The Breakaway Thomas Roberts Analysis

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The Breakaway was painted by Thomas William Roberts, an Australian artist known for his national narratives. This is demonstrated through, The Breakaway, as it tells the story of a drover trying to prevent a mob of sheep from running away from the pack. During the 1890’s there was a drought which is depicted in the painting, with dust being kicked up and dry, arid landscape. In 1891 a shearers strike began leading to the formation of the Australian Labor Party which suggests the lack of assistance that the drover is in need of.
Tom Roberts was born on the 8th of March 1856 in Dorchester, England before moving to Australia at the age of 13. There he studied in Melbourne at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School before returning to his homeland in 1881. Selected to study at The Royal Academy of Art School, he toured to Spain where he met numerous notable artists who introduced him to the principles of impressionism in which he would later become world-renowned. Returning once again to Melbourne in 1885, Roberts, in light of his new experience and passion, painted many of his most known works, including Shearing the Rams, representing Australia’s landscape, weather and sparsely populated land. During the 1890’s Roberts travelled
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The dust across the mid ground of the painting contrasts against the blue and green hues of the top third of the painting. The detail of the drover on his horse in the foreground of the painting shows how Roberts can have intricate details whilst maintaining a soft and smooth stroke line. This interprets the theme of ‘The Bush’ by comparing it to Australia’s inner core landscape. The green from the trees is perched above and away from the earthy tones below. The perfectly blue sky shows a hope in the distance indicating the help the drover needs in this story. The appealing factor of this paintings comes from its message and juxtaposition of colours and stroke

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