George Grosz's Circe

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Formal Analysis: George Grosz’s Circe A watercolor and ink painting Circe by George Grosz (Figure 1) is a typical work of the New Objectivity, an art movement in Germany between 1920s and 1930s, aimed to criticize rising inequality and social decadence in Berlin followed by the defeat in WWI and economy’s instability in Weimar Republic. The Circe was created in 1927, a time when private investment flowed from the United States allowing the rich get richer. An emerged small class of new bourgeoisie led a glaringly lavish lifestyle, typical for a nouveau riche, creating an evident contrast with a working class of that time. George Grosz, whose political views reflected in his art, could not stay indifferent to the problems of the society. Although…show more content…
In his watercolor painting Circe, George Grosz brings in an ancient Greek mythological character, who magically turned men into swine, to satirically criticize contemporary German society where wealth and sexual excess are depicted in a negative light, showing both, a prostitute and her rich…show more content…
The composition is balanced. The two figures visually divide picture into halves creating a focal point on their mouths. Even though among the two only a woman is presented as human, a man with a pig head is the one fully clothed. He is seated behind a round table with carved leg. The able top and man’s leg are drawn in a different perspective than other parts of the painting. His arms are resting on a marble table top, taking roughly half of it; on the other half there are a box of matches, ashtray, an almost finished cigarette, a red lipstick with an open cap, a wineglass and a small thick book that is probably a man’s wallet. The background consists of a café’s awning and blurred undefined space underneath painted with the same colors, darker pinks, blues, black and violet. The women’s skin is similar in tone and color with man’s, making them the only warm parts of the painting, thus contrasting with a darker and cooler background and tying the two characters. Grosz applied wet-on-wet technique which allowed colors to spread into each other, creating transparent soft edges and blending; however, when it dried, the artist went over with a paint defining some of the edges: the women’s body contours, fur on her shoulder, pig head’s features, his hooves, stripes on his

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