Humanities
Purdue University Artistic Comparison and Commentary Essay

Purdue University

Question Description

I’m trying to study for my History course and I need some help to understand this question.

There will be one comparison question and eight questions about individual works of art. the essays should be made an attachment to your email message. You can find pictures of the works of art being tested in Gardner’s Art through the Ages, edited by Kleiner, Fourteenth Edition, Vol. 2, The Western Perspective, our regular course textbook. You are to write short essays about the examples indicated, either comparing and contrasting two works, or discussing individual examples. Your responses will be judged for their accuracy and completeness.

I. Artistic Comparison: Compare and contrast St. Peter’s Basilica and Square (Rome, Maderno, and Bernini, 1606-1612; 1656-1667) with the Palace of Versailles and Its Gardens (site outside Paris, C. Le Brun, J. Hardouin-Mansart, A. Le Nôtre, 1669-1685) as two examples of Baroque architecture. You can discuss their overall design, social function as buildings and spaces, decorative features, and their relation to the setting where they occur.

II. Commentary on Individual Works of Art: Write a short essay on each of the eight items mentioned below. Explain how each example is typical of the artist or movement with whom (or with which) it is associated. You can talk about the following items: the theme or subject represented; the composition or design of the work; various elements of style, such as the type of modeling, the kind of lighting employed, the use of color (where appropriate), the kind of brushwork in a painting, the type of spatial illusion created; the object’s engagement with the surrounding space (if a statue or statue group); the way emotion is expressed, etc. – whatever seems most important. You should make at least a few major points. All of these works of art were shown in class.

1) Rembrandt, Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1665

2) Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Teresa, 1645-1652

3) Rubens, Arrival of Marie de Medici at Marseilles, 1622-1625

4) Rococo Art (G. Boffrand), Hôtel de Soubise, Salon de la Princesse, 1737-1740

5) Caravaggio, Calling of St. Matthew, 1597-1601

6) Bruegel, Hunters in the Snow, 1565

7) Titian, Venus of Urbino, 1536-1538

8) Vermeer, Artist in His Studio (or Allegory of Painting), 1670-1675

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Final Answer

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Running head: ARTISTIC COMPARISON AND COMMENTARY

Artistic Comparison and Commentary
Student Name
Institution Affiliation

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ARTISTIC COMPARISON AND COMMENTARY

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Artistic Comparison and Commentary
Part I
St. Peter's Basilica and Square versus the Palace of Versailles
St. Peter's Basilica and Square (Rome, Maderno, and Bernini, 1606-1612; 1656-1667), a
significant Basilica among the many Basilicas in the Vatican City, stands out as the largest
building in the city and utilizes the largest space of the area. According to the Roman Catholic
tradition, it is considered the holiest place where the first apostle, St. Peter's (also the first pope)
was buried. Its skyline feature makes it recognized as the most prominent building in the
Vatican. The Palace of Versailles and Its Gardens (site outside Paris, C. Le Brun, J. HardouinMansart, A. Le Nôtre, 1669-1685) is a building that stands outside Paris with its stylish design
that signifies the superiority of France in one way of the other in the history of France. The
building, together with its gardens, form an area that King Louis XIV, along with his family,
closest friends, servants, soldiers and courtiers. The building was architecturally set up with its
gardens designed to form Versailles that marked the significance of Louis. The differences and
similarities of these two art buildings based on their overall design, spaces, social function, and
decorative characteristics are discussed hereunder.
Based on the overall design, both St. Peter's Basilica and the Palace of Versailles were
built by flowing the Baroque architectural style. In this style, the building has large windows that
register rhythmical repetition, with the main building being at the focal point that forms the
King'sKing's or the leader's bed. The Palace of Versailles has other gardens other than the main
focal building that signifies provision for servants and other friends and family members. Both

