The Baroque Period Art Gallery

The Baroque Period Art Gallery

Student Name

Columbia Southern University

The Baroque Art

Introduction

I choose to deepen my knowledge in the Baroque Art because it is a period of richness, exuberance, and perfection. In addition, it was born, as me, in Italy and I personally saw many creations of this period. During this course my goal is to learn the origin of this period, the transition between Renaissance and Baroque, and I would like to understand the complexity and the artists inspiration in this specific period. I also would like to understand why this type of art, as many others, was born in Italy and not somewhere else.

The Baroque ArtOverview

The Baroque Art was originated in Rome and it thrived between 1600 and 1750 (Frank, 2014, p.292).It is the evolution of the Renaissance in drama, emotion, and splendor (Frank, 2014, p. 292).The term “Baroque” derived form the Portuguese “Barocco” which means “irregular pearl or stone” and it perfectly describes this period of art (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d)

The Baroque ArtOverview

Even if it was originated in Italy, this type of art spread through all Europe in the three artistic disciplines, painting, sculpture, and architecture (Muraoka, 2015)This artistic period is linked with the Catholic church which commissioned the majority of the artworks disseminated in the churches across Europe (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d)

The Calling of Saint MatthewCaravaggio1599-1600Oil on Canvas

 

 

Caravaggio, 1600

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Lines: Caravaggio used vertical and horizontal lines to paint the window, the table on the left side of the artwork and the chair in the middle of the paint. In addition, a diagonal line cross three quarter of the paint going from left down to right up and it divides an areas of darkness from an area of light. Horizontal, vertical, and curvy lines are also used to define and enrich the clothes of the tax collectors depicted in the painting. Caravaggio used the lines to lead the eyes of the viewer toward the right side of the paint, where the main action is taking place. Shapes: The artwork has different shapes. A rectangular shape placed in the upper part of the paint identifies the window which is divided in four rectangular quadrants vertically orientated. A rectangular shape located in the middle left side of the artwork defines the table and two triangular shapes in the lower part are made by the sword overlapping the chair. Lastly, rounded shapes used to identify the bodies in the painting give an harmonic movement to the whole scene.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Light: The light in this paint come from the right and it illuminates the four people on the left defining them. The light is also used to enlighten the faces of the people in the scene depicted making them identifiable. Caravaggio used a technique called chiaroscuro which confers roundness and bulk to the subjects of the painting bestowing movement to the whole passage (Frank, 2014, p.54).Color: The artist used different tones of black creating shades, areas of light and areas of darkness. He used muted colors giving a sense of darkness, except for some of the clothes where he used vivid pure hue giving brightness to the central part of the paint. Colors are also used to contrast gestures and expressions (Artble, 2018).

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Texture: The representation is an oil on canvas, therefore, if the viewer could touch it, he will feel the tint. Caravaggio also gave visual texture painting the clothes of the subjects. Light and shade give texture to the man on the right side of the painting and warm colors give a texture of velvet and soft fur to the people on the center and left of the artwork (Artble, 2018). Mass: The author used curved lines to define the bodies of the subjects he choose for the painting. This technique gives mass to the people represented and to the whole canvas.Time: The darkness inside the room and the diagonal light entering form a window above the head of the man on the right suggest that the action is taking place at the sunrise or at the sunset. Since the room is a tavern I would say that the scene is happening during the sunset. Motion: The author gave the idea of motion painting a stretched arm of the person on the right and inclining the bodies of the persons on the left side of the painting as if they are discussing between each others.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Unity: Caravaggio conferred unity to “The Calling of Saint Matthew” painting a dark background that covers three quarters of the canvas. The artist also obtained unity painting the faces of the subjects on the same imaginary line that divides the scene in half from left to right. Variety: The author used different vivid colors ranging from red, brown, yellow, and white to lend variety to the painting. Even if the colors used belong to the same hue, they works together pleasing the eyes of the viewer with a composed variety. Balance: The painting is well balanced even if it is asymmetrical. If we mentally divide the canvas in four quadrants, we can see that darkness and light are alternated; the top right sector is in the light while the top left is in the dark and vice versa. The people painted can unbalance the image since there are five people on the left and only two on the right; however, Caravaggio solved this issue painting a window toward the right side so the whole scene seems now balanced. The people painted also balance the scene because four of the five people on the left are looking to the right and their bodies are lining to the same side but the two people on the right and one on the left are pointing to the left.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Emphasis: The author wants to direct the sight of the viewer toward the right of the painting where the main characters of the scene (Jesus and Saint Peter) are painted. He obtained this effect painting four of the five tax collectors on the left looking to the right and facing their bodies slightly toward them.Directional Forces: This painting purposely confuse the viewer. At first blush, the spectator is forced to look to the right where Jesus and Saint Peter are located but as soon he realize that these two people are pointing to the left, the viewer is forced to look to the left where the protagonist of the scene is painted. Directional forces in this masterpiece flow in both directions. Contrast: Caravaggio’s artwork is painted with a technique called “chiaroscuro” which is defined as “ pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to the color (Merriam-Webster, n-d). This method confers contrast to the painting since areas of light are alternated with areas of darkness. Another element of contrast are the straight lines of the window and the curvy lines used to paint the bodies of the scene.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

