Bartolomeo Manfredi Essay, Research Paper
The first artist I have chosen is Bartolomeo Manfredi (1582 – 1622). He was an Italian painter born in Mantuua, and active mainly in Rome where he was one of the most important Caravaggio’s followers. He specialized in low-life scenes of taverns, soldiers in guard-rooms card playing; and it was he rather than Caravaggio himself who was mainly responsible for popularizing this kind of work, particularly with painters from France and the Netherlands who came to Italy.(1)
“Inspite of his contemporary reputation, no works survive that are signed or documented as his. Several of the forty or so paintings now given to him were formerley attributed to Caravaggio. One example being (The Concert in the Uffizi) Florence Italy.”(2)
The piece I was able to view is “Cupid Chastised” the medium is oil on canvas 1605. The size of this piece is 175.3 X 130.6 cm. He paints during the Boroque period, and captures the exact moment Mars the god of war, beats cupid for causing his affair with Venus, and this exposed him to the derision of the other gods. The center of our focus is on the red outfit worn by Mars, we see his one hand holding Cupid down on the brown wood floor; while the other is coiled to strike Cupid’s white unclothed bottom. The two pieces of rope about a foot long with knots at the end look much like to snakes coiled and ready to strike. Then we notice Venus her dress is a dark green flowing behind her as she has run over to stop Mars by attempting to grab his arm with the rope in it. The dress is torn exposing her right bossom, but we can sense compassion in her facial expression. In her right hand she appears to have grabbed an arrow off the floor, and I get the feeling she may use the arrow to stop Mars.
Manfredi bring us up close to the action, and by using mannerism to set the mood of this eternal conflict between love and war. He brings us in the room where Mars is raising the whip to a blind-folded cupid. The area around is dark, but we see a few doves representing peace flying away in the upper right corner of the picture. The scale of mars is larger than everyone else, and the proportion appears normal. The perspective is at eye level, with the vanishing point between the arm of Venus and the leg of Mars. We see this painting in one point perspective, and the directional force flows from Cupid to Mars then to Venus. Iconography appears in the form of Cupid, we know it’s Cupid due to the fact of the blindfold, arrows and the wings (not just the title). While the content here expresses his anger of embarassment, Venus shows compassion and possibly confusion; with her left hand trying to stop Mars from striking the bare bottomed Cupid. I could feel the anger Mars has, the confussion and fear Cupid possed. I’m not sure whom Venus holds the compassion for is it Cupid or Mars?
To me the message the artist is saying: Mars the “God of War” if he could, would chastise Cupid for his affair with Venus, and he depicts a very clear picture of how that event would take place at the moment Mars confronts Cupid. I loved the painting, and I could imagine chastising Cupid for a few things myself. Manfredi captured the moment beautifully, and I’m almost sure that painting is timeless and speaks for many situations today.