“Green Marilyn” by Andy Warhol in 1962 and “George Washington” by Gilbert Stuart in 1795 are both portraits of famous Americans. The first is a silkscreen on synthetic polymer paint on canvas and the second is oil on canvas.
Contour lines, lines drawn to record boundaries (83), are used to set off their subject’s faces. Warhol uses a well defined the line between the face and hair along the forehead making the hair look like a cap, not apart of the face. Stuart uses blurred lines to outline the entire portrait from the background.
Both artists utilize chiaroscuro, Italian for light/dark (92). Warhol uses it to show the lighting coming from the upper left by showing shadows under the eyelashes, and below the chin. Washington’s face is lit from the front right, as if with a spotlight, made obvious with shadows.
In both portraits the face is a figure, a shape used to detach and focus on, and the ground, the surrounding visual information the figure stands out from (89), is plain. This makes the face the focal point.
The major difference between these works is the use of color. Warhol uses mostly tertiary colors, mixtures of primary color and adjacent secondary colors on the color wheel (95). The colors are also very intense, pure colors not mixed with much grey (96). This combination makes color the most obvious aspect of the work. Stuart uses varying degrees of white and black and values of red. Values of color refer to relative lightness or darkness (96). Red is mixed with grey to come up with skin tone, cheeks and a small amount in the background to highlight the face.