Dolci And Stomer Essay, Research Paper
Over the centuries, picturing religious events in the form of artwork was still very popular and important. However, the way or style in which the events were pictured changed. The cultural production of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is often described as the baroque period. Among the most noted Italian Baroque painters were Caravaggio and Carracci, whose different styles were both in line with the period. Through copies of their paintings and styles being taught in art schools, their influence on later artists inside and outside of Italy has been enormous. Carlo Dolci and Mathias Stomer are each painters that were influenced by the style of Caravaggio and Carracci. Stomer s painting, The Judgment of Solomon (1640), shows an influence of Caravaggio, where Dolci s painting, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist (1636) shows an influence of the style of Carracci.
Stomer s style of painting is closely related to that of Caravaggio (1573-1610). Caravaggio, an Italian baroque painter, naturalized both religion and the classics in his art where he reduced them to human dramas played out in the cruel and grimy settings of his time and place. He often used perspective and chiaroscuro to bring viewers as close to the action of the painting as possible to give viewers a feel as if they were actually participating. Caravaggio also used dark setting that enveloped their occupants called tenebrism or shadow manner.
Upon first glance of the painting, The Judgment of Solomon, the viewer s eyes are taken to a single point of illumination near a picture of a beautiful new born hanging upside down by a man ready to slaughter it. There is great attention given to shading and the illumination of light. Stomer shows great talent in painting muscular figures by the look of the man holding the sword and of the two infants. The clothes on each person are pictured as free flowing giving the clothes and the person a very natural look. Overall, this painting is so naturalistic it gives the viewer the feeling as though they are actually witnessing a real event.
Before reading the description of the painting, it seems as thought the picture does not show a religious moment taking place. The painting shows two mothers, one with an exposed breast, pleading to a king not to kill the newborn hanging upside down. One newborn is pictured to already be dead. People are pictured behind the king with expressions of awe and of serious concentration.
Upon further research, the painting actually depicts a biblical event. 1 Kings 3:16-28 tells the story. King Solomon was called upon to judge the claims of two prostitutes who gave birth to newborns. One infant died and each claimed the living infant as her own. To be fair, King Solomon ordered the infant cut in half and each half given to each mother. At this decision, the true birth mother of the living infant renounced her claim to the child in order to save its life. This painting reveals the moral law of truth over treachery.
The Judgment of Solomon shows Caravaggio s extreme influence on the art of Stomer. Stomer used tenebrism to show the serious and shocked facial expressions on each of the paintings occupants. This contrast of light and dark is the biggest influence of Caravaggio seen in the painting. Stomer uses perspective and chiaroscuro to bring the viewer s eyes to a single point of reference of the painting, as did Caravaggio did in his paintings, Conversion of Saint Paul and The Calling of Saint Matthew. Sharply lit, naturalistic figures are seen to be emerging from the background in order to witness the carrying out of King Solomon s decision.
Dolci s painting, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist (1636), shows an influence of the style of Carracci. Carracci, in contrast to Caravaggio, not only studied, but also emulated the Renaissance masters through iconic paintings. Where Caravaggio s style is seen more as naturalistic , Caracci s style is more towards a classically ordered style. Carracci had a profound interest in illusion, already manifest in the Renaissance, which is evident in his grand ceiling paintings of the seventeenth century. In Loves of the Gods (1597), Carracci used a classical style influenced by the artist Michelangelo.
The viewer first sees the painting, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, as a picture of the Madonna holding baby Jesus as seen many times throughout history. The pictured is in a gold frame, which is reminiscent of earlier times. The three beings, Mary, Jesus, and Saint John as a child, seem to be lit from beneath giving them a three-dimensional look. The background is dark and each being is pictured with a very fair complexion.
Each person in the painting has light red colored hair with rosy cheeks and brown eyes that stand out to the viewer. The painting is done with oil on wood that gives it a glare and brush strokes are not clearly seen. Saint John the Baptist is show with a ribbon and a cross and with his hands in a gesture as if he was praying.
This painting shows the influence of Carracci by the way Mary, Jesus, and Saint John are pictured. Dolci modeled the figures in an even sculptured light, as did Carracci in many of his paintings. This painting is iconic and does not bring to life a religious event described in the bible. Carracci often used iconographic illustrations in his paintings such as the Loves of the Gods, which are paintings of the interpretations of the varieties of earthly and divine love in classical mythology.
The two paintings come from the same era, but are each of a different style and influence. Stomer s naturalistic painting shows a biblical event, whereas Dolci s painting shows an influence of a classic style and is iconographic is nature. Each uses a chiaroscuro, but Stomer s is more profound in its use. Stomer s painting uses a single point of light to light up the painting, Dolci s work pictures Mary, Jesus, and Saint John the Baptist as being lit from beneath.
Italian Baroque religious art depended on the drama and theatrically of individual images that is evident in these two paintings. The influence of Caravaggio and Carracci not only had an influence over Stomer and Dolci, but over many other artists as well. This influence contributed to them being the most famous artists of this period.