Religious Paintings- Summary cards

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 02-04-13 16:47

The Martyrdom of St Peter- Guido Reni 1605

  • Reni was a pioneering Baroque painter, evolving a style which moderated Baroque excitement/ complexity with classical restraint
  • Comissioned by Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini for S. Paolo alle Tre Fontane
  • Strong Caravaggio influence 'paint the picture in Caravaggio's dark and driven manner'- Cavalier d'Arpino (owned the studio where the two rivals worked side-by-side.)
  • Peter is viewed as one of the founders of the Catholic church with Paul- effectively conveys the brutality of this sacrifice for his faith
  • A very poignent, reflective work due to moody sky and abscence of divine figures
  • Although strong use of Chiaroscurro it is not that pronounced; there is a lighter and defined background with landscape details
  • Light floods down onto all the figures bodies except the man at the top
  • Very realistic depiction of the tools used for inserting/ extracting nails
  • The 3 executioners are painted with dignity and smooth semi- idealised figures
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The Martyrdom of St Peter- Caravaggio 1601

  • Comissioned alongside 'The Conversion of St Paul', paid for by the treasurer of Clement VII, a wealthy aristocrat
  • Made for the side walls of Tiberio Cerasi's chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo
  • Peter was supposedly executed by Nero in Rome after being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem
  • Not a heroic drama but a wretched/ humilliating execution
  • Peter is non- idealised, displaying physical degredation
  • A play on tension- all forces of nature against each other in a single transient moment
  • A complex set of movements, with the forms of the executioners forming the shame of a cross, on either side of Peter's wooden beam
  • Strong use of white to show up the dirt of the peasant workers
  • Light controls what is revealed, the other 3 faces in darknes (sin)
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The Stoning of St Stephen- Rubens 1617

  • Stephen was christianity's first Martyr, repromanded for performing great miracles in Jerusalem: Jews of the outer provinces produced a false witness to accuse him of blasphemy 
  • From the Triptyon of St Stephen, created for the city of Lille's churches and convents
  • Fragment of Stephens vision in the temple: 'i see heaven open and the son of man at the right hand of God'
  • Clean horizontal divide creates symbolism of Stephens battle between good and evil
  • A frenzy of excitement
  • The outstretched feet of the prominent angel/ putti represents trampling on the sinners
  • The cylindrical stone tower on the left is part of Jerusalem
  • Clouds accentuate a rippling movement, like 'the heavens pouring fourth'
  • Stephen is vertical/ static, implying  peace (God is giving him mental power) and allowing him to be taller
  • Men grovel around on floor like animals, looking savage with sack cloth clothing
  • Contrasts of flesh: Stephens is sickly yellow, stoners is muscular and pink
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Here is a more concise list of facts: 

A pioneering baroque painter with classical restraint

Cardinal Aldobrandini (think of Brandy!)

San Paollo alle tre Fontane

Peter founded the catholic church alongside paul

effective display of the brutal sacrifice for his faith

a poignent, contemplative work- moody sky, no divine figures

light on all except topmost executioner

realistic tools

executioners are dignified with smooth, semi-idealised bodies

light chiaroscurro with defined background


And the next one...The Martyrdom of St Peter 1601

Commissioned with the Conversion of St Paul

paid for by  treasurer of clement vii, a wealthy aristocrat

side panels of the cerasi chapel in santa maria del popolo

wretched/ humiliating sacrifice

peter is non- idealised with physical degredation

play on tension with forces counter-acting in a single moment

peter crucified in Rome by nero, inverted cross

white to show up peasants dirt

light controls what is revealed (faces in darkness= sinners)

executioners bodies collectively form shape of cross, spanning out from peter


And last but not least...The stoning of st stephen 1617

Stephen= first christian martyr, hated by jews of outer provinces for performing miracles, and accused by a false witness

from the triptyon of st stephen for lille's convents/ churches

stephens vision in the temple 'i saw the heavens open and the son of man at the right hand of god'

a frenzy of excitement

clean diagonal is his struggle between good and evil

feet of largest angel trampling sinners

cylindrical tower is jerusalem

rippling clouds accentuate movement

stephens static verticality represents the peace of god

men on floor grovel and wear sackcloth like savages

skin contrasts= yellow, sallow/pink, muscular

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