Repetition and Rhythm: In this picture repetition is achieved by painting the people in the same imaginary line from left to right. In addition, if we could draw a line that connects the heads of the people we will discover that this line is a regular sinusoid that tent to escape from the scene through the top right close to the window. Rhythm instead is gained through the use of colors. Red and yellow, the two dominant tints in this painting are found in the clothes of the tax collectors and they are alternated in the meaning that beside a red there is a yellow, then red, then yellow and so on. Also dark and light are alternated conferring rhythm to the whole scene. Scale and Proportion: The window painted in the background seems to be too big in comparison with the people painted so that it seems to be in the foreground. Caravaggio probably painted it big to balance the background with the foreground. The scene is well proportionated with the exception of the window.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

The Calling of Saint Matthew was painted between 1599 and 1600 (Artble, 2018). Critics and historians named this period Baroque which ran from about 1600 to about 1750 (Frank,2014). Therefore, Caravaggio masterpiece was created just at the commencement of this new artistic period. Baroque period had been influenced from Renaissance in the use of the visual elements and principles of design (Curran,1940). However, Baroque introduced a new concept called “chiaroscuro” that revolutionized the way how light was used in painting exalting “tenebrismo”, the technique that uses extreme contrasts between light and shadow (Curran,1940).Michelangelo Merisi, better know as Caravaggio, was born in Milan, Italy, in 1571 but he lived his life between Rome, Naples, Sicily, and Malta where he produced the majority of its artworks (The National Gallery, n-d). He was an irascible and violent man and he was suspected for committing few murders (Roya, 2010). He was also charged with one of them but he received papal pardon (Roya,2010). Caravaggio was also suspected of having a lascivious life and of having several prostitutes (Roya, 2010). His temperament and his rough life are, in my opinion, clearly reflected in his artworks, in the lines used, and in the use of the light on his canvas. Caravaggio died in 1610 in Tuscany, Italy, but his body has never been founded (Roya, 2010).

The Calling of Saint Matthew

The calling of Saint Matthew depict the moment when Jesus inspire Matthew to follow Him and become an apostle (Artble, 2018). Caravaggio reproduced on his canvas the scene of the conversion of Matthew as described in the New Testament, Matthew 9:9 which recite: “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” (Matthew, n-d). This scene and the conversion is particularly important because Matthew was a tax collector known to be avaricious and attached to money but he left everything to follow Jesus (Artble, 2018). The scene depicted by Caravaggio reproduce Matthew while he is around a table with other tax collectors (Artble, 2018).

Apollo and DaphneLorenzo Bernini1625Marble

 

 

Bernini, 1625

Apollo and Daphne

Lines: Bernini used diagonal lines to defines the ribs of both bodies represented in his sculpture. Lines are also sculpted to confer movement to the drapes that cover both bodies and to give verticality to the sculpture. Shape: The author used rounded or organic shapes to give a sense of movement and relax. This concept is reinforced by the absence of geometric shapes. Rounded lines give mass to the muscles. Light: The artwork is a sculpture, therefore, it does not have own light. However, the Galleria Borghese di Roma, the place that host the statue, strategically placed lights all around the Bernini sculpture enhancing it. Additionally, the sculpture is made of white marble which is very bright.

Apollo and Daphne

Color: The artwork is a sculpture that does not have any color but the bright white of the marble used to create this masterpiece.Texture: Bernini with his chisel was able to give the statue both, visual and actual texture. The folds of the fabric that covers the bodies and the hair of Daphne have a visual texture, while the whole artwork has an actual smooth texture owing to the fact that it is made of marble. Mass: The author used rounded shapes to defines the muscles and the expression of the faces bestowing an idea of closed form. However, the sculpture has verticality which also confers to it an open form. Time: The sculpture does not express a specific time.Motion: Bernini sculpted the hair of Daphne as the wind was blowing through them. He also carved Apollo right foot lifting form the ground and Daphne arms toward the sky. All these elements give the statue a sense of movement, as they were ready to fly. The cloth that wrap the body adds movement to the scene.

Apollo and Daphne

Unity: The white marble used to carve Apollo and Daphne confers unity to the sculpture. This masterpiece is all white and this is the main element of unity of the artwork. The trunk of the tree from where Daphne seems to come out is another element of unity that gives a harmonious unity to the sculpture. Variety: Bernini obtained variety sculpting the hair of Daphne and Apollo as the wind goes through them. Another element of variety is found in the base of the sculpture where the trunk of the tree is carved with many details and in the hands of Daphne that end with the limbs of the same tree. Balance: Apollo and Daphne is a well balanced sculpture. Bernini achieved balance shaping Daphne right arm lifted toward the sky and he contrasted it carving Apollo left leg, placed in the opposite corner of the sculpture, raised from the ground. The right side of the artwork represents Daphne exiting from the trunk of a tree. This add weight to this side, therefore, Bernini also raised a little bit Apollo right arm which is on the opposite side and balance the whole artwork.

