For my art class, I had to analysis a piece of artwork. I chose a painting in the Victoria and Albert Museum. This is my first time writing something like this, so enjoy.
Richard Redgrave’s Cinderella About to Try on the Glass Slipper
Redgrave painted Cinderella About to Try on the Glass Slipper in 1842. The painting was first exhibited with a quotation from Cinderella that said, “That minx, said the step-sister, to think of trying on the slipper,” according to the sign at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The sign also indicated that the costume and furnishings are in a mixture of styles, ranging from the 16th century to the 1840’s.
In Cinderella About to Try on the Glass Slipper, Richard Redgrave captures the moment before Cinderella tries on the glass slipper. The main characters in the story are depicted in the foreground and middleground of the picture. Cinderella holds the Prince’s hand while all others look on. The stepsisters are looking longingly with Cinderella’s stepmother leaning behind them. Redgrave adds to the suspense by adding the other subject into the painting.
The window or the view outside is the background. The view outside includes a line of houses and greenery. It is bright and colorful outside, which allows a lot of light into the room. The light blue sky and cream houses brightens the painting without taking away from the action in the painting. The greenery outside the window adds color and dimension to the view of outside.
The window, doorway and hallway create a three-dimensional space. The placement of the people emphasizes the space in the room. The people are stacked in a way of importance. The Prince, Cinderella and her stepsister are in foreground while others are in the middleground with the young boy is in front. The slipper is placed at the foot of a red and gold chair upon a dark pillow. The color used is significant. Also, the slipper is the object in front of everything. The space around the slipper calls attention to its importance and draws the eye back to the slipper. The young boy is pointing straight at the slipper while looking at Cinderella, which also adds to the importance of the slipper and this moment. Placement is significant in this painting as well as the attention to detail.
The rule of thirds is used in this painting. Cinderella’s face is placed in one of the thirds of the painting. The slipper is nearly in the middle of the painting. The placement of these objects helps bring attention to these objects, yet it is the details that capture the viewer.
Here is my visual to show Redgrave's use of the Rule of Thirds. Photo Credit: google
Regrave’s use of detail in the faces adds to the emotion of this moment. It is their facial expressions that bring attention to the slipper. Everyone is looking at Cinderella or the slipper. As you look closer, the subjects’ facial expressions say more about the moment. The stepsisters look extremely uncomfortable with jealousy in their faces. The stepsisters are staring right at Cinderella. The stepmother is behind them glaring with disgust. One stepsister is even reaching for her own shoe. Even the women standing behind Cinderella to the right is looking longingly at her own foot. Another girl to the right is smiling and eagerly watching Cinderella and the Prince. The suspense of this moment is obvious through the subjects’ facial expressions and postures. Along with detailed faces, Redgrave uses color and light to bring the eye to the key aspects of the painting.
Redgrave uses light and color to emphasize certain aspects of the painting. Shadows dim the corner areas of the room and less important aspects of the painting. Light is hitting Cinderella and the stepsisters more intensely than the other subjects. Redgrave painted the clothing very bright, which adds color to the painting. He used a lot of reds, greens and yellow, which are primary colors. The painting feels warm and welcoming and is pleasing to the eye.
Redgrave painted most all the clothing with bright primary colors, it is Cinderella’s yellow dress that brings the viewers eye immediately to her and up to her face. She is looking longingly at the slipper while others look at her. The dark wooden walls help bring the viewer’s attention to the people in the room. The man holding the pillow, where the slipper was held, is more in the shadows than the others. He must be one of the Prince’s men. Redgrave used shadows and light purposefully, but also paid attention to detail in his technique.
When you look at the painting up close in the Victoria and Albert Museum, you can see the cracks in the paint as the painting has aged. Redgrave used oil on canvas for this painting. The brushstrokes are not visible; they are very even. The subjects in the painting are very defined. Redgrave added a lot of texture to the clothing. Cinderella’s dress is very detailed and quilted at the bottom. The stepmother and stepsisters are wearing jewelry and much more extravagant dresses than Cinderella, yet it is Cinderella’s simple beauty that captures the viewers attention.
Lastly, Redgrave successfully depicts this moment with his use of color, light and by paying attention to detail. His use of light and color allow the viewer to engage in the painting easily. It is the subjects’ facial expressions that add meaning to the painting depiction of this suspenseful moment. Without Redgrave’s attention to detail, color and light, this picture would lack its obvious suspense and intrigue.