Vanessa Bell Lytton Strachey, 1912

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Lytton Strachey by Vanessa Bell appeals to me because it is slightly abstract and has a slightly distorted look – for example, the hand has been stretched and is out of proportion. It also uses a variety of colours and has an unusual arrangement – with an unclear background, which makes it stand out. I chose this painting because, when looking through many paintings, I found that this one interested me most, and was the most memorable. Marianne von Werefkin’s self portrait also interests me because the person blends in with the background, and it has movement to it so is unusual. Also, it is very colourful, and uses different shades of colour blending in to each other, so is bright and stands out. The main image in each if these portraits are very different. For example, Vanessa Bell paints a man, whereas Marianne von Werefkin paints herself, a woman. This could partially affect the atmosphere that is portrayed, because in the early 20th century, there were very different expectations of men and women. In the self-portrait, Marianne is sitting very upright, in a civilised and upper-class manner, whereas Lytton is shown sitting very casually, with his arm draped across the arm of a chair. Werefkin does not show any sign of a chair, or any objects, but Bell paints part of an armchair, and even some books can be seen to the top of the painting. This could symbolise her character, and fondness of reading – and this can be supported because she was the sister of writer Virginia Woolf, which suggests that, as children, they would both have been encouraged to express their creative talents. Werefkin is would also have been encouraged to persevere as an artist, because her mother was also an artist, so would have given her support and assistance. In the painting Werefkin does not show any sign of her character. In both portraits, the person is not smiling, and looking

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