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The Magic of Crucifixion

Essay by   •  February 28, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  851 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,226 Views

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The Magic of the Crucifixion

Imagery of the crucifixion is widely known but it has been depicted in many different ways and with a variety of emotions. The paintings of Grunewald and Perugino, two great Renaissance artists, depict the crucifixion of Christ in two very different emotions and angles. Although the paintings themselves seem similar they are actually not, the tones are very different. Grunewald portrays his in a more gruesome and dark tone, where figures are darker and more mournful. As for Perugino, his portrayal is more light and peaceful with his figures as onlookers through his death. The two paintings are on the same subject, the crucifixion of Christ, but the emotion behind both the Grunewald and Perugino are so different in their actual portrayal and the feelings that the artists had about the event.

Born in 1460, Grunewald was a German artist named fully as Matthias Gothardt Neithardt (Fiero, p.129). His beliefs do not lie in the idealized figures that the early Renaissance portrayed, he believed more in brutal distortion and the naturalistic ideal (Fiero, p.129). In the portrait itself the setting is much darker, and the focus of the lamentation is placed by the darkened landscape (Fiero, p.130). There is also a separate image of the pieta right below the main painting. These figures are much more mournful. Christ's suffering is portrayed through the traditional group which includes Mary, St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary Magdalene (Pioch, par. 1). The figures are all sorrowful in the most dramatic passion. Christ is portrayed as bigger than human, when you pay attention to the proportion of the hands between him and Mary you can truly see the significant difference. When looking at the figure of John the Baptist, his finger point to a Latin inscription that translates into "He must increase and I must decrease" and this is an exaggeration of the other attending figures (Fiero, p. 130). The artists view point of this image is clearly shown. When you look at some of his other portraits, his figures are brighter but the depiction he portrays of this scene shows that he thinks darkly of it and that it is a very mournful time. This is not a joyful event but through his eyes it is extremely mournful and dark, not only is the dress darker but the suffering of Christ has a much greater eminence that the Perugino due to the deformation of Christ's body, especially in his arms and feet. This pain is portrayed as an agonizing and gruesome pain. Christ looks more exhausted and torn up unlike in the Perugino. This shows that the artists view point was darker and much more mournful.

As for the Perugino painting, this one is taken in more lighthearted mode and it is not as dark. The background setting is much lighter and it is more of a landscape there is more greenery and brightness around the figures. The only place that is even remotely darker is the clouds above Christ's cross, this could symbolize the darkness of the event. The mournful

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