Art Compare and Contrast Essay

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Since the beginning of time, art has been a part of this world. I am not only referring to paintings and drawings, art comes in all different shapes, forms, and sizes. Art includes designing, sculpture, painting, drawing, coloring, and so much more. The earliest undisputed art originated with the Homo sapiens Aurignacian archaeological culture in the Upper Paleolithic. However, there is some evidence that the preference for the aesthetic emerged in the Middle Paleolithic, from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago. Moving forward, I will be discussing two brilliant sculptures, Michaelangelo’s David and David by Bernini.

The Baroque period of the seventeenth century had both, incorporated as well as rejected Renaissance ideals into their art. Although it still focused on making idealized, natural, and humanistic artworks, Baroque art was also made in a way to deliberately bring out intense emotional responses from the viewers. The lighting, rich visual colors, composition and diagonal movement in space, are some of the most evident details telling us about the intent of the artwork. We can see the difference of art from two different eras in the difference between two statues of David. One of the statues was made in 1501 by Michelangelo, and the other David statue was made in 1623 by Gianlorenzo Bernini.

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Michelangelo’s David statue is that of a strong, confident young man. In its muscular nudity, this David embodies the antique ideal of the athletic male nude. Being in a relaxed pose with a slingshot over his shoulder, the concentrated gaze of David tells us of the emotional part of the figure. Michelangelo’s David knits his brow and is staring into space, seemingly preparing himself psychologically for the battle ahead of him. This David statue is very peaceful to look at and it feels like the strongest emotion that it can bring out in a viewer is curiosity.

Gianlorenzo Bernini’s David was made with a different type of three-dimensional composition that seems to be forcefully thrust into a viewer’s space. This young hero is bent at the waist and twists far to one side ready to throw the rock at Goliath. Unlike Michelangelo’s preoccupied young man contemplating the task ahead of him, Bernini’s more mature David, with his lean, athletic body, tightly clenched mouth, and straining muscles, is all about tension, action and determination.’ (Stockstad p.716) By creating a twisting figure caught in movement, Bernini incorporates the surrounding space within his composition, making the viewer almost feel the presence of an unseen attacker behind them. This makes the viewer become part of the action scene rather than just an observer and can bring out the emotion of fear.

By comparing the two figures of David, we can see the difference of the Classical art and Baroque art. Both statues are the ideal of male form in a natural setting rather than posed, but at the same time, each statue shows us a very different approach to the situation. Michelangelo’s David is all about confidence, focus and controlled emotion. In contrast, Bernini’s David is all about dramatic action and determination. These are just some of the differences in the statues that enables us to tell that they are both from different artistic periods.

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