Visual Analysis- Pop Art

Title: Standard station 1966

Artist: Ed Ruscha 

Medium/ Technique: screenprint

Date accessed: 6/03/14

Reference: Thursday 6th March 2014

This piece is a pop art movement due to it’s visual representation and communication, an american dream of optimism and naive that was going on at the time. In this way the piece looks like it’s a petrol station with it’s bright and bold colours. Around the time of this piece there was an anti vietnam war protest going on around the world. With the piece he wanted to blend the imagery of Hollywood with colourful renderings of commercial culture and the landscape of the southwest. This is one of his most iconic prints as he repeatedly used gasoline stations in his book Twentysix Gasoline Stations 1963, from a road trip through the American Southwestern countryside; trying to portray commercial culture. The perspective is flatterned as a composition to depict commercial advertising and leads from the far right to the top left leading the eye across to the foreground with one long leading line. He also used text within the piece to give interplay between art and text. The colour in the background is complementary blues and oranges, but also blends from orange to red as an analogous colour scheme making it look calm, warm and harmonious. He’s used the geometric shapes of the gasoline station through the windows, signs and gasoline tanks. The piece seems a smooth texture and feathery in the background.The image leaves the top right half spacious and the bottom left is filled with the gasoline station and the shapes it creates. It’s the way it presents the popular culture within the image that makes it the style of pop art. 


Dada- Visual Analysis

Title: Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance) (1917)

Artist: Jean (Hans) Arp

Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)

Dada was born from a group of avant-garde painters, poets and film makers who came to neutral switzerland before and during world war one. Jean made a series of collages based on chance. Meaning he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the surface of a larger sheet, then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page. The art could then provoke a deep inward feeling of reaction rather than an intellectual one- like fortune telling from I-Ching coins- which Arp was interested in. He began this technique when he became frustrated at his many attempts of trying to compose more formal geometric arrangements. These chance collages have come to represent dada’s aim to be ‘anti-art’. There aren’t any leading lines but more space within the image, around the geometric shapes. The texture looks smooth and the image looks like a flat plane. The image is build up with dark colours, including browns, blacks, greens, and yellows. 


Piet Mondrain, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43 – colour scheme

Piet Mondrain – Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43


This piece is a combination of multicoloured grid lines using a primary colour palette. His palette went from solid black lines to bright, multi-coloured, vibrant hues creating a new feeling to his work. Although some of his work isn’t entirely representable, this one you can see the grid of the Manhattan city streets and you can feel the beat of the boogie woogie music of Manhatten which Mondrain was so fond of and this is why he called it broadway boogie woogie. 

Pablo Picasso, The Tragedy, 1903 – Colour Scheme Analysis

Pablo Picasso, The Tragedy, 1903 

Colour Scheme Analysis


The colour scheme is mainly monochromatic of blue values. The blues make a cold and discomforting image to the viewer as they’re all looking down with arms crossed, which add to the awkwardness of the piece and depicts their inability to comfort each other from this ‘tragedy’.  For this the colour scheme is appropriate and creates the right mood with the situation at hand. Given that the people are the main focus he has elongated them so they are the center of attention in the piece, it also leaves little space for the landscape or anything to distract from the people and the awkwardness in emotion between them; it’s a clever piece by Picasso.

Paul Cezanne – Colour Scheme analysis

Paul Cezanne

Landscape: The forest clearing, 1900.


Cezanne liked painting landscapes from the early 1870s and then turned into an outdoor painter after the expeditions he went on with Pissarro.  He enjoyed the brightness and immediacy of impressionism and then by the late 1870s he began to develop his own style. This piece is a triad colour scheme as he’s used separate colours around the colour wheel; he’s used monochromatic colours of the blue to add value to the sky, hill lines and depth, used the orange to the ground and hill tops and parts of trees for tone and also monochromatic colours of green in the bushes and trees to paint the piece- by using these three evenly spaced colours from the colour wheel it makes a triad colour schemed piece. He gave a distinct solidity to the forms in his pictures and the markings of the brush strokes show repetition in his work and the regularity of his individual style. He didn’t choose to paint the real world but a more 2 dimensional canvas and from this he called his paintings ‘Constructions after nature’.  His techniques included overlapping strokes of paint and colour so one seemed in front of the other and came towards the surface to present an object; each layer of paint used different colours, one with warm, reds and yellows that appears to come towards us and catch our eye and then another with cold, blues and greens that seem to recede. Parts of the painting hasn’t included paint and this is where it’s a white, bright colour which is actually the bare canvas left as it is. This contrast of warm and cold colours tone and are used effectively in the image to reflect the different areas of the forest (of which has an unknown recording of where it has been painted) as it recedes to the background. The image makes the viewer feel warm and flowing but at the same time a cool, cold and calm mood with the flatness to the piece.  


