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Penelope Unraveling Her Work At Night Analysis Essay

Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night is a beautiful piece of artwork done by Dora Wheeler, an American artist in 1886. As a Graphic Design major I have chosen to analyze this piece of artwork. Often as a visual person, I can get lost in some of the confusing passages that we read. By adding the aspect at looking at the story in a visual way, I am able to understand this story of Penelope in a new and beautiful way.

The reason I think this tapestry is so beautiful and well done is that without knowing the story of The 0-47-dyssey and in particular what Penelope was going through while Odysseus was gone you are still able to figure out what the tapestry is representing. There are three things that help this tapestry tell the story of Penelope life while the Suitors were in pursuit of her. First the facial expression and body language that she is showing, second the color pallet that is used, and finally the medium that is used in the artwork.

If you were to change any of these three things this piece of artwork would change the story that it is telling. Imagine if instead of a somber facial expression Penelope was smiling in this tapestry. By changing this one thing, the entire story that it is telling would change. By having this facial expression we can see the disgust and sadness that she has while making the tapestry. These expressions coming from the fact that she has promised to pick a husband once she has finished her tapestry even though she is still hoping for Odysseus return.

There is a great amount of detail that is used in her face compared to the rest of tapestry. By having such a drastic difference of detail in her face compared to the rest of the tapestry, our eyes are drawn to the face of Penelope. While Penelope’s face only takes up a very small part of this piece of artwork the story that the tapestry is giving us would change completely if it were not done the way that it is done. Something else that stands out is the way that she is standing. The way her body is positioned look to be stiff and possibly that she is in pain.

This would make since as she has been doing this day after day out of resentment. When you combine Penelope’s facial expression and the body language that she has in this tapestry, it gives us no doubt that she is not creating her tapestry because she wants to. The colors that were used in this tapestry do a good job of not only showing that Penelope is working at night but also that the mood is somber. The application of yellow and browns in the tapestry is done beautifully. The fading in and out of each of the colors creates a glowing effect portrays that she is working at night.

If it were not for this effect, it would be possible to think that the artist could have chosen these colors for a different reason. Another benefit that these colors have is that they give the scene a feeling of desolation. The artist could have chosen to show that it was night in numerous different ways. By choosing to do this way she was able to not only show that it was night but also to show that Penelope was doing this with sadness and reluctances in her heart. Again, if the artist had chosen to create this piece of artwork with a different color scheme the story, it would tell would change drastically.

One of the greatest aspects of Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night is that it is a tapestry. By creating this image out of thread it creates a direct parallel to Penelope creating a tapestry herself. By choosing the medium of the thread, there is another benefit that I doubt the artist ever had in mind. Old age has begun to affect this piece of art by it slowly disintegrating. This, however, goes with the story of Penelope unraveling her work perfectly. Just as she unraveled her tapestry, this tapestry has begun to unravel.

This has added a whole new dimension to the artwork that makes it yet an, even more, beautiful piece. If this tapestry were not a tapestry at all but instead a painting it would lose this whole new dimension that is added. By looking at the facial expression and body language Penelope has along with the color pallet that was chosen and, the medium used for this piece, we can see that the artist did not just create this piece of artwork off the top of her head. Instead by choosing to do these three things in the way she did, she created a piece that tells the story of Penelope perfectly.

It is amazing that she can tell the story of Penelope by using images and without using any words at all. I think that is important we not only rely on written text to understand what a story is trying to tell us. By adding the use of visuals, you can see a new dimension in the story. As a person who struggles to comprehend some of these passages we have read this has especially helped me. When you combine learning something by both reading it and looking at it visually you can gain a better understanding and appreciation for these beautiful pieces of work.

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