Jean-Léon Gérôme’s painting entitled The Two Majesties (Les Deux Majestés), portrays the majesties of the world while setting up a feeling of calmness, peacefulness and surreal silence. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said about Edward Allis’ acquisition of the oil on canvas painting in 1888, “ The sun, in all the glories of his self-immolation, casts his parting shafts in a resplendent shower upon a magnificent lion, who crouches in stern defiance of his dying foe amid the arid silence of the rocky Nile Sands. It is a conception of great poetic wonder”.
The painting is remarkable for its quiet solemnity. The huge, solitary lion; the king of the beasts, looks and gazes across the seemingly endless terrain at the “majestic” setting sun. Explaining the pieces romantic title. The eerie grandeur is dramatized by the lion’s profile and the single element against the horizontal planes of the desert. It creates a surreal feeling of a quite atmosphere. Looking at the painting, its easy to only hear is the calm ocean ripples and waves crashing against the rocky desert land. The palette of colors chosen being very bland creates a juxtaposition between the sun and the lion. The sun being very bright, bold, and orange along with letting the day turn into night shows and displays knowledge and power. A majesty. While the strong, lonely, statuary lion stands on the edge of a rock to show his presences in calm but yet threatening way. The second majesty. The dark purple around the sun signifies and shows the deep thinking of the lion. The calmness of the water helps create the feeling of surreal calmness. The sun reflecting off the water, sky turning into night, helps create the feeling of deep thinking.
The lion being the lone object along with sun represent a state and symbol of confidence. Even though it might seem and feel at times like someone is alone, they never will be. The little grass patches the appear to the left of the lion on his pedestal, represent the little life/people or other animals around. Loneliness. The image portrays and signifies the problems between power. The sun and the lion are two separate and completely different powers. While both of them are alone, they both stand alone. Meaning that what a person and an individual has and owns themselves, is all the power someone needs. That power and strength is all a “majesty” needs.
Art has infinite meanings to it. Art means many things and many different things to each person and each individual. Art is a way for an individual or even a group of individuals to express themselves and state something that maybe they couldn’t put into words. Sometimes art or expressing yourself in a visual way has more meaning to it and leaves a bigger lasting impression on someone or a group of people. The conversations about art are endless. Conversations as simple as explaining someone’s viewpoint and talking about how someone interpreted a piece of artwork is as simple as it needs to be. In todays society, art is either talked about or forgotten about. With the use of technology and social media, it makes art and the various forms of art endless. Art is expressed in ways now that people never would have guessed it would be doing 20 years ago. Technology can help spread the word about art and share pieces of art around the world. While on the other hand, technology also can hurt the role art plays in our society. People forget that their are art museums and ways to express and view art using technology. The lasting impressions of the most famous pieces of artwork will always be around, and the creation of new artwork will only add the great pieces already created.