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Abraham's Sacrifice Of Isaac

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Giovanni Battista Gaulli, also known as II Baciccio, painted Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac in ca. 1700. He used oil on a canvas that is 63 ¼’’ by 51 5/8,'' so it is fairly large, and most likely a piece for public viewing. Using a simple palette of brown, blue, green, white, gold, and red, Baciccio depicts the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. This representation shows Abraham standing over the restricted Isaac, who appears to be content with being sacrificed. Unlike Isaac, the emotional Abraham holds the knife stretched from his side towards an unknown voice, and is captured in the moment of his realization that the voice belonged to an angel of the lord. The graceful being floats down from the upper left of the canvas dressed in all white.…show more content…
Baciccio wanted the story he represented to be easily recognized, so he made the angel wear white robes, and display a large set of wings. Abraham appears to be the eldest looking of the group with his beard, wrinkles and is the one who wears the only true red shown on the canvas. In contrast, Isaac’s boyish appearance is presented in the nude. Along with these distinguishing characteristics, Baciccio uses color, and linear perspective to tell this story. He separates the canvas with a background of mountains and trees, a midground of people watching the sky in an open field, and a foreground of his main subject. The focal point becomes the hand Abraham is using to hold the knife. The orthogonals of the altarpiece, mountains in the background, and decent of the angel all point to this location. The excellent details around the hand when contrasted by the natural blurring of the cloudy background draw the eye. Baciccio also uses trees to circle the important trio, and tell the audience that they are the ones who need the attention. Little glances of the landscape can be seen behind them, but for the most part these three figures take up the majority of the canvas. Baciccio wanted to make it easy for the viewer to recognize the story immediately, but those who constantly stare at every leaf, pebble, hair, and brushstroke get the real pleasure of knowing the true story, he story of how the
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