ARTISTIC COMPARISON AND COMMENTARY

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buildings have high baroque with concave and convex lines that create sacred geometry (for St.
Peter's Basilica) and wealth (for the Palace of Versailles).
Both of these art buildings have their interiors designed and decorated with features like
fine furnishings and furniture, stunning ceramic art (that includes porcelain) with different wellchosen colors. Based on the social functions, both St. Peter's Basilica and the Palace of
Versailles are royal places, highly respected by people. For St. Peter's Basilica, it is used as a
church for conducting religious functions such as prayers and masses and other religious
celebrations allowed by the Catholic tradition and the pope. Being the sovereign leader of the
Vatican City, the pope is given the honor as the leader of the premise by virtue of the building
being in close proximity to the Papal residence. The place holds important church ceremonies
animated by the pope, including confession, daily liturgical celebrations, among other religious
activities. Similar to the Palace of Versailles, St. Peter's Basilica is under control by the pope,
who is the president of Vatican City. The Palace of Versailles is under King Louis. The place is
also used for specific critical ceremonies. The gardens offer appropriate space for catering and
accommodating people. They provide ample space for parking and for holding endless
celebrations that are associated with the baroque architecture.
However, the functions attached to St. Peter's Basilica are religious-based celebrations.
As well, they honor the place based on the respect of the natural supreme being, which is God
since people take it as the holiest place. Conversely, the honor given to the building is based on
non-religious matters, that is, kingship ruling. In fact, the building is honored to connote the
respect for King Louis who helped in the French Revolution. Another difference between the
two architectural works lies in the decorative features and the interior designs adopted. Despite
both having baroque architectural style, St. Peter's Basilica contains religious-based coloring and

ARTISTIC COMPARISON AND COMMENTARY

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carvings with attached religious meanings. For the Palace of Vernalizes, decorative features
reveal the honor for the KingKing and the French revolution.
Part II
Rembrandt return of the prodigal son, c. 1665
The theme of this painting was one of the parables in the gospel about the prodigal son.
Telling a story of a son who after a long wandering around the world returned to his abandoned
father with unfilled hopes of forgiveness.
Rembrandt did the painting of the return of the prodigal son in oil paints. This is one of
the final works of the Dutch master which was likely completed with two years before his death
in 1669. The work represents the moments when the prodigal son returned to his father, as
explained by a parable in the bible. The picture represents forgiveness as it shows the returning
of son home, but he is in a miserable state out of despair and poverty after wasting his
inheritance. The son is shown kneeling before his father in the form of repentance, wherein this
kneeling his wish is to be forgiven and be given a place in his family. All these were after
reflecting and realizing that his father's servants had an even better life than the life he was
living.
In the picture, his father receives him with open hands suggesting fatherly love and
motherly forgiveness. his eyes are closed. At the right side of the picture stands the older brother
to the prodigal son. His hands are crossed, indicating judgement. It this state he objects their
father's compassion to his young brother as indicated in the parable.
The painting expressive lighting and coloring, his suggestive technique magically,
including selected simple setting all help the feeling of the events in the painting. In the painting,

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greater emphasis is created on the father and the son union. This is evident by composition
choice, the lighting employed and the face of the two figures in the expression of serenity and
peace. On the other hand, there is a third figure which is dressed in red at the right of the main
figures with an ambiguous relationship with unpredicted importance. The eyes of the father are
closed. This gesture is gentle, commanding silence. The faces of the elder son and the father
have a pale shine appearance where the scene is cellar-like darkness. The darkness is given some
glow by the red capes. This artistic expressed by Rembrandt is no sophisticated, but it expresses
simplicity.
The background of the painting shows a small platform in front of house with several
people gathered but the people are hidden by the darkness created in the painting. The son is
expressed in tattered clothes, impoverished, a convict shaved head, his kneeling and hiding of his
face on his father's chest expressing shame and repentance
In figures arrangement in this picture are expressed it the following ways: Father and
older son dressed both in red the youn...

azerasrose (2315)
UCLA

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