The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting and a Discussion of Caravaggio's Artistic Techniques - Research Paper Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
The Supper at Emmaus (1601), which today hangs in the National Gallery in London, is perhaps one of the greatest paintings in the world and is the masterpiece of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER91.1% of users find it useful
The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting and a Discussion of Caravaggios Artistic Techniques
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting and a Discussion of Caravaggio's Artistic Techniques"

Download file to see previous pages Caravaggio had a strong inclination towards “realism”, which we may define as an attempt to imitate the natural appearance of things through the medium of paint on canvas. Caravaggio said that a good painter “knows how to paint well and imitate natural things well” (Oxford Art Online) and said he did not need to copy ancient art because “Nature had sufficiently provided him with Masters” (Venturi 28). The Supper at Emmaus is remarkable for its “realism” and is at the same time a work of great formal complexity. It is also wonderful for its bold contrast of light and shadow (called “chiaroscuro”) and its harmony of colours. These artistic features are not an end in themselves. They are all designed to aid Caravaggio’s presentation of his subject – the resurrected Christ, still with us in our daily lives – as the rest of this paper will seek to prove. The Supper at Emmaus illustrates a story from the Gospels. After his Crucifixion, the resurrected Christ appeared to two of his disciples who were walking on the highway. He fell into conversation with them but they did not recognize him until, later that day, the three of them sat down to dine at an inn. Christ broke the bread in his old familiar way, the disciples now realized who it was, and he then “vanished from their sight.” Surprisingly, The Supper at Emmaus was not intended to hang in a church. It was commissioned by a rich layman, Ciriaco Mattei, for his private collection and was later bought by Cardinal Scipione, also for a collection (Wilson-Smith 70). Although not hanging in a church, Caravaggio’s painting would have served as a focus for private devotion. Even today, reproductions of the picture can sometimes be found displayed in a place of honor in people’s homes and in churches. The formal composition of the painting consists of four figures grouped round a table, which is laden with food and drink. The heads of the three seated figures – Christ and the two disciples – form a triangle, with Christ’s head as the top of the triangle. This neat arrangement would, on its own, have been too harmonious for such a dramatic subject, and so Caravaggio deliberately breaks this pattern by introducing a fourth, standing figure – the innkeeper – to add a note of drama to the painting. The innkeeper also adds a new element to the composition, since three of the heads – the innkeeper, Christ, and the disciple on the right – form a bold diagonal line across the painting. This diagonal of heads echoes the direction of the light, which falls diagonally from an unseen window on the left. The strong contrasts of light and shadow add their own touch of drama to the painting, and they also help to vary the composition by distributing areas of light and dark throughout the painting. The naturalistic arrangement of the figures, with three seated and one standing, and the bold use of lighting are examples of Caravaggio’s “illusionism”, his attempt to make us believe that the scene is really taking place before our eyes. Scholars like Roberta Lampucci have shown that Caravaggio probably had a hole in the ceiling of his studio from which light filtered, and he may have posed groups of people to act as models for his paintings (“Caravaggio’s Painting Secrets”). Light falling onto figures creates shadows, making the figures look more solid and three-dimensional. In The Supper at Emm ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting Research Paper”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting Research Paper)
“The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting Research Paper”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
murazikchaya added comment 1 year ago
Student rated this paper as
At first, I thought 5 of pages is too much for such a issue. But now I see it could not be done better. As the author starts you see the depth of the issue. I’ve read all at once. Wonderful research

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting and a Discussion of Caravaggio's Artistic Techniques

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio The Calling of Saint Mathew

...and with time and it is the contradictory interpretations in paintings that makes the painting interesting and often lend an element of mystery towards it. The painting discussed in this paper is also not without its special context and interpretations. Discussion The painting, The Calling of Saint Mathews is a masterpiece that was commissioned by the church to be hanged within the Contraelli Chapel located inside the Church of San Luigi Dei Francesi. The chapel was meant to be an ode for Saint Mathews and for this Caravaggio was selected when the first choice of the church, Cavalier D’Arpino became busy with the royal...
4 Pages(1000 words)Research Paper

Caravaggio, Vincent van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Georges de la Tour

