Analysis of a Piece of Art

Analysis of a Piece of Art

The analysis of “French Liberty. British Slavery “by James Gillary, two images are used. One painting depicts a Frenchman dressed in a torn ragged piece of cloth eating raw onions and live snails. The man seems to warm his feet at a small fire. On the other picture, there is an Englishman, British, feeding on roasted beef and ale. The man is also well dressed and nourished. It seems to be written using different concoctions of plants and soils. The setting of the piece of art is deemed to be a historical one.

The analysis in the piece of art by Gillary is a simple scene. The imagery of the Frenchman emphasizes the theme of starvation, while the symbolism of the British man establishes the concept of governance (Gillary, 1792). From the analysis of the piece, I believe the author is trying to bring out the Frenchmen are oppressed. Even after liberty, they are still not treated well. They are not given food, shelter, and clothing. This act is inhumane and, therefore, should not be encouraged. I also believe that the Frenchman is discriminated against because of poor governance.

The scene on the art is straightforward as there are two different pictures clearly showing a ragged man who depicts starvation and another view a rotund man well-fed and appropriately dressed. Gillary uses the imagery of consumption to contrast the political realities between France and Britain (Gillary, 1792). This story on the image is historical. It tells how, in the past, the French were oppressed by their government. They were denied access to proper shelter, clothing, and even food. The Frenchman is seen to seek warmth for his feet opposite the fire. The British slaves, on the other hand, were provided proper clothing, enough food, and adequate shelter. The image shows that they are fat and healthy, unlike the Frenchman.

The composition of the sample by Gillary is asymmetrical as the two sides of the images are not equal. The first image is the image of a ragged man who is emaciated and beaten, and the other model is an image of a British slave flourishing in the good life (Gillary, 1792). This also is the focal point. The artist used two contrasting images to bring the attention of the reader to the paper. The vantage point, on the other hand, is the fire the ragged man warms his feet. It is the last thing the viewer sees. The rhythm of the work is unifying. There is a transparent image of an emaciated man and a fat man, and there is no repetition of in the art.

The author uses an expressing line when the States that liberty has turned France into a paradise flowing with milk and honey. This tone, however, is sarcastic since the men in France are oppressed because of freedom. It could be the other way round. He expresses his feeling that the Frenchmen are oppressed because of colonization that made their government take over there land and dignity (Gillary, 1792). The composition is horizontal; this is good for the viewer, as the images are clear and straightforward. The lines are parallel, as the viewer reads, the eyes move side by side.

The illusion of space is shallow. The images are present in a large piece of paper, and they are not converging. This makes it clear for the viewer. The artist uses the right choice of colours as bright colours attract the readers to get a glimpse of the image. The colours, however, do not symbolize anything since several colours are shared in both pictures. The source of light is coming from the photographs themselves since the colours used are bright coloured and mixed up. This is tenebrism since contrasting colours are used in both images to enhance the dramatic effect of the message. A perpetual texture is used, the brushwork is visible, and the photos are clear. It has contributed to the surface of the piece.

Generally, I like the work, and I think that the message that was being passed is comparing the people in France after liberty and the slaves in British. This seemed like a paradox.


James Gillary, (1792).”French liberty. British Slavery”.

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