Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Italian Art in the Renaissance and Baroque Periods

https://www.udemy.com/art-history-survey-1300-to-contemporary/
View all the videos in chronological order with study guides and additional texts.



Perspective Webster's dictionary defines "perspective" in a variety of ways:
2 a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed ; also: point of view b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
So perspective is really just a point of view.  This section will deal with a variety of points of view.  Visual systems such a linear perspective will be discussed as well theological, humanistic and neoplatonic points of view.

Cimabue, Madonna Enthroned c1280
Late Gothic Italian 

space,  picture plane, and overlapping Paintings on a flat two dimensional space employ different ways of creating space.  Before the Renaissance period artists looked at a picture as a kind of window.  The front of this window is sometimes referred to as the picture plane.  As you look through the front of the plane, like a window, you will see things that are in the foreground or front of the picture, then in the middle ground, and finally the background.  In this painting in particular, this artist, named Cimabue, is trying to create the illusion of space by layering or overlapping one figure in front of another, however, you can see that he really does not create the illusion of space or deep space too convincingly.


Giotto, St Francis Giving his Mantle to a Poor Man, c1305
Late Gothic sometimes his style is considered 
Proto Renaissance or Early Renaissance
Giotto, a student of Cimabue, is one of the first Italian artists to really try to create some sort of space in the picture plane.  If you look at this painting you can see that he has claerly created a foreground, where the men and the donkey are, a mid-ground, where the mountains start to rise, and then a background where the buildings are.  He creates this illusion in several ways.  One way is that he overlaps or layers the figures.  The other is that he uses dimunution.  Things in the background diminish, or get smaller.  Giotto creates space is that he changes the size of things as they move back in space.  The buildings and mountains are much smaller than the people are in the foreground.  This difference in size is refered to as a size scale relationship
The building in this image and the others like it are rendered with the illusion of space called intuitive perspective and isometric perspective.  (This kind of perspective is not as illusionistic as the linear perspective that is invented during the Renaissance around 1400 CE.)

Different artists and different cultures through out time have tried their hand at creating the illusion of space or realism in their art.
 

 

Fowling Scene from the tomb of Nebamun
1400 BCE - 1350 BCE
Thebes, Egypt
Dynasty 18
According to the Brittanica: Perspective is a method of graphically depicting three-dimensional objects and spatial relationships on a two-dimensional plane or on a plane that is shallower than the original (for example, in flat relief).
Perceptual methods of representing space and volume, which render them as seen at a particular time and from a fixed position and are characteristic of Chinese and most Western painting since the Renaissance, are in contrast to conceptual methods. Pictures drawn by young children and primitives (untrained artists), many paintings of cultures such as ancient Egypt and Crete, India, Islam, and pre-Renaissance Europe, as well as the paintings of many modern artists, depict objects and surroundings independently of one another--as they are known to be, rather than as they are seen to be--and from the directions that best present their most characteristic features. Many Egyptian and Cretan paintings and drawings, for example, show the head and legs of a figure in profile, while the eye and torso are shown frontally . This system produces not the illusion of depth but the sense that objects and their surroundings have been compressed within a shallow space behind the picture plane.


Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, 1495-7 Milan, 
Santa Maria delle Grazie 
According to the Brittanica:
In Western art, illusions of perceptual volume and space are generally created by use of the linear perspective system, based on the observations that objects appear to the eye to shrink and parallel lines and planes to converge to infinitely distant vanishing points as they recede in space from the viewer. Parallel lines in spatial recession will appear to converge on a single vanishing point, called one-point perspective. Perceptual space and volume may be simulated on the picture plane by variations on this basic principle, differing according to the number and location of the vanishing points. Instead of one-point (or central) perspective, the artist may use, for instance, angular (or oblique) perspective, which employs two vanishing points.

Linear perspective is a mathematical system for creating the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface. The system originated in Florence, Italy in the early 1400s. The artist and architect Brunelleschi demonstrated its principles, but another architect and writer, Leon Battista Alberti was first to write down rules of linear perspective for artists to follow. Leonardo da Vinci probably learned Alberti's system while serving as an apprentice to the artist Verrocchio in Florence. To use linear perspective an artist must first imagine the picture surface as an "open window" through which to see the painted world. Straight lines are then drawn on the canvas to represent the horizon and "visual rays" connecting the viewer's eye to a point in the distance.
The horizon line runs across the canvas at the eye level of the viewer. The horizon line is where the sky appears to meet the ground.
The vanishing point should be located near the center of the horizon line. The vanishing point is where all parallel lines (orthogonals) that run towards the horizon line appear to come together like train tracks in the distance.
Orthogonal lines are "visual rays" helping the viewer's eye to connect points around the edges of the canvas to the vanishing point. An artist uses them to align the edges of walls and paving stones.
Please visit this site for more of an explanation.
http://psych.hanover.edu/Krantz/art/linear.html

 

Masaccio, Trinity with Donors, c1425 - 8?
fresco in the 
Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence
21'x10'5"
According to the Brittanica:
The early European artist used a perspective that was an individual interpretation of what he saw rather than a fixed mechanical method. At the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, early in the 15th century, the mathematical laws of perspective were discovered by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who worked out some of the basic principles, including the concept of the vanishing point, which had been known to the Greeks and Romans but had been lost. These principles were applied in painting by Masaccio (as in his "Trinity" fresco in Santa Maria Novella, Florence; c. 1427), who within a short period brought about an entirely new approach in painting. A style was soon developed using configurations of architectural exteriors and interiors as the background for religious paintings, which thereby acquired the illusion of great spatial depth. In his seminal Della pittura (1436; On Painting), Leon Battista Alberti codified, especially for painters, much of the practical work on the subject that had been carried out by earlier artists; he formulated, for example, the idea that "vision makes a triangle, and from this it is clear that a very distant quantity seems no larger than a point." Linear perspective dominated Western painting until the end of the 19th century, when Paul Cézanne flattened the conventional Renaissance picture space. The Cubists and other 20th-century painters abandoned the depiction of three-dimensional space altogether and hence had no need for linear perspective.
Linear perspective plays an important part in presentations of ideas for works by architects, engineers, landscape architects, and industrial designers, furnishing an opportunity to view the finished product before it is begun. Differing in principle from linear perspective and used by both Chinese and European painters, aerial perspective is a method of creating the illusion of depth by a modulation of color and tone. 

 
Dennis Hwang, a student from Stanford was so taken with the three dimensional quality of the image that he designed a virtual reality image that simulates another view of Masaccio's fresco. http://graphics.stanford.edu/courses/cs99d-98/online_projects.html

 

