A Glimpse of the Life of Christ through Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art

This gallery will focus on some of the moments of Christ's life where He had taught the world love through His teachings and relationships. Specifically, these works of art were chosen from Medieval to Baroque times to portray different and similar elements throughout the ages.

For the first work of art in this gallery, I decided to begin towards the end of Christ's time on earth before his ascension into heaven. In this painting, which is thought to influenced by Caravaggio's painting of the same content, the viewer is able to look in upon the dinner the resurrected Christ had with two of his disciples. The expressions of the disciples' and the innkeeper's face suggests that they had been listening intently to words of Jesus. The disciples were not able to recognize Christ until he taken the bread, broke it, and given it to them. This picture captures the moment when the disciples recognize Jesus, and share in the Eucharist with him. Like Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Cavarozzi uses drastic light and darkness in this painting. Cavarozzi, however, utilized still life in the painting to emphasize the light across the table.
This painting dates back to the Renaissance. This particular painting depicts the crucifixion in a way that gives the impression of more of a contemplative work. The darkness in the background and the intense emotions of the figures allows the viewer to become a part of this overwhelming scene. A sense of separation is apparent because of the divide within the different panels. The viewer is left overwhelmed with this scene of grief and despair.
This painting by Caravaggio was completed at the beginnings of the Baroque period. Caravaggio is renowned for his dramatic use of light, called chiaroscuro. The brightest part of the light shines down directly onto Christ, revealing the brutal treatment he received. The soldiers had dressed him in a color suitable for a king, and given him a rod to carry and mocked him as they beat the crown of thorns into his head. This painting portrays a powerful sense of emotion, as the soldiers beat upon Jesus' slumped over body.
Here, we see a painting similar to the styles of Caravaggio. The people in this scene are in a way swallowed up by the darkness around them, and there dark eyes are very distinguished against there brighter colored clothes and faces. Here we see the people questioning Jesus about taxes. Jesus tells the crowd that what belongs to God, they owe to God, and what belongs to Caesar, they owe to Caesar. In this painting, is appears that Jesus is holding something in His hand out to one of the men, which the viewer can assume is the coin with Caesar's face printed on it.
This painting shows Jesus before the Pharisees taking a woman outside of the town to be stoned for adultery. The Pharisees ask Jesus what he thinks of the situation, and Jesus' response is depicted in this painting. He bends over and writes in the sand, and tells the Pharisees that if there was one who had never sinned before to throw the first stone. The Pharisees dropped the stones and let the woman be. Valentin, who was influenced by Caravaggio's chiaroscuro styles, made the woman's head much lighter than that of the rest of the crowd. Her gaze leads to Christ, whose arm is pointed to the ground, as He is about to write in the sand.
While the other paintings in this gallery have depicted Christ within it directly, this is the first in the gallery to not have Christ directly present. I chose this particular painting because, while Jesus is not present, His teaching is the content of this painting. Jesus uses the parable of the prodigal son to demonstrate God the Father's desire to give mercy. This painting captures he emotion of what the scene could have looked like, and captures the words of Jesus
This is the second work of art that serves as a counterpoint to this gallery. All the other paintings were done with an outlook and perspective of the Western Rite and were traditional paintings that someone may expect to see with a Roman Catholic Church. This painting, however, comes from a more Eastern tradition within the Church. Unlike the rest, this piece is an icon, which are primarily made for Eastern Rite churches. This one is also different from the rest, because, like the Return of the Prodigal Son, Jesus is not directly shown here. This is the scene of Mary's "yes" to God's plan of salvation, delivered to her through the message of the angel Gabriel. The symbolism here can be found in the way that Gabriel is presented to Mary. In most paintings and icons, Gabriel is depicted in a higher position than Mary, showing the higher rank of angelic beings over humans. However, this icon depicts Mary on equal ground as the angel. Many theologians take this to mean that Mary, who was free of original sin, is elevated above the angels because of God's grace that overshadows her. Gabriel's wings are pointed in different directions, one point to heaven (revealing where his message comes from) and the other pointing to earth (showing where the message is sent).
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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