Art is an institution so broad that it has no exact definition. Since time immemorial, philosophers had debated what art is and what the components thereof are. However, the constraints they encountered hindered them to tender a definition that will best describe ‘art’. Nevertheless, they agree on one of its aspect: that every colour and outline of a piece is a way of expression.
One of the factors that jeopardized their intention to give a definition is that the art is evolving; it is not stable.
Art is dependent on its surroundings that give it life. An example of this life-giving attribute is culture. Every culture has its own way of expressing its traditions. But how ever these traditions are expressed, they are always portrayed in the same way – by art.
Another factor that deems art as evolving is intelligence. As the age of man turn another era, the knowledge, appreciation, philosophy, view, and the like turns together simultaneously. This aspect of intelligence and philosophy shall be discussed exhaustively hereafter.
It is imperative, to best explain the foregoing, is to cite a very concrete example.
The present the issue, two paintings were chosen. These paintings contain the same theme but were done during different times. One was painted during the Middle Ages in Europe and the other was worked during the Renaissance in the same country.
The artwork with theme THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST had been a favourite subject of paintings representing beliefs and religion, most especially by the Church. The medieval artwork was completed during the middle ages of Spain and can be seen in Hermitage of San Baudelio de Berlanga, province of Soria, Spain. However, the artist is not identified.
On the other hand, the painting with the same subject matter done by Sandro Botticelli was painted during the Renaissance dated in the year 1481-1482. This grand painting can be viewed in the Sistine Chapel, Rome.
It is evident that the two paintings have similarities. They were both painted to honour Christ as the Son of God as He dispelled evil and resisted its temptations. Both were created to represent their belief for religion. Both were painted in the service and for the beautification of the Church.
However, albeit they do not seem to differ as how the human eyes see it, there lie a number of distinctions beyond their creativity.
The scholars and artists of both the medieval and the renaissance eras were devoted to Christianity. However, it is to be noted that the intellectuals during the former were focused on studying Greek and Arabic works of natural science and mathematics.
It is undeniable that the painting during the medieval period, although as perfect as it is, is plain for lacking the element of being realistic. The images of men are distorted wherein their eyes are big, their body structures are not in balance, the parts of their body are edgy, the colors are not flamboyant, the outlining of the images are bold and visible, and the background does not resemble a true earthly surrounding.
The focus on mathematics on the medieval era may be deduced in this artwork. It is shown that the artist of this piece followed a linear pattern wherein the images of the Temptation of Christ were painted in a strict chronological order as though he arranged bowling pins in a consecutive manner. The first image, which was the first temptation of Christ, was successfully followed by the second, and by the third. The strict interpretation of the verses of the bible which was put into drawings and colours into this picture lacks the emotions eminent in Christ when he was confronted by temptations. This painting only narrates the facts of the story and does not necessarily connects to the emotions of the viewers.
On the other hand, cultural movements during the renaissance period profoundly affected the intellectual life. The scholars during this era employed the humanist method and concentrated on realism and human emotion. They studied vigorously shadow, light and human anatomy in art. As a consequence thereof, a distinguishing feature resulted where there is a development of a highly realistic perspective. The artists portray or render the human form realistically and applied techniques to display and deliver perspective and light more naturally. The paintings desire to depict human nature, and uncover the axioms of beauty.
The painting by Sandro Botticelli on the Temptation of Christ is a clear example of how art and intelligence incorporated into each other and formed an innovative way of expression. This piece by Botticelli is a tangible imagery of reality and true emotions of human being. With these elements being indispensable ingredients in a specific artwork, the grandeur of inherent human essence will leave the viewer in awe.
The works of Botticelli in portraying The Temptation of Christ utilizes a true copy of the beauty of human form. What was discussed earlier in relation to the lights, shadows and human form are all depicted in the painting. Unlike in the medieval painting with the same theme, the humans in this picture exhibit the normal and usual activities of the people in a certain village or town. With the proper lighting and shadowing, and proper edging and spacing, the picture presents the appearance of a real town. The faces and the stills of each character emphasize affection and passion which causes the real and genuine nature of men shine through. Thus, it is evident that the study of scholars, and the influence of the changing culture and intellect, manifests in art. The love of human form encouraged the artist to capture the variations of human form and appearance including different emotional states, figures of the different classes of men, and the arrangement of each individual in a group and telling a dramatic effect.