Masaccio, Trinity with Donors, c1425 - 8?
fresco in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence
21'x10'5"
Form: This is a tremendous work of art.  The figures in the work are just slightly bigger than life size.  The overall composition of the works is symmetrical and the composition within the arch is based on a stable pyramidal form.  While not strictly in accordance with the rules of perspective, this form is a visual device that draws the eye back into the picture plane. The figures of God the Father, The Spirit (which is a Dove that doubles for God's collar) and the crucified Jesus are placed with a Roman triumphal arch complete with Pantheon like coffers and ionic columns on the edges.  Moving out of the arch on either side are two flattened pilasters (squared off half columns) that have corinthian capitals.
The work is executed in one point perspective with the horizon line placed right on the level of the first trompe l’oeil ledge at the viewer's eye level.   The figures representing the two donors or patrons are located on a ledge about six feet off the ground, just outside of the arch slightly above the viewer's point of view. Beneath the ledge/horizon line is a painted skeleton representing a tomb.
Iconography:  Symbolically speaking this image is packed with all kinds of different perspectives. 
The linear perspective is both a formal device, which creates space, and a way of including the viewer.  The fact that the use of linear perspective is used actually symbolizes that the real subject of the painting is not the Trinity but rather the Renaissance man's relationship to it.  This leads us to discuss the various themes that are hidden within the obvious meaning behind the fresco.
It's almost a shopping list of ideas. 
idealism
neoplatonism
humanism
theology
Overall, the fresco does represent a theological (religious) point of view.  More specifically it represents a unification of the Trinity as expressed in the Catholic Nicene Creed.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.
The Brittanica refers to Masaccio's Trinity as "rational, human-scaled and human-centred, and inspired by the ancient world."  This statement illustrates that beyond a theological point of view, the naturalistic life-size scale and placement of the figures of God the Father, The Spirit, within a Roman triumphal arch complete with Pantheon like coffers and ionic columns on the edges, represents how the Renaissance person was framing their view of the world within a classicizing and humanistic point of view.  Jesus' body is idealized and he looks almost as if he is a Greek god.  God the Father looks like a Greek or Roman philosopher and these representations make reference to the new ideas concerning neoplatonism and humanism. The neoplatonic aspect, deals with the concept of humankind's ability to be perfected to an ideal state.  One that is more spiritual and mental than flesh.  The humanistic point of view deals with the concept that while humankind is spiritual it is also physical and emotional.  When the body of Christ is depicted as a real human's body, the artist is showing you a point of view based on a more human and possibly even fallible point of view of the world.  The perfectibility of man and the ideal conception of a what a perfect person should be is discussed in Mencher, Liaisons 109-112 Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) Il Cortegiano (The Courtier) Excerpts from "The First Book of the Courtier"  and William Shakespeare c1600 excerpts from Hamlet 115-117All of these points of view are pulled together in by the appearance and text above the skeleton.
Above the skeleton is inscribed, "What I was you are.  What I am, you will become."  This idea that we are to be reminded of our mortality and frailty is a reminder or a lesson referred to as a memento mori.  A literal reminder of death.  This them is taken up not just in the visual arts but also in literature and theatrical productions.  Read Mencher, Liaisons, William Shakespeare c1600 excerpts from Hamlet115-117 for another example.  What kinds of iconography to they both share?

Masaccio. Tribute Money, and Expulsion, fresco c1427 
Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine Florence, 
Italy, Italian Renaissance

Context: Masaccio. Tribute Money, and Expulsion, fresco c1427  are prime examples of many of the innovations that marked 15th century Italian art.  In addition to demonstrating all of the formal views concerning perspective, these frescoes also express all of the more philosophical points of view. According to the Brittanica: 
The Brancacci Chapel. Shortly after completing the Pisa Altarpiece, Masaccio began working on what was to be his masterpiece--the frescoes of the Brancacci Chapel (c. 1427) in the Florentine Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. He was commissioned to finish painting the chapel's scenes of the stories of St. Peter after Masolino (1383-1447) had abandoned the job, leaving only the vaults and several frescoes in the upper registers finished. Previously, Masaccio and Masolino were engaged in some sort of loose working relationship. They had already collaborated on a "Madonna and Child with St. Anne" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence) in which the style of Masaccio, who was the younger of the two, had a profound influence on that of Masolino. It has been suggested, but never proven, that both artists were jointly commissioned to paint the Brancacci Chapel. The question of which painter executed which frescoes in the chapel posed one of the most discussed artistic problems of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is now generally thought that Masaccio was responsible for the following sections: the "Expulsion of Adam and Eve" (or "Expulsion from Paradise"), "Baptism of the Neophytes," "The Tribute Money," "St. Peter Enthroned," "St. Peter Healing the Sick with His Shadow," "St. Peter Distributing Alms," and part of the "Resurrection of the Son of Theophilus." (A cleaning and restoration of the Brancacci Chapel frescoes in 1985-89 removed centuries of accumulated grime and revealed the frescoes' vivid original colours.)
There are other forms of perspective and one of them, which is slightly later development used by Masaccio but perfected by Leonardo is called aerial perspective.  According to the Brittanica,
 


Masaccio. Tribute Money, and Expulsion, fresco c1427 
Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine Florence, Italy, Italian Renaissance
Photo of atmospheric perspective 
Aerial perspective also called ATMOSPHERIC PERSPECTIVE, method of creating the illusion of depth, or recession, in a painting or drawing by modulating color to simulate changes effected by the atmosphere on the colours of things seen at a distance. Although the use of aerial perspective has been known since antiquity, Leonardo da Vinci first used the term aerial perspective in his Treatise on Painting, in which he wrote: "Colours become weaker in proportion to their distance from the person who is looking at them." It was later discovered that the presence in the atmosphere of moisture and of tiny particles of dust and similar material causes a scattering of light as it passes through them, the degree of scattering being dependent on the wavelength, which corresponds to the color, of the light. Because light of short wavelength--blue light--is scattered most, the colours of all distant dark objects tend toward blue; for example, distant mountains have a bluish cast. Light of long wavelength--red light--is scattered least; thus, distant bright objects appear redder because some of the blue is scattered and lost from the light by which they are seen. The intervening atmosphere between a viewer and, for example, distant mountains, creates other visual effects that can be mimicked by landscape painters. The atmosphere causes distant forms to have less distinct edges and outlines than forms near the viewer, and interior detail is similarly softened or blurred. Distant objects appear somewhat lighter than objects of similar tone lying closer at hand, and in general contrasts between light and shade appear less extreme at great distances. All these effects are more apparent at the base of a mountain than at its peak, since the density of the intervening atmosphere is greater at lower elevations.
 "aerial perspective."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 19, 2002. 

 


chiaroscuro
 
The picture plane is further unified by its value structure or shading.  This use of light and shadow to create a dramatic and consistent picture plane is  referred to as chiaroscuro. According to the Brittanica, 
 
Chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"),
technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects. Some evidence exists that ancient Greek and Roman artists used chiaroscuro effects, but in European painting the technique was first brought to its full potential by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century in such paintings as his "Adoration of the Magi" (1481; Uffizi, Florence). Thereafter, chiaroscuro became a primary technique for many painters, and by the late 17th century the term was routinely used to describe any painting, drawing, or print that depends for its effect on an extensive gradation of light and darkness.
The scene depicted in "The Tribute Money" is consistently lit from the upper right and thus harmonizes with the actual lighting of the chapel, which comes from a window on the wall to the right of the fresco. The mountain background of the fresco is convincingly rendered using aerial perspective; an illusion of depth is created by successively lightening the tones of the more distant mountains, thereby simulating the changes effected by the atmosphere on the colours of distant objects. In "The Tribute Money," with its solid, anatomically convincing figures set in a clear, controlled space lit by a consistent fall of light, Masaccio decisively broke with the medieval conception of a picture as a world governed by different and arbitrary physical laws. Instead, he embraced the concept of a painting as a window behind which a continuation of the real world is to be found, with the same laws of space, light, form, and perspective that obtain in reality. This concept was to remain the basic idiom of Western painting for the next 450 years. 
 "chiaroscuro."  and "Masaccio"  Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 19, 2002. 
Although Giotto uses the technique somewhat in his paintings, notice how chiaroscuro is employed by Masaccio in the image on the left to make the figures appear more life like.  Also notice how Masaccio has become so involved with perspective that the halo atop the apostles heads are represented as an elliptical plates floating above rather than the more traditional circle of light that surrounds the heads of Giotto's and Cimabue's figures.
Context and Iconography:  In order to really understand this next section you need to know the story of the Tribute Money.  I think that what Masaccio was doing was following the lessons and type of sermons that would have been delivered in Church.  In these sermons, two stories concerning the testing of Jesus might have been combined.
 
Matthew Chapter 17
 








24  When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"


25 "Yes," he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, "What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?"


26 When he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the subjects are exempt.


27 But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you."


Matthew Chapter 22


15  Then the Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech.


16 They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status.


17 Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?"


