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Dance Marathon Essay

659 words - 3 pages

Last One Standing
Various painters use their works of art as a representation of feelings. They include symbols, figures, and expression to reveal their emotions through the form of art. Philip Evergood’s painting Dance Marathon illustrates the desperate times surrounding the Great Depression. In the scene, dancers compete for a cash prize as they see who can dance the longest. He portrays the cruelty of the time through this vulgar setting. The painting easily captures the viewer’s attention mostly from the use of color, figure, spatial effects, and other techniques created by the artist.
The size of Dance Marathon is not oversized, but it is relatively large and invites the spectator to look at the painting. The perspective created by the size and point of view makes it feel as if you are part of the audience. The hands of two members of the audience can be seen in the bottom right and left corners to emphasize this effect in order to make it look like they are ...view middle of the document...

The artist seems to be most concerned with the expression and positions of the dancers. Many are draped over each other and completely exhausted. Evergood’s painting clashes with the standard intent of dancing as a form of entertainment. Instead, it exemplifies the stressful times throughout the Great Depression.
Another technique utilized in the painting is color. Red appears to dominate the painting and serves as an eye-catching color. The use of intensely saturated colors draws the attention to the front couple. Additionally, the red color plays with the mind of the onlooker without them thinking about it. It suggests deep passion, anger, and struggle. The artist intends to relay his feelings about the event to the viewer. His outlook consists of disgust towards the great depression that leaves many taken advantage of due to desperation.
The couple positioned in the front appears very large to make the painting 3-D. The relative size of the dancers drastically shifts to create a window into the painting. The viewer can imagine being a part of the event and watching the poverty-stricken dancers. The angle that the painting is at appears to be almost a bird’s eye view. This adds to the effect of feeling as part of the audience. Spatial features are also added with overlap making figures look even more distant. Almost everything can be seen all the way to the back of the painting as the lighting in Dance Marathon spreads equally throughout the painting. Many lamps hang from the ceiling to give it a sense of many sources of light and to distribute the light evenly.
Dance Marathon as the title brings clear understanding to the artwork. Marathon means an event that lasts longer than normal and requires great endurance. The audience recognizes that the people struggle to move because they have been dancing for a great period of time. This leads to Evergood’s primary goal is to depict the social injustice of the poor during the in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. He incorporates movement and emotion to convey this expression. Philip Evergood puts the viewer inside the painting with the 3-D effects to make them understand the feelings of the dancers. His underlying theme is injustice, which Evergood shows through the techniques used in his painting.

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