Going to Market on a Misty Morning
Constant Troyon, French, 1810-1865
Oil on Panel
A shepherdess emerges from the morning mist, leading a cow and a flock of unruly sheep down a country road. Behind her, a man on horseback, silhouetted against the light, is impeded in his progress. This scene of rural life became quite celebrated and Troyon made several versions of it, one of which drew admiration from a young Claude Monet when it was exhibited at the 1859 Paris Salon.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/4406
How do you interpret the figure of the man in the shadows? Is his ambiguity ominous or innocent?
Look carefully on the right side of the painting. Do these bystanders make the scene safer with their presence?
Can aggression be alleviated when it is anticipated, like it is in this painting?
Jean-Leon Gerome, French, 1824-1904
Oil on Canvas
A young woman has been stripped by a slave trader and presented to a group of fully clothed men for examination. A prospective buyer probes her teeth. This disturbing scene is set in a courtyard market intended to suggest the Near East. The vague, distant location allowed nineteenth-century French viewers to censure the practice of slavery, which was outlawed in Europe, while enjoying a look at the female body.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/5538
Compare the fully clothed buyer to the completely nude woman.
How would the painting change if the young woman was fully clothed?
Are the onlookers in the scene also guilty for not taking an active role against the sale of this woman?
Nymphs and Satyr
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, French, 1825-1905
Oil on Canvas
Three nymphs playfully drag a Satyr into a woodland pond, while a fourth calls to her companions in the distance. Satyrs—half-man, half-goat—were reputedly unable to swim. Bouguereau exhibited this painting, accompanied by a verse from the Latin poem that inspired it, at the 1873 Paris Salon. Its vaguely classical subject provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate his skill painting the female nude from multiple viewpoints. An American collector immediately bought the work, which eventually ended up on display in the bar of New York City’s Hoffman House, where Sterling Clark first encountered it.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/6158
Is teasing considered a form of aggression?
How would the painting change if a woman was being dragged into the water by four men?
The nymphs are punishing the Satyr for spying on them. How is this scene of revenge different or similar to The Abduction of Polyxena?
Second Scene of Burglars: The Burglars Arrested
Louis Leopold Boilly, French, 1761-1845
Oil on Canvas
The black, white, and gray tones of this painting—composed in a style called grisaille—produce the illusion of an engraving. The work is one of a pair: the first scene depicts the burglary of a bourgeois home in progress, while this painting shows the second scene—the discovery of the crime. The dramatic story, told through the figures’ theatrical gestures and expressions, inspired a play based on the two compositions.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/9814
Who are the aggressors in this artwork?
Are some forms of aggression needed to keep society in place?
Does self-defense justify the use of force, hostility, and violence?
Two Horses Fighting in a Stormy Landscape
Ferdinand-Victor-Eugene Delacroix, French, 1798-1863
Oil on Canvas
With its freely applied brushstrokes and stormy sky, this image of fighting horses has an ominous, dreamlike character. Delacroix, who is among the most significant artists associated with the Romantic movement in early nineteenth-century European art, sometimes used animals in his paintings to evoke elemental aspects of human nature. Here, the halo effect of the pale horse’s mane and the violence of the dark horse’s lunge evoke a conflict between the forces of good and evil.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/8577
What techniques is Delacroix using to create tension in this painting?
How does color play a role distinguishing good and evil? What is the danger of this?
Is aggression an instinct innate in both humans and animals?
The Abduction of Polyxena
Pio Fedi, Italian, 1816-1892
During the Trojan War, Polyxena lured the Greek hero Achilles to his death. In revenge, Achilles’s son Pyrrhus killed Polyxena’s brother and carried her off as a sacrifice, despite the protests of her mother Hecuba, the Trojan Queen.
This bronze is a version of a large marble sculpture commissioned for the Loggia de Lanzi in the center of Florence. Several ancient writers describe how Polyxena preferred death to slavery, and her story may have resonated with nineteenth-century Florentines as a symbol of resistance against the Austrian invasion of Italy.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/1369
Who is the victim in this sculpture? Is there more than one?
Is revenge a justified form of aggression or violence?
At what point does a grudge become irrelevant?
Jean-Honore Fragonard, French, 1834-1917
Oil on Canvas
The Warrior is one of a number of “fantasy” portraits painted by Fragonard around 1770. This figure may be an arrogant warrior from some bygone age or he may be one of the artist’s contemporaries in disguise. The features of his face are individualized, but his costume is invented, described in the artist’s time as “Spanish in manner.” Fragonard seems to have been more interested in demonstrating his brilliant brushwork than in portraying a recognizable individual.
Read more here: http://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/10590
What characteristics make this man seem un-approachable?
Is aggression something that can be recognized based upon initial looks?
Do warriors or soldiers require a degree of aggression to be successful?