Ben Quilty Analysis

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Ben Quilty – Margaret Olley Ben Quilty is a young artist who recently won the last Archibald prize with his portrait of his idol Margaret Olley, a fellow Australian artist that he deeply admires. Quilty’s technique, image and use of elements and principles reflect on his feelings towards his model. The materials used in his portrait of Margaret are suspected to be oil paint because the texture of the paints looks to be think and gloopy. It doesn’t look smooth of blended anywhere, there are also signs of the use of a palate knife along the right cheek and the brow of Margaret’s head. There is also a lack of paint for a majority of her face; the bright white of Margaret’s face is actually the surface of the canvas. The brightness of the white…show more content…
The fact that she isn’t looking at the camera suggests that what she’s looking at isn’t important but the way her face is illuminated is what the focus is. This is supported by the colours and toning of the painting. The use of colouring and tone in the portrait are extremely supportive to the subject of the painting. The dark and manly warm colours in the background and the clothing in a way brighten the white surface of the canvas on the face. The common colour in Margaret’s hat and top act almost as guide lines and our focus is drawn to the space in between. The point that the model is of a Margaret and not of him shows that Quilty doesn’t think that just painting himself isn’t his idea of a self-portrait because it isn’t expressing himself. So he painted a portrait of Margaret Olley whom is someone he admires and has probably influenced him in some way otherwise, why would he paint her specifically? When he had asked Margaret to model for him she declined saying she didn’t like her face and bewildered by her answer he persevered saying that wasn’t true and continued to ask her. Eventually Margaret accepted the request, I think that because of the reason she gave when she declined the first time inspired Quilty to prove her wrong, to show her that she is beautiful and is an important person to
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