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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Supper of Emmaus paintings of the 16th century and me

Forty four years ago I wrote a term paper for a college history class and put it away. Recently while cleaning house I found and read the paper - surprised to find the paintings reveal the problems I have faced in developing my energy and artistic expression. Here are a few examples from my paper of analyzed paintings.
Looking at Pontormo's Supper I see he has resorted to symbolism and has esoteric reasons for the naked feet and the dog and cat in the left corner. Adding extra stuff weakens a painting because only a few in the know feel the emotion. In the previous post I showed some works by Rembrandt who expressed a comparatively more intimate spiritual journey. In Italy one reached the holy through the priest. But Rembrandt painted in an environment where people as individuals could reach the holy. He drew the supper over and over again showing his increasing religious awareness. To me it is important to do subjects over again that I painted years ago. It is important to me to paint what I care about.
Pontormo painted the painting below my analysis. Supper at Emmaus in 1525 for the Carthusian monastery at Galluzzo, ( ITALIAN MANNERISM, Guiliani , Figure 3.)http://www.blogger.com/www.wga.hu

Papolo Caliari know as Veronese around 1559 painted the Supper of Emmaus, now in the Louvre, Paris.There is so much happening with everyone's family and landscape as well as a probable dog fight in the makings. The Biblical story was simply an excuse for a grand scale work commissioned by the rich. http://www.louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres

Titian's Supper at Emmaus painted 1533 -34. reproduction from http://www.mfa.org/venice/exhibition.html Titian's linear energy is made static with the tablecloth wrinkles more important than Christ.

Caravaggio's Pilgrimage of Our Lord to Emmaus at the National Gallery, London renders the Emmaus' Supper with poor street people in rags. The moment of recognition of Christ is dramatized by lighting and compositional linear movement. This Caravaggio painting is one of my favorites but does not compare with Rembrandt's posted earlier. http://www.artbible.info/art/

The Supper of Emmaus frequently painted by Italian artists of the 16th century are wonderfully rich in connections to me. The paintings reveal what happens when artists depend on commissions. It also shows how the style of your art community can undermine or enhance the expressiveness of a theme. Analyzing the energy movement in these paintings when I was a student 44 years ago has entered my subconscious. These paintings are a part of my background for making expressive movement in my own paintings.


Rain said...

Interesting. I wish I could remember the name of the novel I read a few years ago where the artist was taking those old master works and redoing them from a somewhat 'sacriligious' perspective.

Parapluie said...

Rain thank you,
After making the comment Rain sent me this link about the book; rainydaythought.blogspot.com/2006/09/spending.html

Parapluie said...

Another thought about Rain's recommended novel, studying art history can be profitable in many ways. It is not unusal for artists to paint a modern interpretation of well know old masters. It was a class assignment in basic design and figure painting at Portland State. And many uses and directions starting from early oil paintings and etchings is wonderful.
I n the years after graduation I did not have a single focus knowingly rying to paint with energy focused into lines of energy through my compositions. I became interested in what paint will do for paint's sake. Sometimes I felt the the surface textures or the color of subjects was what I needed for expression.