Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Titian's Weird Dog #1

Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne, 1524

The weird dog is the least weird of the weird things in Bacchaus and Ariadne by Titian.
How about a weird severed cow head-thing? Check out the diagonal set up by the legs and the nice zig-zag. Then of course there is the repeated dog feet shapes and the dog head shaped cymbals...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tintoretto has a weird dog...

Tintoretto, The Last Supper, 1594

Tintoretto has a weird dog that's hard to find. He's under the table, repeating the weird feet shapes that move across the bottom edge. He also continues the arch that moves through the weird cat. There are lots and lots of dog head shaped things and lots and lots of dog ear shaped patches of light.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Georges Seurat and the weird dog in the corner. Part II

Georges Seurat, Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886

In La Grande Jatte, Seurat is using lots of weird dogs. And don't forget the weird monkey. The weird dog on the edge sets up a neat diagonal to the other weird dog. The negative space in his tail mimics the monkey ear and the random red spot below the little girl in the white dress. The big weird dog's tail echos umbrella and hat shapes all over the place. Compare the big dog's head to the elbow of the lounging man, it's got that opposite tension happening again. Old Georges is also echoing the dogs neck with the tree about 1/3 in from the left. The true "weird dog in the corner" in this is the bright green triangle in the lower left. Notice the right edge and the reddish triangle acting as another "weird dog on the edge". How's that for compliments?

For extra credit see how many "monkey head-sized things" you can find.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Georges Seurat and the weird dog in the corner.

Georges Seurat,Bathing at Asnieres, 1884
Georges Seurat is notorious for his use of the "weird dog in the corner". This is quintessential "weird dog in the corner.

As composition gets more complex it is not only about the placement of objects but also the relationships or connections of those objects. The weird dog brings the eye back to the visual center with his line of sight. If you focus on the dog-shaped things (thanks paul) you can pick out the connections to the weird dog in the corner. Look at the dog head compared to the shape of the dark boot and directly below the white towel. Also notice the dog body shape. It repeats all of the hat-things. The black dot of the dog's nose connects to the black dot in the man's ear. There is also a sense of tension created where the dog's body curves out opposite of where the man's body curves in. The dog's nose curves in where the man's shoulder curves out. These echoing and opposite tensions serve as a means to connect the elements diagonally. Seraut is also connecting foreground and background with "dog colored" things and "dog colored" dots.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is the weird dog in the corner?

The weird dog in the corner is a "theory" I learned from painter Paul Hartley in all the years I had him as an instructor at East Carolina University. I studied under Paul, in various forms, from 1993 until 2002.

The idea behind the weird dog in the corner (or on the edge) is a compositional tool that helps to bring the eye back into the painting. This normally will work in conjunction with other shapes and directional movements within a composition.

Why is it the weird dog in the corner?

For some reason lots of painters will stick strange things in their paintings that occasionally make no sense or seem arbitrary. Often times these strange things are random dogs or the like. So the weird dog in the corner can really be anything placed as a compositional element, in a corner or on the edge, that re-directs the viewer back to the focal point.

My plan for this blog is to post the weird dogs in the corner from art history and discuss their many compositional uses. There are plenty of weird dogs in the corners and on the edge of many works of art.

Have a look at the Arnolfini Wedding by Van Eyck. The weird dog on the edge is actually a weird dog on the edge. The weird dog in the corner happens to be the shoes.