Prometheus Bound Analysis

Topics: Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church, Christianity, Protestantism, Pope, Martin Luther / Pages: 6 (1381 words) / Published: Nov 17th, 2015
The Baroque era represented a time of significant emotional and religious conflict due to the Counter-reformation and the attempt by the Catholic Church to regain its membership. Art became a mechanism for the church to reach out to and connect with the masses, and Baroque art began to explore emotional themes that were shied away from during the Renaissance. In particular, Flanders was a region that sought to emulate the emotional quality of Italian baroque using a unique style and innovative techniques. In this paper, two works by Peter Paul Rubens, The Emblem of Christ Appearing to Constantine and Prometheus Bound, will show how both mythological and religious scenes were used to emotionally connect with ordinary citizens during the Baroque …show more content…
2), Rubens uses a mythological subject to portray the brutal punishment for transgressing against the gods. For example, in contrast with Fig. 1, there is only Prometheus and the eagle to occupy the space. However, Rubens once again makes sure that they occupy a majority of the space by presenting an extremely large and up-close view of the scene. The diagonals of Prometheus’ body and the wingspan of the eagle (painted by his assistant Frans Snyders) are perfectly parallel to each other, demonstrating that Prometheus and the eagle are united and engaged with each other, not separate units. The use of foreshortening by Rubens in the painting helps create movement and twisting to show the writhing of Prometheus as his body is constantly subjected to the torture of the eagle tearing out his liver each and every day. The goriness of the eagle’s act, with the actual liver and blood shown, as well as the pained expression on Prometheus helps show the realism of the scene and the brutality of the gods’ punishment. In addition, the foreshortening of Prometheus’ body makes it seem as if he is jutting out towards the viewer and almost beckoning for reprieve. Rubens also makes use of light and shadow by casting the shadow of the fire on the cloth in the painting – signaling back to the very element that caused his downfall in the first place. Rubens also alludes to the dark and somber nature of the painting with the grey, smoky clouds in the background, which gives a very sinister vibe, almost as if the gods are pointing at Prometheus and telling him that his fate is both deserved and sealed. Unlike Fig.1, there is relatively little landscape shown in the background. The landscape shown is serene and peaceful, which suggests that Prometheus is cut off from the world. Rubens uses these stylistic elements to express the suffering and torment of the Titan, a punishment fitting for unleashing the force of fire into world against the warnings

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