• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Claire Wilson LM12 The Conversion of Saint Paul, 1601 (second version) Oil on Canvas, 230 x 130 cm, Rome - Cerasi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo 'The Conversion of Saint Paul' is one of two paintings by Caravaggio (1573 - 1610) which was part of a prestigious commission for the Cerasi chapel in Santa del Popolo which is situated in one of Rome's most beautiful squares. The accompanying piece is 'The Crucifixion of Saint Peter' and they were both completed in 1601. Caravaggio was the foremost painter of the religious baroque period that signified the beginning of Baroque style. He was an exciting, controversial and revolutionary artist as he was already experimenting with the dramatic and emotional aspects of art even before the turn of the 17th Century and the onset of the Baroque style. The techniques of painting used by Caravaggio, as with all areas of his life, created controversy, Caravaggio worked very speedily and his work was often impulsive and experimental. Caravaggio worked in a way that rejected the traditions of extensive, detailed preparation work as practised in central Italy, he worked from Rome, and worked in a way more congruous with the Venetian practises. This was because he preferred to work in oils directly from his subjects straight onto the canvas with no sketching, not even for the main figures. ...read more.

Middle

The colours used in the painting are earthy tones, in the background, muted and dark, and in the foreground more vivid with the red cloth underneath Paul and the oranges of his armour. This means that whilst Paul, the focal point of the painting, is in an unconventional position on the ground he is still obviously important and stands out significantly more than the groom, who is hardly noticeable emerging from the shadows in the top right corner. In addition there are stylistic touches typical of 17th Century artists, such as the masterful effect of texture shown in the discarded Roman helmet in the bottom right-hand corner, the metal truly looks metallic with the touches of reflective light shimmering, in contrast to the soft feathers painted with equal attention to create a completely contrasting texture. Caravaggio's work is often described as a violent reaction to the constrained and academic style of the Mannerists, Caravaggio was revolutionary in creating an intense realism that would have a great influence on later artists. Caravaggio aimed to move his work and art itself forward by abandoning the idealisation of human and religious subjects. Also he focused equally on human figures and inanimate objects - still life. This can be seen in the detailed rendering of the helmet and sword but Caravaggio's skill at still life is demonstrated more fully in works such as 'Supper at Emmaus' (1601) ...read more.

Conclusion

Only the first version of 'The Conversion of Saint Paul' survived and is in the Odescalchi-Balbi collection. Caravaggio was working in a climate of great religious, political and social unrest in Italy, as a reaction to the Reformation and the minimalism of the Protestant faith came the Counter - Reformation. This was a period of time when the Catholic Church reasserted it's power where it could, and Religious Baroque is a style that was forced upon artists by Catholic authorities. This was a time of militant Catholicism, there was a crusade of censorship, indoctrination including the use of propaganda, it was almost impossible for an artist to paint something other than a religious scene. Although Caravaggio was very much a natural rebel and a bohemian, the effects of the Counter - Reformation can be clearly seen through the big commissions of his life, such as the Cerasi and Contarelli commissions. These are typical of the type of art the Catholic Church demanded, art that involved viewers emotionally so they could take part in the religious experience themselves. 'The Conversion of Saint Paul' and 'The Crucifixion of Saint Peter' are archetypal because of their large scale depiction's of the suffering of saints and matydom. To enforce the censorship of subjects disapproved by the Catholic Church financial support of artists working outside the catholic church was scarce. It was because the Protestants criticised Catholicism for being too lavish in regards to art that so many elaborate works of great size were commissioned during this period, works such as this. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Art section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Art essays

  1. Why did the Renaissance start in Italy during the 15th century?

    Scholars from the 15th century accepted what these writers said. Pliny (the Roman writer) had said that if you sailed south of the equator you would be scorched to death.

  2. Contrast the priorities of the northern and southern Renaissance.

    One of the key features of the renaissance is Humanism. This is associated more with the northern renaissance. Humanists believed that God had given each person free will and that it was up to everybody to use their talents to the full and to achieve their true potential.

  1. Starry Night at St. Rmy

    This unusually synthetic quality, coupled with van Gogh's own statement that when he has "...a terrible need of...religion.... Then I go out at night to paint the stars" (Van Gogh, Complete Letters, vol. 3, 56) has opened the doors to biblical interpretations based largely upon the inclusion of certain celestial objects in the painting.

  2. Evaluation - Caravaggio

    However lighter tones are used on the figure of Jesus. There's also a prominent contrast of lights and darks used effectively. Composition The formal elements of this picture include four individuals, the central and most important being Jesus. Around his are three more men who are likely to be his followers.

  1. Some writers have argued that each discipline has 'essential characteristics'. To what extent do ...

    The uses of musical instruments in Braque's pieces involve a sense of touch which introduces not just a visionary aspect but a somewhat tactile one also. The painting also involves textual elements which gives the painting a sense of time and relevance to everyday life.

  2. Analysis of Rembrandt Joseph Accused by Potiphars wife Essay.

    robe, placed her fingertips in the middle of the canvas (Munz 10). Another important placement involves the bed. After a careful look at the picture, I found the bed also is located in the middle of the painting, and covers over half of the canvas.

  1. Using explorative strategies to help understand the 'Coca-Cola Advert' lyrics and Picasso's Guernica.

    Therefore, the small stone in our production symbolised coke/symbolised flower/symbolised Hope. Furthermore, we tried to retain the significance of hope being 'compressed' or 'potentially explosive' and link that into the piece. So the moment when both Picasso and the Coke People actually saw the stone, the mood completely transformed.

  2. Georges Braque and Paul Cézanne Contrasting Essay.

    In this painting he used warm, autumn, rustic colours. The colours he used were not distinct, there were of many different shades. C�zanne used strong, violent and destructive subjects due to his depressive period in his life and used thick dark paint in many of his early work.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work