Paper #1 Historical and Cultural Context
Classicism refers to the specific genre of philosophy that expresses itself in literature, architecture, art and music, with emphasis on society in ancient Greek and Roman culture. The Neoclassical movement coincides with the mid-18th century, and continued into the early 19th century. The Neoclassical movement is a revival of the classical period, which reflected the developments in the Age of Enlightenment, it is considered unemotional, and this movement may be considered the counterpart to Romanticism, which is the fascination with wildlife. It is considered rigid and was a reaction to the Rocco style and the emotional Baroque style.
Neoclassical art formed out of a revival that grew from an interest for classical thought, which seem to gain importance during the American and French revolutions. In the 1800 the Romanticism genre emerged as a response Neoclassicism, which was a primary influence or Academic Art in the 19th century.
Jonathan’s Token to David, gallery number 724, was painted by Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton of Stretton, 67 ½ x 49 in. (171.45 x 124.46 cm) c. 1868 oil on canvas was created in Britain.
This painting depicts a scene in the Old Testament. It depicts the emotional climax of their friendship when they will say their farewells. The prophet Samuel anoints David the next king of the nation of Israel, the current king at the time King Saul has become jealous and threatens to kill David. In this picture Jonathan prepares to shoot arrows into the sky to send the newly anointed King David a warning not to return. Leighton chose an earlier scene in order to celebrate the ideal of heroic male beauty. Jonathan's pose derives from the famous Renaissance sculpture of David by Michelangelo.
This representational work of art depicts to young men, Jonathan and his helper. In this painting we have Jonathan who seems to be in his early 20’s is my guess, Jonathan has the appearance of a valiant and chivalrous man, his clothing has a regal feel to them. He has a strong healthy feel to his physique. He is looking off at a distance, he seems to have a concerned look on his face, as he is reaching for behind him into his squire for an arrow as if he is preparing to use the arrow.
The younger friend it appears who looks as if he is a young teenager has a for less look of concern on his face and appears more concerned about what is in his squire than the world at large, unlike Jonathan who seems to have greater concerns. The young boy’s clothes or lack thereof seem to indicate that he has not come of age just yet. The following excerpt speaks of the closeness between Jonathan and King David:
”Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war.”(NASB)
I think the artist used a well-known literary depiction of two men’s platonic love for each other and to depict one of them as or at least Jonathan as a strong and heroic man to be looked up to and admired.
The colors that I are used in this painting seem to be warm and cool colors, I see plenty of reds, yellows and oranges used to paint Jonathan and yellows to paint the younger helper. Yet the background uses plenty of greens, grays and black used for the vegetation. The value of the painting appears mainly light with a darker value toward the top of the picture associated with the background. I think the contrast between the two values creates an intense and emotional painting, which