Analysis of Andy Warhol’s Marylin
Andy Warhol is considered to be one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Actually, he is the leader of the pop art movement, which balances on the verge of artistic expressions, celebrity culture (mainly, movie stars) and advertisement. Pop art marked the consumerism mood among art lovers and artists. Unsurprisingly, it appeared in America and Britain, where consumers are famous for their active position. And Andy Warhol was their icon and so to say spokesman. In his work he combined different materials and techniques: he used hand drawing, oil painting, printing, photographing, silk screening, filming, using of music. Before making a successful career of an artist, Andy Warhol was as well the successful commercial illustrator. Probably, the first position allowed him to feel the consumerism of the modern society and find instruments to show it to the wide range of people.
His famous painting 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans is one the one hand the irony on the mass production. On the other hand, it is an example of smart advertising. Some critics of the pop art doubt whether all these cans can be called art. But artists of such kind are not usually insulted with such critical notes. They stated that their intention is to blur the boundaries between high and low art” and challenge “distinctions assumed and reinforced by the institutions of the art world (Y, 2013).
Andy Warhol paid great attention to the life of celebrities. He portrayed such actors as Troy Donahue and Warren Beatty. In 1962 famous and glamorous actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home in Los Angeles (Fallon, 2010, p. 46). It impressed Warhol so much that he started a new painting. He used an iconic photo of Marilyn taken from the film Niagara. Later Marilyn was inspiration for dozens of his paintings. Warhol focuses very closely on head and face of the actress. Actually, there are no other parts of body, no hands, any shoulders or chest. The artist pays attention on Marilyn’s golden hair, red sexy lips and pink face. First paintings of the actress posses balanced colors. Her eyes, shadows on them and background are harmonized. Turquoise Marilyn became the most commonly reproduced and referenced of all Marilyn images. Over the next years Warhol made about 50 paintings with the image of Marilyn. Numerous versions of her image by Warhol are marked with different experiments with sizes and formats (Fallon, 2010, p. 47). Different colors and combinations are used. Andy Warhol also tried different backgrounds. By 1967, colors became wilder.
For example, Gold Marilyn Monroe reflects the implicit irony of the pop art movement (Spivey). The actress is painted on the gold background copying the religious tradition of the painted icon. Such choice makes spectators feeling that a Hollywood star is transformed into a Madonna showing the obsession with the image of the celebrity. The actress was a living idol and became even more popular after her death. Ironically, the paintings of Andy Warhol are worshipped by fans of Monroe. Images of Marilyn can be found on mugs, cups, bags and many other objects of everyday use.
Monroe’s paintings by Andy Warhol illustrate the essence of the pop art. Artist took the famous photo of a famous actress and turned into a piece of art. It combines all elements of pop art, which characterize Warhol. First of all, the painting demonstrates author’s expressions as he painted Monroe as a young and attractive woman despite she was dead on the moment when painting was started let alone finished. Secondly, it has the advertisement part. The photo used by Warhol was taken from the advertising campaign of Niagara film featuring Monroe. Furthermore, Andy Warhol multiplied the image of the actress and used them in many paintings. As always happens with good ads the painting became more popular and nobody was bored with newly-colored images of Marilyn. Furthermore, these images are widely used today for decorations of cafes and homes. Finally, Andy Warhol used an image of celebrity. Undoubtedly, Monroe was sex symbol of her epoch and artist made the right choice and chose the right moment to depict famous actress.
All in all, Andy Warhol became a phenomenon. He managed to combine art and advertisement in a manner to satisfy the rich and the poor, the critics with sophisticated tastes and ordinary people, the well-educated art critics and unprepared men and women let alone children who are always fascinated with bright colors. Andy Warhol was brave enough to conduct experiments with colors, materials and sizes. His paintings full of irony in relation to consumerism. Yet, consumers love his paintings. Marylin helped him to become worldwide famous and express his talent in full power. It is the most famous image of Marilyn as well.
Fallon, Michael. How to Analyze the Works of Andy Warhol. ABDO, 2010. Print
Spivey, Virginia. “Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe”. Smarthistory. Web. 13 Apr 2013
Y, Marilyn. “Pop Art: Ambiogous and Ambitous”. Stet Gallery. Web. 13 Apr 2013.