Art 236: Final Post

To start off with I have really enjoyed this whole quarter of artwork. This might be because of how the Renaissance era is considered to be the best of the best however I found a lot of the artwork that we studied as a class very intriguing. Some of my favorites would include some of the artworks from the Mannerism era, Baroque era and art from last week’s Early 18th Century art.

"Madonna with the Long Neck"

During week 5 of the quarter we had the chance to pick a piece of artwork that was considered to be that of mannerism and I chose to look at Bronzino’s painting of “Allegory with Venus and Cupid” as well as Parmigianino’s painting of “Madonna with the Long Neck.” I found these pieces so interesting that they came out of this high Renaissance art era since they are somewhat disturbing and not really human like. There were very contradictory of what everyone else was trying to produce during that time. Out of these two art works my favorite was Parmigianino’s painting. “Madonna with the Long Neck” is so intriguing for me because of its background history. Parmigianino started this painting but it is believe that he was not able to finish the painting due to the fact that he was commissioned for other jobs. Since this painting is believed to be a personal painting for Parmigianino it was not finished since work came first. When looking at the painting we get that feeling of the unfinished quality however I think it adds more to that painting then it takes away. We see Madonna sitting down but she is not sitting down on/in anything. There is no chair, no throne, nothing. She is floating on or sitting in a “invisible” chair. Next we see a pillar or column in the background that supports nothing. Why is this needed in the painting if its not supporting anything? These are just some of the mysteries to come from this painting. Many of the paintings that come from this era are disturbing in nature like that fact that in “Madonna with the Long Neck” not only does she have this long neck but also the newborn baby in her lap is huge. The baby is the size of a three year old. This is odd and makes it seem almost awkward.


My next favorite art ear we studied was Baroque art. I was really drawn to this art piece done by GianLorenzo Bernini called “David.” This is a sculpture about the biblical hero David. David is a hero in the Old Testament because was able to defeat Goliath and behead him and end the war for his people. This statue is of the moment when David is about to sling a rock towards the giant Goliath’s head and kill him. I was so drawn to this piece because it has so much movement and expression that brings the viewer into the art. Bernini was able to make this sculpture seem so life like. He was able to create such artwork that it put the viewer in the moment of the sculpture. Bernini was also able to bring real emotions in to David. The viewer can see the aggression in David’s face as he is frowning and biting his lower lip. We see his eyebrows and eyes in such expression of anger towards Goliath. Bernini’s “David” was such a breakthrough for sculptures. Before Bernini’s “David” the sculptures did not have the movement or emotions that Bernini’s did.

"Death on a Pale Horse"

Lastly I was very intrigued with what we studied last week, the Early 18th Century art. I had the chance to study that of Benjamin west. West was an American artist who went to England and became widely known over there for his artwork.  His patron was no other than King George III, the great king of Britain of the time. The artwork of his that most intrigued me is not from our textbook but was what I talked about last week. It is the painting “Death on a Pale Horse.” This painting is some gloomy but with a touch of hope. It is another event described by the Bible. It comes from the Book of Revelations. It is of when the seals break and the four horsemen break free and run a muck through the world. But we see that West added Jesus Christ in the painting riding a white horse with a bow and arrow. He depicts Christ as a Savior, which gives this sense of hope that we will be saved. This painting is a very complex painting but many can feel the pain and agony coming from this painting. It is by far my favorite painting that I had the chance to learn about this quarter.

Week 9: Early 18th Century Art


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Benjamin West an American and British painter was born on October 10, 1738, near Springfield, Pennsylvania and latter died on March 11, 1820 in London, England. He began he career studying painting in his native Philadelphia area. After that West then moved to New York City where he established himself as a portraitist. In 1760 West decided to sail to Italy visit the art centers Italy had to offer before settling in London around 1763. The patronage of George III, King of Great Britain and King of Ireland, had freed him of the need to paint portraits for a living, and he became known for historical, religious, and mythological subjects. His “Death of General Wolfe” (1771), as seen in our text book on page 927, aroused controversy for its depiction of modern dress rather than the flowing robes expected in a history painting, but it was one of his most popular works. He never returned to the United States, but through such pupils and followers as Washington Allston, Gilbert Stuart, Charles Willson Peale, and John Singleton Copley, he exerted considerable influence on the development of American art in the 19th century.

