Religious art before the 1950's:Contrast and Outline-Nicole Temple

These beautiful works of art were all painted before the era of 1950 and what they represent is not just religion, spirituality and a dated timeline but also the different visual effects of sophisticated and the gentle natures of the world as we see it. These works of art symbolize the very nature behind sacred dwelling places and the people that had the most influence on the artists themselves.

In this image, we see the virgin holding the child of Christ in her arms. Kneeling on the left is Pope Sixtus II, who is a martyr from the third century and he appears to be guiding the virgin. On the right is ST. Barbara who was known to have suffered martyrdom in the third century. The reason for the appearance of these two saints is because they have also been represented at the high alters of the monastery church of San Sisto in Piacenza. The contrasts of blues and whites represented here in the negative space depict the heavens with the cherubs sitting at the bottom, looking up at the figures. A golden aura outlines the virgin and makes her stand out against the dark green drapes.
Jesus Christ hangs from a crucifix against a dark and gloomy background. Mountains are shown resting behind Christ with a small but distinct vision of a cloudy sky. A narrow road is also present that represents the road to Jerusalem. This is the moment when Christ is hung and nailed to the cross and dies for our sins and He is shown looking up and away from the dead bones at His feet. Most of the image is cloaked in black, symbolizing the darkest of His days. Christ is illuminated in bright colors so that His images stands out against the black back drop.
The body of Christ hangs on the crucifix with Mary Magdalene sitting at His feet with her arms wrapped around He and the cross. Her head is tilted down in sorrow as Christ Himself looks down upon her. In the background rests dark clouds and a dark sky. A skull rests on the ground behind the cross. Even though this is an intense visual of the crucifixion, both figures are illuminated with bright colors to help them stand out against the darkness. The bright whites of Mary’s sleeves and Christ’s cloth that is wrapped around Him are brought out to our attention.
Two figures appear in this image: Adam and Eve. The two are sketched in white with the same styles that create the visual that looks as if they are both sculptures. The artist took two separate pieces of paper and laid them next to one another and then added a strip between them to show the gap between Adam and Eve. In Eve’s left hand is the apple that symbolizes the temptation that led to their betrayal. Brown wash is applied to the background, giving the image a muddy look as if they had been standing against a dark wall.
Seated on a golden throne is the virgin who appears to be holding the child Christ. Standing around them are the angels. This image has been taken from a stained glass window made by Giacomo and Domenico Cabrini and was made for the church of San Giovanni in Monte in Bologna. The frame that outlines the painting is gold and resembled the style of the throne on which the virgin is seated.
In the center of this painting is a golden chandelier and the figures surrounding it represent Apollo who is playing the lute while gods, graces, muses and even demons surround him, listening intently. The negative space shows the contrasts of blue and white that symbolizes the clouds in heaven while the rest of the image is outlined in gold.
Sitting on what appears to be a wooden chair, is the Dean of the College of Cardinals. He bares a golden cross on his chest and to the right of him sits a large golden key. On his left is a man who seems to be extending his hand out. The contrast of this picture is mostly of crimson and brown with a touch of white shown on the dean’s robes. A black bird sits next to him on a brown gate and dark shadows of other figures reside in the background against a reddish sky.
A crowd of people resides in the landscaping with each one in a different position representing movement in the scene. Only a few of them seem to notice this apparition of Christ, while the others are busy tending to themselves. In the background is a tree that has two distinct colors: greens and browns that represent the leaves. There are all sorts of different colors present in this image. The clothing on the people is made up of blues, browns, whites and yellows. The mountains are shadowed by deep and dark colors of blue and white, making it show that they are far away while the sky and the horizon are shades of blue and gold, showing that the sun is either setting or rising.
In this image is a close up vision of the virgin and the child. Her robes are a dark blue and hair is as red as the border of the painting. The skin tone of the two figures are made of bright colors with hints of brown and black to show the muscle tones and outlines of their bodies. The background is black, showing no other visual images to keep the focus on the two figures present in the image.
This image depicts the offering of the black Sabbath. People are gathered around what appears to be a goat with large horns that symbolizes the devil. In the background is a dark sky with a moon representing the time of day while bats are shown flying above the gathering. Dark landscaping is present in the background with blurred images of mountains and more land that is placed further away in the background. The figures in the back are also blurry, representing that they are not a large part of the main focus. Few colors are present in the clothing and other landscaping of this painting.
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