Formal Analysis Essay

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Peter Cano
Art 104 – Spring 2012

Formal Analysis Essay
“Madonna del Prato”

The “Madonna del Prato” is renaissance painting by Raphael Sanzio, once a student of Perugino. Raphael is best known for his “Madonna” paintings, The “Madonna del Prato” along with others is believed to have been influenced by Leonardo. The line in “Madonna del Prato” doesn't seem infinite, they tend to end and begin somewhere else creating the whole picture and bringing it all together as one picture. For instance the mountains and town in the back are created using different lines than the field and trees, or the Virgin Mary with Jesus and St. John. The trees seem to be made up of multiple dots to create the look. The shapes of the painting seem to be well defined, the faces are clear and recognizable, the hills are separated from the sky and the town. The shape of the trees and flowers are unique to one another.

Raphael makes moderate use of strong contrast between light and dark colors, also known as chiaroscuro, and uses extremely soft and fine shading instead of line to describe and portray the different forms and features. He created uncomplicated round figure types and show a sense of serenity. The painting shows a very calm style. The mass of the painting is quite bulky in the frontal part of the image, for example the images of Mary, St. John, and Jesus are very big and round. They are a lot clearer and more the focal point of the image than the background. The buildings and hills, along with the trees and flowers all seem to be less out of focus and less extroverted in the painting. The volume of the painting is located more in the people of the image, the people in the painting are all a very big part of the picture and take up most of the portrait.

The texture of the painting seems to vary depending on the shape you are looking at, and what you are focusing on. For instance the texture of the skin seems to be quite soft, it seems to have an actual texture....
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