"Death on a Pale Horse"

I decided to research the art piece her created called “Death on a Pale Horse.” I chose this piece because when I seen the “Death of General Wolfe” in our book it was such a emotional looking piece that had drawn me in; and since we cant use one from the book I wanted to find one that was similar and this is what I came across. “Death on a Pale Horse” has that strong sense of emotions coming out of the painting and draws the viewer in or at least it did for me. West based this work on the Book of Revelation 6:8, in the New Testament in the Bible, in which the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which includes Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence, ravage the earth.  The biblical narrative of the painting was considered to be so complex that it was originally exhibited with a narrative pamphlet for the viewer.  While he had established his reputation as a Neoclassical painter, this late work shows him turning towards the newer Romantic Movement that was sweeping the art world. He was also mindful of Edmund Burke’s artistic philosophy of “the Sublime,” which is the quality of art that is meant to induce intense feelings of wonder in the onlooker.  Many art scholars also state that the colossal scale and tight composition also recall such populist art forms such as dioramas and panoramas, spectacular images that toured galleries and lecture halls across Europe during his time of touring.

This panoramic view of a gruesome battle scene exhibits some of West’s finest imagery and convincingly depicts all the emotion of a horrifying scene. On the left, we can see scenes of killing by swords and spears, wild beasts, extreme famine, and plague erupted by a fury of violence. On the right side of the canvas, we notice the white, red, and black horses as mentioned in the Book of Revelation 6:8, are unleashed as the first three seals erupt forth from the thunderous central scene. On the white horse to the right, it is believed by many scholars that it is Christ. He is wearing a golden crown and carrying a bow while gazing into the heavens at the figures robed in white. The representation of Christ as a warrior in the painting inspires a little optimism of salvation in the midst of the Apocalypse. This was West’s first presence of hope for the viewer in this subject matter. This is suppose to be a very dark and horrifying time in mankind as the Bible describes the coming of the Apocalypse, the end of the human race and the great battle of Heave and Hell. This painting depicts that of every Christian’s deepest fear.

I find it very interesting that he seems to have a thing with painting “Death” sense. As mentioned before in our book and his most popular painting “The Death of General Wolfe” and the “Death on a Pale Horse” are not his only paintings that play with the subject matter of death. Although these two paintings do deal with the subject matter of death they are completely different that intrigues me. With  “The Death of General Wolfe” we have a war scene of a general dyeing and this is a historical event where as with the “Death on a Pale Horse” it is of an event that is for told to happen. I find it interesting though that he was able to let his imagination help with the creating of the “Death on a Pale Horse”; which I feel is a stronger piece than that of “The Death of General Wolfe.”

Works Cited:

  1. The Life and Works of Benjamin West,
    Benjamin West and Hampton L. Carson
    The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography , Vol. 45, No. 4 (1921), pp. 301-319
    Published by: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
    Article Stable URL:
  2. Benjamin West.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 29 Feb. 2012 <>.

Week 8: Baroque Art


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During the Baroque art period were discover the art piece “David,” a life-size marble sculpture commissioned by GianLorenzo Bernini’s patron, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The sculpture was commissioned as a decoration for the villa of Bernini’s patron where it still resides today. Scholars believe it was completed in approximately seven-month stretch from 1623 to 1624. The subject of his work is that of the biblical David. Shown here as about to throw the stone that will bring down Goliath; which then will allow David to behead the giant as scribed in the bible. Relating to earlier works on the same theme, it is also revolutionary in its implied movement and its psychological depth. When comparing this to Michelangelo’s “David”, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture era created between 1501 and 1504, we can see clear differences in styles.