18 Knowing their malice, Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?


19 Show me the coin that pays the census tax." Then they handed him the Roman coin.


20 He said to them, "Whose image is this and whose inscription?"


21 They replied, "Caesar's." At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."


22 When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.
Masaccio also uses linear perspective to focus the attention on the viewer to the central figure of Christ.  In addition to this, he also places the heads of the apostles on the horizon line almost as if they were ducks in a shooting gallery. The Tribute Money is a continuous narrative.  Meaning that all the episodes of the story are united in one picture plane, such as we see in Nicola Pisano's Nativity, however in Masaccio's image the space makes more sense.  He also divides the story in three segments by using linear perspective.
The vanishing point also divides the picture plane in two sections.  On the left we see the mountains and natural world depicted almost as an infinite place.  To the right of the picture plane, and on the left hand of Jesus, the place where the damned are traditionally placed are the manmade structures of the city.
What this may represent is a concept that is expressed by the story of the Tribute Money as interpreted by St. Augustine 354-430.  According to the Brittanica, Augustine's, "adaptation of classical thought to Christian teaching created a theological system of great power and lasting influence. His numerous written works, the most important of which are Confessions and City of God, shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought."
St. Augustine, came up with a concept in which he viewed the universe and man's existence as divided in two worlds.  One was the City of Man which was temporary and fallible.  This is represented by the architecture and the place in which the tax collectors stands and collects what is "due Caesar."  The other world is the City of God which goes on forever and in which god will provide for the faithful.  This is where Peter pulls the coin from the fishes mouth. Stokstad points out that this story was also used as a propagandistic tool and a way of instilling patriotism for Florence and raising funds.
o Form:  These two nude figures are depicted in an anatomically accurate manner.  The angel of Michael above escorts them out of a triumphal arch and out into a seemingly featureless landscape.  The bodies are arranged in expressive poses. The torso of the angel floating above has been somewhat foreshortened.

Iconography:  The classical arch symbolizes the figures expulsion from a classical and ideal world: the Garden of Eden.  The expression of there bodies ties in with some of the ideas of human expression that one can see in monuments like the Parthenon's metopes and the Ara Pacis Augustae, except in this case, Masaccio uses the language of gesture to directly communicate what each one of these figures is feeling.  My Professor Broderick, from Lehman college, suggested that the figure of Adam is ashamed of himself in a more internal way and therefore hides his face from us and from God.  In contrast to this, Eve, is more superficially ashamed and hides her body.  For Broderick, this was an expression of male and female roles during the Renaissance.

 
 


Albrecht Durer, Alberti's Veil c1500
One way of dealing with perspective and foreshortening is to use mechanical devices to help the artist figure out how perspective works.  In the central image, Durer is using a device based on a treatise by Alberti.  This device allows the artist to abstract the image and chart the image into a series of squares.  This gives the artist many more reference points and allows him to check and measure the way things are foreshortened.
This machine is based on a device that artists used to make multiple copies of the same image or to enlarge a drawing accurately for placement on a wall or canvas.  This process is called "grid and transfer" or "squaring."  According to the Brittanica,
"Squaring" in painting, simple technique for transferring an image from one surface to another (and sometimes converting the image from one scale to another) by non mechanical means. The original work to be transferred is divided into a given number of squares; the same number of squares is then marked off-- with charcoal or some other easily removable medium--on the surface of the receiving area. The contents of each square of the original are then drawn in the corresponding square of the reproduction. The use of the grid ensures the accurate placement of images onto the reproduction. The Egyptians used squaring at least 5,000 years ago. It has been used to transfer cartoons onto murals, to transfer preparatory drawings onto canvas paintings, and to alter the scale of any work in the same media.
This process was used extensively during the Renaissance.  Check this out:
http://www.clevelandart.org/techniques/squaring.html also see this
http://www.aliciastrose.com/f-process.html
Two Point Perspective
 

1) To draw a simple shape in two point perspective you start with a single line across the picture plane called the horizon line.
 
3) Next, add converging lines from the top and bottom of the vertical line and draw two vertical lines which will become the back corners of the box.

2 Then add two vanishing points.  Place one at each end of the horizon line. Then draw a vertical line as big as you want the first box.
4) After erasing some of the horizon line (the part behind the box) it looks like a three dimensional form.
A page with a great example of two point perspective.
http://www.proviso.k12.il.us/EAST/GeometryWorld/2PER.HTM
 
 

Gustave Caillebotte, Paris a Rainy Day, 1877
French, Impressionism
Here's an example of two point perspective in a painting.  This painting actually has multiple points on the horizon line but I've traced most of the orthagonals to the two most dominant ones in the black and white illustration. Here's how Giotto kind of had it right.

 
Here's where the lines should have gone.

 
 
Giotto di Bondone, Virgin and Child Enthroned, 
(Ognissanti Altar,) c 1310. 
Tempera and gold on wood, 10'8"x6'8"
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Cimabue, Virgin and Child Enthroned, 
from the Church of Santa Trinita, Florence
c 1280. Tempera and gold on wood, 12' 7"x7'4"
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


Masaccio, Madonna Enthroned, 1426,
oil on panel, 56x29"
London, National Gallery
These two works of art on the left are ones that you have already studied extensively.  Compare these two works to this one by Masaccio.  Think about and be prepared to relate the concepts you have just learned about to them.
Go back to the page where you first learned about them.
Ignore this question if you are in the ART 101 class.

hu.man.ism n (1832) 1 a: devotion to the humanities: literary culture b: the revival of classical letters, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance 2: humanitarianism 3: a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; esp: a philosophy that usu. rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason -- hu.man.ist n or adj -- hu.man.is.tic adj -- hu.man.is.ti.cal.ly adv me.men.to mo.ri n, pl memento mori [L, remember that you must die] (1596): a reminder of mortality; esp: death's-head
me.men.to n, pl -tos or -toes [ME, fr. L, remember, imper. of meminisse to remember; akin to L ment-, mens mind--more at mind] (1580): something that serves to warn or remind; also: souvenir
Neo.pla.to.nism n (1845) 1: Platonism modified in later antiquity to accord with Aristotelian, post-Aristotelian, and oriental conceptions that conceives of the world as an emanation from an ultimate indivisible being with whom the soul is capable of being reunited in trance or ecstasy 2: a doctrine similar to ancient Neoplatonism -- Neo.pla.ton.ic adj -- Neo.pla.to.nist n
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)
Value Structure
Is the lightness or darkness of a color or shade.  Chiaroscuro and tenebrism both employ the use quick shifts of light and dark.
Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. It is a variable that can substantially alter a color's appearance, and as we will see later, it is also an important factor in achieving legibility with type and color. A hue changes in value when either white or black are added to it. A color with added white is called a tint (fig.7) ; a color with added black is called a shade (fig.8). Generally speaking, pure hues that are normally light in value (yellow, orange, green) make the best tints, white pure hues that are normally dark in value (red, blue, violet) make the most desirable shades. The palettes colors below shoes a spectrum of tints and shades based on the hues from the colors clearly shows that changes in value greatly expand color possibilities.
 
 

fig.7

fig.8

  "Man is the measure?"
Women's roles during the Renaissance

Leonardo, Vitruvian Man, 
Study of proportions, c1492 
from Vitruvius's  De Architectura 
(1st century BCE)
Pen and ink, 13"x 9" 
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Giotto di Bondone, 
Virgin and Child Enthroned, 
(Ognissanti Altar,) c 1310. 
Tempera and gold on wood,
10'8"x6'8"
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence



Leonardo, Virgin and St. Anne 
with the Christ Child. 1510
Oil on wood, 168,5 x 130 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Jan van Eyck Arnolfini Wedding 1434 
oil and tempera on oak 82x60cm



Albrecht Durer, Adam and Eve. 1504
engraving 9"x7" 
Philadelphia Museum of Art

BALDUNG GRIEN, Hans
Aristotle and Phyllis 1513
Woodcut, 33 x 23,6 cm
Context and Iconography: The Male Gaze The series of images at the left are almost major landmarks in understanding the Renaissance conception of the difference between male and female roles.  Images such as these and the writings of Reniassance authors, such as those by Castiglione and Christine de Pizan are in some ways representative of the "ideal" roles for each gender.  Since images like this were primarily commissioned by male patrons and made by male artists some historians have named this phenomena the "male gaze."
Leonardo and his contemporaries literally believed that, "Man is the measure of all things."  In this drawing we see that Leonardo takes this idea almost quite literally and scientifically.  Leonardo, consistent with classical thinking, chooses to represent the nude male figure rather than the nude female.  This choice is quite deliberate because much of the thinking concerning classical humanism revolves around the specifically male experience of the world.  In fact, authors like Castiglione specifically look on men who have,
 