Apollo and Daphne

Emphasis: Bernini wants to force the viewer to look toward the right in the upper corner. He achieved this sculpting Daphne with the arms toward the sky and he carved tree limbs above her hand. Apollo is also looking toward the right which add emphasis to the right of the sculpture. Directional Forces: The observer is gently forced to move his sight from bottom left to upper right passing from the whole sculpture. This is obtained because Apollo has been sculptured with his left leg while it is raised from the ground and his right arm is also moving backwards following his leg. On the same imaginary line that pass through the statue diagonally, we find Daphne arms raised toward the sky. All these peculiarities work together conferring a diagonal flow that pass across the whole artwork.

Apollo and Daphne

Contrast: The element of contrast is obtained carving Daphne with the head turned backwards. The sculpture flows from the bottom left corner to the right upper section and Daphne head is turned in the opposite direction contrasting this movement. Repetition and Rhythm: The limbs, the leaves attached to Daphne hands, and the hair of Apollo and Daphne are all elements of repetition in this masterpiece of Bernini. Rhythm is achieved carving parts of the tree in the base and other part in the upper part of the statue. Scale and Proportion: The sculpture is proportioned and in scale. The only element that seems to be not in proportion with the bodies carved is the leaves that are too small.

Apollo and Daphne

Apollo and Daphne is a sculpture carved in 1625 by Bernini and it is placed in full Baroque period (Artble, 2018). During those years the Roman Catholic Church had a strong influence on the society and this is reflected in each piece of artwork, including sculptures (Puglisi, 1991). Renaissance, as it did for other artistic disciplines, also influenced Baroque sculpture but since a new feeling of freedom invaded Europe, artists were more able to express their emotions and their reality, so they were able to break the rigid schemes of the Renaissance as can be observed in Apollo and Daphne (Puglisi, 1991).Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect and he was as influential in sculpture as Caravaggio was in painting (Frank, 2014). He dominated the early and high Baroque period under the patronage of cardinals and popes that sponsored his creations (White, 2003). Bernini sculptural and architectural projects and creations were innovative in the interpretation of subjects, use of forms, and combination of media (White, 2003).Beside his statues, this artist is well known for his fountains and Fountain of Four Rivers, is the most famous one (White,2003).

Apollo and Daphne

In the Roman Mythology Apollo was the God of light, music, and healing while Daphne was a Greek nymph (Artble, 2018). Bernini’s statue was inspired in the book “Ovid’s Metamorphosis” which recount that one day Apollo teased Cupid, the God of love, reproaching him to be a too young boy to handle a dangerous weapon such as his arc (Artble, 2018). Cupid felt offended and prickled him with one of his arrow causing Apollo to fell in love with Daphne that was passing by there(Artble,2018). Apollo asked her to marry him but Daphne, whom was devoted to the goodness Diana, refused and asked help to her father, the God river which transformed her in a laurel tree (Artble, 2018). At this point Apollo declared that if she cannot be his wife she would be his tree and that is why the laurel is the symbol of Roman Emperor (Artble, 2018). The artwork was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese and to transform the pagan message of the statue into a Catholic message, he ordered to carve in the basement a warning saying that who chase a carnal pleasure will remain with the hands full of leaves (Artble, 2018).

Christ CrucifiedDiego Velazquez1632Oil on Canvas

 

 

Velazquez, 1632

Christ Crucified

Lines: Velazquez created his artwork using well defined vertical and horizontal lines to outline the cross where Christ was crucified. These lines are thick and solid and they are placed in the middle of the painting. The author also used curved lines to define the body of Christ, the nails in his feet and hands, and the cloth that covers part of Christ’s body. Shape: The painting shows the contrast between geometric shapes like the cross and organic shapes like the body of Jesus. Both shapes are superimposed creating a nice contrast for the eyes of the viewer. The body of Jesus is shaped to give verticality to the painting. The body has some rounded shapes that confer to it thinness, strength, and dignity, regardless the moment of highest pain Jesus is suffering on the cross. Light: Velazquez used a well defined contrast between the background, which is completely dark and the cross and the body of Christ which are in the light. This contrast create interest and drama which is pertinent with the intensity of the scene represented (Mouton, 2013). The darkness in the background is associated to the sadness and to the death, which is the main theme of the artwork (Mouton, 2013).

Christ Crucified

Color: The colors in this painting are warm, showing the passion of Jesus during the crucifixion and they use the value variation in red (Frank, 2014,p.59). The author started with the white of the cloth that covers the private parts of Christ, continued with the pink of the body, the brown of the cross, and ended with the black of the background. He also used intense red to highlight the wounds on the body of Jesus. Texture: The paint is an oil on canvas, thus, a slight actual texture is conferred to the artwork. Visual texture is given alternating shade and clarity in the cloth painted in foreground and also using perspective while painting the knots of the cloth that cover part of the body of Jesus.

