuation. In terms of future improvement, perhaps you could link the themes depicted in the painting to a poem or prose piece written in the 19th century. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.


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