Sandro Botticelli is not as famous as Leonardo Da Vinci or Michaelangelo but his paintings did reach the peak of popularity. Because of his works, with the fantastic lines and patters applied, his name is now indestructible as it is memorable just as the other two famous artists mentioned. Botticelli was on ordinary goldsmith but his determination to be an artist prevailed. He was trained by Fra Filippo Lippi from whom he learned the different philosophy about humans and how to replicate them in a realistic painting. At the age of fifteen, he was already a master of art in his own right.
The mastery of human form which had been depicted several times in renaissance art simply presents that the population of such era respects man and his capabilities. It also shows that aesthetics was highly regarded since it was magnanimously mastered. The beauty of the existence of mankind and the benefits it causes to the other creations of the Supreme Maker were also given a high attention.
Most famous renaissance paintings were done for religious purposes. This is because this period is devoted to Christianity. The scholars continually emphasized the humanity of Christ and the need to lives modelled by Christ himself. Even though under the theme of religion, no two artworks of the same category are alike. The variations display the creativity of artists as well as concerns of patrons and changing attitude within the Church.
Renaissance is intimately connected to the birth and death of Christ because this period of time focuses more on the reality of human nature of Christ himself who was born and raised on earth. This drama in Christ’s life puts the dignity of human being on the pedestal and increased the value of humanity. The birth and death of Christ, in addition to his dwelling on earth, signifies that God so loved man that his only Son became one.
The society in this era laid great emphasis on religion since the life of Christ was an essential embodiment of everyday teachings. The images of Christ, with the application of the appearance of real light and shadows, were meant to enhance the experience of the faithful worship. Thus, the artist and the scholars, with the knowledge and wisdom they posses, performs an indispensable service and had to work with the structure of the tradition of the majority.
Since the scholars and other intellectuals of the renaissance researched information in relation to human nature and focuses thereon, the arts during this time are more realistic. They became more effective in depicting the appearance of an appearance of what is really real. They represent with utmost confidence the various nature of human as a being. Because of the enhancement of shadows, lights and anatomy in the works, the viewers of the same can live vicariously on the culture and tradition rendered in the masterpieces.
The ideology of humanity stressed the human existence on art and specifically gave weight on themes related to earthly, at the same time heavenly, nature of man. Scholars’ philosophies were uniform and agreed that man is the only created being which are high above the animals and other living beings.
Pico della Mirandola authored a vibrant defence of thinking titled The Oration of the Dignity of Man. In this piece, mankind was appreciated in every detail of its existence. Man was elevated above every creature in earth. Moreover, man in this article is made deserving for the blessing and fruits of the earth because he is the most beloved by God. These studies in the renaissance era was said to be the evidence that the society has improved on the culture from of the middle ages. However, it was debated that these ideologies just worsened the social diseases such as poverty, adultery, prostitution, crimes, and like. Although these ideologies, the rampant appreciation of human aesthetics, was considered to be the foundation of the ‘golden era’ by a few, these same philosophies were treated as an incubus of more stringent and more serious debates. Nevertheless, the popularity and effectiveness of Pico’s piece was so big that it affected the most number of the population then. This is not in consideration of his young age.
In conclusion, no matter how an art is performed, or how many elements are incorporated therein, it is still a medium of expression. Whatever the race or language of the artist, or whatever philosophies he learned, still, art is the most convenient and most effective way of expressing a culture or tradition.
“Temptation of Christ, The [Spain] (61.248)”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/61.248 (October 2006)
Eric Rymer. Sandro Botticelli, Temptation of Christ, Bearer of the Law of the Gospel. 2000-2010. Web. 22 May 2010.
Cite this Comparison of the Two Paintings
Comparison of the Two Paintings. (2016, Sep 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/comparison-of-the-two-paintings/