Christ Crucified

Mass: Since the scene is painted on a two dimension surface, the mass is implied (Frank, 2014, p.43). The cross is painted with straight solid lines that confer mass to it. Curved lines to paint the body and the cloth that wrap Jesus define him in the space, implying a solid mass. Time: The scene depicted is static, therefore, it does not show any flow of time. Motion: Velazquez painted the scene of Christ Crucified in a static way. The idea transmitted to the viewer is that Jesus is already died. The only motion implied in the painting is the movement of the blood from Jesus wounds.

Christ Crucified

Unity: In this canvas Velazquez achieved unity painting a dark background and a solid cross that divide the surface in four parts. The colors used and the technique employed, using little hues also confer unity to the whole artwork. Variety: This painting has not much variety, however, the knots in the wood of the cross and the wound of Jesus are some elements that give variety to the painting. Balance: This masterpiece of the Baroque art is a good example of symmetrical balance. If we mentally draw a line that split the canvas in half from top to bottom we will see that the same elements on the right side are found on the left side in a specular way.

Christ Crucified

Emphasis: Velazquez did not used any particular emphasis in his masterpiece beside the light that bright the center of the scene where the action is taking place. Directional Forces: In this painting the directional forces are going from the bottom center of the canvas, where the feet of Jesus are painted to both sides of the work where both of his arms are placed, passing from his whole body. The body on the cross is the main and only character of the scene and the author highlighted it guiding the sight of the viewer.

Christ Crucified

Contrast: The cross and the body of Jesus are painted like they are invested by a bright light while the background is painted in black conferring contrast to the image. This contrast add drama to the scene and stands out the body of Christ and the cross that hold him. Repetition and Rhythm: There are only two elements repeated in the painting, the knots in the wood of the cross and the letters in the inscription above Jesus head. The image is pretty static and no elements that give rhythm are present. Scale and Proportion: The author used the right scale and proportion to paint the crucifixion of Christ.

Christ Crucified

Christ Crucified is an oil on canvas painted in 1632 by Diego Velazquez and it is a masterpiece of the Spanish Baroque (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). During those years, Spain was under the influence of the Catholic Church and the famous Inquisition which had a strong imprint on the artistic creations (Young, 1976). Spanish artists were not as free as other European artists such as North European and this is evident in the Spanish artworks of this period (Young, 1976). Spanish artists adopted a severe and noble style of the reformist church which combined lines and colors that shown a well developed sense of observation (Young, 1976). Velazquez (1599-1660) is a Spanish painter considered one of the greatest artists who ever lived, famous for his portraits that have a miraculous sense of truth (Fahy, 2009). He was influenced by Italian artists of his period such as Caravaggio, but he developed his unique technique in the use of the lights, colors, and lines that make his creations easily identifiable (Fahy, 2009).

Christ Crucified

The Christ Crucified was painted just after the artist returned from his first trip in Italy and the Italian influences are clearly seen in this creation (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). However, other influences are evident in this canvas, in fact this painting is considered autobiographical in the sense that it illustrates all the major influences in Velazquez’ paintings (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). It has the iconography imprints imposed by the Spanish Inquisition, the use of the “chiaroscuro” technique learned by Caravaggio, and the noble touch, imposed by his life at the court of the King of Spain (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). Even if this painting does not have the drama typical of the Baroque, it has the spirituality unique of this period (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d).

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes TulpHarmenszoon Rembrandt1632Oil on Canvas

 

 

