TheBaroquestyle of art Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio shows his uniquenessand creativity.
Summary: provides an outline of the artist under study and the perspective to be covered in regard to his life and works of art.
Introduction: provides an overview of the artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and introduces a thesis under study.
Background: Provides a discussion of the historical background of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and his works of art. Also discusses his context and the issues that influenced his works of art.
“Conversion of Saint Paul” A discussion of the painting and its context and how Caravaggio presents it
The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew: A discussion of the painting on Saint Mathew and how Caravaggio presents it stylistically
The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew: A discussion of how Caravaggio presents the painting stylized in its context
Conclusion: An overview of the thesis and how the works of Caravaggio discusses the uniqueness of his style of art
Thispaper reviews three major artistic works of Caravaggiowith a view of illustrating his unique and creative baroque style ofart. Throughthe review, this paper provides a keen look at Caravaggio’screativity and ability to present historical moments in his view.Through the painting of the conversion of Saul, Caravaggio exploreshow he could contextualize biblical content and present it in art(Wilson 2). Further description of the calling and the martyrdomdeath of Saint Mathew illustrate his understanding of the lives ofthe biblical Christian faith. His ability to describe these contextsin paintings makes him a great artist to explore.
MichelangeloAmerighiMerisidaCaravaggio was active mostly in Italy between 1590 and 1610 inhistory. He is regarded as the founder of the Baroquestyle of painting, a unique painting style evident in several of hispaintings. Caravaggio was moved to Italy with a view of meeting thedemand of paintings created by the Roman Catholic Church (Wilson 3).The church at this time was in reformation crisis and wanted a changefrom mannerisms to physical illustrations that could help thefaithful contextualize their religion.
Thepaintings of Caravaggio were reflective of the current world, butreflected the spiritual aspects of the instances that inspiredChristians (Wilson 3). More importantly, religion in Europe gave himthe context to base his creativity into. This paper describes hisbackground and the issue of religion as the main influence of hiswork.
Referredto as Caravaggio, MichelangeloAmerighiMerisidaCaravaggio was an active artist in the period between 1590 and 1610in Rome. According to Wilkin(42), hisItalian style of painting and creating art works earned him respectand influence in the European arena and the world at large. Hispaintings combined his reflections on the normal human aspects oflife and artistic drama, to produce unique pieces of art that definedhis style of production. This created an influence in the world ofart which made his artwork recognized all over the world of artlovers and artists as well (Wilkin42).This paper will explore the artist and his works of art as theyrelate to his life and thematic orientations in the society. Thediscussion and explanation of his background and pieces of work inthis paper will illustrate Caravaggio’s work and Baroquestyle ascreative and unique.
Caravaggiois considered to be the father of the Baroque style of painting,which is a unique and can be credited to his creativity. In his earlylife, he was taught how to paint by titan, a great painter who livedin the time (Wilkin 43). Titan introduced Caravaggio to great worksof art, including the works of Lombard artists as well as Leonardo DaVinci, from which he learned his art. His work came at a time whenEurope was undergoing a number of issues that were marked by thegreat European crisis of the century (Bruce 297). In particular, hisworks were at the time when Rome was facing a religious crisis in theRoman Catholic Church’s reformation and counter-reformations (Bruce298). These religious related works also attracted criticism andcondemnation to death by the pope and the police alike.
Caravaggio’sstrong background in the world of art was further strengthened by thetraining he got from experienced artists. Wilson (13) describes himas being trained by Patezano who also trained under an experiencedartist called Titan. He moved to Rome as there was a high demand forpaintings from the churches that were being established as the RomanCatholic Church grew (Wilson 13). This religious demand was due tothe need of the Roman Catholic Church to include stylisticalternatives to the practices that were being attacked by thereformists and Protestants (Wilson 14). Another issue that influencedCaravaggio’s works of art was the radical naturalism aspects oflife that combined with his observation of the society. In addition,the developments in the theatrical and dramatic works including theuse of chiaroscuro were other influences to the context of his worksof art.
“Conversionof Saint Paul”
Thispiece of painting“Conversionof Saint Paul,”was one of the most controversial paintings that Caravaggio did inthe time of religious crisis. This painting reflects and recalls thebiblical moments that were experienced by Saul of Tarsus during hisconversion to Christianity (Walsh 29). The painting illustrates thebiblical account of the way in which Saul met the lord as he wasinstructed to convert from roman plans of persecuting the church intoChristianity Walsh 30). The painting reflects how he was stopped by ablinding light combined with the instructing voice, which thepainting seems to show his him listening to something, or someone(Walsh 31). The image of Saul in the painting in a Roman dressinfluences the viewer to agree with the rest of the story portrayedby the art.