Both sculptures show us a representation of biblical David from the Old Testament; however Bernini’s sculpture “David” displays a scene from the First Book of Samuel in the Old Testament on the Bible. As the Bible states, the Israelites and the Philistines are at war with one another. One of the great Philistine warriors, who is described as a giant warrior, Goliath, has challenged any of the Israelite soldiers to settle the conflict with a single combat. The young shepherd David has just taken up the challenge, and is about to slay the giant with a stone from his sling; and this is where our sculpture jumps into the story. We see David who is nude but slightly covered by a robe. At his feet lies his armor he has just shed, as he is unaccustomed to wearing it and believes he is a better fighter without it. Also at his feet is his iconographic harp, something not mentioned in the biblical account.

The facts that these two sculptures are completely different are right in front of our faces. They could not look any different even though they are that of the same subject matter, the biblical David. In Michelangelo’s “David”, he portrays David as a young male adult, who is completely nude holding a piece of some kind of garment over his should. David is look into the distance and not at the viewer as well as standing still. Michelangelo’s “David” does not have much movement or dynamics. It seems as if this piece shows David in all his triumph and glory; as if it is a shrine or celebration of his life and triumphs. With Michelangelo’s “David” we get a sense of confidence, tranquility, and diplomacy as if David is in control of the situation; that as is swell.

When looking back at Bernini’s “David”, we don’t get the same reaction. Bernini’s “David” has so much more dynamic feel. We do not see this young adult male with a perfect body like in Michelangelo’s sculpture. We have more energetic and vibrant piece, which engages with the viewer. This piece is extremely strong in the sense that it pulls the viewer into this historical biblical event of how David beat the giant Goliath. We can see and feel the energy in the action that of David as he is slinging the stone at Goliath. It has such a strong sense of movement that we just expect that the sculpture is ready to “unfreeze” and sling that rock towards Goliath’s head. On an emotional level, Bernini’s “David” were revolutionary for exploring a variety of extreme mental states; such as the anger seen here onDavid’s face. The frowning and biting of his lower lip, is twisted in a fiercely concentrated aggression towards Goliath.

Bernini’s “David” as is different from Michelangelo’s “David” and other sculptures as of fact in another way that is challenges the viewer too walk around the sculpture to view all the energy and movement that this piece is engaging with the viewer. Before this most sculptures were more like paintings as they had one point of view that the artist wanted everyone to view their work from. The fact that Bernini’s “David” is so three-dimensional it needs its “space”. With the space it dares the viewer to challenge themselves to engage into the seen as if our in the middle of the conflict between David and Goliath.

Bernini’s “David” was such a breakthrough for the sculptures. Before now the sculptures did not have the movement or emotions that Bernini’s “David” did.

Week 6: 16th Century Art in Northern Europe


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Self-Portrait is a painting on wood panel by the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Painted early in 1500 just before his 29th birthday. It is one of three self-portraits and the last one. It is the most iconic and complex of his three self-portraits, and the one that has become the most popular. The self-portrait is remarkable because of its similar resemblance to many earlier representations of Jesus Christ. Art historians note the similarities with that of religious painting, including its symmetry and the style in which the artist directly encounters the viewer. Some Art Historians also suggest that the raising of his hands to the middle of his chest is as if it is the act of blessing. It is likely that Dürer portrayed himself in this way through a combination of arrogance and/or a desire by a young and ambitious artist to acknowledge that his talent as God given.

Eailer self-portraits of Albrecht Dürer. The left one was the second of three and the right was the first








The bluntness and apparent confrontation with the viewers, the self-portrait is unlike any self-portrait that came before its time. It is a half-length, frontal and favorably symmetrical. Its lack of an established background presents Dürer without regard to a location or time. The placements of the inscriptions in the dark fields on both sides of Dürer are presented as if they are floating in space. This helps emphasize a somber mood. I feel that this is achieved because of the use of brown tones on him against this stark black background. This darkness is a much stronger transformation compared to his two earlier versions of a self-portrait. This darker more god like version is by far more introverted and complex representation.