Rembrandt, 1632

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Lines: Curved lines are predominant in this painting. Some straight lines are used to paint the instrument in the doctor hand, the collar of some students, and the table under the dead body utilized for the lesson. All the lines are solid and they are used to define closed shapes. In addition, the lines converge to the center of the canvas where the scene in taking place. Shape: Rembrandt utilized predominantly organic shapes in his artwork conferring harmony and movement to the painting. The only geometric shape used is the table where the dead body is resting.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Light: The light in this painting seems to arrive from the right side and it mainly enlighten the center and left part of the scene. The background is painted in black suggesting that there is no light there. The contrast between areas in the light and areas in the darkness, create interest and highlight the scene in the foreground.Color: Rembrandt used mainly the black color. The background and the clothes of the professor and students are painted in this color. He also contrasted this color with the pink used to paint the body dissected and the faces of the students; the same effect is obtained with the white collars of the people in the scene. The colors used are the value variation of red. Texture: Visual texture is conferred to the painting moving the brush in small circles while depicting the layers of the collars, especially the one painted in the center of the canvas. The cloth that covers the dead body also confers texture to the painting.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Mass: The author gave an implied mass to the bodies using curved lines and contrast of light between the background and the scene in the close-up. The table where the dead body laid is painted with solid thick lines that suggests solid mass. Time: The action is taking place in a closed room with no window, thus, the time of the day cannot be determined. The scene depicted does not suggest any flow of time. The clothes of the students and the doctor suggest that we are in North Europe between 1600 and 1700. Motion: The motion in the painting is given by depicting the bodies of the students inclined toward the center of the canvas where the action is taking place. The student in the background has a notebook opened suggesting that he is taking notes; this is another element of motion. Lastly, the scalpel painted in the open arm also suggest motion.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Unity: The black color used to paint the cloaks of the people in the scene constitutes an element of unity with the dark background. Another element of unity are the beard present in the faces of all the people in the scene, except for the dead body that is lying down on the table. Variety: The white collars of the students shaped in different ways and the place they are occupying around the table add variety to the canvas. Balance: The painting is asymmetrically balanced. At first sight it seems to be unbalanced due to the fact that the majority of the people are painted on the left side of the canvas, leaving an empty space on the right bottom corner. Velazquez solved this issue painting this corner with an intense black that balance the scene. The opposite corners are also painted in the same color adding balance to the work.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Emphasis: The author wanted to direct the attention of the viewer toward the center of the canvas where the main figure is painted. He painted the dead body with pale colors empathizing his presence so the observer can look at him.Directional Forces: The viewer that look this painting is forced to direct his sight to the body outstretched on the table ready for the autopsy. The author obtained this result inclining the bodies of the students toward the center of the scene and painting their head turned towards the same point.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Contrast: There three main elements of contrast in this painting. The first one is achieved painting the dead man as he was invested by the light, which contrast with his surround that is painted using black and dark colors. The second element of contrast is the sight of the doctor that is directed in the opposite direction of the ones of the students, contrasting them. Lastly, the third element of contrast is obtained painting the collars of the people in white, which contrast with the black coats that every one, except the dead man, is wearing. Repetition and Rhythm: Velazquez repeated the collars in each of the people painted with the exception of the dead man. The students are also very similar in the way they dress and with their beards which is another element of repetition. Rhythm instead is achieved painting the students as they are huddling around the table. Scale and Proportion: The students and the teacher are all in the right scale but the dead man in the foreground is out of proportion in comparison with the other people in the room.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is an example of Flemish Baroque art which differs from the Italian and Spanish Baroque in the election of the subjects depicted (Frank,2014). Italian and Spanish artists chose religious subjects for their creations, while Flemish and Dutch artists depicted scenes representing people in their daily life (Frank, 2014). Flemish Baroque reflect the gradual decline of the country under the Spanish Kingdom during the 17th Century (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) is considered one of the most important painters of the Flemish Baroque (Wheelock, 2014). He received a formal education in fundamental of painting and after working for six months with the most important history painter at that time, he started to produce his own artworks and he quickly developed a reputation as history painter and portraitist himself (Wheelock, 2014). Rembrandt never left his country but he has been influenced by Italian and Spanish Baroque artist (Wheelock, 2014). He also become a strong influencer for Dutch and German artists in the 18th Century (Wheelock, 2014).

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

This canvas depict an anatomy lesson that doctor Tulp gave in January 1632 (Museum Het Rembrandthuis, n-d). The tradition at that time was that twice a week a leading physician gave the Amsterdam surgeons a theory lesson of anatomy (Museum Het Rembrandthuis, n-d). This lessons were followed by practical sections where real autopsies was carried out under the supervision of the master surgeon (Museum Het Rembrandthuis , n-d). Doctor Tulp which become reader of the Guild of Surgeon three years earlier performed his first autopsy as instructor in 1631 and his second in 1632 which is the one that originated Rembrandt famous painting (Museum Het Rembrandthuis, n-d). The body chosen for the autopsy was generally the body of a criminal and Rembrandt recorded the name of the participants in a list which is kept by the man in the further back of the canvas (Museum Het Rembrandthuis ,n-d).

Conversion on the Way to DamascusCaravaggio1601Oil on Canvas

 

 

Caravaggio, 1601

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Lines: The lines used in this painting are all curved providing sinuosity and harmony to the scene represented. Thick lines identify the main shapes, such as bodies, clothes, and objects in the foreground. Thin lines are used for the details, such the horse hairs. Shape: Caravaggio painted only organic shapes conferring to the scene naturalness and reality. All the shapes are positive, painted on a dark background that does not show any shape.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Light: The overall scene is in the light and seems that the subjects emerge from the dark background. The light is central and enlighten the horse and the man in the foreground. The contrast between the brightness and the darkness create interest in the scene and capture the attention of the viewer. Color: The author used warm colors to depict the conversion of Saint Paul utilizing the value variation of red. Colors range from the white of the stains in the horse fur, the red of the clothes of Saint Paul, the brown of the horse fur, and the black of the background. Texture: Visual texture is given using curved lines to depict the clothes and of Saint Paul in the foreground and the horse hairs close to the man in the background.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Mass: The horse depicted in the foreground has a solid mass which is conferred using curved lines and contrast between shade and clarity in its muscles. Saint Paul body is also painted suggested solid mass, but not as solid as the horse on top of him. Time: The darkness in the background suggest that the action is taking place during the night and the clothes on the ground let understand that we are in the Jesus time. Motion: Caravaggio conferred motion to his masterpiece painting the horse right foot in the air, as he is ready to move a step. Saint Paul extending his arms toward the sky also confers motion to the whole scene.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Unity: Caravaggio conferred unity to this masterpiece painting the protagonist in the foreground leaving very little space for other details. The horse and the man below are almost fused together constituting a solid whole that occupies the entire canvas. Variety: The red color of the uniform of Saint Paul, which is the man below the horse, is an element of variety like the green of the same uniform and the white stain of the back and neck of the horse. Balance: This work is asymmetrically balanced. The heaviness of the horse is balanced by Saint Paul which is painted in the foreground with the arms toward the sky. The horse is painted with a lowered head. This could have unbalanced the scene if the author would have not painted a man behind the horse, placing him in the background.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Emphasis: The artist painted Saint Paul in the foreground with a red uniform to emphasis his importance in the scene. Another point that capture the attention of the viewer is the horse’s paw painted while it is raised from the ground; it seems that it will hit the man below (Saint Paul) at any moment. Directional Forces: The arms of Saint Paul are extended toward the horse as he want to protect himself guiding the viewer to look up toward the upper part of the canvas. Contrast: The horse and the man in the foreground are painted in the light contrasting with the other man and with the background that are painted in the dark using obscure colors.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

