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    Michelangelo and Caravaggio Comparative Essay

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    Michelangelo and Aggravating were possibly the two most renowned painters during the Renaissance period. Both Renaissance artists painted religious scenes, approaching their artworks in diverse ways according to their personal framework and attitudes. Where Michelangelo tortured soul was portrayed directly onto his paintings, Aggravating almost arrogant attitude and need for action and drama resulted in his dark, melodramatic pieces. Both artists were working on commissions from the church; consequently they both ad religious subject matters.

    However, where Michelangelo painted religious figures, referencing characters from Greek and Roman mythology, Aggravating drew people from reality. From criminals and prostitutes to the poor, Aggravating works were confronting, people were not used to locals used as divine figures, and therefore there was “no reference to divine beauty’. Aggravating and Michelangelo techniques differed dramatically. Most artists working during the Baroque period earned their income through important fresco commands in churches or other public places, Michelangelo being a key example of this.

    Aggravating, on the other hand, refused to paint in fresco and only painted oil on canvas for his entire career. Aggravating focused on chiaroscuro, highlighting the light and dark of his paintings. He chose a dramatic, intense style. Michelangelo prior experience as a sculptor, managed to depict three dimensional figures in his artworks. He executed rough preliminary drawings on the canvas before painting in order to be certain of composition and proportions. Nevertheless, Aggravating also chose to portray realistic figures, only deciding to paint straight onto the canvas rather than initial sketches.

    Both artists suffered devastating losses of both or one of their parents, sparking their motivation and personality from a young age. Michelangelo was a tortured soul who strove for perfection; he believed that “beauty of man created in the image of God”. He was an isolated artist full of self-doubt and a yearning for peace, however he once quoted: “Inner peace died within me before my birth”. This spiritual torment was reflected in his artworks, his obsessive attitude became his torture, nothing was ever good enough for him, and things had to be perfect.

    Michelangelo saw the human odd as the image of divine perfection, incorporating religion with his love of the human body and anatomy into his artworks. On the other hand, Aggravating was a man of unpredictability and confidence. He strove to make religion darker and to confront people with a different sort of realism. He wanted to portray his feelings as if they were being played out right in front of you, almost like a movie screen narrative. Aggravating aimed to “make something sacred out of the lives of a squalid”. He portrayed his figures with dirt covered fingernails, bruises instead of concealing them.

    Both artists were devoted practices of Christianity who saw their art as a way Aggravating. Though Aggravating anger was so strong, it manifested into physical violence and even murder, hence evoking changes and darkness to their artworks. Michelangelo practiced naturalism, in particular, humanism. Humanism was the belief that man was the centre of creation. Michelangelo aimed to paint as close to nature as possible and to do so, painted in the style of realism. Aggravating was also a realist artist who practiced the baroque style where an exaggeration of light and dark produced drama or tension.

    His ability to depict religious scenes with an unpredictable approach and huge amount of emotion inspired artists throughout the years. Again, his realistic approach was very similar to Michelangelo. The Renaissance period was a time where artists could step out from the mere representations of religious scenes and into a world of symbolism and freedom. Aggravating paintings exposed evidence of deeper thoughts, portraying a sense of good and evil within biblical characters. Where Michelangelo believed divine perfection was the result of goodness and beauty, Aggravating saw evil in divine nines.

    Michelangelo obsessive nature could have derived from his mother’s death in his early life as well as an abusive father. He was removed, socially out castes, who chose to live a poor life with no personal hygiene. He craved recognition, wanting the glory and honor that comes with a successful artwork. Michelangelo was never satisfied, always striving for perfection who attended courses to learn about the human body to depict figures as realistically as possible. Aggravating life and personality was quite the opposite in fact.

    He was a confident, unpredictable man who fought with radiation and normality. He walked the streets looking for fights, eventually charged for murder. Aggravating had sought forgiveness for his sins, his paintings changed as a result of this. Like Michelangelo, Aggravating was a tortured soul who saw his art as a way of saving himself. During the Renaissance era, the Church was very much in control of Rome; consequently, religion had a huge influence on art. The impact of the Church encouraged artists to paint biblical figures, resulting in a high need for religious artworks.

