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Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Death Of The Virgin - 656 words
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Death of the Virgin Michelangelo Merisi was born in Caravaggio, Italy in 1573. He grew up to be known by the name of his birthplace, Caravaggio, and as an artist. He was probably the most revolutionary artist of his time, breaking the rules of previous artists. Carvaggio had spent his childhood in the presence of art, living with a painter for four years before moving to Rome to work as an assistant to other painters. In about 1595, he began to sell his paintings through a dealer, who brought him to the attention of the Cardinal.At the age of 24, he was called upon by the Cardinal Francesco del Monte to paint for a church.
He was criticized a lot for the realistic and dramatic nature of his works. Despite the criticism, he was a recognized, and eventually envied painter. While in Rome, he was imprisoned for several assaults. He fled the city and eventually ended up in Naples in about 1607. Here, he painted for a while
During this period, his paintings were dark and urgent, reflecting his feelings at the time. He left and continued to stay undercover for two more years before being arrested and dying not long thereafter. During this period, however, his paintings were among the best of his career. Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin was painted in 1605-1606, in France, probably on his run to Naples. The Death of the Virgin requires some background information to fully understand the meaning of the painting.
The Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ has a special place of devotion especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and is considered a historical work, to these and other religions. Caravaggio was not influenced much by other painters. He was making up his own style of painting. A critic of the age, Giovanni Pietro Bellori wrote: "Caravaggio deserves great praise, as he was the only one who attempted to imitate the nature as opposed to the general trend in which painters imitated other painters." Another critic said that he had "abandoned beauty and was interested in depicting reality." While one may suspect that other artists of the age would have avoided this new realism, many actually borrowed it unconsciously. This particular painting was refused as an altarpiece for Santa Maria della Scala in Rome because of the way the Virgin is represented, her body swollen, limp limbs, and her feet uncovered.
Uncovered feet were considered indecent at the time. Complaints were made that Carvaggio had used the body of a young woman who had drowned as his model for the painting, because it was so realistic. Realism is the major element of Baroque art present in the Death of the Virgin. The expressions on the onlooker's faces are sorrowful on some but coarse on others. Also, the lighting highlights facial expressions and Mary's entire body. The bright light barges in from one source, creating darker shadows that show the more crude tone.
This painting also shows asymmetry and imperfection. The onlookers are standing around naturally and every person is reacting in a different way. I am surprised to see this particular event depicted this way. I would expect the artist to have put Mary on a perfect bed lying comfortably and peacefully as if she had not been in pain at all. I am also surprised by the way some of the onlookers are reacting, some have very rude looks on their faces.
It's a pretty powerful piece if you actually think about the fact that that could really be the way it happened. I like the fact that I am surprised because often times when I think of the people in history, I think of them as not like us at all. But, looking at some of these paintings and the imperfections that are shown and some of the scenes that are painted it can help me to remember that history is similar to today.
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