. . .such a countenance as this is, will I have our Courtier to have, and not be so soft and womanish as many procure to have: that do not only curl the hair, and pick the brows, but also pamper themselves in every point like the most wanton and dishonest women in the world. One would think that in the way they walk, stand, and in all their gestures so tender and weak, that their limbs were ready to fall apart. Their pronunciation and language are effeminate. These men, seeing that nature has not made them women, ought not to be esteemed in place of good women, but like common Harlots to be banished, not only out of princes’ courts, but also out of the company of Gentlemen. To come therefore to the quality of the person,
Catiglione, Excerpt from the "Courtier"

Images of Mary can almost always be traced back to the Gothic depiction of Mary as the "Throne of Wisdom."   In most images, such as in these by Giotto and Leonardo, she not only serves as a mother but as a platform or throne for her child.  Stokstad refers to this as symbolic of the old testament references to the Lion Throne of King Solomon who is known as a wise and fair ruler and judge, but it is also a communication of the male conceived ideal of what the perfect woman should be.
Even when the Renaissance artist breaks with tradition and begins to think critically about the new roles of men and women, as in the Arnolfini wedding portrait and Christine de Pizan's writings, we still can see that both support the concept that there are appropriate roles for males and females in the world.
 
God has similarly ordained man and woman to serve Him in different offices and also to aid and comfort one another, each in their ordained task, and to each sex has given a fitting and appropriate nature and inclination to fulfill their offices. Inasmuch as the human species often errs in what it is supposed to do, God gives men strong and hardy bodies for coming and going as well as for speaking boldly. And for this reason, men with this nature learn the laws - and must do so - in order to keep the world under the rule of justice and, in case anyone does not wish to obey the statutes which have been ordained and established by reason of law, are required to make them obey with physical constraint and force of arms, a task which women could never accomplish. Nevertheless, though God has given women great understanding
Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies 1405

In the case of the Arnolfini portrait, the role is that of the good wife.  Notice that being a wife is also being a good mother and we can see this symbolically in Giovanna Cenami's swelling belly and bunched up drapery which symbolizes pregnancy according to Panofsky.
Both Castiglione and de Pizan seem to warn us off of changing the male and female roles and sticking to what we know or is prescribed in the Bible.  In fact, many images of females who break out of these traditional roles, such as the biblical women, Eve, Judith, and Suzanne and the not so biblilical Phyllis are responsible for our down fall and in this case of Eve for our "original sin."

Hans Baldung Grien,
Aristotle and Phyllis. 1503
pen and ink
Form:  This is a simple sketch in pen and ink that was probably a prelimionary drawing for an engraving or a painting.  The anatomy is rather stiff and less gestural than those of his contempoarry Italian counterparts. Space is created through a size scale relationship of foreground to background and a variation of marks in the nackground buildings indicates a use of atmospheric perspective. 
Grien uses cross contour lines (lines that literally follow the direction across the curves of the trunks) to indicate the texture of the tree and cross hatching to develop the value structure of the figures and their drapery in the foreground.  These linear techniques would have been important for a printmaker to master.
Iconography:  The them of an "ill matched couple," which usually depicts a young and beautiful maiden in the company of an older man is a common them in Renaissance art of the North.  In many images the younger woman has her hand on the purse of the older man but in this case the subject matter of the image is a young beautiful woman dressed in Renaissance clothing of the Northern style riding around or taming an older man. Images like this were meant to be a warning to men of the power of inappropriate passion and a warning against the sexual powers of young woman.
Context: More specifically this relates to the story of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and Phyllis, the wife of his pupil Alexander the Great.  According to the Brittanica, 
"in late 343 or early 342 Aristotle, at about the age of 42, was invited by Philip II of Macedon to his capital at Pella to tutor his 13-year-old son, Alexander. As the leading intellectual figure in Greece, Aristotle was commissioned to prepare Alexander for his future role as a military leader. As it turned out, Alexander was to dominate the Greek world and defend it against the Persian Empire."
This union of older philosopher master was the beginning of a nearly lifelong advisory position for Aristotle.  Alexander respected the superior intellect of Aristotle in all things and felt that Aristotle represented the ideal intellectual who represented a total mastery of the intellectual over the physical self.  (Remember the Apollonian Dionysian conflict?) 
Phyllis questioned Aristsotles absolute control and according to legend made a bet with Alexander that she could show him that passion was stronger than reason.  She began to flirt with Aristotle.  After inflaming Aristotle with lust, he began to beg for a sexual trist.  Phyllis informed Alexander that she had the proof he sought and instructed Alexander to hide in the bushes and watch while she literally mad an "ass" out of Aristotle. 
In order to get what he wanted, Aristotle had to agree to do whatever Phyllis wanted.  She instructed Aristotle to get down on all fours and allow her to ride him around the courtyard. 

 

BALDUNG GRIEN, Hans
Aristotle and Phyllis 1513
Woodcut, 33 x 23,6 cm
 
Form:  In this variation of the theme, the two figures are nude and the total environment is much more worked out.  This image indicates a fairly good use of anatomy and perspective and shows more of a development of the mark making discussed in Grien's drawing.  The development of the vocabulary of marks would have been important for Grien to be able to make a high quality engraving.
 
Engraving
In engraving, the design is cut into metal with a graver or burin. The burin is a steel rod with a square or lozenge-shaped section and a slightly bent shank. The cutting is accomplished by pushing the burin into the metal plate. The deeper it penetrates into the metal, the wider the line; variations in depth create the swelling tapering character of the engraved line. After the engraving is finished, the slight burr raised by the graver is cleaned off with a scraper. The engraved line is so sharp and clean that it asserts itself even if cut over a densely etched area. In the print, the engraved line is notable for its precision and intensity. In engraving, the hand does not move freely in any direction but pushes the graver forward in a line; a change of direction is achieved by the manipulation of the plate with the other hand. Although copper, zinc, aluminum, and magnesium plates are used--and in the past soft iron and even steel were used--the best all-around metal is copper. It has the most consistent structure and is neither too soft nor too hard.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

  Context: In the North, places like Germany, France and Holland, the art market was a bit different than in Italy.  Although the Reformation did not officially begin until 1518, there were stirrings of it earlier than that. 
In Northern towns and cities, there was a different distrubution of wealth and probably a larger upper middle class than in Italy.  In addition to these factors, the main patron for the arts was in Italy in the Churches of Rome, Padua and Florence.  Since individuals could afford to buy work for smaller prices many artists sought out this different market. The print market allowed artists to sell multiple copies of the same images to a larger number of people and make as much money from it as the sale of one or two paintings.
This also freed some of the artists from the typical more Catholic or overtly religious iconography of much of the art of the South and allowed them to explore other kinds of imagery and subjects.

Hans Baldung Grien. Stupified Groom. (Bewitched Groom)
1544.  Woodcut 13"x 7" 
State Museum of Berlin
Iconography:  Stokstad describes the iconography of this image as a "moral lesson on the power of evil" but more than that, Stokstad discusses the use of images of witches in his images as an expression of evil.  It is interesting that this is one of the roles that older, perhaps unattractive woman were accused of during the Renaissance and well into the 1800's.  In some ways, the depiction of witches in the art of the Renaissance represents the anti-ideal for a woman.  In this way, woman are still provided with a role model of what not to become.
  Form and Context: 
Woodcut is the technique of printing designs from planks of wood. . . It is one of the oldest methods of making prints from a relief surface, having been used in China to decorate textiles since the 5th century AD. In Europe, printing from wood blocks on textiles was known from the early 14th century, but it had little development until paper began to be manufactured in France and Germany at the end of the 14th century. . . In Bavaria, Austria, and Bohemia, religious images and playing cards were first made from wood blocks in the early 15th century, and the development of printing from movable type led to widespread use of woodcut illustrations in the Netherlands and in Italy. With the 16th century, black-line woodcut reached its greatest perfection with Albrecht Dürer and his followers Lucas Cranach and Hans Holbein. In the Netherlands Lucas van Leyden and in Italy Jacopo de' Barbari and Domenico Campagnola, who were, like Dürer, engravers on copper, also made woodcuts. As wood is a natural material, its structure varies enormously and this exercises a strong influence on the cutting. Wood blocks are cut plankwise. The woods most often used are pear, rose, pine, apple, and beech. The old masters preferred fine-grained hardwoods because they allow finer detail work than softwoods, but modern printmakers value the coarse grain of softwoods and often incorporate it into the design.

