Comparison of Death of a Virgin Paintings

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The two works that are to be analyzed are Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin, which was painted in 1606 and depicts the Virgin Mary passing away surrounded by the eleven apostles. Andrea Mantegna’s, Death of the Virgin which was painted in 1462 also depicts the moment of Virgin Mary’s passing away while eleven apostles surround her. Even though they depict the same scene from the Bible the two paintings couldn’t be more different in terms of style and technique. The way the two artists went about painting the scene was very different. These differences are what make the exact same scene as different as black and white.

Mantegna has a very symmetrical painting. The Apostles are lined up along the right and left edge of the painting. They lead the viewer’s eye to the apostle standing directly over the Virgin. Several of the Apostles are looking away but do not some extremely grief ridden. They are treating her death as a normal death and are performing the proper wake for her as if they know she is in a better place. The Apostles are arranged very harmoniously and are not discordant at all. They are arranged around the room very neat and orderly. There is a lot of light penetrating the room making it very bright. The light seems as if it would enter the room from the open window in the background however if you look at the shadow cast by the apostle leaning over the Virgin, you can see the light would also come in from behind. The light detracts from the somber mood of the apostles surrounding Mary. The painters use of red for the bed of the Dead Virgin signifies that the painter wants the viewer to be drawn to the bed as red is a strong color that draws attention. The Virgin herself is very traditional looking. She appears in very conservative clothing in a position that reflects that she went peacefully and without pain. The apostle leaning over Mary is also wearing red, which also brings the viewer to the center of the painting. The colors used in this...
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