ARTH 1102 History of Art: Renaissance to Modern

Lucius A Wright


ARTH 1102 Museum Paper Assignment


The abduction of Rebecca, made during the late Romanticism period is an oil on canvas painting. The painting gives a sense of smoke billowing, creating intense horror. The fluidity of the brush stroke is very painterly. Rebecca’s abductors is looking back franticly as they load Rebecca on the horse. As the story goes, Rebecca was deeply coveted by the Christian knight Bois Guilbert, so much so; he sent his two slaves to kidnap her from her castle. In the background of the painting you could see the fiery blaze amidst the blue sky dancing with the smoke.


Kehinde Wiley, Officer of the Hussars is a 2007 post modernism painting oil and enamel. The gentleman on the horse looking back with a sword in hand exudes such self-confidence. The body language evokes power, sort of beating his chest in an urban style of dress, atop a muscular horse. Unlike the abduction of Rebecca it is a non-conventional mode of transportation if you will. There is a great time difference between these two paintings but there is a willingness to fight that is evident within the two paintings and is indicative of their posture.


. As she lies there motionless Rebecca doesn’t seem to be putting up much of a fight. It makes you wonder if the kidnapping is voluntary. Kehinde Wiley models are volunteers. You can tell the willingness of the young man on the horse, his eagerness to show his youthful prowess. On the contrary, the Officer of the Hussars the young man is very daring and unconventional. This is quite evident by the sagging pants that are a sign of rebellion, tattoo, and urban footwear, the timberland boots. However, the Abduction of Rebecca, the abductors shows a more willingness to follow orders. As slaves they were sent on a mission to kidnap Rebecca, though brave, they show a willingness to do as told unlike the figure in the Officer of the Hussars.


Both works of art carry with it as its stand in the horse as a symbol of power. The work on the left displays the vibrancy of the horse’s mane as it blare just like the smoke in the distance. The legs on the beast are muscular and sturdy and appear more ready and eager than its rider. The work on the right also has a provocative and vivid posture. The right hind legs of the horse disappear into the ground as if it’s a plug in an outlet being charged. As this energy is being transmitted, you can see the grey scale move from dark to light from the ground up being evenly distributed. Nonetheless, the difference between the two is that the horse in the abduction of Rebecca obviously, has a mission to carry out while the horse in the Officer of the Hussars is more staged but simply illustrates the value and worth of its often stigmatized black male rider.


Great works of art is not merely happenstance, but a product of inspiration. Both the Officer of the Hussars and the Abduction of Rebecca were inspired by the romantic period. The motivation for the Officer of the Hussars came from the painting, the charging chasseur by French painter Theodore Gericault, oil on canvas painting of about 1812. The Abduction of Rebecca was inspired by a novel by Sir Walter Scott called Ivanhoe. Looking at both works of art you can see the monumentality in the posturing. The convoluted poses on the Officer of the Hussars are complementary to the abduction of Rebecca. For some reason the abduction of Rebecca appears to be more heroic than anti-hero and the relaxed, hang loose positioning of Rebecca indicates that. On the contrary though the Officer of the Hussar has nobleness about his person his depiction is more lyrical than monumental. The composition appears more staged. The intense red color in the background along with the gold decorative leaves makes it appear so. At the same time, both works of art are reminiscent of the French romantic era.


In conclusion, both pieces of art though they differ they still offer similarities that is evocative of a period in time that’s is still regarded as prominent. Both paintings were created from an inspirational standpoint but generationally gulfed. However, this doesn’t do anything to separate them conceptually and that concept is romanticism. The radicalism is prevalent and colorful.