Mathematical study of the composition demonstrates its rather stiff symmetry, with several highlights aligned closely to this vertical axis down the middle of his painting. Nevertheless, some art historians believe the painting is not completely symmetrical and I can agree with this. As it was pointed out to me Dürer ‘s head is slightly to the right of center, and the strands of hair fall differently on both sides of his shoulders. The light source as well does not fall symmetrically across his body. It is as if the light is coming from the left of Dürer.

"Christ Giving His Blessing" by Hans Memling in the late 15th century

During the late 1400’s in Italy, the conventional fashion for profile portraits was coming to an end, but being replaced with the three-quarters view; which had been the accepted pose in Northern Europe Renaissance era since about 1420, and the pose seen used by Dürer in his earlier self-portraits. Fully frontal poses remained unusual up to this point. During the late medieval and Early Renaissance art eras the more difficult three-quarters view was developed, and artists were proud of their skill in using it. To viewers in 1500 and after, a frontal pose was associated with images from the medieval religious art movement involving Christ. This was a shocking painting as we see Dürer posed in this frontal pose as well as have a sense of this Christ-like figure. This painting immediately brings to mind the oil painting Christ Giving His Blessing by Hans Memling. As you can see the have very similar features. Both are in the same position and both have the right hands to their chest as well as both figures in each painting are confronting the viewer. The fact that they are some similar makes you see that Dürer’s self-portrait seems as if he is portrayed in a Christ-like manner.

I believe between his two earlier self-portraits to this amazingly complex version he has grown in talent and abilities. That doesn’t just happen he was strongly influenced along the way by previous painters. We can see the realism and the naturalism in this strong painting. But I feel the biggest thing that influenced him was this self-recognition movement sweeping the art world during this era. This painting is self glorified; it shows his true feelings of himself as this highly successful artist at this point and time in his life.

Week 5: Mannerism


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So this week’s main subject matter is about mannerism and I had to do my research on this artistic movement because I did not know anything about it. I didn’t even know this artistic movement, period, and/or style existed. I still don’t know if it is an art movement or time period or style because throughout my research it seemed that it is a debated topic of what it is considered to be. However through my research I did learn what makes certain art pieces classified as Mannerism. Stylistically, Mannerism encompassed a variety of approaches, that where influenced by the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. It is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial qualities with in the artwork.


After learning more in depth about what Mannerism in tells I took a while and studied all three works of art we had to choose from and took my time to choose the two I felt best fit the Mannerism mold. My first choice was Bronzino’s oil painting called “Allegory with Venus and Cupid.” As the book mentions, this painting contains all the formal, iconographical, and psychological characteristics of Mannerist art. This piece is so strong and the fact is this piece is good enough to stand alone as a summary of the movement. For my second piece I had a hard time choosing but I decided to look more in depth in the Parmigianino’s oil painting called “Madonna With the Long Neck.” I chose this piece because it is considered to be unfinished in the eyes of art historians. This painting leaves the view very unsettled and I find it astonishing.


With Bronzino’s painting of “Allegory With Venus and Cupid”, we see seven figures, a dove in the bottom left corner, and two masks in the bottom right corner; and how this all goes together I personally don’t see it. It feels as there is chaos in this painting and that the Bronsino painting individual items and them pasted them all to a panel; like a collage. This painting is very complex and has a lot going on within it.  There is so much that is unsettling about how Venus is kissing Cupid; which in mythology Cupid is the son of Venus. This turn of event of a mother and son sharing a very sexually intimate moment with one another is not accepted in today’s standards. A lot of these figures seem to be naturalistic looking but some proportions seem to be off and the colors seem to be a little off as well. Over all this painting just fits the Mannerist art movement because it has a sense of a naturalistic feel but everything else seems so unnatural and unsettling.


