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Art Appreciation Essay

The Baroque period of art was from the 1600’s to the 1700’s. This period in art history began with the Catholic Church launching an internal reformation to establish clear definitions of the church’s theologies, as well as their doctrines. A sector of the church’s reform was to educate the members. One way in which this was accomplished was by the implementation of art. Religious art had to be redirected to present inspiration, persuasiveness, and evoke spiritual emotion. Three artist of the Baroque art period that made contributions were Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Peter Paul Rubens.

Each of these artists created powerful religious images that were strong in their statements. In 1600, Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio was commissioned to paint two portraits of Rome’s patroned saints, Peter and Paul (“Caravaggio: The Conversion on the Road to Damascus” n. d. ). Although, Caravaggio did not have a personal philosophy about art, he did however, created his art with the identical components that were evident in his personal character (“The National Gallery” n. d. ). His artworks were brimming with violence, arrogance, and rebellion, all of the elements that made for dramatic and controversial images.

The image of ‘The Conversion of St. Paul’ was an outstanding representation of the actual moment when St. Paul was converted. It was stated in the Biblical book of Acts of Apostles that Paul had heard the voice of Christ and lost is sight temporarily. This oil painting portrays this act excellently. Paul is lying on is back stunned with his eyes closed after falling off the horse (Preble, 2011, p. 263). He is appearing as though he is in awe while his hands are in the air at the bright light Running Head: Baroque Works of Art from God that is streamed over the horse’s back.

This particular piece had a significant meaning to the Roman Catholic Church to validate their theology. Being that the Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio was sanctioned by Roman Catholic Church, his style of painting using chiaroscuro, with his usage of dark and light, worked well in accordance with his controversial style and ideology of religious/human experience, which most definitely made a spiritual impact on the viewer. ‘The Conversion of Paul’: By Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio (1600)

The pronounced artist and Italian architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, had developed a personal philosophy in regards to his style of art. He implemented sensuality, immorality, and spirituality in his statues. This type of personal philosophy is what led Bernini to have notoriety, particularly within the Roman society. Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the Baroque image ‘The Ecstasy of St. Teresa’ (1647-1652). This marble, gilt bronze, and stucco statue, which is located in the Cornaro Chapel in Rome, Italy, is a segment of her life that is derived from St. Teresa’s spiritual autobiography (Preble, 2011, p. 64). ‘The Ecstasy of St. Teresa’ is a depiction of a Running Head: Baroque Works of Art 3 cupid-like angel is standing over her, and piercing her heart with a fire gold tipped arrow/spear, this action sends Teresa into a state of spiritual euphoria. With her eyes closed, she is overwhelmed by the love of God and collapses. The statue is the centerpiece of a more complex composition. The artist, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, sculpted his vision for two specific reasons. The first was for the Cornaro family, and secondly, for the worshippers that were faithful.

On every wall that is perpendicular to this centerpiece, are the impressions of members of the Cornaro family members witnessing the miracle. Due to its raw spiritual meaning, ‘The Ecstasy of St. Teresa’, displays a connection between Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the Baroque period. This work of art is a definite statement to his mysticism and his departure from the Renaissance era. ‘The Ecstasy of St. Teresa’: by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1647-1652) Peter Paul Ruben, Baroque Flemish painter, composed images that had religious epitaphs.

Ruben’s became a baptized Catholic, after the death of his father (“Peter Paul Running Head: Baroque Works of Art 4 Ruben’s Biography” 2013 ). His emotionally filled paintings are rich with religion throughout his work. Peter Paul Ruben has a philosophy of religious themes that are very prevalent. Peter Paul Ruben’s, ‘The Raising of the Cross’ (1610-1611), is an embodiment of religion and spirituality (Preble, 2011, p. 265). It is currently located at the Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady in Spain. The oil painting on canvas is a large triptych, which is completed in three separate sections.

Peter Paul Ruben created this piece based on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the St. Walpurgis church in Antwerp (“Peter Paul Ruben’s Paintings and Biography” n. d. ). The Baroque style oil painting illustrates the cross on an angle as the nine soldiers are struggling to lift it. There is a dog that is located at the bottom left of the painting, it establishes this technique and skill he gathered from others. The painting is of Baroque style with its intense religious theme with a Flemish combination.

‘The Raising of the Cross’: by Peter Paul Reuben (1610-1611) Running Head: Baroque Works of Art 5 All three of these Baroque artistic pieces have qualities that are rather comparable. Each of these artists are excellent examples of the Baroque period because this was when the Roman Catholic Church made the decision, during Counsel of Trent which was also a response to the Protestant Reformation, that artists should convey emotional engagement, and produce religious themes. The Baroque style of architecture and art made for dramatic expressions of power and in addition to making lasting impressions.

The two paintings, ‘The Conversion of St. Paul’ and ‘The Raising of the Cross’ are prime examples of the Baroque period at work in art. Both of these images present clear representations of human emotion. They are symbolic of spiritual relevance. The two paintings are done in oil on canvas and are in Catholic sanctuaries and are highly influenced by the Renaissance period in art. The colors that are utilized are very suggestive of the realism of each event. The detailing of the images assists in creating an effect of action. Chiaroscuro is prevalent throughout each painting.

This implementation provides a more dramatic appeal for the onlooker. The sculpture of ‘The Ecstasy of St. Teresa’ also shares common factors with ‘The Raising of the Cross’ and ‘The Conversion of St. Paul’. Not only does this statue have a depiction of a religious capacity, it makes a powerful spiritual statement. Although these works of art have similarities, they also have contrasts as well. One major contrast is that two of these three pieces are paintings and the other is a sculpture. The sculpture is marble with gilt bronze and stucco. ‘The Ecstasy of St.

Teresa’, the marble statue, contains three divisions that work as one, whereas ‘The Raising of the Cross’ is in three sections as well, but each segment can stand alone as one individual art form. The form of the statue is very life-like and offers a tangible effect. Running Head: Baroque Works of Art 6 In conclusion the artists, Peter Paul Ruben, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio made major artist achievements to the Baroque period. During the Baroque period, it was not the simplest task for the Catholic Church to launch a reformation. These artists made it possible for the church’s ideas and beliefs to be observed.

All of the artists mentioned developed dramatic images that were direct, drew the viewer to the focal point of the piece, and depicted psychological and emotional intensity. When it came to the form of each art work presented here they had a dramatic use of color, significant contrasts with dark and light, and spectacular embellishment and decoration. The planes are also clearly defined, in addition to being isolated from each other. There is a continuation of overlapping of all of the elements. These works of art are superior representations of the Baroque period.


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