The Soviet propaganda image that I have chosen to paint is above. The reason I have chosen this is because it portrays normal people or rather farmers in a military pose. I felt it was a poster that I could exploit well with the use of paint. I ultimately want to take away the farming part of the image and focus on the military pose in order to exploit the under laying message of the poster. I feel I have done this quite well to a certain extent. It is clear that on first glance this looks like a paintings of soldiers. However this is a painting I struggled with because I began to lose interest in poster. I want an image that will challenge me.
A type of propaganda that is particularly interesting is that from the Soviet Union. A few examples of this can be seen below.
This is for its strong reliance on red and black as well as being heavily motivated by the military. The figures in it are somewhat similar to what I am currently painting. Something else that fascinates me is the detailed style or the drawings which suggests a certain aura of importance is present. I want to have a go at painting a Soviet propaganda image in a painterly style and see where it takes me.
Propaganda is something that I feel is necessary to look at in regards to taking my work forward. It is a device that has been forever used within mass media as a way to manipulate a certain way of thinking. The type of propaganda that I am most interested in is posters that make the public hate others or something that promotes fear. Here below I have collected a series of propaganda images that have served their purpose.
As part of my dissertation I was advised to look at the Nuremberg Trials as it was a well documented event in society which asked the question. How much are normal people responsible for when considering large scale evil acts. The Trials ultimately saw the accused claim that their evil acts were just them following orders therefore how could they be punishable. A valuable book I read on this topic was Nuremberg: Evil on Trial by James Owen. This gave an in depth balanced overview of the events. This below is a youtube video of the events.
The accused were eventually deemed guilty.
The Charlie Hebo attacks is something that is currently in the news, the attacks caused choas on the streets of Paris and here below is a link to the bbc website which describes the key events.
Perhaps the most famous artist in terms of the depiction of evilness has to be Goya. There are two paintings that I have included within my dissertation, these are “The Forcibly Bewitched” and “The Third of May 1808.” The Third of May 1808 is a piece that I have analysed is quite some detail recently in this blog so I wont go into much detail concerning this piece. Here are the pieces below.
These pieces both portray evilness as two opposing sectors. It must be said that there is clearly an element of fear depicted in both pieces however there are different kinds of fear. The element of fear in “The Third of May 1808” is far more current and something that humanity can relate to with these scenes of war. However in “The Forcibly Bewitched” the feared evilness takes the form of a far more spiritual and ghostly portrayal. “The Forcibly Bewitched” in particular presents evilness as something that should be feared and if you do dabble with it you will be punished. These two paintings have been extensively studied in my dissertation.
This is another case of my dissertation research coinciding with my studio practice which I feel has benefitted me greatly as both fuel the other. A large bulk of my dissertation is looking at the art from the past and how evil has been depicted throughout the ages. A painting that I have analysed extensively is William Blake’s “The Good and Evil Angels.” I felt this work is a typical piece of its time and portrayed good and evil in this classic battle.
“Perhaps the chain attached to the ‘evil’ angel’s ankle suggests the curtailing of energy by misguided rational thought? In constructing his figures, Blake evokes conventional eighteenth century stereotypes. The heavy build and darker skin of the ‘evil’ angel suggest a non-European character, described by Lavater as ‘strong, muscular, agile; but dirty, indolent and trifling’, while the fair hair and light skin of the ‘good’ angel are consonant with ideas of physical – and intellectual – perfection.”
This is a piece that is portrays evil in a way that is completely opposite to mine. As well as portraying good as evil as something that is either black or white the piece suggests evilness is something that will be severely punished in this life or the next. As a result this work carries a distinct religious undertone.
In order to look to the future you must look at the past so this research into the art from the past has been extremely useful in terms of constructing my current studio practice.