Looking at Parmigianino’s painting of  “Madonna With the Long Neck” about the only natural looking thing we can see is the color of the skin and the hair on the figures bodies; beyond that things become exaggerated and weird. Lets just first and full most point out the obvious of how the baby in her lap is just enormous. This infant is by far extremely out of proportion and to me seems alien like because of his size. It is very unsettling for me. From there we move to Madonna’s lap and it is a huge lap as well it does not match proportionally with the rest of her body. She has these huge legs but narrow shoulders. It just does not play right in my mind when envisioning her standing. Next we notice her next has been stretched and I’m not sure why this was done but it also seems very alien like to me, and disturbing how her neck is bent. I then noticed the leg on one of the boys to the left f Madonna. Yes I said boys; at least that is what the experts believe they are. To me not only is this leg extremely long but also seem very feminine and sexual. I find this very odd and disturbing. I would have to say one that I didn’t notice until the book pointed out to me was that Madonna has this sitting position but there is no chair or throne seen in the painting and this maybe because Parmigianino did not get a chance to finish. I find it weird how I did not notice and maybe I am not the only one but I felt a little silly that I didn’t notice it. Lastly another proportion trouble is we see this man in the bottom right hand corner opening a scroll next to a huge whit column; which is not supporting anything. Odd? Yes well at least to me it is.


After studying this art movement I learned so much about it. I really enjoyed these oddities and how some historians consider them some of the greats. This art movement really just has a weird twist and strong presence in history.

Week 4: High Italian Renaissance Art


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This was an extremely easy choice to pick two works of art to compare and contrast with one another. I wanted to choose two works of art that had similar subject matter but had plentiful amounts of differences. For my first piece of artwork is “The Last Supper” by Andrea del Castagno, page 614 of our textbook.  And the second piece of art is “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, page 635 in the textbook. I choose these two works of art because they are the exactly same subject matter but both artists portrayed the event similarly but differently. Both paintings are of Jesus Christ with his twelve disciples having their last supper together before Jesus would be condemned to the cross.

"The Last Supper" by Andrea del Castagno

"The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci

When looking at each painting we can see clear similarities. Both, del Castagno and da Vinci have Jesus Christ in the center of the painting making him the focal point of each painting. We see movement in each piece as well. We can see that Jesus is talking to his disciples and they are conversing with one another about what they are being told. In each piece we also can see naturalism in the figures. Each disciple and Jesus look like naturalistic humans; their proportions seem to fell right as well as bone structure and completion. Although these paintings have similarities we can tell that they are doing by different artist.

Starting with how the paintings are composed we can see that in Andrea del Castagno’s fresco of  “The Last Supper”, when looking at the disciples and Jesus we have a feeling of naturalism however at the same time there are some oddities that doesn’t let your brain feel as though its an extreme representation of naturalism. To me they seem to have a chisel look; as if they are like statues. They do have movement but it seems as if they movement they have is static movement; that since that they were frozen in motion like a statue. When comparing that to Leonardo da Vinci’s tempera of “The Last Supper”; the disciples and Jesus Christ seem so much more human like. The skin seems more creamy and smooth. It just seems more naturalistic because compared to Castagno’s representation these figures seem to have some meat on their bones. In Castagno’s fresco you can see strong bon structure which is not very naturalistic compared to how da Vinci’s humans have some mass to them. Also a huge difference is that da Vinci’s tempera painting has a ton more movement throughout the painting and I feel as though it has more emotion in it as well. You get a sense of confusion and chaos as many know this is depicting the event of when Jesus is telling his disciples that one of them will betray him. You just get a good sense of a bad scenario being played out compared to the fresco painting where it’s more of a tame world. You don’t have a sense of chaos or confusion.

I think that the biggest difference between the two is depth. We have some depth in Castagno’s fresco but not much. Yes we can tell that they are all sitting at a table and there is depth with Jesus in front of the table and his disciples behind and around the table; however it still seems to have a flat or two-dimensional feeling to it. Yes there are shadows but not enough. When we look at da Vinci’s tempera, it has amazing feel of depth. Da Vinci use of shadows and highlights really give this tempera a great sense of depth as well as realism. I really feel like as though da Vinci was if he witnessing this historical event. Another thing that helps is that this painting has a vanishing point which helps da Vinci get his proportion correctly as things recede to the background. One last thing I would like to point out is that in chapter 20 is when we start to learn about the triangle or pyramid theory; in da Vinci’s tempera painting he depicts Jesus Christ in a triangular shape. His head being the top point of the triangle and his arms being the sides. I am not sure of the significance of this; as well as I feel that this was more of a coincidences then anything.