Repetition and Rhythm: The only element of repetition are the lines that constitute the hairs on the neck of the horse. Rhythm is achieved painting the horse with a paw raised as he is moving. Scale and Proportion: Caravaggio did not painted the three subject of the scene in scale. In addition, Saint Paul in the foreground is out of proportion compared with the horse and the man in the background.

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

The Conversion on the Way to Damascus is another excellent example of the Baroque period which produced vivid and dramatic painting using directed light and strong contrast guiding the attention of the viewer to the subject matter (Frank, 2014). This period lasted hundred years, between 1600 and 1700 and it follows the Renaissance period, however, Baroque had more energy, drama, and feeling than Renaissance (Frank, 2014). It was a period where the Roman Catholic Church was in contraposition with the new Protestant Reformation movement and many artworks produced during this time are the response of this conflict (Frank, 2014). Caravaggio (1571-1610) is considered the most revolutionary artist of his time because he abandoned all the rigid rules that guided artists for hundreds years imposing a style called Baroque (Frank, 2014). Caravaggio was well know for constantly brawling and getting into arguments not only with his peers but also with police and authorities ( The National Gallery, n-d). This caused him several problems and the traits of his irascible character can be seen in his artistic creations (Roya, 2010).

Conversion on the Way to Damascus

The Conversion on the Way to Damascus was commissioned by  Monsignor Tiberio Cerasi, the treasurer to Pope Clement VIII and it depicts the scene described in the Acts of Apostles 9:3-9 when a Pharisee Saul, famous to be a Christians persecutor, was converted into a Christian after Jesus appeared to him on the way to Damascus (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). Caravaggio depicted the exact moment when Jesus appear to Saul causing him to be flung off his horse. Caravaggio first version of this work was rejected forcing him to make adjustments to the light and to the drama expressed in the canvas (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). The artist in this painting demonstrated once more his mastery in the “chiaroscuro” technique which emphasize the dramatic use of shadow and light conveying the attention of the viewer on the key areas of the work (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d).

Art Criticism: The Formal Theory

The formal theory in art criticism is focused in finding influences that the author may have in his creation by other artists or by other artworks (Frank,2014). Critics applying this theory are looking for clues that demonstrate how the artist has been influenced by earlier works and their evaluation is made in light of these influences (Frank,2014). Technical skills and visual elements are deeply evaluated in this theory (Frank,2014). Formal theory is the best fit for an artwork because it evaluates its technique and the visual elements contained in the work, such as texture, colors, lines, and others (Frank,2014). This theory provides a complete technical analysis focused in comparing the creation analyzed with other artworks that may influenced it (Frank,2014). Therefore, evaluating a piece of art through formal theory provide a comprehensive analysis of the artifact (Frank,2014).The Christ Crucified by Velazquez is a good example of how to use formal theory. This masterpiece has been influenced by Caravaggio in its lines and use of light, by devotional iconography famous during the Spanish Inquisition, and by Italian Classicism noticeable in the calmness of the body and in its posture (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). The use of the light and dark background in the Christ Crucified shows how Velazquez has been influenced by Italian artist of his period like Caravaggio that painted canvas where dark colors were predominant (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). The subject chosen (the crucifixion of Jesus) is also another element of influence since the majority of artworks of that period had a religious purpose and they were commissioned by the catholic church (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d).

Art Criticism: The Contextual Theory

The contextual theory evaluate the artwork considering first the social, economic, cultural, and historical period that may influenced the artist in his creation (Frank,2014). Critics who use this theory reflect on the environmental condition at the time the piece of art has been created (Frank,2014). This theory is very important while evaluating any artwork since it is vital to understand the historical period where the artist lived and how he may have been influenced from economical situations, social conflicts, or cultural circumstances (Frank,2014). Environmental aspects strongly influence artists, thus, they have to be considered evaluating artistic creations (Frank,2014). All the artworks chosen for this art gallery are examples on how environmental conditions influence artists. The masterpieces selected belong to the Baroque period and each one is a perfect example of it. That period was strongly influenced by the catholic church and most of the creations depict religious themes (Muraoka, 2015). Baroque was a period of science and scientific discovers too; this also influenced the artists in choosing their subjects (Muraoka, 2015). However, the best example of contextual theory in this art gallery is, in my opinion, the Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio. The purpose of the Conversion on the Way to Damascus is to show the conversion of Saint Paul in the exact moment he met the spirit of Jesus (Encyclopedia of Art History, n-d). This description perfectly matches with the contextual theory showing the strong influence the artist had from his historical period. The structure of the artwork with its use of the light, the type of lines, and colors chosen, is also a demonstration of the artistic time the author was living in.

