The Reception – Descriptive Essay

“THE RECEPTION” One particular oil painting of artist James Tissot’s is named A Woman of Ambition (Political Woman) and is also known as The Reception. Tissot created this particular work of art during the years 1883 to 1885. The painting itself being produced with oil paints, leaves multi-textured layers of thick paint in contrasting colors. In the painted scene, a young woman graces the arm of an elderly gentlemen only to be silently scrutinized and subjected to a whispering campaign. The view of the scene allows one to feel as though they are entering into an overcrowded, formal gathering.

You enter into an expanse that appears semi-divided from the distant room that resembles a punctilious ballroom. Despite the crowded scene your attention is immediately focused on the young woman, as does the attention of a few of the members of this high society gathering. Immediately, as the center focal point, as though she were entering the party just ahead of you, you find her there with her thick brown hair, toppled loosely along the back of her head in a French bun, fastened with ornamental combs, laced with tri-colored feathers; pink, white and red.

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Her skin is soft, young, with a natural pink porcelain tone. Her dark brown eyes stand out as she looks out amongst the people with a delicate close-mouthed smile on her very femininely featured face. Her era appropriate dress is fine and fancy. A very full, light pink chiffon gown embraces her. The ten-plus layers of ruffling on the lower half of the dress spreads out as she walks through the room. The large pink bow on the rear bustling of her dress accentuates her young curvaceous figure as black velvet enhances her youthful waistline.

She wears long, dark toned, almost brown gloves. They reach past her elbows so as to meet the short sleeve of the dress, leaving no skin to be shown. Following suit is the high-collar of the dress, which reaches her jaw line. The large feather fan she carries in her left arm adds to the fanciful decor of her attire as it balances out the largeness of the base of the dress. On her right arm is her elder gentleman caller. Her suitor’s face and expression is left to the imagination, as it is not thoroughly disclosed.

You do catch a glimpse of the left backside of the gentleman’s head wherein you find his receding white hair combed over against his matured reddish skin. As your mind follows the couple into the gathering, you view the backside of the gentleman in his very sharply presented black suit. His white collar is flipped up high. His white gloves are sharp, clean and pristine, with his right arm back behind his lower back allowing for his left to be available for his young mistress to grasp.

The divide of the room is presented by heavy red drapery made of a velvety fabric, embraced with beautiful etching. The fabric stretches from ceiling to the floor across the right half of the partition. A long, thick, double strand of velvet rope swaggers from the ceiling to midline of the luxurious curtains dangling two very large tassels. Through the distance of the entire setting, there are couples standing amid the walkway leading into the very bright room presenting a party-like atmosphere. Groups and couples alike fill the air with chatter.

More particularly, you find a middle-aged man sitting along the left side of the room across from his lady friend. The lines on his forehead appear as he raises his eyebrows to look up. His eyes glare upward beneath his glasses at the undefined couple as he holds his hand up to his cheek in a thoughtful pose. Beneath his thick mustache, you find his mouth in a form of expressionless observation. A younger man seated behind the mentioned intrigued man, leans in to get a better look at the curious couple entering. His dark eyes leer upward and off to the side so as not to be noticed staring.

On the right side of the room you see a man with short dark hair, parted down the middle, as was the style of this era. He carries a smile in his dark eyes as his mustache carries a certain lift above his smirk. He gently leans in to pass his thoughts to a neighboring guest as he raises his white-gloved hand to his mouth in a whispering form. The mature gentlemen and his paramour continue through the crowd as though they do not notice the attention or the gossip they are drawing as they commence with their evening.