Sarah Shoemaker IAH 241-E
21 February 2014
Historically, periodical inspired subjects, discoveries of new techniques and the intrapersonal desires and interests of the artists themselves have influenced artistic tendencies and dictated similar and diverse trends throughout artistic periods. The Baroque and Rococo periods are exemplarily periods to extensively compare and contrast trends in artists’ pieces and notice one’s influence in another’s paintings. Comparing the work of Baroque painters Michelangelo Caravaggio and Jan Vermeer to Romantic era painter Francisco de Goya, one can see trends that were developed and perfected, passed down from generation to generation over time; and also how each artist contributed personal attributes to their respective artistic periods.
In the sixteenth century, Caravaggio’s unique artistic style set a prestigious precedent for all realism painters to follow him. Caravaggio was the first of the three artists to perfect the skill of implementing intense chiaroscuro into his paintings.
This is reflected in many of Caravaggio’s paintings but is overwhelmingly effective and dominant in his 1599/1600 painting, The Calling of Saint Matthew. In addition to Caravaggio, Goya also heavily implemented the practice of painting chiaroscuro such as in his 1808 piece, The Third of May and the 1780 painting, Christo Crucificado. Both Caravaggio and Goya perfected the influences of light and the practice of positioning models to fully utilize shadows and put an emphasis on important aspects of their subjects.
Another interesting similarity between Goya and Caravaggio is that in the early days of both their painting careers, their work was full of color, vibrant and optimistic — however, as they aged and their skills developed, their late paintings became dismal, somber and grim. To compare, one should look at one of each of their early, exultant work, such as Caravaggio’s A Youth with a Basket of Fruit and Goya’s The Family of Carlos IV. Both of these paintings are colorful, and force the viewer to become captivated by the lives’ of the subjects. Contrary to the naive images portrayed in those paintings are, for example, Caravaggio’s David’s Victory over Goliath (in which he inserted his own head as the decapitated head of Goliath, symbolizing inner torment and despair) and Goya’s Cannibals Dismembering Their Victims that shows Goya’s diminishing faith in the human race and the ghastly abilities of man.
Although there are many similarities between...