The printing of woodcuts is a relatively simple process because it does not require great pressure. Although presses are used, even hand rubbing with a wooden spoon can produce a good print. The ink used to print woodcuts must be fairly solid and sticky, so that it lies on the surface without flowing into the hollows. The printing ink can be deposited on the relief either with dabbers or with rollers. Thinner papers are particularly suitable for woodcuts because they make rich prints without heavy pressure.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

TIZIANO Vecellio (Titian) The Venus of Urbino 1538 Oil on canvas, 119 x 165 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italian Renaissance In the background of Titian’s painting entitled "The Venus of Urbino" (1538) are two women looking inside or placing things inside a chest. This chest or cassone is most likely a dowry chest, in which case the women are then preparing the chest with gifts for the upcoming nuptials. Venus, the goddess of beauty, nude in the foreground, presides over the event, but there’s something wrong with this picture. Venus is really the Duke of Urbino’s courtesan (mistress) and the title of the painting is just a disguise to make a nearly pornographic portrait palatable. This kind of double meaning in a painting is common during the Renaissance especially in portrayals of women.
What is also interesting about this images is that the artist chose to juxtapose the eroticized female form with commodities or luxury items.  By playing the textures and body of the female against expensive fabrics, fur, fruit, and dowery chest containing the family jewels and porcelain, the artist is also making the human female form another commodity which can be bought and sold.  In this way, the wealth of the patron is also eroticized.  This device is played off again and again throughout the history of art.
The cassone is a familiar object in the upper class Renaissance home. Provided by the bride’s family and kept throughout her life the chest is symbol of her marriage. The decorations on the chest are designed to educate the woman who owns it. The images that adorn cassoni relate familiar classical and biblical narratives concerning the lives of great women. For example, San Francisco’s "Legion of Honor" has a panel from a cassone by Jacopo del Sellaio that depicts the "Legend of Brutus and Portia," circa 1485. Both Plutarch (AD 46-119), a Greek historian, and Shakespeare (1554-1616) in his play "Julius Caesar," depict Portia as a strong and loyal wife. In Shakespeare’s "Julius Caesar," Portia exclaims, "Think you I am no stronger than my sex, Being so fathered and so husbanded?" (Act 2, i, 319-320) and stabs herself in the leg to prove to Brutus that she can bear any discomfort for him. After she learns of Brutus’ defeat, she kills herself by swallowing hot coals. Another cassone from the Louvre depicts the Old Testament story of Queen Esther and her self-sacrificing patriotic acts that saved the Jewish people. The subtext of these tales is not just loyalty but self-sacrificing loyalty in the face of adversity.
Titian's painting has been the subject of much observation.  It's interesting that so much positive "press" has been associated with this image considering how much it has been vilified in the past.  Mark Twain, in his biography Tramp Abroad, recorded his response to his encounter with the Titian painting:
You enter [the Uffizi] and proceed to that most-visited little gallery that exists in the world --the Tribune-- and there, against the wall, without obstructing rap or leaf, you may look your fill upon the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses -- Titian's Venus. It isn't that she is naked and stretched out on a bed --no, it is the attitude of one of her arms and hand. If I ventured to describe that attitude there would be a fine howl --but there the Venus lies for anybody to gloat over that wants to --and there she has a right to lie, for she is a work of art, and art has its privileges. I saw a young girl stealing furtive glances at her; I saw young men gazing long and absorbedly at her, I saw aged infirm men hang upon her charms with a pathetic interest. How I should like to describe her --just to see what a holy indignation I could stir up in the world...yet the world is willing to let its sons and its daughters and itself look at Titian's beast, but won't stand a description of it in words....There are pictures of nude women which suggest no impure thought -- I am well aware of that. I am not railing at such. What I am trying to emphasize is the fact that Titian's Venus is very far from being one of that sort. Without any question it was painted for a bagnio and it was probably refused because it was a trifle too strong. In truth, it is a trifle too strong for any place but a public art gallery.
Now that you know how Twain felt about this work.  This poem by Browning discusses a similar painting.   It is used by the narrator of the poem as a point of departure to discuss how he feels about his last wife and how he feels women should behave.  As you read it, try to relate the painting above to it.
 
"My Last Duchess" - Robert Browning - 1842   1   That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
  2   Looking as if she were alive. I call
  3   That piece a wonder, now; Frà Pandolf's hands
  4   Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
  5   Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
  6   "Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
  7   Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
  8   The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
  9   But to myself they turned (since none puts by
10   The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
11   And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
12   How such a glance came there; so, not the first
13   Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
14   Her husband's presence only, called that spot
15   Of joy into the Duchess' cheek; perhaps
16   Fra Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
17   Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
18   Must never hope to reproduce the faint
19   Half-flush that dies along her throat." Such stuff
20   Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
21   For calling up that spot of joy. She had
22   A heart - how shall I say? - too soon made glad,
23   Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
24   She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
25   Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast,
26   The dropping of the daylight in the West,
27   The bough of cherries some officious fool
 
28   Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
29   She rode with round the terrace - all and each
30   Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
31   Or blush, at least. She thanked men, - good! but thanked
32   Somehow - I know not how - as if she ranked
33   My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
34   With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
35   This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
36   In speech - which I have not - to make your will
37   Quite clear to such an one, and say "Just this
38   Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
39   Or there exceed the mark" - and if she let
40   Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
41   Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse -
42   E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
43   Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
44   Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
45   Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
46   Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
47   As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
48   The company below, then. I repeat,
49   The Count your master's known munificence
50   Is ample warrant that no just pretense
51   Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
52   Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
53   At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
54   Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
55   Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
56   Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me.

 





 
  Caravaggio (1569-1609)
Michelangelo Meresi Caravaggio 
Boy Being Bitten by a Lizard c1600
oil on canvas
Italian Baroque Tenebrism means using light as a spotlighting effect in a murky or dark scene.
ala prima-directly onto canvas; paints directly form life
chiaroscuro
Form:  This allegorical portrait incorporates a low key or earth toned palette combined with a very close point of view.  Caravaggio demonstrates a good mastery of the human face as well as  chiaroscuro .  According to the Brittanica, chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"), which is technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects. Caravaggio also uses an intense spotlight on his face while the rest of the picture plane is murky surrounding him.  This is called tenebrism and it is a way of creating a focus on a particular element in a work and also gives the work a sense of heightened drama.
The painting also feels like an immediate kind of "snapshot" of a young boy dressed in neoclassic clothing caught at the instance when a lizard bites his fingers.  The immediacy of the painting is complimented by the direct gaze and the facial expression of the figure.  This painting appears to be painted directly from life without using any previous studies or drawings.  This is called ala prima- (in the first) which means painting directly from observation onto canvas.
This painting also demonstrates Caravaggio's skill beyond his ability to paint the human form.  The clear vessel of water is what is referred to as an artist's conceit or concetto (italian for conceit) because painting a transparent vessel is one of the harder things to paint.  Caravaggio also has a fine command of painting drapery.
Even though the figure in this painting is placed in the visual center of the picture plane the light which rakes in from the upper left hand corner creates a strong diagonal across the picture plane.  The use of a diagonal in the composition of the picture plane is a very Baroque device.
Iconography:  Caravaggio was a rather outrageous and controversial man.  Many of his paintings demonstrate a rebellious and often ribald sense of humor.  This is an allegorical portrait of lust.  The young boy is probably the type of young man that Caravaggio held as the object of his desire.  Young male prostitutes were fairly common in cities during this time (as they are now) and it has been suggested by some sources that Caravaggio was a homosexual and a pederast.  The lizard hanging from the boy's finger may represent the cost of the lust and the cherries may be a reference to the concepts concerning "forbidden fruit" or possibly even virginity.
Context:  Caravaggio was an,
Italian baroque painter, who was the most revolutionary artist of his time and the best exemplar of naturalistic painting in the early 17th century. Originally named Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio was born September 28, 1573, in the Lombardy hill town of Caravaggio, from which his professional name is derived. Orphaned at age 11, he was apprenticed to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan for four years. At some time between 1588 and 1592, Caravaggio went to Rome and worked as an assistant to Giuseppe Cesari, also known as the Cavaliere d'Arpino, for whom he executed fruit and flower pieces (now lost). Caravaggio's personal life was turbulent. He was often arrested and imprisoned. He fled Rome for Naples in 1606 when charged with murder. Later that year he traveled to Malta, was made a  knight, or cavaliere, of the Maltese order. In October of 1608, Caravaggio was again arrested and, escaping from a Maltese jail, went to Syracuse in Sicily. He died on the beach at Port'Ercole  in Tuscany on July 18, 1610, of a fever contracted after a mistaken arrest.