Colour Schemes



Revised Colour post:


Primary Colours– Red, Yellow, and Blue

Secondary Colours Orange, Violet and green (2 primaries mixed together)

Tertiary Colours a primary plus a neighbouring secondary. 

Hues- hue is what distinguishes one colour from another. In effect it is the generic name for the colour- red, say, as opposed to blue.

Value- value, or the tone, is the relative lightness or darkness of a colour. A colour with added white is called a tint and a colour with added black is called a shade


Warm colours- Red, orange and yellow are warm and visually tend to jump forward into prominence in a piece of design. 

Cool colours- The cooler hues- green, blue and purple- tend to recede in a design. 



A monochromatic colour scheme is a one-colour colour scheme. Black and white can also be used to darken and lighten the value of the colour. 


Complementary colours are two colours which sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. They are often used together in a composition to create excitement. Each colour in the pair makes the other seem more vibrant. 


Analogous colours are those which sit next to each other on the colour wheel. Analogous colours “harmonize” well and produce a definite mood to a composition. 

Split complementary- 

The split- complementary colour scheme is a variation of the complementary colour scheme. In addition to the base colour, it uses the two colours adjacent to its complement. This colour scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary colour scheme, but has less tension. 


A triadic colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour schemes tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. 

Fauvism and Expressionism

Fauvism and Expressionism
– Colour and Distortion-
Matisse- The dance (1909-1910)
-use of colour to express their curves
– emotion
– smooth brush strokes – flat 2D
– warm and cold
-limited palette
– bold
-inviting in the viewer – person in the foreground
-makes you feel joyful
Time scale:
– context
– important precursor to expressionism
– Disparate group of artists
– rejected Convention of cool colours at the back and warm at the front
– many were pupils of Gustave Moreau who emphasized personal expression
Themes and concerns:
– used intense colour to describe light and space and expression emotion
– used pure unmixed colours in thick dabs and smears 
– surface effects 
– impressionist subject matter
– act of painting is an emotional and spontaneous journey
– well being, balance, harmony and serenity
– middle class leisure time 
-main artists: Matisse, Derain, Braque, Raoul Duffy
Derain- drying sails 1905
– colourful
– middle class
– brush strokes visible
– points in dots
– leading curved line
– unpainted canvas (white) 
– simplified
– horizontal? -vertical? perspective
Raoul Dufy- sailing boat at Sainte- Adresse 1912
– colourful – Cizarre – post impressionism
– simplified
– middle class leisure time
– reflection
– waterfall?
– fence at the bottom?
– bright- white building stands out
– sketched, painted
– on a boat fishing?
Georges Braque – L’Estaque 1906
– leading line (bottom right)
– multi-coloured 
– warm and cold colours
– bold
– busy
– industrial
– unusual use of colour
– pollution
– complimentary
– bold horizontal brush strokes
– direction of the brush strokes, calm and energetic
Expressionism- German
Ernest Ludwig
Kirchner- The Red Tower in Halle 1915:
– explosion or cloud- start of WW1 so looks horrific because it’s the start of the war
– simplified 
– looking down – Depth
– Abstract 
-impending doom 
Time scale:
– 1900-1920
– cultural movement
– reaction against naturalism and impressionism
– expressionism is purely personal- individual perspective (not just in paintings)
– in theatre and Music 
– influenced by Munch, Van Gogh, African art and Fauves
Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter
-Time scale:
    -Die Brucke 1905
    – Der Blaue Reiter 1908
Main Themes:
– sought to express real life by painting harsh and realistic subject matters
– powerful and personal creations created by modern individual perspective
– stress on individual perspective
– intense un-naturalistic colour
– distortion and exaggeration of form
– both expressionist movements 
– challenge and reject elders teaching as traditional, conservative, authoritarian and morally strict 
– literature – Dostoevsky
Main Artists:
-Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fitz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt Rotluff, Emil Nolde 
Die Brucke:
– similarities with fauves
– emotionally agitated paintings
– new mode of artistic expression
– revived older media woodcut
– rejected bourgeois backgrounds
– manifesto 1906
– Nietzsche 
Emil Nolde 
Whitsun 1909
Prophet 1912 – woodcut piece of Jesus
– simplified 
– shadow
– African masks
– flames above their heads
Frenz Marc large blue horses 1911
– swapped round
– cold at the front warm at the back (opposite to the others)
– abstracted 
– curved
– organic
– repetition
– rhythm
– preferred drawing horses to human being
Kandinsky- in the blue 1925
– colour in the night shape can cause a soul to vibrate with the universe
– after WW1- peace and harmony 
– looks like oil and watercolours
    – intense colour to convey emotion
    – well being, balance, harmony and serenity
    – radical simplification of form primitive and wild
   – Quintessentially German political movement
   – utterly subjective, evokes moods and ideas
   – Delves into the psyche to express subconscious
The cabinet of dr. Caligari 1919 -Film