The light meets the dark

This gallery, created by Yonane Tamez, displays paintings from the Baroque period with a stark contrast of light and dark. This contrast is also known as chiaroscuro, which the artists used to draw attention to specific elements of the painting.                                                                      Gallery created by: Yonane Tamez  

"Venus and Adonis" depicts Venus holding her lover Adonis, trying to keep him from going off to hunt. Surrounded by his hunting dogs on the right and holding an arrow on the left, Adonis shows he will continue on with his plans. The artists made the tress and the dogs dark, along with a darker background, so that the figures (depicted with severely lighter colors) stand out as the focal point of the painting.
"The Death of Adonis" depicts the tragic moment when Venus finds her lover bleeding to death, after he was attacked by an animal. Adonis is surrounded by four women (Venus and the three Graces) and a child (Cupid). The artist painted dark shrubbery with a contrast of light figures in the front. With this, he drew attention to Adonis’ body and the emotions occurring that resulted from his death.
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn’s “The Night Watch” shows a group of militiamen heading out. We can see that the use of chiaroscuro draws attention to each individual’s face in the painting, with emphasis on the little girl, and the two main militiamen at the front.
"La Virgen y el Niño con los pecadores arrepentidos" by Anton Van Dyck depicts the baby boy (Jesus) with his mother (the virgin) surrounded by sinners who have just repented. The light draws attention to the pure individuals as opposed to the dark, sinful figures.
This painting is filled with many fruits and vessels. The artist uses the contrast of light and dark to bring attention to his break from axial symmetry. The lightened objects remove tension from the cluttered space by drawing attention away from some of the objects (dark objects).
The Mexican artist, Jose Maria Velasco, depicts a campfire scene from the Paleolithic era. He uses dark to tone out the Homo Sapiens, and he used light to emphasize their achievement of fire.
Caravaggio’s “Madonna of the Rosary”, a religious piece, depicts many people coming to the Saint (St. Dominic). He serves as the mediator between man and the holy Madonna and child. Caravaggio used chiaroscuro to differentiate between the holy and “untouchable” Madonna and child (light), and mankind (dark).
This painting, “Judith and Holofernes,” by Artemisia Gentileschi shows two women beheading a man in his bed. Chiaroscuro is seen through the contrast of the dark, indefinable background, and the lightened figures bringing attention to their violent act.
“Woman Holding a Balance” is a calm scene of a woman, who appears contemplative, standing by a table and holding a balance. This balance represents the weight of judgment and earthly treasures. The use of light that peeks through the covered window brings focus to her anticipation of life after death.
The religious painting, “Christ Crowned with Thorns,” shows a man taunting Christ as another holds him down to a chair. In the background are two men talking about his alleged crimes. By shining a bright light onto the mocker and Christ’s face, Honthorst emphasizes Christ’s humble attitude in the midst of persecution.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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