Caravaggiopainted this picture with a lot of shadow that covers the body partsof Saul lying on the ground. The image is, however painted withdirectness and all the figures in the painting are done in threedimensional mode. In addition, the painting remains solid with somelight touches to vary the brightness (Walsh 34). In terms ofcontrols, the shades and light adopt a balanced scheme which makesthe masterpiece have some mystical dimensions that reflect both themystical world and ordinary world (Wilkin 3). This painting wascontroversial among the public and was strongly denied by the clergyof the Roman Catholic Church. They argued that the emotion broughtabout by the painting was not reflecting the beliefs of the RomanCatholic Church.
“TheMartyrdom of Saint Matthew”
Thispainting, “TheMartyrdom of Saint Matthew”was done by Caravaggio in 1599 in 1600, thereby closing the centuryand opening another, all in the same piece of art. According to Bruce(299), the piece of art is located in a French congregation church ofthe Contarelli Chapel where it hangs beside the image of SaintMathew. This was the first painting to be placed in the chapel, whichillustrates the demand that was created by the Catholic Church forsuch paintings (Bruce 299). Thepainting reflects the martyrdom of the evangelist and the writer ofthe gospel of Mathew, Saint Mathew. The painting illustrates howMathew was killed at the altar, while celebrating mass (Bruce 301).The image shows a few figures as Mathew is being killed, by peoplewatching to represent those who were in the church. Then the paintingshows figures of soldiers who were persecuting the Saint.
Thepainting, “TheMartyrdom of Saint Matthew”is well balanced in terms of darkness and lighting, as well as theproportion of the people shown in the picture (Bruce 300). Inparticular, the changes of the lighting and darkness are used byCaravaggio to define the bodies and figures in the painting. Thepainting indicates the uniqueness of Caravaggio’s style of the late16thcentury by illustrating artificial rational and intellectualcreativity (Bruce 301). This style and creativity, demonstrate theintroduction of his baroque style. Through the painting, Caravaggiodemonstrates the experience of Mathew in his last day on earthserving God and preaching the gospel (Bruce 302). According to thejudgment of this paper, his body in the painting shows him recoilingand falling as a naked executioner prepares his sword to kill him.Therefore, the painting authenticates the description of the pictureas martyrdom, by showing images of angels receiving him at the altar.
“TheCalling of Saint Matthew”
Thepainting,“TheCalling of Saint Matthew,”was done as a way of drawing away from the emotions that followed thepainting of the “TheMartyrdom of Saint Matthew.”This painting reflects the moments of the biblical story when JesusChrist was calling Mathew to follow Him as a disciple (Wilson7).The painting was also completed at the same time as the “TheMartyrdom of Saint Matthew”in 1599 to 1600. The painting was done to decorate the chapel withthemes about the Saint who also wrote the gospel of Mathew (Wilson8). The painting was done to be placed in the chapel that wasinspired by a cardinal named after the Saint (Wilson 8). The paintingillustrates men seated at a table and Caravaggio differentiatesMathew calm on his seat. Caravaggio further illustrates Mathew as atax collector together with the other four men.
Caravaggioillustrates a man, deemed to be Jesus pointing at Mathew while he isstanding alongside another person, probably a disciple. To show thesacredness of the call, Caravaggio illustrates the entrance of Jesusinto the room by shedding a light that illuminates the faces of thebodies of the men seated at the table in the house, all staring atJesus (Wilson 9), The painting, however leaves a debatable issue ofthe exact identity of Saint Mathew in the picture. Even though Jesusis painted to point at Mathew, Caravaggio does not clearly indicatethe exact man that should be Mathew (Wilson 10). To analyze the menat a critical angle, this paper views Mathew as the bearded man sincehe seems to have a surprise gesture of pointing at himself, a way ofasking whether it is him being called.
Thediscussion and illustration of the three works of Caravaggio presentshis baroque style of art, as creative and unique.His training with the most respected painting experts at the timeprovided his early life with a background that was rich enough topromote his creativity. In addition, the context of Europe and Italyat his time provided the right demand for his paintings that mostlyfocused on religion. His paintings however reflected stories andfacts that were disputed by religious leaders, especially the RomanCatholic Church led by the pope. Moreover, the controversies he hadin his life in regard to the paintings made him more famous in death.His paintings on the life of Mathew and the conversion of Saulreflect his understanding of the religion and the ability tocontextualize the moments and present them in uniquely done works ofart.
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Wilkin,Karen. "Two Views Of Caravaggio."NewCriterion18.6(2000): 42. LiteraryReference
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