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.