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Ringing Art that Pops

MommyO guides you along mini-adventures in fine art and fun art!

Explore -R-R-R-R-Ring!! by Roy Lichtenstein.

-R-R-R-R-Ring!! by Lichtenstein as inspiration for Ringing Art that Pops blog
'-R-R-R-R-Ring!!' (1962) — Roy Lichtenstein — Oil on Canvas

“Pop art looks out into the world. It doesn't look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself." ― Roy Lichtenstein

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Roy Lichtenstein — the talented artist who created the artwork aptly titled -R-R-R-R-Ring!! — is most well known for his art that pops. He was a significant influencer during a unique 20th-century artistic period in history — the 1950s and 60s — known as the Pop art movement.

Pop art — short for popular art — started as a bit of a rebellion against the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s, during which artists painted emotional feelings and not the reality of the subject matter. In contrast, Pop artists sought to elevate modern popular culture to the level of fine art by celebrating everyday objects, as well as famous people of the day.

In the words of Lichtenstein himself, “Pop art looks out into the world. It doesn’t look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself.”

It becomes apparent from his quote that Roy Lichtenstein did not support painting just anything or emotional feelings, as did Abstract Expressionists. He championed art depicting familiarity and what one observes when looking out into the real world.

Like most Pop artists of his time, Roy Lichtenstein was known for his paintings of everyday objects. What set him apart was his comic book style and his use of onomatopoeia [on-oh-mot-oh-pee-ah] in his artwork — both of which helped him create fantastic art that pops.

Onomatopoeia’ is — the naming of something with a word whose name suggests the thing itself. There are so many examples of onomatopoeia! For instance — buzz, sizzle, slam, splash, bam, babble, warble, gurgle, mumble, baa, beep, peep, crinkle, splat, vroom, etc. Onomatopoeia words sure are fun! Can you think of some others? Perhaps you thought of the word ‘ring’ — as did Lichtenstein. Ring is the actual sound that an old-fashioned telephone would make.



The artwork -R-R-R-R-Ring!! is a particularly good example of Roy Lichtenstein art because it embodies all three qualities of his most popular works. It is an oil on canvas painting of an everyday object, created in his signature comic book style, including onomatopoeia. -R-R-R-R-Ring!! is the perfect blend of the characteristics for which Lichtenstein’s artwork is best known! It exemplifies art that pops!

Depending upon the year in which you were born, you may — or may not — have ever seen a telephone like the one in Lichtenstein’s masterpiece. While this may no longer be an ‘everyday object’ — because most people no longer have telephones in their homes that look like this — when Lichtenstein painted this work of art in 1962, almost every home had a telephone that looked like the one depicted in the artwork.

So, Lichtenstein’s telephone looks like an old-fashioned telephone — but not a real-life, old-fashioned telephone! Rather than looking real, it looks like a telephone that you’d find in a comic book. The objects are outlined with thick black lines, and color is applied in sharp blocks of solid colors. Like in a comic book, there are words in the picture. And as is the case with some comics, the words are onomatopoeia.

We have already determined that the letters and words at the top of the painting are onomatopoeia because -R-R-R-R-Ring!! represents the thing itself — in this case, the sound an old-fashioned telephone makes. You may also notice that Roy Lichtenstein used musical notes as well. An old-fashioned telephone ring has a melodic quality about it, so Lichtenstein’s use of the musical notes further emphasizes the element of onomatopoeia. It’s sheer artistic genius!

Fun sure did 'pop' (another onomatopoeia) as we learned about art that pops by a Pop artist known for his super-cool cartoonish masterpieces.


For a fun, hands-on artsy craft — in the comic style of Lichtenstein — check out Onomatopoeia Art that Pops. It's any day art with everyday materials!

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