Art Appreciation

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  • Topic: Renaissance, Jan van Eyck, Holofernes
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T. McDonald
HUMA205 –Art Appreciation
October 23, 2011

Comparison of Renaissance Art
Website selection - Judtih (Giorgio da Castelfranco) circa 1504
The painting, ‘Judith’ by Giorgio da Castelfranco done around 1504, is one of many portraits depicting the scene of Judith and Holofernes from the Biblical Book of Judith. The legend states that the widow Judith endears herself to an enemy general, Holofernes, and subsequently beheads him as he lies drunk in his bed (Artlex, 2010). The death of their leader overwhelms the Assyrians and they disband leading many to the conclusion that the widow’s actions save Israel (Artlex, 2010). This representational piece is a two dimensional oil on canvas painting that exhibits soft tones in most of the image. The deeper or more vibrant shades of red near the bottom of the dress worn by the heroin stand out against the earthy browns and greens of the landscape of the scene. The pale pink of the skin of her bare foot which she has propped atop decapitated head of the general emphasizes the grayed and dying body part. The minimum contrast, or gray of the general’s head devalues it and makes it a part of the background while the viewer’s eye is drawn more to Judith and the light to dark shading of red or chiaroscuro of her dress. The landscape behind the courtyard is soft and almost appears monochromatic; it nearly blends into the horizon. There are natural shapes that are prominent in the painting but the sword at Judith’s side has sharp straight lines and details that make an impact when compared to the lines of the rest of the piece. The calmness if the heroin and the stillness of the surrounding courtyard do not indicate the severity of what has just taken place with the murder of the enemy general. The beginning of the Renaissance was filled with religious turmoil, so much of the artwork done during that time tell or represent many Biblical stories and references (State Hermitage, 2010). This portrait is in...
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