Art Criticism: The Expressive Theory

Critics using this theory are mainly focused on the skill level, emotional state, mindset, and gender of the artist (Frank, 2014). Obviously, the creation is made by the artist and his cultural background, his feelings, and his personal life at the moment of the production of the artwork play a vital role on the outcome of it. This theory cannot be overlooked by critics which want to provide a complete analysis of an artwork. The artist is the main character of his creation and the outcome depends mainly on his feelings and skills. The same subject can be depicted in many different ways by different artists and, if the same artist would recreate his artwork few years later it would certainly be different. That is why the expressive theory is the best fit for an artwork. Caravaggio was famous in his time not only for his masterpieces but also for his violent and irascible character (The National Gallery, n-d). His sword was easily taken off its case and this cause him several problems (The National Gallery, n-d). Caravaggio’s rage and violence is certainly recognizable in all his creations, even when he represents religious subjects. A great example of his character that confirms the expressive theory is the Conversion on the Way to Damascus where the artist impetuosity is easily recognizable. The lines of the Conversion on the Way to Damascus seem to be traced with rage and the scene itself is a violent representation of the conversion of Saint Paul. The artist chose to represent the moment when Saint Paul met the spirit of Jesus and fell from his horse. He is painted under the horse, which is a violent scene. The purpose of this masterpiece is to represent a touching religious moment, but the structure highlight the irascible character of the artist.

Comprehensive Statement

The Art Appreciation course has been an intensive journey where I learnt many interesting concepts. I born and raised in Italy, therefore, I have been exposed to art during all my life. However, since I have an engineering background, during my studies, I have never received more than simple notions regarding art. I always thought that this discipline was not for me, nonetheless, the concepts studied during this course completely changed my approach to artworks. The main notion I have grasped is how admire an artwork. I always enjoyed to observe paintings, sculptures, architectural creations, and even photography, but I realized that I was only glimpsing them. Studying this course, I know now how to analyze an artwork applying the concepts learned of visual elements, the principles of design, especially proportions and balance, and the theories of art criticism.

Comprehensive Statement

I also learnt how to differentiate the diverse styles and techniques between the various historical periods. I am able now to discuss the differences between Renaissance and Baroque and between Cubism, Surrealism, and Impressionism. This course gave me knowledge regarding the distinction between the three main pre-columbine cultures and, observing their artistic creations, I know to which civilization they belong. I am also able to identify the main characteristics of the Latin America art, which always captured my attention. Lastly, this course taught me how to appreciate art and the importance it has in society. Art is the highest form of expression human beings have and it completes every academic discipline. Each student should receive the basic notions in art, regardless the path of studies he or she chooses. Engineers, scientists, and professions that notoriously have anything to share with art should still have knowledge of the main artistic periods and the principles of art because this offers the opportunity to excel in their fields since artistic notions open the mind providing the tools to face any type of problem.

Comprehensive Statement

I chose Baroque as the theme for my art gallery and my main focus has been on Caravaggio, Bernini, Velazquez, and Rembrandt. During my researches on these artists I learned the difference between them and how the region of origin can influence their creations, even if they are placed within the same period. Caravaggio and Bernini are respectively painter and sculptor and both are Italians, Velazquez is Spanish, and Rembrandt is Flemish. Their creations are all symbols of Baroque, but they have the characteristics typical of their region which are very different between them. Caravaggio is certainly the artist that captured my attention the most. While I was researching details of his life and his creations I was impressed how the impetuosity of his character is reflected in his canvas. The spectator that knows his paintings and his life can certainly recognize traits of his personality in the lines, colors, and scenes chosen.

Comprehensive StatementArt Criticism Theories

One of the main points of my art gallery is the art criticism theories which are evident in the Baroque period. The Formal Theory focus the attention on the composition of the work, how it is made with reference to the principles of design used and the visual elements present in the work, and which influences the artist received producing his creation (Frank, 2014). Baroque artworks have in common the extreme use of contrast between light and dark, the use of vivid colors, especially in Caravaggio creations, and the subjects depicted by the artists which are mainly religious showing the strong influence the church had at that time. The church impact on the society at that time is also an element of the contextual theory which tend to look at the environmental influences on a work of art (Frank, 2014).

