Comparison Essay Between Homage to the Square by Josef Albers and Jim Dines the Planets

Published: 2021-08-16 14:11:21
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Jim Dine an American artist born in June 1935 in Ohio. He is a pop artist renowned for his works in painting, sculpting, drawing, and printmaking. Some critics, however, disagree that he could not be a pop artist as his style is too bright and colorful for pop. Whereas some of his work is abstract, most of his art is also figurative. He uses objects he encounters in everyday life such as tools and clothing to express his creativity. He can focus on an object and use it to produce many pieces of art. Dine is a graduate of Ohio University where he fine-tuned his studies in Fine Art. He is a teacher and has molded many artists during his tenure as the resident artist at Oberlin College and guest lecturer at Yale University. He lives in New York, but his work included traveling to Paris and Washington.

Josef Albers was an educator born a German in March 1888 and died 88 years old on March 1976 in America, Connecticut. He was a German American artist, who was also an educator intrigued by the study of color (Fowler 102). Josef Albers was instrumental in creating most significant art education platforms in Europe and America in the 1950s and 60s. He viewed his world in a geometric perspective as depicted by most of his drawings. Albers insisted that one had to understand how color is affected by the environment in understanding the general concept of life. He concluded life from his interaction with color, eventually proposing that tone was more critical in pictures rather than the form depicted in the image. Therefore, it remains contrary to what most people think about life, where the structure is more important than the color. He is credited with introducing modern European culture to America.

The planets were the print Dine did in the year 2002. It is a composite of etching and hand coloring. The art is a lithograph finished through etching and hand coloring using water colors. it depicts two hearts printed side by side one with red fill and the other with a blue color. The one with red shade on the hearts interior is labeled Venus, while the blue one is marked blue mars. The red heart is surrounded by yellow colors with hints of blue and grey shading. The blue heart is surrounded by yellow color with shades of red (Dine, 20). "The Planets" is a piece of work that is simple at first glance, but on close examination, there is a deeper meaning. Asked about his repetitive use of hearts as bases from his artwork, dine insisted that he also doesn't understand them but he loves them, and that was all that matters. He also stated that the hearts are his and he could use them as a landscape for everything. In this art piece, dine merged the use of hearts with his fascination with astrology and space. The choice of color is also interesting as one heart is fiery hot to the onlooker, while the other is cold blue. The yellow background could depict happiness when the two hearts are side by side. Using colors, Dine created the three-dimensional piece from basic shapes.

Josef's homage to the square is a print on a screen using unmodulated colors. It shows a vanishing square done in 1951. It is one of the many arts that he repeatedly did for almost half a century until his death. He was of the school of thought that in-depth insight into a phenomenon is only attainable through effort and continued critical evaluation. The painting reinforces his belief that color is more important than form in understanding life. Josef was to show that color has profound psychological effects depending on proximity to the viewer. He wanted to instill the fact that, color can be used to cause optical illusions. One can conclude that Josef was not only an artist but an explorer of color. He was able to use two-dimensional media to create a three-dimensional optic illusion using just color. This piece of art is an experiment which seeks to understand the how the color changes from interaction with other colors.

Josef and dine are artists who exhibit some similarities in their work. They both can choose an object and use it to make millions of art pieces. While Josef is intrigued with the use of geometric shapes, dine focuses on the use of everyday objects as his base. They are artists who are capable of creating three-dimensional pieces from two-dimensional objects and media. Josef and dine are artists who are not shy to experiment with colors. While Josef uses color to see the effect, dine uses color to express his feelings (Magnani and Donnell 91880). Josef wanted to interrogate the extent to which color can be used to create illusions o manipulate the mind of a viewer. He was able to create elaborate fantasies and bring home his point that color use and interaction is more important to live than the actual form. Homage to squares is the use of simple geometric shapes to create grand illusions about life. The artist wanted to show that what we see may not be entirely accurate as it may only be illusions. He was reinforcing the life philosophy that one should not judge a book by its cover. He wanted to show people that even what one can see could only be an illusion (Reynolds-Kaye, Jennifer, and Michael 11) People should, therefore, interrogate what they know and not take it at face value, hence his philosophy that one understands life by understanding how the color changes with the change in environment. His message was that experience is as dynamic as for how color interaction and position can change perspective. Dine, on the other hand, used color to express feelings of happiness and joy surrounding his love life. He uses the cold blue hue to depict his heart while he uses fiery red to describe his wife's heart. The planet shows that dine loves his wife, and she is the source of his warmth in life. That is why he used yellow with red shading for the background of the blue heart which stands for Dine.

Dines art piece could be termed as the center of his universe. He is not trying to find out anything about life as he already found his true happiness by finding his soul mate Venus. His art piece is merely an expression of his love to his wife. On the other hand, Josef wanted to send a message that life issues needed to be queried for deeper meaning. He tried to caution the human race against problems accepting at face value. He depicted a change in perspective when critical exploration is sought on life matters.

Josef majored in depicting and illustrating how the change in the environment affected life. Perhaps this could be from the fact that he traveled between Europe and America quite a lot during his life. Homage to squares can be interpreted to show how the artist life was impacted by the change in environment between Europe and America. His form of art is entirely contrary to the type of art used by Josef especially in perspective. The two pieces of art are similar in style. Josef insisted that form is irrelevant in life, but he used a definite way (square) to bring forth his message. Josef wanted to show complexity while dine uses form of heart shape to express his feelings and insecurities. They both used a simple form to bring out complex issues about life


Dine, Jim. "Hearts." (2014).

Fowler, Beth. "To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South by Angela Jill Cooley." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 115.1 (2017): 101-103.

Magnani, N. J., & Donnelly, J. (2014, September). A colorful approach to teaching optics. In SPIE Optical Engineering+ Applications (pp. 91880L-91880L). International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Reynolds-Kaye, Jennifer, and Michael D. Coe. Small-Great Objects: Anni and Josef Albers in the Americas. Yale University Press, 2017.

Appendix 1: The planets

Appendix 2: Josef's Homage to the Square

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