Analyzing works of arts does not depend solely on the formalistic approach—the style, the aesthetics, or the form. Most of the time, to give a better analysis, one resorts to the use of context and culture. Here, the work is seen through the eyes of the culture from which the work emerged. Thus, in visual art, the use of cultural narratives is considered as important as the formalist way of critiquing any visual material. “The Judgement of Paris” by Marcantonio Raimondi and the “Five Characters in a Comic Scene” by Leonardo da Vinci would be now subjected under analysis through the use of cultural narratives.
These cultural narratives are the stories in each culture that suggest possible interpretations for paintings. Being ignorant with these narratives may provide the wrong or altered meanings the visual material wants to convey. It is significant that one holds a background on the culture and context of the artist, including the time frame and the visual symbols in the material. “The Judgement of Paris” and “Five Characters in a Comic Scene” both depict the same, certain culture—the Greek.
While Raimondi’s work was clearly showing a scene from the rich and vast Greek mythology, Da Vinci was portraying his own interpretations regarding comic characters that were part of early Greek theatre. From this point, an analysis could already be drawn regarding the works. It should be noted that the two works are telling about the Greeks, its tradition and culture particularly. Thus, it could be concluded that the artists are aware of how rich their culture was.
In fact, the materials are portraying the two of the leading and influential contribution of the Greeks in the world: their mythology and their theatre. “The Judgement of Paris” shows the high regards of the Greeks for their gods. The work also suggests that Greeks believe in the close interactions of gods with humans to so as to resolve a conflict or to further complicate it. Most of all, the work shows that Greek gods—Hera, Athena, Aphrodite—can perform offerings to a human. This may be opposite to other culture’s religion since gods never steps down from his position to ask a favour from a human.
On the other hand, the “Five Characters in a Comic Scene” suggests a perception on Greek comical characters. The actors in a comedy were using masks to hide and to make their faces funny. However, with the work of Da Vinci, it could be concluded that the painter was trying to interpret Greek comical characters different from the way they look when wearing masks. The use of Da Vinci;s distorted faces of the five characters tell that Greek comedy is not as beautiful as it is perceived.
The two works of art certainly show their similarities by sharing under the same culture. However, it should be noted that the two also have their differences. While “The Judgement of Paris” lies behind a cultural narrative that seems to be a celebratory of the Greek mythology and early religion, the “Five Characters I a Comic Scene” seems to be connected with a cultural narrative that criticizes the Greek comedy per se. Using cultural narratives of the Greeks, it was able to analyze “The Judgement of Paris” and “Five Characters in a Comical Scene”.
By having a background in the Greek culture, it was possible to give the two materials a more focused interpretation. Clearly, the analysis shows that cultural narratives are important to get a more in-depth look and meanings from any work of art. References Greek and Roman Comedy. Retrieved on 9 June 2008. http://www. theatrehistory. com/ancient/comedy001. html Paris (mythology) – Paris’ childhood, The Judgment of Paris, Paris and the Trojan War, Paris in the arts. Retrieved on 9 June 2008. http://encyclopedia. stateuniversity. com/pages/16736/Paris-mythology. html
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