Comprehensive StatementArt Criticism Theories

Expressive theories are also evident in the artwork produced during the Baroque period. Critics using this theory pay attention to the artist’s expression of a personality or worldwide (Frank, 2014). I used this theory analyzing Caravaggio creations. It is fascinating how is personality is reflected in each artwork he produced. He had a tumultuous life dominated by the rage of his character (The National Gallery, n-d). He had been arrested several time and he had been also accused of murder (The National Gallery, n-d). His subjects, even if they are religious, show the violence of his character, as well the colors and the line used to create the painting.

Comprehensive StatementArt’s Role in Society

During this course I learnt the importance of art in society, a surprising concept for me. Art has a vital part of society, witnessing its changes, its fears, and its successes. A concept I found fascinating is that art is influenced by society but it also able to influence the social order. Baroque art for example was deeply impacted by the church and the sternness of society at that time but it also influenced hundred years of history imposing criteria of richness, vitality, drama, and movement. This duality can be seen in each artistic period, showing that art is the pulse of society. Art can express political rebellion, as shown by Pablo Picasso in Guernica becoming the symbol of the protest (Frank, 2014). Since the prehistoric age, when early humans was decorating the walls of their caves with hunting scenes, art always has been very important in society playing a leading role.

Comprehensive StatementConclusion

I was skeptical to take this course because, as I said, I had very little notions in art and I always believed that my artistic sense was inexistent but now that I reached the end of this journey I have to change my mind. I have learnt so much during the last eight weeks and I can say that I became a different person in approaching art. Probably, the main concept I learnt is that everybody has an artistic sense, it is only necessary to cultivate it letting it shine. This presentation allowed to deepen my knowledge in Baroque period which is my favorite artistic era. I chose it because my home town is defined as a Baroque city and I was curious to discover why. Finally I understand why it is considered the symbol of the Italian Baroque. This course, as reflected in this presentation, has not been easy, but as everything difficult to accomplish, it leaves a deep imprint in my memory and in my academic training.

References

Artble (2018). Apollo and Daphne. Retrieved from https://www.artble.com/artists/gian_lorenzo_bernini/sculpture/apollo_and_daphneArtble (2018). The Calling of Saint Matthew. Retrieved from https://www.artble.com/artists/caravaggio/paintings/the_calling_of_saint_matthew#analysisBernini L. (1625). Apollo and Daphne [Sculpture on Marble]. Retrieved from https://www.artble.com/artists/gian_lorenzo_bernini/sculpture/apollo_and_daphneCaravaggio (1601). Conversion on the Way to Damascus [Oil on Canvas]. Retrieved from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/conversion-on-the-way-to-damascus.htm

References

Caravaggio (1600). The Calling of Matthew [Oil on Canvas]. Retrieved from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/bar_cvggo_calling.htmCurran C.P. (1940). Jesuit Influence in Baroque Art. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/30097886?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=baroque&searchText=art&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dbaroque%2Bart&refreqid=search%3Aa8a2f5e27375598e665515495e9c1802&seq=2#page_scan_tab_contentsEncyclopedia of Art History (n-d). Baroque Art. Retrieved from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/baroque.htmEncyclopedia of Art History (n-d). Christ Crucified (1632) by Diego Velazquez. Retrieved from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/christ-crucified.htm

References

Fahy E. (2009). Velázquez (1599–1660). Retrieved from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/vela/hd_vela.htmFrank P. (2014). Prebles’ Artform: An Introduction to the Visual Arts (11th ed.). Boston, MA, PearsonMatthew (n-d). The Bible, New Testament. Retrieved from https://www.bible.com/bible/1/MAT.9.kjv Mouton, M. (2013). Visual literacy elements and principles [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqdA9YnxyoM&feature=youtu.be

References

Museum Het Rembrandthuis (n-d). The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Retrieved from https://www.rembrandthuis.nl/en/rembrandt-2/rembrandt-the-artist/most-important-works/the-anatomy-lesson-of-dr-nicolaes-tulp/Muraoka A. (2015). Baroque. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195399301/obo-9780195399301-0177.xml Puglisi C. (1991). Renaissance Quarterly. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2862421?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=baroque&searchText=sculpture&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dbaroque%2Bsculpture%26amp%3Bfilter%3D&refreqid=search%3Abda84941688f30e0c5c95a2dfdd17967&seq=2#page_scan_tab_contents

References

Rembrandt H. (1632). Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp [Oil on Canvas]. Retrieved from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/anatomy-lesson-of-doctor-nicolaes-tulp.htmRoya N.(2010). New Caravaggio biography casts light on Renaissance hell raiser. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/7840043/New-Caravaggio-biography-casts-light-on-Renaissance-hellraiser.htmlThe National Gallery (n-d). Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggioVelazquez D. (1632). Christ Crucified [Oil on Canvas]. Retrieved from Unit III Study Guide citing you tube at http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/christ-crucified.htm

References

Wheelock A. (2014). Rembrandt van Rijn. Retrieved from https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1822.htmlWhite V. (2003). Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680). Retrieved from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/bern/hd_bern.htmYoung E. (1976). Two Spanish Baroque Pictures. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/4113035?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=spanish&searchText=baroque&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dspanish%2Bbaroque&refreqid=search%3A20b3e6cb60361ae8cb66e81e0d182e4a&seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents