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Compare and Contrast, Visual Analysis

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Compare and Contrast Analysis

The two works that have been chosen for this paper have similar subject matters, but different ways of displaying them. The first painting, is the “Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Nicholas of Tolentino,” by Lorenzo Lotto in 1523–24. The second painting is “Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Peter, Paul and George (?), Four Angels, and a Donor,” by Fra Angelico in 1446-49. The paintings had been made in the 15th and 16th century, where a lot had been going on. In the 15th century, artists had started to go back to antiquity, humanism, realism and naturalism. Humanism had been a growing concern for the natural world and the individuals within it. The departure from strict religious values as a way of organizing society had become an expanding problem. The catholic church had then started to fight back against the Humanist movement. The Humanists had created the alternate path that wasn't tied to the church, and the Catholic church had started to fight back against the movement. The printing press created by Gutenberg in the 15th Century had made reading spread much more quickly, and become much more accessible to the public. This was one of the biggest catalysts of the reformation at the time. The printing press had helped individuals be able to read, and had helped individuals become informed about their decision to stay with the Catholic Church or not. Grecco-Byzantine style had become one of the main styles of painting during the time. While Christ and The Virgin, and religion had become the main subjects during this time. Artists start to use earthy colors, and gold homogenous backgrounds. And art had started to move to society in different ways, such as: patronage, guilds, portraits. So, more people had more access to the artwork of the time, and were able to go interact with it. In the 16th Century, The Northern Renaissance artwork starts to get weird, more abstract, and have a high interest in the supernatural. People also are starting to put their feelings into work instead of being strictly influenced by religion. Print Culture had become extremely important to the individuals of the time. These issues had aroused because of the effects of the printing press. Artists of the time had been creating work that was much more easy to copy than before, so copyright had become a major issue at the time, to say the least. The works at the time also had a lot of German and Austrian influence, which had moved North and West. The influences had aroused due to artists starting to travel around the world to make more work, and experience more. The monarchy of the time had professed to have ties to ancient Rome. All of this context can be seen within the paintings that have been chosen.

In “Virgin and Child with Saints Jerome and Nicholas of Tolentino,” Mary is holding baby Jesus with weeping Saint Jerome, who is holding a crucifix, to her left, and Saint Nicholas holding a flower, looking up at Jesus, on her right. The colors are extremely vibrant and deep, within the painting. Mary is wearing a bright red dress with a blue cloth draping over her waist and legs, and wearing a pink and white veil over her hair. Jesus is being held by Mary, sitting on a pillow on top of a small coffin. Saint Jerome is holding a gold crucifix with a gray cloth draped over one half of his body. He also has a significant amount of facial hair compared to the other figures in the painting. Saint Nicholas is wearing a black robe, and holding a long white flower. All of the figures in this painting have halo’s surrounding their heads, except for Jesus. The background of the painting consists of an atmospheric, pastoral mountain range that is half covered by a green curtain. The small coffin that Christ sits on foreshadows his death, as well as the crucifix held by Saint Jerome. Meditation on the death of Christ was encouraged as a way of understanding Christ’s suffering and man’s redemption, during this time period.

In “Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Peter, Paul and George (?), Four Angels, and a Donor,” The Virgin Mary, seated on a throne, is placed in the center of this composition, and several figures surrounding her. Mary is also wearing a red dress with a blue garment wrapped around her, and holding baby Jesus with a white fabric draped around him. There are three men on one side of the painting that all are stacked in a sort of totem pole effect. The one in the furthest back is wearing a pink garment, the one in the middle back is wearing a blue robe with a gold garment surrounding him, and the one in the front is wearing a pink robe, while kneeling with his hands folded in prayer. There is a man on the right side of the painting as well, who is covered in dark grey and pink armour and holding a flag in one hand and a sword in the other. And lastly, there are four women in the background, all wearing either red or blue robes.

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