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History of Western Art - Essay Example

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NAME: INSTRUCTOR: COURSE: DATE: HISTORY OF ART Part One: Jan Van Eyck, Arnolfini’s Wedding, 1434 vs. Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas, 1656 Jan van Eyck and Diego Velasquez are revered as baroque influential artists. They did several masterpieces which to date continue to give insight as to what Renaissance art entailed…
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History of Western Art
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Download file to see previous pages This piece was made in 1656, and exhibits some similarities to “The Arnolfini Marriage.” Velasquez uses refined technicalities, and combines them with profound representations, in order to create a court picture. The first similarity that can be made of these two works of art is in their content. They have human subjects as the main characters, but also incorporate dogs in them. The intended audience for both works is supposedly human. In Las Meninas, the mirror in the background reveals two people. They seem to be approaching Margarita (La Infanta), and her maids of honour. In Arnolfini Wedding, the portrait is a visual record of an event that takes place inside the confines of a palace. The audience in this case, is also reflected in the convex mirror placed on the wall behind Arnolfini and his bride. The three people reflected in the mirror are thought to be the audience to the event. In this portrait, there is a dog that is at the feet of the bride. The styles of the two portraits are also closely related. The body expressions used by the subjects are illustrative of the message being passed. In Las Meninas, the maid attending to Margarita is leaning towards her, indicating servitude. The other maid of honour behind Margarita is in a curtsy stance, to welcome the approaching party. The persons approaching this group as seen from the reflection in the mirror seem to be Margarita’s parents. In the Arnolfini Wedding, the bride has her hand in the palm of the groom. This is taken to be a symbol of her giving herself to him. The lighting in the portraits is from natural sources. In Las Meninas, light comes in through the door that appears to be close to an opening letting in sunlight. There also seems to be a light source towards the direction that margarita has turned her head. In Arnolfini Wedding, natural light come in through the open window. There are minimal facial expressions in both portraits. Natural colours are used in the portraits with various shades black and white featuring most in Las Meninas. In Arnolfini Wedding, blue, green and a deep shade of red break this monotony. The main context in both portraits appears to be family. In Las Meninas, there is Margarita who is being served by her maids of honour. From the mirror, her parents are seen seemingly approaching the group. This is why Margaritas head is tilted towards the direction that other subjects in the portrait are looking. The royal family in this case is present in the room. The setting represents how a child of the royal family is attended to. In Arnolfini Wedding, the first step to setting up a family is taking place. This wedding is performed in the privacy of a chamber, and is witnessed by very few people. Having become married, the couple can start their family, as the bride seems to be pregnant. The elegantly dressed persons in the portrait are symbolic of the royal families in the renaissance period. Part Two Humanism in art refers to a cultural movement that was characteristic of 14th to 16th century art. The focus of works in this period was on humans. This is what set it apart from the earlier centuries that were dominated by Christianity. Humanism offered a different perspective to life. Humanism was a movement that praised humans for their achievements rather than owing it all to divine grace (Gardner, Kleiner and Mamiya). The subjects of painting in this period shifted from religious symbols, to humans and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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