 
 

Caravaggio, Basket of Fruit c. 1597 
Oil on canvas, 46 x 64 cm 
Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan
Italian Baroque
Form: This is a still life painting which is painted from an extraordinary point of view.  The basket and its contents are depicted from eye level.  The virtuosity of how realistically the surfaces and details of the basket, its contents, the moisture on the fruit and even the hints of decay are expressions of Caravaggio's skills.  It's interesting to note that this is often referred to as the completely dedicated still life painting of its kind since Pompeii (79 CE). Iconography:  Paintings like this one depicting fruit is symbolic of the pleasures of every day life and perhaps of the delicacies one might desire.  Fruit was not available all year and it is one of the fleeting pleasures.  The depictions of fruit and other delicacies, such as Herakleitos' Unswept Floor (fig 6-58) are references to the wealth of the patron and the skill of the artist.
The depictions of the decay caused by the worms in the apple and on the leaves may be a memento mori.  That although these are delicacies and treasured parts of enjoying life, sometimes such things are transitory and fleeting.

 
Caravaggio. Boy with a Basket of Fruit, c1593
oil on canvas, 27.5x26"
Galleria Borghese, Rome
Italian Baroque
In this image, Boy with a Basket of Fruit, c1593, Caravaggio combines the formal qualities and iconographic elements of Boy Being Bitten by a Lizard and Basket of Fruit. Why do you think he does this and what message is being communicated? 

 
 
 
 
 

Conversion of St. Paul- 1601 by Caravaggio
Italian Baroque
Form:  This painting is typical of Caravaggio's style and exhibits all the hallmarks of it.  Here we see heightened tenebrism and chiaroscuro as well as an ambiguous use of space.  Caravaggio almost always pushes al his figures up against the front of the picture plane and creates an ambiguous and unrecognizable environment.  For Caravaggio the background and environment are often unimportant and some critics have charged that he didn't bother with the background or had trouble unifying his composition and so just create a well of darkness to unify it. In this image Saul of Tarsus, the saint-to-be, is represented flat on his back, his arms thrown up, while an old servant appears to maneuver the horse away from its fallen master. The horse fills the picture as if it were the hero, and its explicitness and the angle from which it is viewed might betray some irreverence on the part of the artist for this subject.  One critic who objected to the intertangling of the limbs of the horse and figures called the painting an "accident in a blacksmith's shop."
Caravaggio used real people for his models and so the clothing and faces incorporate a strong  genre element. 
Iconography:  Light in Caravaggio's paintings is an icon of God's power and of enlightenment.  Caravaggio seems to literally be translating the imagery from the Bible.  According to Acts Chapter 27, Paul describes, 

6
"On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
7
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'
8
I replied, 'Who are you, sir?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.'
9
My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
10 I asked, 'What shall I do, sir?' The Lord answered me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.'
11 Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.
12 "A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
13 came to me and stood there and said, 'Saul, my brother, regain your sight.' And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
14 Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
15 for you will be his witness 2 before all to what you have seen and heard.
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/acts/acts22.htm#v3

Also see Acts Chapter 9
For full text of the passage go here:  http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/acts/acts9.htm
Context:  Caravaggio's Conversion of Paul, was considered scandalous because in it he devotes so much of the canvas to the horse's rear.  Visually he is literally "mooning" the audience.  Observers also found Paul's prone position and the intermingling of his limbs with the horses somewhat objectionable.

Caravaggio  (1569-1609) 
Calling of St. Matthew- 1597-1601, 
Oil on canvas, located in the Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi.
Italian Baroque
 
 
St. Matthew Cycle (Contarelli Chapel) c1602
Rome,St.Luigi dei Francesi
The paintings in situ.
Italian Baroque
Form: Even though the figures in this painting are arranged in a band across the front of the picture plane, the light which rakes in from the upper right hand corner creates a strong diagonal across the picture plane.  The use of a diagonal in the composition of the picture plane is a very Baroque device. From "Caravaggio", by Alfred Moir:
 "The subject traditionally was represented either indoors or out; sometimes Saint Matthew is shown inside a building, with Christ outside (following the Biblical text) summoning him through a window. Both before and after Caravaggio the subject was often used as a pretext for anecdotal genre paintings. Caravaggio may well have been familiar with earlier Netherlandish paintings of money lenders or of gamblers seated around a table like Saint Matthew and his associates.
"Caravaggio represented the event as a nearly silent, dramatic narrative. The sequence of actions before and after this moment can be easily and convincingly re-created. The tax-gatherer Levi (Saint Matthew's name before he became the apostle) was seated at a table with his four assistants, counting the day's proceeds, the group lighted from a source at the upper right of the painting. Christ, His eyes veiled, with His halo the only hint of divinity, enters with Saint Peter. A gesture of His right hand, all the more powerful and compelling because of its languor, summons Levi. Surprised by the intrusion and perhaps dazzled by the sudden light from the just-opened door, Levi draws back and gestures toward himself with his left hand as if to say, "Who, me?", his right hand remaining on the coin he had been counting before Christ's entrance.
"The two figures on the left, derived from a 1545 Hans Holbein print representing gamblers unaware of the appearance of Death, are so concerned with counting the money that they do not even notice Christ's arrival; symbolically their inattention to Christ deprives them of the opportunity He offers for eternal life, and condemns them to death. The two boys in the center do respond, the younger one drawing back against Levi as if seeking his protection, the swaggering older one, who is armed, leaning forward a little menacingly. Saint Peter gestures firmly with his hand to calm his potential resistance. The dramatic point of the picture is that for this moment, no one does anything. Christ's appearance is so unexpected and His gesture so commanding as to suspend action for a shocked instant, before reaction can take place. In another second, Levi will rise up and follow Christ - in fact, Christ's feet are already turned as if to leave the room. The particular power of the picture is in this cessation of action. It utilizes the fundamentally static medium of painting to convey characteristic human indecision after a challenge or command and before reaction.
"The picture is divided into two parts. The standing figures on the right form a vertical rectangle; those gathered around the table on the left a horizontal block. The costumes reinforce the contrast. Levi and his subordinates, who are involved in affairs of this world, are dressed in a contemporary mode, while the barefoot Christ and Saint Peter, who summon Levi to another life and world, appear in timeless cloaks. The two groups are also separated by a void, bridged literally and symbolically by Christ's hand. This hand, like Adam's in Michelangelo's Creation, unifies the two parts formally and psychologically. Underlying the shallow stage-like space of the picture is a grid pattern of verticals and horizontals, which knit it together structurally.
"The light has been no less carefully manipulated: the visible window covered with oilskin, very likely to provide diffused light in the painter's studio; the upper light, to illuminate Saint Matthew's face and the seated group; and the light behind Christ and Saint Peter, introduced only with them. It may be that this third source of light is intended as miraculous. Otherwise, why does Saint Peter cast no shadow on the defensive youth facing him?"
Matthew
Chapter 9
1
1 He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.
2
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."
3
At that, some of the scribes 2 said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."
4
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
5
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
6
3 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
7
He rose and went home.
8
4 When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.
9
5 6 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
10 While he was at table in his house, 7 many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher 8 eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
12 He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 9
13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' 10 I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew9.htm
Almost the the same account is given in Luke 5:27 http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/luke/luke5.htm

