Ideas are the most powerful tool for artists. An individual idea has the power to transform the course of history. There are numerous influential individuals in the world's history. The world would be a different place if certain individuals did not present, develop, and enforce their new ideas. Religion is a cultural system selected practices and behaviors that connect humans, for instance, God or gods. Leonardo da Vinci and Jehan Georges are two artists that have depicted the theme of religion. The image "Adoration of the Magi" demonstrates how people believe in Jesus the Baby of Mary as their savior. It depicts the scene of the Judeo-Christian lore because the three wise men adore a baby who is held by his mother (Brooke, 67). "An Embarrassment of choices "is the title of a popular image by Jehan Georges. The image portrays a man wearing orange robes and he smells flowers. According to Christian's culture, these two images portray the image of religion because of the iconographical elements used by the two artists.
The two artists use Christian's costumes with sharp colors to attract the audience. Nardo's image depicts what has been written in a bible. The figures of Mary and Jesus seem to hover above the ground because they were the main focus of the image. Christians are all aware of the story of Jesus because of the influence of their culture. It is therefore easy for them to recognize the figures of Mary and Jesus. There are several indicators that show the individuals represented in the image. When viewing it critically, it becomes clear that the figure of the child is the key focus since the gazes of all the people including the mother are centered on him. Another element that makes the figure of Mary and Jesus unique is because they have halos (McGrath, 37). Although there are other figures that contain a halo those of these two people are distinguished to attract the eyes of the audience. In addition, the baby's halo has a different pattern from the other for figures. This demonstrates that the baby is the main concentration of the image.
Religion subject is a popular subject matter in the late nineteenth century, and the painting "A Difficult Choice" by Jehan Georges meets this historical accuracy. The picture is centered in a religious place, for example, a church. The priesthood started during this time, and hence the artist captured this painting to recognize the work that priest do in churches. The man is wearing long clothing covering every part of his body. The man is also wearing a priesthood cap showing that he is a cardinal in the Catholic Church. The man smells the flowers, and it is a gesture that he desires the holiness of the Lord to fill his heart (Tannenbaum, 38). During this period church cardinals were wearing red/orange robes like what the painting describes (McGrath, 35).
The sizes of the images are large such that it becomes clear for everyone to see them from far. The large size makes them clear and visible. In "A Difficult Choice" the large size of painting the reflection of the man in the mirror is seen very well. The picture of the man is clear, and from the size of the painting, one can tell that the man smells the flowers. The picture looks real because the size of the man standing beside the mirror is tall. To criticize the painting the size of the frame is large making the making the painting to appear small. The size of the man shows that he does not have a hard carrier.
The shape of the image "A Difficult Choice" is portrait while "Adoration of the Magi" is landscape. Jehan makes the picture protract so as to bring more realism to it. Because the main captured by the image is standing and he tall landscape paint would not have been a good choice for this painting. Jehan wants to bring the mirror reflecting the man more clear so that the image in the reflection can be seen clearly and this was enabled by a portrait shape. The images of objects in the painting are large, and they are not overlapping each other giving the viewer an easy time to visualize the image. He creates the mirror in a good position so that it could only reflect the shape of the man smelling flowers. There are no confusions on the shapes of the image. The objects such as the mirror, flower stand, and the floor where the man is standing reflect the reality of any house objects because the objects are found in a house. The man is dressed in long clothes that cover his legs indicating religion. Vinci gives significance to the three wise men that came to worship Jesus. Similar to the Bible the three wise men brought gifts such as myrrh, gold, and incense. The three magi are figured in a triangle holding some gifts (Brooke, 77). These are the gifts they brought they came to give their savior. The bible state that the wise men bow down to worship the Savior.
Light in the two paintings clearly shows that the background is a house. The backgrounds of the two images are clear showing that they are in open areas. Religions leaders wear certain, for instance, the priest is wearing a robe. The robe that the man is wearing has just one color, orange. Orange is associated with happiness and joy. The man is happy with this work. It indicates that he is a divine man. He is in a church as a priest. The color is warm showing that the man lives in a friendly environment without any chaos. The man is wearing red shoes that this shows that he is determined in his work. He smells the white flowers on a flower stand which portrays that he desires to have a clean heart which does not sin. They want his heart to be as white as the flowers he smells. The combination of colors in the flowers is red and white which shows that the man is determined in his holiness. The color of the floor is brown. George used the color since it is the color of earth. The color in the painting shows that the man wants to serve the world. The color also shows the values of the man as a reliable and honest man. On the other hand, Vinci surrounds the baby with a different light pattern to portray that he was the center of attraction. If the audience is not from a religious culture, he notes the different pattern of mother and child. Moreover, Vinci wanted the audience to not that Jesus is the special figure in this image. He is a blessing to people because he would wash all their sins (Tannenbaum 30).
I agree with the artist statement that it is "A Difficult Choice". The man in the picture chooses a difficult carrier as a priest. He has to live his enjoyable life to the priesthood. All the actions that the man does are reflected since God sees them. He is the leader, and people see them and do them since he is their role model. Serving God means total dedication and the man has to be committed to this work. Sometimes the man will be forced to live in the church, and hence he will be separated from his relatives. In Catholic churches, priests are not allowed to marry, and the man will spend all his life alone without a wife or children. These factors make this carrier tough and the hence the artist managed to bring out this statement to the viewer.
The painting subject matter is religion or priesthood. The artist uses the man clothing to demonstrate his subject matter. He uses a mirror to reflect the image of the man to show that somebody is watching every single action that the man takes in life. The man is wearing a priesthood cap. The title of the painting is the embarrassment of choices. The painting shows a man standing beside a mirror, and he smells some flowers which are kept on a flower stand. His face is reflected in the mirror. The man is wearing long clothing indicating he is religious. The form is the painting well intergraded. All the objects can be seen as the objects does not overlap each other. The artist did not include many objects in this painting and hence locating an object is easy.
The images have been criticized in some ways. One of the critics includes the flame of the painting because is big making the painting to appear small. The artist should have framed the painting in a thin frame. The frame is shinier in color compared to the painting, and hence a viewer is compelled to look at the frame more than the painting since it is dull. The robe should be white to portray his holiness instead of an orange robe. The artist titled the painting An Embarrassment of Choices while in the painting we see the man is happy with his work. He is not embarrassed at all. The title should just remain as a difficult choice. Vinci image has also been criticized because the wise men did not visit them the night the baby was born. However, Vinci figure shows that the wise men visited in the manager because the figures of cows and horses are also included in the image. The figures of these animals are centrally placed in the image. The Bible indicates that the wise men visited Jesus at their house meaning that it was not the night at which he was born (Brooke, 90). The sky is also clear without a start that guided the wise men.
Brooke, Ruby. "Gentile da Fabriano's Adoration of the Magi: Iconographic Influences of Decorative Arts from the Islamic World." (2018).
McGrath, Anthony. "Using Religious Art as Pictorial Evidence for Medieval Book History." Book History 18.1 (2015): 33-47.
Tannenbaum, Leslie. Biblical Tradition in Blake's Early Prophecies: The Great Code of Art. Vol. 4917. Princeton University Press, 2017.
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