Summary Execution In Granada Under The Moorish Kings Summary

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Henri Regnault’s “Summary Execution in Granada Under the Moorish Kings” is a riveting visual experience on multiple levels. Through calculated artistic choices, Regnault ensures that the painting’s grotesque nature strikes first, shocking the viewer on a primal level. He plays with theatrical scale, angles, and lighting to elevate the drama of this scene in a way that would certainly have appealed to the fantastic imaginations of his audience in 19th century France. But equally as mesmerizing is how Regnault quietly imbues the painting with a sense that its characters are subject to some larger, unseen power. Through the use of line, color, and brushwork, Regnault forces the viewer to suspend judgement of the scene by alluding to the the complexity of what influenced the action. This piece is an oil on canvas painting that looms large in a gallery of the Musee d’Orsay. The scene it depicts takes place in some sort of architectural setting in the Orient, and features two men on a set of stairs—one crumpled on the ground, his head completely decapitated, and the other standing over him, wiping blood from a gleaming sword. They are staring into each other’s eyes. The painting is characterized by deep, hot colors that emphasize an element of other-wordliness in the scene, and a general composition that creates a sense of rising from below to face the action. The title of the piece dubs the victor an executioner, but little else about the story is overtly implied by the title.
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