Caravaggio St. Matthew and the Angel
destroyed during WW II
Italian Baroque

Caravaggio, 
Inspiration of St. Matthew
Italian Baroque
Form:  Although only a black and white reproduction survives the image entitled St. Matthew and the Angel, we know that originally would have looked very similar in color and value structure to the Inspiration of St. Matthew. Some major differences do exist however.  The point of view is quite different in both as is the costuming and the interaction of the two figures.  In the image on the left, Matthew is bare legged, entwined with the angel in a transparent gauze like gown and his facial expression is rather dumb.  Although the viewer is placed in a vantage point from above, the viewer is still confronted with the bare feet of the saint as they project out into the foreground.  The image on the right is just the opposite in almost every way.
Iconography:  The iconography of this scene concerns itself with an image in which Matthew composes his gospel long after the death and ascension of Jesus.  Matthew is described as having received divine inspiration and guidance for his account from an angel.  Nevertheless, the angel in the left hand image is guiding Matthew's hand in a rather provocative manner.  This manner, coupled with the bare legs and befuddled almost senile expression on the saints face is what ultimately led to this image being rejected by the patrons.  Caravaggio then painted its replacement the Inspiration of St. Matthew.
Context:  It is precisely this kind of irreverence and rebellious "thumbing his nose" at the patron that both earned Caravaggio his notoriety as well as his infamous reputation.
Caravaggisti- a follower of Caravaggio



Caravaggio St. Matthew and the Angel
destroyed during WW II
Italian Baroque

Rembrandt St. Matthew and the Angel 1661
Dutch Baroque
Form:  As in the last comparison only a black and white reproduction survives the image entitled St. Matthew and the Angel, we know that originally would have looked very similar in color and value structure to the the painting by Rembrandt. Rembrandt painted his image more than 50 years after Caravaggio painted his but Rembrandt's portrait of the saint follows many of the same schema as Caravaggio.  Both use tenebrism as a way of creating a focus on St. Matthew and to heighten the drama.  In this way and for this reason, Rembrandt, and other artists who copy Caravaggio's style are often referred to as caravaggisti which literally means a follower of Caravaggio.
Iconography:  Rembrandt depicts Matthew in a similar manner to Caravaggio however, in his depiction Matthew is not as aware of the angel as in either one by Caravaggio
Rembrandt also incorporates and element of the genre imagery in his work.  Matthew looks like one of the Jews that he might have known in Amsterdam and Rembrandt also attempts to authenticate the Persian or middle eastern quality of the image by providing Matthew with a turbine.
Context:  Many artists, including Rembrandt, Velázquez, Gentileschi and others took their cue form the works of Caravaggio and we refer to them all as Caravaggistis.

 
Caravaggio Death of the Virgin 1605-1606
Italian Baroque
This is another one of those paintings that Caravaggio got in trouble for.  This is an apochryphal story concerning the death of Mary.  In Caravaggio's depiction of the dead saint he depicts her in a very real way.  Her feet are dirty, her body and hair are disheveled and her skin is past an white.  Her appearance is so "life like" or really "death like" because Caravaggio used the corpse of a prostitute that the authorities had pulled from the Tiber river in Rome as his model. 


 
al.le.go.ry n, pl -ries [ME allegorie, fr. L allegoria, fr. Gk allegoria, fr. allegorein to speak figuratively, fr. allos other + -egorein to speak publicly, fr. agora assembly--more at else, agora] (14c) 1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression 2: a symbolic representation: emblem 2 apoc.ry.pha n pl but sing or pl in constr [ML, fr. LL, neut. pl. of apocryphus secret, not canonical, fr. Gk apokryphos obscure, fr. apokryptein to hide away, fr. apo- + kryptein to hide--more at crypt] (14c) 1: writings or statements of dubious authenticity 2 cap a: books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament b: early Christian writings not included in the New Testament
apoc.ry.phal adj (1590) 1: of doubtful authenticity: spurious 2 often cap: of or resembling the Apocrypha syn see fictitious -- apoc.ry.phal.ly adv -- apoc.ry.phal.ness n
ar.ca.di.an adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian Ar.ca.di.an n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in Arcadia
According to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis.

 
 


chiaroscuro
chiar.oscu.ro n, pl -ros [It, fr. chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark] (1686) 1: pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color 2 a: the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art b: the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character) 3: a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to print different tones of the same color; also: a print made by this technique 4: the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface 5: the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow According to the Brittanica, 
Chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"),
technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects.
Some evidence exists that ancient Greek and Roman artists used chiaroscuro effects, but in European painting the technique was first brought to its full potential by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century in such paintings as his "Adoration of the Magi" (1481; Uffizi, Florence). Thereafter, chiaroscuro became a primary technique for many painters, and by the late 17th century the term was routinely used to describe any painting, drawing, or print that depends for its effect on an extensive gradation of light and darkness.
 "chiaroscuro."  and  Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 19, 2002. 
 
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usu. realistically he.do.nism n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- he.do.nist n -- he.do.nis.tic adj -- he.do.nis.ti.cal.ly adv
neo.clas.sic or neo.clas.si.cal adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- neo.clas.si.cism n -- neo.clas.si.cist n or adj
 
pas.to.ral adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- pas.to.ral.ly adv -- pas.to.ral.ness n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
ped.er.ast n [Gk paiderastes, lit., lover of boys, fr. paid- ped- + erastes lover, fr. erasthai to love--more at eros] (ca. 1736): one that practices anal intercourse esp. with a boy -- ped.er.as.tic adj -- ped.er.as.ty n
rib.ald n [ME, fr. MF ribaut, ribauld wanton, rascal, fr. riber to be wanton, of Gmc origin; akin to OHG riban to be wanton, lit., to rub] (13c): a ribald person ²ribald adj (1508) 1: crude, offensive <~ language> 2: characterized by or using coarse indecent humor syn see coarse
ten.e.brism n, often cap [L tenebrae darkness] (1954): a style of painting esp. associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by a concentrated beam of light usu. from an identifiable source -- ten.e.brist n or adj, often cap
according to the Brittanica,
"in the history of Western painting, the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to heighten their dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the Latin tenebrae, "darkness.") In tenebrist paintings the figures are often portrayed against a background of intense darkness, but the figures themselves are illuminated by a bright, searching light that sets off their three-dimensional forms by a harsh but exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro . The technique was introduced by the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571?-1610) and was taken up in the early 17th century by painters influenced by him, including the French painter Georges de La Tour, the Dutch painters Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrik Terbrugghen, and the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán."
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)
Make sure you read
Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Read Judith and Holofernes and Susanna and the Elders