    Although Michelangelo and Aggravating approaches, personal lives, philosophical levels, techniques and motives were unalike, the most important similarity between the two is their spectacular ability to express their emotions and ideas onto their artworks. Both will go down in history as two of the most influential artists of all time. Visual Analysis: Michelangelo: Michelangelo The Last Judgment was created between 1536 and 1541. The artwork depicts a man holding a knife in one hand and flayed skin in the looking man and the textured, droopy human shaped skin.

    In the foreground the skin is the main image, cut off from the right are images of adults. The middle ground insists of the man’s hand holding the skin, connecting the foreground and drawing the eye to the man in the centre. The background consists of human legs standing atop a cloud, however this is cut from view as the artwork is only a snippet of the whole piece. The main elements of Michelangelo artwork are color, tone and texture. The tone is the main element in ‘The Last Judgment’ as it depicts the fall of light on the human figures, drapery and clouds.

    Tone creates a realistic effect on skin, shown in the painting by the lights and darks of Saint Bartholomew muscles/skin. Tone can also be seen in the way the skin appears to be loosely hung, like a wet towel. The tonal technique Michelangelo has used creates texture. Michelangelo defines the muscles of Saint Bartholomew, by creating a smooth, plump texture throughout his artwork. The skin’s texture appears more rough than smooth, enhancing the symbolism of his artwork, this will be explained later. The main principles used in Michelangelo piece is perspective, movement, harmony, and the use of the technique, foreshortening.

    In order to explain why the artist has used these quenches, his earlier passions and mediums must be briefly explained. Michelangelo was a sculptor, without painting anything in his life before this monumental artwork, he incorporated perspective into his artwork because of his realistic attempts of perceiving the human body exactly the way it was from real life to sculpture/painting. The direction of Saint Bartholomew eyes creates movement as it directs the viewer’s eyes across the artwork to that direction.

    The sheer placement and position of Bartholomew suggests he is in mid-action, as well as the loosely folded skin hanging from his fingers. Similar elements such as line, color and shape are used throughout the work, creating a balanced and harmonious image. Michelangelo main techniques were fresco and foreshortening. Fresco was the technique of applying paint to wet plaster quickly as the artist had limited time before the paint dried. Therefore, foreshortening was used in all of his paintings. Foreshortening, making the artwork appear three dimensional enlarged areas whilst decreasing the size of figures further away from the foreground.

    This is where Michelangelo love of sculptures and his precise technique came into his artworks. It may have been unintentional but his unique way of painting depicted and established his style. Michelangelo had a naturalistic approach to all his artworks, he believed that portraying the figures as close to nature as possible inwardly reflected perfection. He believed that the perfect man reflected the perfect soul. He was able to achieve these three dimensional images because he knew about the structure of the human body in relation to muscles and bones.

    The forms of the figures encourage this idea through the realistic tones and texture of the human body. Each figure is in perspective and to scale. He has used his style of realism, creating a biblical approach, using important religious figures in most of his artworks. Religion and the power of the church ruled Michelangelo era, he was a very religious person, impacting how he approached his works and his thoughts behind it. He was putting his personal feelings right onto the canvas. This can be seen through the symbolic face of Michelangelo on the skin of Saint Bartholomew flayed skin from his martyrdom.

    He has put his face on the flayed skin as a symbolic gesture to his tortured soul. He may have been doubting his faith, and saw himself as a lost soul. He was never happy with his work and this may be symbolic of his doubt. He thought he was being Judged by the world, hence the title, ‘The Last Judgment’. He included classical reference to Greek and Roman sculptures as his personal framework. Because of his love for sculptures, he liked to use his naturalistic approach to depict Greek and Roman gods as symbolism in his paintings. Aggravating: Aggravating David with the Head of Goliath, was created in 1600.

