Upon walking into Gallery 250 of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, one will find on the wall a particularly eye-catching piece of art. The piece, set high on the corner of the wall encompassed by pictures depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, is Giulio Cesare Procaccini's The Scourging of Christ. In this piece, Procaccini's masterful use of light and shadows in a technique called chiaroscuro dramatically portray the torturing of Christ, and it is this very application of chiaroscuro that immediately caught my eye. Through his masterful rendition of value, Procaccini successfully evoked within me a crushing sensation of agony. While I did not initially realize that the piece was one of Christ, research enabled me to witness how daring and bold Procaccini was in being one of the few to depict the agony of Christ. Procaccini's The Scourging of Christ is important in its excellent display of the evocative powers of art, and also in its depiction of the seldom-explored topic of the agony of Christ.
To understand the significance of a piece of art, one must first come to understand what the piece of art is. Procaccini's The Scourging of Christ is a piece that dates from the early 17th Century. Being an Italian piece from this period, it is clear that the piece was created in a time that featured Baroque art as its main movement. As is common of the age, Procaccini creates a sense of space and depth not through linear and aerial perspective, but rather through varying light and shadow. This is one of the traits of Baroque art, as innovated by Annibale Carracci. To further establish the piece's deep roots in the Baroque movement of 17th Century Italy, Procaccini's use of light and shadow is much like the use of light and shadow by one of the poster boys of the Baroque movement – Caravaggio. In Caravaggio's Calling of Saint Matthew, the lighting becomes one of the many points of discussion. That is because the lighting in this piece is cleverly used to draw the...
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