When Art Speaks: an Analysis of Two Artist and Two Works of Art

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When Art Speaks:
An Analysis of Two Artist and Two Works of Art

Wanda M. Argersinger
Southern New Hanpshire University

When Art Speaks

The Italian Renaissance produced many artists and even more works of art, but there were three artists considered to be the Trinity of Great Masters, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelo Santi, or simply Raphael. While these artists often worked in different mediums, Michelangelo preferred stone and Raphael preferred oil paint. Michelangelo and Raphael were able to portray emotions in their work. In two of these works, The Pieta and La Madonna di San Sisto, these artists were able to bring to works of art the raw emotions felt by their subjects. Though their works are quite different,
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They look puzzled and somewhat bored, a bit mischievous and not at all reverent. The colors are similar to others used during this period but do not contain all the colors used by Michelangelo in his painting of The Sistine Chapel. They are not bright or harsh, but rather muted. There is sparing use of red and blue, but show more use of brown and gold. The curtains and clothes are dark. The images have little shadowing, showing only under the feet of Mary and one of the saints. The lines of the painting show an opened curtain and clouds on which Mary and the saints stand. The cherubs appear to be leaning on a solid surface that is, in fact, the very bottom of the painting, which is the only straight line of the piece. The clothes appear to be flowing, captured by the use of curved lines and shadowing in the folds. The light source appears to be the clouds which are the brightest of the piece. Personally, it is the cherubs that speak to me, and not the entire work of art. I like the playfulness they show in their eyes. I like the idea that not all religious work is completely serious and that some fun exists in religion. Intellectually, I wonder what the purpose Raphael had in including them in a Church commissioned work. This work is much like other works of the time – religious in nature, done in oil, and displayed in a house of worship. No doubt that Rafael was influenced by other artists and the trend in art of the time, and yet from this one work
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