Monday, 8 December 2008

On Sargent...

Yesterday I posted a copy of a painting by famous 19th century artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). A greatly successful portrait painter and muralist even during his lifetime, his popularity survives until this day.

I initially stumbled across Sargent's name while trolling the depths of the forums, where I found him frequently mentioned with great reverence. A quick search for his work reveals why. One of the first works I found by him, El Jaleo, left a strong impression. The gracefulness and dramatic lighting creates an enchanting mood.

Finding Sargent so frequently mentioned on the forums is no coincidence, I reckon. Sargent is well known for his genial choice of colours, allowing for a seemingly effortless ability to capture the essence of a picture through a few brush strokes.
This is best felt when looking at thumbnails of some of his paintings, which look perfectly rendered from afar, but when zooming in it can be seen that the brush strokes which make up the picture are surprisingly coarse.

In today's entertainment industry there is a high demand for large quantities of conceptual work, supplied by artists such as those found on Apart from quality, speed is an important skill required from these artists. The need to communicate as much as possible, as effectively as possible makes artists like Sargent excellent to study.
A contemporary master of the art of using a little to communicate a lot is Craig Mullins. His resumé includes concepts for franchises like Final Fantasy, Harry Potter, Age of Empires and James Bond.

John Singer Sargent @ ARC
Craig Mullins -

Pictures courtesy of ARC and


aqws said...

Beware of "paintilly" artwork Nana! Sure, Sargent is lovely for composition and lighting, but don't get bogged down by "rendering". It's really not good for learning the actual structure of images. (I'm sure you won't, anyways..) Also, There's a Sisley exhibition on at the moment at the National Gallery. He's a great Impressionist to look at for concept art-style landscapes, as he's not overly impressionist splodgy and his composition is fairly standard. A good person to look at for understanding how you arrive at the work of better artists.

nana said...

Haha, you know, actually I have no idea if actual concept artists would agree with my view. I'm kind looking at it as a n00b from the outside, so drawing parallels between the looseness in render of Sargent and the rough speed art done in concepts today might just be in my own mind.
I guess time will tell as more knowledge is collected, and then I'll come back and delete half of the speculative nonsense I've written here. XD

Cool, thanks! If I get any time to walk around in London I'll remember that. :)