I truly feel that out of the two of these depictions of the last supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s tempera painting is by far the most impactful. This might be why he is more known than Andrea del Castagno. Da Vinci’s is so much more naturalistic and impressionable.

Week 3: Italy Renaissance Art


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Reading through this chapter about the Italian Renaissance art rom the fifteenth-century, what caught my eye the most was the fresco painting “The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter” by Pietro Perugino. This fresco was done in 1481 and sits on the right wall of the Sistine Chapel. I was strongly impressed with the composition and the scaling done in the fresco. The way Perugino used the vanishing point style to get great scaling and depth in this fresco was new to the era.

The composition of this artwork is very well balanced. When you first look at this piece we see a crowd of people; however this crowd of people are only in the front portion of the depth on this fresco. With just focusing on this portion f the fresco for now; Perugino has great value of balance with in the crowd of people. It feels balanced on both the right and the left of Jesus and Peter who are the two middle figures we see that are interacting with one another. What is happening is that Jesus is handing over the keys to St. Peter, symbolizing when Jesus left earth that he was leaving St. Peter as the leader of his flock of followers. Anyways as we can see to the left of Jesus Christ we have approximately 8 people watch as Jesus hands over the keys. However on the right of Peter we have approximately again 12 human figures looking upon the event. We do not get a direct balance with numbers but more as the surface area each group of people are taking up. On the right we have a more dense population compared to the left where there is more space between each figure. Another element that helps this, if you have not yet noticed, is directly above the crowd of people are the people behind the ones in the distance. Above the group on the left we have a dense populated group and as we move from left to right this section of the fresco the people thin out and we get balance this way as well. I feel that Perugino did this for that purpose as I feel that this section of people help mainly with balance as well as it helps with depth of perception and scaling with in the artwork.

Perugino’s fresco painting of “The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter” uses the technique of a vanishing point. This techniques serves well within this fresco, as it gives the viewer not on depth with in the piece but helps by serving as a great tool of proportions or scaling of objects and figures. This fresco seems to be broken into thirds for the most part. We have the foreground where we see Jesus and Peter in the center of this crowd that is watching this event of extreme importance to the history of Christianity. Next we have the middle ground that to me has the least amount of importance in the painting, it serves mainly as a tool to the painting than subject matter. Lastly we have the background, which brings the setting and tone of the painting. The foreground in this fresco is the main subject matter and focus of the piece; and I feel that the scale of each individual has a very natural feeling to them no one person seems to be exaggerated in any sense of scale as we have seen in previous art eras; such as when the up most important person was always the biggest figure to show importance. We do not get that here as Jesus and Peter are the main focus they have no hierarchy over the others that are in the foreground. We understand with them being just simply in the middle that they are the utmost important pieces in the fresco. Even as Peter in down on one knee it feels that the proportions and scaling are correct compared to those standing around him. As our eyes move further to the top of the fresco we have the feeling that we are actually looking further in depth than height and that is because of how Perugino gauged perception of depth and proportions that came with the depth. The middle ground we can still see people however they are not at the same level of detail as the crowd of people on the foreground however their scaling of proportions compared to those in the foreground have that natural feel as if this is how this sense would be seen in person for the viewer. Lastly in the background we have great proportion and scaling with the structures and the people around the structures that make them seem enormous in size compared to everyone in the fresco. We already can sense that these structures are huge in size because they are bigger than those in the foreground however putting figures around the base of the structure also helps us with getting the sense that these structures a re massive and have a big presence when viewing them.

In conclusion I feel that “The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter” fresco by Pietro Perugino is an awesome piece of artwork that came out of the Italian Art Renaissance era. This is such a great piece of art to examine from this time period because Perugino’s fresco has great composition, balance and as well great proportion with scale.