    In this artwork, Aggravating depicts a severed head as the foreground. The face appears to be staring into darkness, speechless, its vulgar face surprised in death, agape. The middle ground consists of a regretful looking man holding the detached head by his hair. The arm is stretched forward weighing the head, his lips tight and eyes focused downwards. The man holds a sword in the other hand, offering a clue into the decapitation. The background consists of a dark room where walls are barely noticeable, angular lines in the top left hand corner encompasses both figures.

    The main elements of Aggravating artwork are tone, line and form. Tone has been utilized throughout the image to depict the fall of light (or lack of) on the human figure and the drapery of clothes. The darkening of tones creates a sense of depth, and along with Aggravating foreshortening of the figures’ (David) arm ensures there is a consistent sense of realistic perspective and space. The pure emotion exposed in the faces of both figures is created through Aggravating use of tone and his ability to create form as a result of this.

    The dramatic tonal qualities enable Aggravating to capture a sense of volume in the three dimensional form. Both figures occupy positive space appearing to pop out of the background rather than be surrounded by it. The figures appear to be solid and three dimensional, building a sculpture like legalistic appearance. By doing this, Aggravating is able to depict the figures realistically, as if the scenario was being played out right before the viewers’ eyes. The artist incorporates line into his artwork through the positioning and direction of the sword, the only straight line in sight.

    A line positioned angular against the ceiling lets the viewer imagine the high, angular room in which this horrid scene has taken place, this is commonly known as open composition. Aggravating mainly uses perspective, movement and unity in order to create an astounding artwork that is tooth intense and beautiful. The head (known to be Goliath but is portrayed as Aggravating) appears to be closer to the viewer than David. This is how it should be as David is holding Goliath head in front of his chest, making the severed head appear to be larger than David.

    Movement is arguably the main principle used by Aggravating as the eye is first drawn to the middle figure, David, but is then drawn along Davit’s arm and line of sight to the severed head held by the man. Davit’s right arm is lifted slightly with the sword still dripping with blood; here our eye is drawn to this as a artwork, full of emotion and violence, the head and sword balance, forming an asymmetrical symmetry which in turn creates harmony and unity to the somewhat inharmonious scene. Aggravating was a realist artist who represented figures as they appeared in real life.

    However, David with the head of Goliath could arguably be surrealist as the replacement of Goliath head with own sparks questions: How can I interpret this? What is meaning he is trying to get across? Aggravating challenged the very way the painting is supposed to be, he had an eye for quality. Be worked straight on the canvas, no preliminary drawings were needed. Aggravating encouraged darkness in his artworks as a way of portraying feelings and violence as well as a sense of drama and movie screen narratives playing right in front of you.

    The foreshortening technique was used by Aggravating, the figures appearing compressed and realistic. His use of perspective offers the impression of three-dimensional volume, creating drama in the picture. Aggravating artwork is filled with symbolism. What many see in this artwork is Aggravating as the young David holding up Goliath head which is said to symbolism Aggravating as an adult. The wild and violent behavior of the young Aggravating had destroyed his life as a mature adult, portraying himself as Goliath, God’s enemy reflects his self-disgust and anguish.

    Aggravating may have painted this artwork as a final plea for forgiveness, acknowledging his crimes but crying out for mercy and understanding. On the sword is an inscription that reads: H-AS SO, in Latin: Humiliate coccids superstar (“Humility kills pride”). Aggravating was obviously not a modest man, therefore, he knew that his looming death would be the result of pride. Aggravating was born into a life of religious ruling and propaganda campaigns. He was a devoted Christian whose parents died at a young age, he believed in the saying “Without hope, without fear”.

    He was an unpredictable man who wanted to make something sacred out of the lives of a squalid, painting people off the street rather than divine figures. He was on the run from the authorities, having murdered a man. He painted with desperation; ‘David with the Head of Goliath’ was a final plea for forgiveness for his wrong doings. The painting is most likely a self-portrait, his face contorted in hopelessness, mouth wide as if he was about to utter his last words.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Michelangelo and Caravaggio Comparative Essay. (2017, Oct 15). Retrieved from

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