Man has been creating art for over 30,000 years. There are cave drawings, sculptures, Egyptian art, Greek Art, Modern Art and plenty more but to many, the Renaissance Art period is considered to be most important. Never had so many geniuses in art lived at one time and never had so many pieces of cherished art been produced. Two examples of Renaissance paintings are Cigoli's Adoration of the Shepherds and Moretto da Brescia's Entombment. Both paintings posses the attributes that were popular during the Renaissance period which I will now contrast and compare. Both paintings focus on the life of Jesus, but at different times in his life. The Adoration of the Shepherds shows us Christ soon after being born. Cigoli chose to depict when the shepherds arrived to give praise to Christ after following the star of Bethelham. Moretto decided to pick a time much later in the bible when Christ was about to be buried after being taken down from the cross and brought to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Both paintings tell their respective stories more clearly by visualizing as much as possible. In Entombment for example, Cigoli displayed Joseph and Nicodemus holding a crown of thorns and nails in order to help us understand that this scene takes place directly after they took Christ down from the cross. In the Adoration of the Shepherds, Cigoli probably painted the star above so people would assume it is the star of Bethelham which the shepherds followed to see Christ which is what the scene is about. This style is very appropriate for the time because organizations like the Council of Trent wanted people to understand the subject of the paintings without having to think much about it. Both artists composed the figures in different styles. Adoration of the Shepherds is a baroque moment while Entombment is a static composition. In the Adoration of the Shepherds, Mary seems to have just unveiled Jesus and people can be seen still filing into the manger and some of the shepherds struggle to get a glimpse. You can feel that it is the beginning of a long night. People are not positioned just for this picture. They are all in action. In Entombment, all the figures are posed around Christ and are not in any action except for Mary who has to hold Christ. The characters seem to display themselves in positions specifically for us to see. Cigoli's baroque style adds a greater sense of celebration and commotion by having movement throughout the large picture. Moretto's painting benefits from static composition because it adds to the stillness of the background. In the background everything seems motionless, including the tree and the sky. The stillness of the foreground characters help magnify the effect and make it seem like time had stood still for a moment to help commemorate the event.
In both paintings, the artists use people to help create the mood of the scene. In Moretto's Entombment, Moretto depicted each figure with his or her own unique emotion. Saint John the Evangelist (lower left) looks towards Christ with a gaping mouth as if he still can't believe this is happening. He also holds Christ's arm like he wants to help in some way but he knows that he can not. Nicodemus (upper left) definitely looks the least emotional of the group but that may be because his beard hides some emotion. Moretto angled Nicodemus's body toward Christ as if he was trying to help, but restrained himself . Nicodemus also clenches the crown of thorns towards his chest shows in order to show the viewer his grief. Mary (above Christ) looks saddened but also in deep thought. Her eyes wander off into the sky looking at something that we can not see. I think Moretto did this in order to hint to us that Mary foresaw this event and knew that it was part of a greater picture. Joseph of Arimathaea (upper right) has his body turned away slightly, causing him to twist his neck giving us the impression that the event is too terrible for him to look at. Then...
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