Radical, mass-produced, pop-culture and new theories all have one thing on common. These ideas and beliefs were popular during the sixties and were still thriving today. It was a time for innovative ideas, new art forms, and ways to consume and produce. Warhol was a popular artist at the time and wanted to appeal to those ideas through his art. Golden Marilyn Monroe, Warhol’s most famous work, was dedicated to Marilyn Monroe following her death in 1962. This visual work is not only an artistic representation of Marilyn Monroe’s death, but also summarises the influence of popular culture and society on humanity. The large, gold-colored canvas features a small, silk-printed Marilyn Monroe face on the background. However, what makes this piece so special is not its artistic talent or detailed landscape. But, what is unique about this piece? Its connections to the iconic image and the history of those who saw it.
The muse must be known in order to understand the piece. Marilyn Monroe was an actress and model from the 40’s to 60’s. Most famous for being a “sexy symbol” in 1950’s, however. Marilyn Monroe was the perfect example for another modern invention: the celebrity idolized and glorified. Warhol’s use of color is what the viewer sees. Many artworks from the Byzantine Empire feature almost plain-gold backgrounds with saints and holy figures. This style is very similar to Warhol’s Monroe artwork. Monroe almost occupies the spot that Virgin Mary once held, as the same golden features are used behind Monroe’s Monroe work. Warhol illustrates the god-like status that celebrities and stars have taken on in our society today and how they have become the centre of social worship. Warhol wanted to show a personal aspect of celebrities today, in addition to idolizing famous figures. Monroe wore a sign, an exterior image that she wanted to show the world. This reputation protected her from prying eyes. Warhol demonstrated this characteristic by using bright colors over the original black print. These colors reveal the mask that hides the true colors inside. It is important to understand the times and the ideas that shaped them. The rise of mass production and automation in society during this century was a sign of a more sophisticated society. Instead of buying unique products made by one vendor, consumers now buy mass-produced items that are identical across the country. America was becoming a nation that is identical socially and economically. This was due to the commonality of the products they love. This was evident in Warhol’s paintings from this period. This is evident in Warhol’s repetitive Campbell’s Cans painting. Although one doesn’t see any speed in Gold Marilyn’s painting, one can see a reference to mass production of his medium. Warhol chose a screen printing method instead of meticulous and tedious painting techniques. This technique uses silk, glue, and color to create a stencil or stamp. This is an analogy to factory repetitions like stamping labels on soup cans or stenciling text onto them. Warhol is a great example of the cultural transition. The art form has transformed from vibrant, detailed images into isolated displays.
This is closely related to the recent transfer of artistic passions. Over the years, there was a change in the artistic intrinsic worth: people became more interested in abstract ideas and not just the landscapes and rich country sides. Art became a way to display what an artist believed and felt, rather than what they saw. Also, technique moved from being aimed toward the upper class (the most important commissioners of talent artists being the rich), to the middle, lower and majority consumers. Warhol sought to make something that people could relate to, while still retaining the simplicity of modern art. They were able to relate to his work because he used pop art and well-known topics.
Warhol uses themes that were highly acclaimed during this period, and has similarities to comic-book coloring and style. Warhol’s mastery over the simplicity of modern artistic style leaves the background almost formless, with Marilyn captured in a bust-like image at the center.
Warhol’s piece became a well-known and loved classic in the sixties, thanks to all of its tending ideas. You might be astonished at its appeal upon first inspection. Automatic rhetorical appeals were the key. Two of these appeals were used by Warhol to draw the viewer into the meanings of the image. Pathos was Warhol’s play on the melancholy and tragedy of the icon that had just been lost to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings. Warhol placed Monroe at the center of his painting, and used only a small part of the canvas to create a feeling that is isolated and lonely. This created an even greater emotional connection for the passer-by. The art forms also almost guilt-tripped them in terms of current issues, such as idolization and misrepresentation famous figures and the loneliness celebrities feel. Warhol is also a fan of Ethos appeal. He is well-known for his own fame, and also because he used Monroe’s credibility and fame. Warhol was a highly respected artist who is well known and well loved. He also had vast marketing experience and expertise in the fields of art and graphic design. Warhol was also well-versed in the topic he was depicting.
The Warhol piece is less appealing to many people today. However, the 1960s brought many of the most current ideas and issues to the forefront. The result was beautiful and tragic: looking back on the past, looking for the future, challenging existing ideas, and grieving what was lost. The charm of the image is diminished in today’s world. The charm of the past and its meaning can be seen and understood by the viewer if they look deeply at the history behind it. The piece can be used to stimulate deeper thought about the society and the people who are important in it.