Art History

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Jessica McFarlane
Irene Sfakianos
Art History II
3/7/13

Western Europe Museum Paper

While walking through the Philadelphia Museum of Art, trying to decide which piece I should do further research on and write a paper on, I discovered The Crucifixion, with the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist”. This is oil on panel painting by Rogeier van der Weyden in the Netherlands (historical name,15th-16th century), Europe in 1460. The time period that this was made in was Early Italian Renaissance. It is 71 x 73 3/8 inches. The vibrant colors in this painting is so enthralling that I could not help but be interested about it.

This painting is a picture of the Crucifixion on the right side panel with the Virgin and Saint John on the left side panel mourning. There are two panels to this piece, each with a vibrant red drapery in the background. “The panels are noted for their technical skill, visceral impact and for possessing a physicality and directness unusual for Netherlandish art of the time” (Wikipedia). The red drapery in the background helps draw the eye to the people in the painting. These draperies had a purpose, “To convey overwhelming depths of human emotion, Rogier located monumental forms in a shallow, austere, nocturnal space accented only by brilliant red hangings” (PhilaMuseum). There are two panels on this painting and “Some art historians have mentioned that the work seems unbalanced overall and lacking symmetry (which might indicate a missing panel or panels)” (Wikipedia). Since there are two figures on the left side and only one figure on the right, some people believe that it looks unbalanced as a painting and might be missing a panel. Although some might believe that, some people believe that “Rogier's use of two panels in a diptych, rather than the more usual three found in a triptych, is rare in paintings of this period, and allowed the artist to balance the human despair at the darkest hour of the Christian faith against...
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