...AS level Personal Investigation Introduction Artists throughout the centuries have used light to create images and imply moods. Painting with full command of color is a goal of most artists. With some insight into the characteristics of color, and some experimentation, one can soon paint with greater confidence and skill. For example, George de la tour used the technique of Chiaroscuro which is the effect of using light source to boldly contrast light and shadow. He used almost an almost pointilistic technique to produce the varying hues of both dresses in his master piece "The Newborn." All these people were unique in their own ways....
17 Pages(4250 words)Essay

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

...Justin Baron Lisa Fraker Art 1101, 3:15 pm August 7, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is one of the most important Baroque painters. His works are iconic since he was the one who defined the chiaroscuro technique, which is also tenebrism. This brilliant art technique might have been used with earlier forms of photography due to the stark contrasts it gives the paintings (Squires). Because of his expertise in this technique, his name is immortalized and is forever known because the technique is also credited to him as Caravaggism. Caravaggio was the son of an architect...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Discussion s

... Latino community during the Zoot suits riots Zoot suit riots were a series of riots in 1943 during World War II. It happened in Los Angeles, California. The Mexican Americans and Military servicemen were the main parties’. This paper will analyze how the Latino communities were represented during the zoot suit era and the end result of the riot. According to the main stream press, zoot suits riots occurred due to unexpected population explosion in Los Angeles, by Mexican refugees. This led to racial differences. The Mexican Americans were expected to remain unseen and unheard in public places. The youths were seen as cultural rebels who went against American values and customs (Pagan, 159). The ethnic press on the other hand... Latino...
1 Pages(250 words)Admission/Application Essay

The comparison between artistic rendering techniques

...soluble and it is often able to draw fine details as well as blend them with water. This technique is in fact one of the oldest when it comes to artistic rendering. The watercolor pencil is often chooses because it is able to quickly cover a large surface. Staining, granulation and flocculation are some of the ways in which this technique is achieved. Staining in many cases does not allow the paint to be removed once it has been applied or dried. However, there are less staining colors that can be lightened or removed completely when they are wet. Granulation often refers to appearance of separate and visible pigment particles that exist in finished color. They are often...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Formal analysis

...with the artist’s sympathetic attitude towards the peasant/working class people. One can see that rural life deeply influenced the artist and this artwork proves his positive attitude to the same in general. In addition, the artwork is symbolic of humbleness and cohesion that can be seen in rural life. Formal analysis: Formal properties: The medium of this artwork (say, painting) is oil and canvas. To be specific, the painter did not try to deviate from the traditional medium in painting. The painter chose oil and canvas as the medium because oil paints are durable and canvas is less pricey....
4 Pages(1000 words)Admission/Application Essay

The last Supper painting By Leonardo da Vinci

...The Last Supper s Thelast supper painted by Leonardo Da Vinci on the walls of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan is one of the most studied works of art. It took the artist 3 whole years to complete it. The painting depicts the supper on the evening before Jesus was betrayed by one of disciples where Jesus is seen eating at the table with all of his 12 disciples. Like most of Da Vinci’s artwork the interpretation of the painting lies with the viewer which is the reason behind the several controversies and interpretations of the painting. When I look at the painting it...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Main idea and themes of Simon Schama's Caravaggio

...Simon Schama’s Caravaggio; main idea and themes This short video is based on artist Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio’s life in art. It addresses the new life that this artist took after killing a man in 1606, after they were involved in a duel. The main idea of this video is to reveal the ability of art to influence not only an artist as an individual, but an entire community at large. Caravaggio sought mercy from Roman authorities by recreating David the Head of Goliath and replacing Goliath’s head with his, to symbolize his remorse. Society was influenced by art in that artists captured real life scenes and that it...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Lavin on Caravaggio, Alpers on Velazquez, Hyde on Boucher

...Painting as Artifice Apparently, some critics of visual art subscribe to the common notion that painting is an artificial discipline; hence paintings are highly constructed artifices. Throughout their articles on contextually different paintings, Irvin Lavin, Alpers Svetlana, and Hyde Melissa separately reiterate that the art of visual representation through painting is a highly artificial practice riddled with contextual ingenuity, inventiveness and conspicuous contrivance. Abstractly, the three critics believe that painters skillfully invent the contents of their artworks to serve specific purposes. Below are summary and analysis of...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Research Paper on topic The Supper of Emmaus by Caravaggio: A Formal Analysis of the Painting and a Discussion of Caravaggio's Artistic Techniques for FREE!

Contact Us