Visual Analysis of Marilyn, by Audrey Flack

Length: 7 Pages 1796 Words

Visual Analysis The piece that I have chosen to analyze is a painting called Marilyn, by Audrey Flack. The painting was made of oil over acrylic on canvas in the year 1977. The dimensions of this piece make me feel as if it is huge. Considering the fact that it is 8’ x 8’ I first relate the piece to my height which is a few feet smaller than 8 feet. When looking at the photograph of the painting in the text book I assumed it was a fairly small painting. The actual size of the piece makes me much more involved and engaged in the piece rather than if it were the size I automatically assumed it was. The proportions of the piece are 1:1; this makes the painting a perfect square, but because of how large the painting is I would not have noticed the proportions, like I did when looking at a small picture of it. When I look at this image and imagine being face to face with the original I feel as if I am at the same level as the work. I am very close to the figures, which makes me feel I am in the piece. The viewpoint almost makes me feel as though the painting is about myself even though I know it isn’t and that it is actually about Marilyn Monroe and her life. I relate to each figure because they are all familiar Continue...


The arrangement of the objects are in a circular motion which forces my eye to move consistently around the surface of the painting. The layers aren't the only aspect that makes the depth. Because of the colors and values used in the painting I am left with a feeling of awe. Each piece has a meaning and where each are placed in the composition has a meaning. It's difficult trying to imagine myself walking around in the piece because it isn't landscape, or a piece showing a plane that someone can stand on. Outside of the mirror though, Monroe sits like an icon, surrounded by details that almost look like an altar with candles. The symbolism of time gives the thought that she unfortunately lived a short life and who knows what it would of been like if her life hadn't been cut short. Flack uses very bold colors, but they don't appear to be too strong because the pieces in the painting should be those colors. Everywhere you look in this painting you are given the impression that Marilyn's life was cut short. These items include the pink hour glass, the old photograph, the calendar, the candle burning, and the stop watch. Without using layers it would take away all the depth that is seen in the painting. The technique used was plastic and I feel this was the best technique chosen to represent so many objects. The rich colors help make this painting idealistic. The first assumption would be that she has a naturalistic style, but that is not the case. This piece tells a story and I am awed by the story it tells and the value of rich colors.