An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts by Paolo de' Matteis & Pictura by Frans van Mieris the Elder - Essay Example

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The essay analyzes An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts by Paolo de' Matteis (1680s) & Pictura (Allegory of Painting) by Frans van Mieris the Elder. Paintings may be similar yet different in many aspects. Paolo’s Divine Wisdom was created using oil on canvass…
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An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts by Paolo de Matteis & Pictura by Frans van Mieris the Elder
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An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts by Paolo de' Matteis (1680s) & Pictura (Allegory of Painting) by Frans van Mieris the Elder (1661) Compared

Paintings may be similar yet different in many aspects. Such is the case of Paolo de' Matteis, An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts done in the 1680s and Pictura (Allegory of Painting) by Frans van Mieris the Elder in 1661. When compared making use of relevant Sarasota painting checklist (2005), they at times may be referred to simply as "Divine Wisdom" and "Pictura," and the authors simply Paolo and Frans.
The major ways by which these two paintings (Getty 2004) may be compared are as follows - 1) Material used: Paolo's Divine Wisdom was created using oil on canvass while with Frans' Pictura, a copper panel; 2) Subject matter: Paolo addressed a number of disciplines including Science, Painting and Architecture encompassing Virtue, Time and Truth; while Frans dealt only with Painting and possibly illusion; 3) Composition: Divine Wisdom is a conglomeration of many subjects to include men, women, angelic beings, and artifacts of a compass and a drawing, clock, laurel wreath, and paddle while Pictura is of a lone woman holding a palette, brushes, and a small plaster sculpture for a model for larger works. Hanging from her neck is a mask on a chain.
4) Themes and symbols: Divine wisdom suggests a hierarchy of the disciplines where Science is paramount before Painting and Architecture, which may point to the necessity for these two fields of human interest to uphold principles, facts, and knowledge. But these may have to be tempered with Virtue (symbolized by the laurel wreath), Time (the clock) and Truth (the unfolding canvass). On the other hand Pictura is said to refer to the Arts and seems to warn of the capacity of art itself to deceive sights through the art of illusions as suggested by the mask.
5) Influences and stylistic characteristics. Both paintings expectedly were influenced by the stylistic characteristics of their period, the masters with whom the painters worked, and the clients of these painters. Paolo trained under Luca Giordano which explains his leanings toward naturalism, a trademark of the Neapolitan school (LOCMA news release 2001). In his Divine wisdom, he employed the delicate graceful manner (the hand of Science, for example), an influence of a French master, but "broke into baroque" (Getty 2004) as exemplified by the rich, elaborate elements of his work. The Church and nobility were said to be Paolo's major patrons, influencing also the themes he depicted and his pictorial style. Angels and cherubs obviously were favorites. Meanwhile, Frans of Pictura fame mastered under Gerrit Dou who often used wood or copper panels. The woman subject of Pictura was simple, a characteristic of her Calvinistic time, on a copper panel. The mini-size style (likened to a small index card) was an influence of the fine painters called fijnschilders who worked on small subjects with bright colors, a shiny finish, and much attention to detail (Encyclopedia 2003).
In sum, both these paintings are similar in that they primarily speak of allegories (the subjects and objects standing for larger senses like abstract ideas), are influenced by their own time period, their masters and their clients, and are significant in terms of teaching content when addressing contemporary issues (like architecture should follow physical laws and principles). Meanwhile, they differ firstly in size (Pictura is quite small at 5 x 3 1/2 inches while Divine Wisdom is quite large at 141 1/2 x 99 5/8 inches). They differ in material used, in number of subjects, composition, the subject matter, the number of disciplines addressed, the themes and symbols and stylistic characteristics.


"Allegory." Encyclopedia. 2005. 8 Sept 2005. .

"Correlates to Painting I Course #0104370." School Board of Sarasota County, Florida. Painting Guide. (n.d.) 8 Sept 2005.
"Dutch Golden Age." Encyclopedia: 2003. 8 Sept 2005. .
"Frans van Mieris the Elder." Explore Art. J. Paul Getty Trust. 2004. 8 September 2005. .

"Low Countries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000. 8 Sept 2005. .

"Luca Giordano." News Release. Los Angeles County
Museum of Art (LOCMA)
Office of Communications and Marketing. 31 October 2001. 8 Sept. 2005. .

"Paolo de' Matteis." Explore Art. J. Paul Getty Trust. 2004. 8 September 2005. .

Wedde, Ian. "Killeen as History Painter: Stories without narrative." Auckland Art Gallery seminar. New Zealand electronic poetry centre. 11 May 2001.
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An Allegory of Divine Wisdom and the Fine Arts

Paolo de' Matteis
Italian, about 1680s
Oil on canvas
141 1/2 x 99 5/8 in.

J. Paul Getty Trust 2004

Pictura (An Allegory of Painting)

Frans van Mieris the Elder
Dutch, 1661
Oil on copper
[arched top]: 5 x 3 1/2 in.
J. Paul Getty Trust 2004 Read More
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