Academic Master


Western Art Appreciation

Alfred Sisley – The Flood on the Road to Saint Germain

This piece of art is one of the best pieces of Alfred Sisley, in which he demonstrated the flood scene on the road to Saint-Germain in 1876 in the form of Western art. Alfred Sisley, at that time, was located in France. According to the museum description, it is an oil painting, and the artist aimed to show the impact of light on the water. He didn’t figure out the objects or the figure but the landscape of France at that time. It developed an aesthetic beauty that made him famous among art lovers.

The portrait included realism and impressionism concepts. In this picture, he shows the particular time in which the area faced a heavy flood. It has rows of trees on both sides of the road, and there are no cars but boats, which explains that the flood is long-lasting. Some buildings are also shown in the painting. A skyline is established, and there is a dusty background and a cloudy sky. The water level is so high that it even covers some of the grass as well. The trees have very few leaves. The painter has placed his signature on the bottom left corner, which is also included as a piece of art and the identification of Alfred Sisley.

The main aim of Sisley was to develop a scene in which he would be able to create some realistic effect showing the condition of France that the flood is damaging and due to lack of development and infrastructure, there were no bridges, but the greenery is to a great level. The picture is located in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and its accession number is 74.146. I understood the picture according to the lecture as it was a great design presentation of the natural beauty of France at the time of the 17th century.

Dirck van Baburen – Apollo Flaying Marsyas

Apollo Flaying Marsyas is one of Dirck van Baburen’s best oil paintings. The painting dates back to 1623. The painting is from the Baroque period, a perfect piece of Western art. The work has aesthetic appeal, and the painter tried to demonstrate the era of the seventeenth century in which the grisly take of Apollo Flaying Marsyas was purified and concentrated in a specific way. In this picture, Titian depicted the doomed satyr in an upside-down way, hung from a tree.

This painting is a demonstration of one of the known ancient methodologies. In the picture, Satyr, Marsyas challenged the god Apollo to a musical contest for a competition. He claimed that the winner would have absolute power over the loser, and by no choice, anyone would be tolerated. The musical contest is also available in Gallery 217 of the same museum where this painting is available to view.

This specific compositional approach was highly favored by the Spanish master Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). He painted two wonderful and magnificent canvases of Apollo Flaying Marsyas, one of which is available in the Museo Nazionale di San Martino, where it is hung with a great identity. There is a violin on the floor that looks like it’s thrown, and it is painted beautifully. Nudity is prominent, and the light seems to be coming from the left side, which is a clarification of the scene.

The painting has a great naturalism and a display of lights and shadows, for the audience in the Netherlands. His naturalistic depiction could be juxtaposed with the much more mannered way of Marsyas. I have understood the picture according to the lecture as it is comparatively a great scheme of the demonstration of the light beauty in paintings at the time of the 15th century.

Works Cited

Andrews, Malcolm. Landscape and Western art. Vol. 10. Oxford History of Art, 1999.

Janson, Horst Woldemar, and Anthony F. Janson. History of art: the Western tradition. Prentice Hall Professional, 2004.

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s art through the ages: The Western perspective. Vol. 1. Cengage Learning, 2016.



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