Pollice Verso by Jean Leon Gerome

Pollice Verso

(Thumbs Down)

Jean Leon Gerome

Realism  ·  Famous masterpieces
gladiator · roman · spectator · arena · fight · wrestle · dagger · sport · jeer · crowd · audience · event · gladiators · spectacle · thumbs down · death · decision
Pollice Verso by Jean Leon Gerome
1872   ·  oil on canvas  ·  Picture ID: 564105   ·  Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, USA / bridgemanimages.com
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At first glance, this dramatic depiction of the end of a gladiatorial fight draws the viewer into the picture. Jean Leon Gerome has managed to capture with light and shadow, light and dark as well as tense gestures of the victorious fighter and enraged crowd in the stands the moment that seals the end: the death sentence!

What means does the French painter use for realism? Light and shadow underline the highly dramatic event. Surprisingly, however, only the upper left third of the Coliseum is illuminated by the sun glistening bright. So those ranks that are the furthest away from the viewer and image viewer. The gladiators and thus the viewer of the scenery, however, seem to be in the shadow. On the dusty battlefield, only a few light reflections show up. Otherwise the scene of colors and light is dark and threatening. A symbol that the emperor and people have spoken out for the death of the inferior.

High-ranking visitors, such as the white-clad Vestals and the Emperor in person, also sit in their shadows in their privileged places. Precisely because of this, the upset mood is especially evident! The flowing, white robes of the Vestals stand out optically strong. Underpinned by their attitude, some have jumped, the cruel action is reinforced. The static contrast to this unexpected movement of the Vestals and their determination to let the loser die is the victorious warrior. He sets a counterpoint with a shiny gold helmet, his back pressed down and his sword pointing down. Only to put in the next moment, the deadly weapon against the dying.

The cruelty of the drama is reinforced by the dead, who are already slaughtered on the ground. Accordingly, the gang of the fighting arena are bordered with blood-red masonry. This color is partly found on the carpets of the privileged lodges.

Not without reason is this painting famous. One feels the screaming crowd is heard screaming, feeling the moment of death approaching. With the last strength, the poor and the weakest of the inferior point to the sky: a silent memorial against senseless barbarism. © Meisterdrucke
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Other art prints by Jean Leon Gerome
The Slave Market The Carpet Merchant Arnaut and Dogs Moliere at breakfast with Louis XIV (gravure) Pygmalion and Galatea Greek Interior sketch, 1848.  The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem, 1869 The Age of Augustus, the Birth of Christ, c.1852-54 Working in Marble, or The Artist Sculpting Tanagra, 1890 View of the Nile at Luxor, 1857 (oil on canvas laid on board) Crossing the Desert The Bath Tiger on the Watch The Duel After the Masquerade General Bonaparte with his Military Staff in Egypt, 1863 (pencil and oil on canvas)
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Daumen runter (AT) Daumen runter (DE) Daumen runter (CH) Thumbs Down (US) Pollice Verso (IT) Pouce en bas (FR) Duim omlaag (NL) Pulgares abajo (ES) Большие пальцы вниз (RU) अंगूठे नीचे (HI) 大拇指朝下 (ZH) Polegares para baixo (PT) 拒絶 (JP) استهجن (AE)


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