The artwork I selected is Lot & Daughters by Orazio Gentileschi. The piece is on display at the Getty Museum and was painted in 1622. This piece is a dynamic, wonderful example of the baroque style. Gentileschi’s strong use of chiaroscuro makes the painting seem to be a living scene being viewed from the other side of a window. His use of the three primary colors for the three subjects clearly defines each of them; while still creating color harmony. The subject matter is the story of the city of Sodom from the book of Genesis. Lot and his family are saved by God as He destroys the evil inhabitants of Sodom. Lot’s wife is turned to a pillar of salt when she turns back to the city, leaving only Lot and the girls as survivors. Having no faith that their lineage will continue, Lot’s daughters get him to drink wine (as the flask and goblet on the left side of the painting elude to) and each lie with him in order to get pregnant. They each have a son and the lineage continues even to include David and Jesus.
Gentileschi’s use of color is interesting in that Lot’s blue clothing is seen as a passive “cool” color between the red and yellow of his daughters dressing and Lot’s character in the Bible is one of passivity. Even as his daughters are in obvious chaos, he sleeps looking like he hasn’t a care in the world. The daughter on the left is assumed to be older because of her size, her mother-like cradling of Lot’s head and her observant finger pointing at what we can only assume is Sodom burning beyond the frame. The painter chose red as her color; a color of power. She was the first to lie with her father, before her sister knew what she was doing, red is also a color associated with the devil, or sin. The younger daughter; who followed her sister’s lead in sin, just as she follows her sister’s pointed finger with her gaze, is dressed in the more innocent yellow. The style of Baroque was dynamic, and used powerful visual elements. The religious climate at...
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