• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of 'Lady in Black' by Francis Cadell

Free essay example:

Rhianon Cunningham

Art History Homework

        Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, associated with the Scottish colourists was born in Edinburgh in 1883 and by the age of 16 was studying at the Academie Julian in Paris. During his career he was very much influenced by the Fauvists such as Matisse and on his return to Scotland exhibited much of his own work in Edinburgh Glasgow and London. He died in poverty at the age of 54 after the economic climate made it difficult for him to sell any of his work. He painted landscapes (mainly those of Lona which were a favourite of his), interiors, still life and figures in oil and watercolour but is known most for his portraits of glamorous women. One such portrait, completed in 1921, is ‘Lady in Black’ painted in oil.

The painting has a rather macabre mood as the woman within the picture has a reflective expression on her face as if longing for the past. There is a mirror behind her, which may also add to the idea of reflection.

She is dressed in black, which adds to the morbid mood as it could indicate she is mourning the death of a loved one. Her body language also expresses sadness as her posture is quite slumped, and the small flowers seen behind her could have been meant for a grave. The shadow over her eyes caused by her large hat makes them look undefined and blurry, giving them a sad, depressed look. The painting itself is also very dark as there is very little light and the colours used are very dull and grey, adding to the dreary mood.

The media is used very loosely, in an almost impressionistic manner, which may have sprung from Cadell being exposed to the work of the Impressionists who were active in Paris at the time he was being educated there. He uses strokes of bold colour such as the woman’s lips, the flowers in the background and the pink furniture reflected in the mirror. These strong reds and pinks could symbolise love or passion, which adds emphasis to the woman’s lost love.

This piece was more or less typical of the Scottish Colourist movement, but also contains undertones of impressionism as not much line is used; instead different colours are layered on top of each other, as the impressionists were known to do. It is a very realistic piece with a well-expressed dreary, nostalgic mood.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Art section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE Art Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE Art essays

  1. Critical Analysis on The Scream

    I think that this picture could have been a simple and straightforward picture, but looks like its been placed into a dream and got mixed around with all the different emotions and feelings that Edvard Munch was going through at the time, then taken back out and made into a piece of art.

  2. Critical Analysis of Nighthawks, Edward Hopper

    When you look at their lines of sight, this seems a likely story. They could be having a conversation, explaining why the woman seems bored and not as close to her partner. The barman has no apparent significance to the painting; he is just their doing his job and making conversation with the locals.

  1. Forerunners of Impressionism

    Beasts," to this style of art because it was felt that they used intense colours in a fierce and wild manner. Unlike Post-Impressionist paintings the paintings exhibited were more primal and less naturalistic in style. Paul Gauguin's style and his use of colour were especially strong influences.

  2. Visit To London Aquarium

    Everything You Need To Know About The Seahorse History: Seahorses have been in existence for around 40 million years. Family Background: Seahorses are members of the Teleost suborder, or bony fish, and belong to the vertebrate group, meaning they have an interior skeleton.

  1. The boundaries between culture and nature have collapsed and the body has become flexible

    herself as a child, trying to make sense of these experiences, which she worked with in the fourth workshop, again using the mouth of lights. We worked together, one-to-one, to find a form to give power to her performance, when we were making the video.

  2. Writing about impressionism, about two impressionists and discussing their work.

    In the background there is a cluster of girls practising their dance skills against a very large mirror. They also create a contrast in the painting as their white skirts clash with the dark wall. The colours he has used blends in very nicely with each other and only the

  1. Cezanne, Lowry and Landscapes.

    The images of the industrial landscapes of Northern England are not portrayed in a positive light, but not all hope has been buried in the slag and the soot.

  2. Critical Analysis of

    In 1893, when Munch first exhibited "The Scream" in Oslo, it was met by much opposition because of its nature. Nothing like that had been painted before, in the 1800's, paintings were expected to be lifelike, "women knitting" as Munch noted in his writings once.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work