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Art History Essay

1013 words - 5 pages

The works of Lorrain and Poussin, View of the Campo Vaccino and Landscape with Saint John on Patmos respectively, both have the same subject matter but they differ in the meaning and how the works are presented. Both of these artists are from the same time period and have visited Rome many times. They have studied the ruins and culture of the ancient Romans and Greeks with their pagan religion and formulated their own opinions and views on the matter. Both of these artists had very different views of the Romans, as is present in the drawings that communicated different messages to us, the viewers but there were also some similarities in the works like the way the paintings are arranged forming shapes that show significance.
Lorrain believed in nature. The focus of the work View of the Campo Vaccino was not the ruins, but the landscape and life of the people. This work tries to bring a more natural outlook or message upon the viewer by covering the ruins in vegetation and not “glorifying” the ruins and placing the focus on the life of the people and the landscape. This artist believes that with time comes the conquering of a country or nation because every government will inevitably fall and their achievements will be forgotten and be reunited with nature, as depicted by the vegetation growing on the ruins. These natural forms of life are eternal and, with that, it triumphs over past civilizations, meaning that past civilizations are not eternal. This view is only partially correct as many of the greatest countries in the world today, such as the United States, currently use systems, or derivatives of systems, that were created back during the times of the Greeks and Romans. One example of this is the use of the basic laws of democracy; most of the constitutions ideas came from that of Roman decent, which means that people nowadays still use the ideas from this “past civilization” today as a base to build upon. Another great example of how past civilizations are “eternal” is with the continuation of classical art and architecture in the Neoclassical age of art. There are many similarities in the structures of neoclassical architecture that were created and engineered back in the Roman civilization. Most of the administrative buildings in Washington, DC were based off of the Classical style buildings of Roman architecture.
Poussin has more respect for the detail and achievements of the past civilization and states another message in contrast to Lorrain’s view of the ruins. Unlike Lorrain, Poussin actually admired ancient Greco-Roman art, which is one of the reasons his view is vastly different from Lorrain’s “eternal nature” viewpoint. In his work Landscape with Saint John on Patmos, Poussin tries to get a message across to its viewers that will help them understand the way that he views the scene of ruins. This message is drilled into the mind of the viewer by all of the symbols and references in the...

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