The two works of art that caught my eye when looking for subjects that demonstrated what we discussed in class were The Resurrection by The Master of the Osservanza and The Agony in the Garden by Sassetta. The Resurrection was done on wood panel with tempera paint is a portrayal of Jesus Christ rising from the tomb after his crucifixion and the effects this had on those nearby. This work was done in Italy in the 15th century and much like other works from this period in both its style and its themes.
Both the technical and iconological features of the painting serve s examples of the type of art that was being produced by other artists at the time. These similarities in theme tone material and procedure are what really define the style of the paintings and alter pieces produced in this era. The main thing I notice when I look at The Resurrection is the way the painting is presented and constructed. The figures are arranged in a triangular fashion with Jesus Christ as the highest character, and the one that all other figures in the scene are fixated on.
But even though this work shows Christ as the center of attention, it does not place him in the enter of the scene, instead he is raised and off to the side. Also, unlike a lot of previous styles, many of the figures around Christ have their backs to the viewer or are not facing forward. This is also the case in The Agony in the Garden, where many are not facing the viewer or the focal point of the scene.
This much looser and more natural way of arranging events provides a more accurate representation of a scene the artist is meaning to depict. This is an important feature in these two works, as it allows for more detain in the presentation of story being told. While these works demonstrate the turn toward more realistic ways of ssembling the scene, it also contains many consistencies that can be found throughout many of the artworks we have previously covered.
The biggest connection between The Resurrection, The Agony in the Garden, and previous works is the use of gold to accent color schemes and important points of interest in the paintings. The aura surrounding Christ in The Resurrection is a way to place him spiritually above those around him; the gold stands out from the tempera and actually shines when the light strikes it.
This use of an outside material that has such an eye-catching property in both he radiant aura and the objects adorning the body of Christ sweeps the eye of the viewer over those underneath him so as to pose the question “Why are these men dropping their weapons and cowering? ” then answers the question by displaying a bold gleaming image of a man that while acting as the center of the scene is also by way of artistic creation removed from the rest of the picture and placed in a position above all others.
The Master of the Osservanza on the other hand uses the gold pressing as less of a physical divider separating the more divine from others and more of a ecorative feature used to produce halos and brightly colored cloths, affirming the religious context of the events taking place. While the use of gold in the creative process, The Master of the Osservanza also used other means to create a believable environment to act as a backdrop for the events taking place.
He uses perspective and foreshortening to show objects becoming more distant and excluded from the foreground, as well as a skyline with changing colors demonstrating a curvature of the light as it shines from behind the mountains leading the viewer to realize that even though this scene may take place at night, the ura produced by Christ is illuminating all things surrounding him, even casting adown against the minimal light shining from one direction onto the objects in the foreground.
All this it produced by simply varying colors used in the different greens and blues of the skyline and terrain. Sassetta on the other hand uses more bland and unchanging color patterns for his sky and ground cover; this lessens the feeling of depth and make the painting look more two dimensional. Sassetta also uses foreshortening to make objects appear smaller and distant, but The Agony in the Garden ust does not project the distance in atmosphere that Master of the Osservanza does in The Resurrection. The most important part of appreciating any work of art is understanding why it was created.
Is it telling a story? Teaching a lesson? Is it a portrait or just a picture? The Master of the Osservanza clearly describes the story of Christ rising from the tomb to the astonishment of those surrounding it. Art showing the life of Christ always seem to me to be the most popular subject, and the works depicting the most important events such as the crucifixion and resurrection are always the most powerful and the most radiantly done. In The Resurrection, Master of the Osservanza does Christ’s form in much higher detail.
The picture conveys the story not only of Christ being dead by showing a tomb, but drawing him in an enhanced spectral form and having an incapacitating effect on those around him who seem to be nonbelievers. I see this painting as both a religious lesson being taught and a story being told. The idea of those who doubt Christ being overpowered by his presence is used as a warning to those who might question Christ by giving an example of what happens if they do. This is a very common theme in many artworks, especially those dealing with eligious figures or events.
I see The Resurrection by Master of the Osservanza and The Agony in the Garden by Sassetta to be a great example of many of the style we covered in the early sections of the class; I personally see the methods used making The Resurrection as a more defined and believable style than The Agony in the Garden. The Master of the Osservanza’s use of different artistic styles to create incredibly believable skies and beautiful impressions of light work to impress the viewer more than a lot of the other 14th and 15th century works I have seen of similar types and styles.