Showing posts with label caravaggio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caravaggio. Show all posts


Aesthetic Thursdays: Two Versions of Judith Slaying Holofernes

Judith Slaying Holofernes
Judith is a hero of late Jewish antiquity who slew the Assyrian dictator Holofernes, by first seducing him, then decapitating him while he slept. Check out these two very different artistic representations. What do you notice?

⬆️ Artemisia's version in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

⬆️ Caravaggio's version in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome


Aesthetic Thursdays: Medusa

If the canvas is Perseus's shield, then this is Medusa's last stare.
Caravaggio, Medusa, 1597, Oil on canvas mounted on wood
Perseus, a son of Zeus, an epic hero of Greek myth, was locked in a chest as a boy by his grandfather with his mother inside and thrown to sea, because an oracle foretold he would kill the king Of Argos; he was saved by a fisherman and raised to manhood. His most famous deed: he sought to behead the Gorgon Medusa, partly from a wager with Polydectes the King of Seriphos, his mother's husband, and partly out of despair, for he knew Polydectes wanted to get rid of him. Perseus traveled to the edge of the world to find the Gorgon, one of three Gorgons, who were sisters, Medusa was the only one mortal. The Graeae, nymph sisters, helped him, as well as several gods and goddesses. To kill the Gorgon, Perseus had to avoid eye contact with her lest he turn to stone by looking her directly in the eye. So armed with a shield, bequeathed to him by Athena, and a scimitar, from Hermes, and a cape of invisibility, and winged sandals, he was able to peer on the Gorgon indiscreetly in her lair without looking at her directly, and slew her with his blade. When Perseus slew the Gorgon she was pregnant, and out of her belly flew Pegasus, the winged horse.
NB: If you want to check out the real shield, haunt the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy.
image credit: New Crafts, Co.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Caravaggio

Caravaggio's "Sacrifice of Isaac" is remarkable because it uncharacteristically depicts Isaac not as subordinate to Abraham's desire, nor blithely unaware of his fate, but rather as horrifically terrified by God's injunction to have him killed by his own father.
Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, 1603
Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac (Detail) 1603


Aesthetic Thursdays: Death of Marat

Jacques-Louis David's painting "Death of Marat," tells a real story. One of political intrigue and murder.
Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David 
(held by the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium)
David's Painting Is a Record of a Real Assassination 
I don't have to create a story about the above painting. History already has one. During the French Revolution, Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist. Marat was killed in his bathtub. Apparently, he loved taking long, luxurious baths. He had a skin problem (so he needed to take soothing baths). On July 13, 1793, He was assassinated by Charlotte Corday because she thought Marat was a cause of the violence and bloodshed (The French Revolution is famous for how many heads rolled.) in France. 

A Painting That Captures The Scene of a Crime
Marat was a radical Jacobin (which meant he was full-on anti-monarchy and full-on revolution). The jury is out on Corday's allegiances — some say she was in favor of the Monarchy while others said he was a supporter of the Girondins, a political faction who originally supported abolishing the monarchy, but later, became less radical in their politics. She was caught by the authorities and sentenced to capital punishment by the guillotine.

The Portrait of Marat Is Painstakingly Detailed and a Tribute to a Revolutionary
Looking closely at the painting, several features of the work are noticeable. The body of Marat is an idealized portrait of a corpse — similar to the paintings one sees of Jesus's body laid to rest. Marat's arm lays languidly on the side of the bathtub and he holds the tools of his trade — a quill and a parchment with a petition that had been given to him by Corday to sign. The knife that was used to kill him lies on the floor. David's careful arrangement of the scene makes Marat out to be the person he purported to be — a writer, and a revolutionary.   


Caravaggio at the Quirinale in Rome

Caravaggio's The Annunciation (c. 1608)
The New York Times has a write up on a new Caravaggio art exhibit in Rome's Quirinale. Caravaggio may trump Michelangelo in popularity. It used to be people posted pics of the David's classic ass on their refrigerators, but it seems people are out with the classical, refined body and want their art rough, and out of the bed. I compared Michelangelo's Last Judgement with Caravaggio's "Boy with a Ram" along with Michael Kimmelman's quotes.

Detail of Michelangelo's Last Judgment (1536-1551) 
"[Michelangelo's] otherworldly muscle men, casting the damned into hell or straining to emerge from thick blocks of veined marble, aspired to an abstract and bygone ideal of the sublime, grounded in Renaissance rhetoric."

John the Baptist (Youth with a Ram), c. 1602
"Caravaggio, on the other hand, exemplifies the modern antihero, a hyperrealist whose art is instantly accessible. His doe-eyed, tousle-haired boys with puffy lips and bubble buttocks look as if they’ve just tumbled out of bed, not descended from heaven."

credits: wikimedia