Simpson and His Donkey - aiss-english-10

Simpson and His Donkey
Visual Analysis – Australians in World
War I
What does it say about Australian
• It represents the Australian as selfless and
• Simpson put his own neck on the line to
contribute to the war effort and he saved
many, this portrays a heroic attitude which is
stereotypical in Australian culture
• It shows that Australians are more than willing
to step up and take on responsibilities,
regardless of the consequences
Simpson and his Donkey
• John Simpson Kirkpatrick was a famous ANZAC
because he would carry wounded men on his
donkey to safety.
• This picture was painted by Horace MooreJones, who based it off a photograph shown
to him in 1915
Objects and placement
• Placed in the mid-ground of the painting is Simpson and his donkey who
are the ‘subject’ of this painting, because they are all aligned it gives a
sense of equality.
• Upon the donkey is a wounded soldier, with Simpson supporting him. In a
literal sense he is only one wounded man, but he represents thousands of
men who scarified so much for the war
• At the same time he is also representing the hundreds of men who’s lives
were saved by Simpson and his donkey
• There is reason to believe that even though the painting is of Simpson,
Simpson has be used to represent the best of Australian at war and it is
not always the best fighters that are remembered, but sometimes its
those who sacrificed to most.
Placement and shadow
• Simpson, his donkey and the wounded soldier are placed right in the
center of the picture making them the main focus.
• The subjects take up a large portion of the page so that you are able to see
their whole bodies and it allows for more detail on the people.
• They have been painted so that your eyes are drawn to Simpson’s eyes,
the painter has done this with an eye level shot, and he is staring right
back at us.
• The painting has been done so as to look as if the sun is beating down on
the people and donkey in this picture. This has been done through the use
of shadow. By Moore putting the shadow under the donkey it means the
sun is directly above them, implying this is happening during the hottest
part of the day.
• The background behind the focus of the picture is the hills of Gallipoli
• This picture was painted in a way that to get the most out of it and to be
able to understand this picture with the most depth is to have at least a
basic knowledge of Gallipoli and the trenches.
• It is common knowledge that during the First World War for the soldiers
the safest place to be were the trenches. This Is because the trenches
were the only form of cover.
• However in the painting Simpson has left the safety of the trenches for a
man who is wounded and there is a large chance he will die anyway
• To signify the danger Simpson was putting himself in, in the background
Moore painted in an explosion on a hill, just like the one the soldiers are
• Simpson, his Donkey and the wounded soldier have also been painted on a
rather treacherous track, one slip could mean death.
• What is more powerful, is the expression of Simpsons face, he is on the
edge of the cliff, and his expression is blank and detached
• By giving this expression to Simpson it gives the reader the impression
that the man in the picture must know these cliffs like the back of his
hand, to be able to be an inch from slipping to your death as any moment
and appear to not care.
• Meaning that this is a common thing for this man to do, so for even those
who do not know the story of Simpson and his donkey, from this picture
alone a good text analyzer could figure it out, because the story is told in
the painting.
• The colour in this painting is all of a similar tone. It is all very dull, and
• Because everything is so dull your eyes are drawn to the few things that
do not blend into that brown colour tone.
• The first thing your eyes are drawn to due to the colour scheme is the
soldiers blue shirts. And without the wounded soldier’s blue shirt against
the brown he probably would not have been seen.
• Before you notice the soldier who is wounded you notice the soldier
leading the donkey. You see his blue shirt and then your eyes are drawn to
his expression which says a lot about him, which I elaborated on
• The red used for the wound and the explosion also stands out so the
‘readers’ can see their significance.
• This painting was based off a picture seen by the creator, so a lot of his
work was done for him.
• However what really makes this picture it the small details, the expression
of Simpson’s face, the colour choices and subject positioning.
• This painting gives a good insight in to the Australian in the first world war
because Simpson and his donkey were war heroes and many Australian
Veterans owed him their lives.
• And what better way to represent Australians in the First World War than
a painting of a man who saved many lived by risking his own, whether it
was bringing a man to safety of transporting supplies between the ships
and the trenches. This is a painting of a man who Australians respect a
man who's bravery will forever be remember and a man who has left a
legacy that will live on forever in the memory of Australians.

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