Orazio Gentileschi Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1628, canvas, 
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Italian Baroque
According to the Brittanica,
 
from Caravaggio 
Influence. The many painters who imitated Caravaggio's style soon became known as Caravaggisti. Caravaggio's influence in Rome itself was remarkable but short-lived, lasting only until the 1620s. His foremost followers elsewhere in Italy were Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia Gentileschi, and the Spaniard José de Ribera. Outside Italy, the Dutch painters Hendrick Terbrugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Dirck van Baburen made the city of Utrecht the foremost northern centre of Caravaggism. The single most important painter in the tradition was the Frenchman Georges de La Tour, though echoes of Caravaggio's style can also be found in the works of such giants as Rembrandt van Rijn and Diego Velázquez.
According to the Brittanica, Orazio Gentileschi (1562-1639) whose,
original name ORAZIO LOMI Italian Baroque painter, one of the more important painters who came under the influence of Caravaggio and who was one of the more successful interpreters of his style.
Gentileschi first studied with his half brother Aurelio Lomi. At some time in the late 1570s or early 1580s he went to Rome, where, with the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, he painted frescoes in churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and Santa Nicola in Carcere from about 1590 to 1600, executing figures for Tassi's landscapes. In the first years of the 17th century Gentileschi came under the influence of Caravaggio, also in Rome at the time. His paintings of this period (e.g., "David and Goliath," 1610?, and "St. Cecilia and the Angel," 1610?) employ Caravaggio's use of dramatic, unconventional gesture and monumental composition, his uncompromising realism and contemporary representation of figure types, and to some extent his strong chiaroscuro, or light-and-dark contrast. Shortly afterward Gentileschi developed a Tuscan lyricism foreign to Caravaggio's almost brutal vitality, a lighter palette, and a more precise treatment reminiscent of his Mannerist beginnings. From 1621 to 1623 Gentileschi was in Genoa, where he painted his masterpiece, "The Annunciation" (1623), a work of consummate grace that shows a weakening of Caravaggio's influence. The composition still depends on dramatic gestures, here of the Virgin and the angel, and there is still a strong immediacy to the incident and an absence of idealization. The mood, however, is more restrained and lyrical than in his earlier works, the colours are light, and the earlier chiaroscuro is absent.
After a stay in France, Gentileschi traveled to England in 1626 at the invitation of King Charles I; he remained there as court painter for the rest of his life, his work becoming increasingly conventional and decorative. His last major work is an ambitious series of ceiling paintings for the Queen's House, Greenwich, painted probably after 1635, and now in Marlborough House, London.
Orazio had a daughter named Artemisia (1593-1652/53) who was also a painter. According to the Brittanica,
Italian painter, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, who was a major follower of the revolutionary Baroque painter Caravaggio. She was an important second-generation proponent of Caravaggio's dramatic realism. A pupil of her father and of his friend, the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, she painted at first in a style indistinguishable from her father's somewhat lyrical interpretation of Caravaggio's example. Her first known work is "Susanna and the Elders" (1610), an accomplished work long attributed to her father. She was raped by Tassi, and, when he did not fulfill his promise to marry her, Orazio Gentileschi in 1612 brought him to trial. During that event she herself was forced to give evidence under torture. She married a Florentine shortly after the trial and joined the Academy of Design in Florence in 1616. While in Florence she began to develop her own distinct style. Her colours are more brilliant than her father's, and she continued to employ the tenebrism made popular by Caravaggio long after her father had abandoned that style. Although her compositions were graceful, she was perhaps the most violent of all the Caravaggisti; she illustrated such subjects as the story from the Apocrypha of Judith, the Jewish heroine, beheading Holofernes, an invading general.
Artemisia Gentileschi was in Rome for a time and also in Venice. About 1630 she moved to Naples and in 1638-39 visited her father in London. There she painted many portraits and quickly surpassed her father's fame. Later, probably in 1640 or 1641, she settled in Naples, but little is known of the final years of her life.
Artemisia Gentileschi.  Self Portrait as Allegory 
of Painting or "La Pittura" 1630 
Oil on Canvas
Kensington Palace
Italian Baroque
Sofonisba Anguissola, 
Self Portrait of the Artist 
with Sisters and Governess. 1555 
(The Chess Game)
oil on canvas, 27"x37" 
Nardowe Museum, Poznan, Poland
Italian Renaissance/Mannerist
Form: This self portrait demonstrates her skill as a painter.  The angle from which she chose to paint herself is an awkward one and she almost certainly had to set up several mirrors in order to bounce her reflection around until she was able to see herself.  She uses many of the standard formal schemas of Caravaggio's work, tenebrism, a low key earth toned pallete and heightened chiaroscuro.  Like Caravaggio she also has a fine command of painting drapery. Iconography:  According to the Webgalleries website,
An example of Gentileschi's mature work, this painting depicts the artist not only in a self portrait but also as Pittura, the originator of the art of painting. Artemisia has given us her image, painted in profile, and the attributes of the personification of painting in accordance with Ripa's Iconologia. Around her neck, she wears the golden chain and the mask of imitation. Her disheveled hair depicts the divine frenzy of artistic temperament, and the handling of color on her dress shows Artemisia's skill as an artist. Although other artists have depicted Pittura, Artemisia's portrait is unique because only a female artist would be able to depict herself as the allegory of painting. Until this time, the male artists who worked this theme had to add a female figurehead to represent Ripa's Pittura.
http://www.webgalleries.com/pm/colors/gentile.html
Artemisia also updates her depiction almost with the same use of genre as Caravaggio.  In this image she dresses her allegorical Pittura as a 17th century woman. Context:  Artemisia self portrait is interesting because her depiction of herself is quite different than one might expect a female painter to create.  Comparing her self portrait against Sofonisba Anguissola's may give you some insight as to how her past has influenced her life. 

 
Artimisia Gentileschi, 
Judith Slaying Holofernes c1620
Judith Beheading Holofernes
Oil on Canvas
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Italian Baroque
Caravaggio, Judith Slaying Holofernes c1600
Italian Baroque
Artimisia Gentileschi 
Judith with the head of Holofernes c1625
Detroit, Institute of Art
Italian Baroque Gentileschi's images feel "real." The postures and movement in Gentileschi's images are fluid and naturalistic.  One feels the struggle the two women face in trying to escape. Unlike Caravaggio's painting, Judith and Holofernes, Gentileschi's image shows powerful women. In Caravaggio's the servant is an old woman as opposed to the young beautiful and powerful maid accompanying Judith in Gentileshi's images.

Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Judith and Holofernes and Susanna and the Elders
 
It has been argued that this painting expresses Artemisia's psychological revenge on Tassi. It is, in fact, one of several canvas' which Artemisia based the Judith theme, but the subject matter was a popular one and was treated by many artists throughout the centuries. What makes this painting unique, however, is Artemisia's rendering of Judith as a strong and capable heroine. While many depictions of Judith show her after the slaying of Holofernes, Gentileschi gives us Judith in the act of killing the man. The subject matter is taken from the Book of Judith whereby Judith liberates her people by slaying the evil tyrant. She has entered the enemy camp under the guise of seducing Holofernes and when he falls asleep she hacks off his head with his sword. Carrying back his head in a bag, she presents it to her people, who then go on to defeat the Assyrians. The dark background and single source of light add psychological tension and drama to the scene and cause it to play out beyond the boarders of the canvas. We, as spectators, have become witness to a murder.
http://www.webgalleries.com/pm/colors/gentile.html

 

Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders c1640
Italian Baroque
Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Susanna and the Elders

al.le.go.ry n, pl -ries [ME allegorie, fr. L allegoria, fr. Gk allegoria, fr. allegorein to speak figuratively, fr. allos other + -egorein to speak publicly, fr. agora assembly--more at else, agora] (14c) 1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression 2: a symbolic representation: emblem 2 apoc.ry.pha n pl but sing or pl in constr [ML, fr. LL, neut. pl. of apocryphus secret, not canonical, fr. Gk apokryphos obscure, fr. apokryptein to hide away, fr. apo- + kryptein to hide--more at crypt] (14c) 1: writings or statements of dubious authenticity 2 cap a: books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament b: early Christian writings not included in the New Testament
apoc.ry.phal adj (1590) 1: of doubtful authenticity: spurious 2 often cap: of or resembling the Apocrypha syn see fictitious -- apoc.ry.phal.ly adv -- apoc.ry.phal.ness n
ar.ca.di.an adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian Ar.ca.di.an n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in Arcadia
According to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis.


chiar.oscu.ro n, pl -ros [It, fr. chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark] (1686) 1: pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color 2 a: the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art b: the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character) 3: a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to print different tones of the same color; also: a print made by this technique 4: the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface 5: the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow According to the Brittanica, 
Chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"),
technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects.
Some evidence exists that ancient Greek and Roman artists used chiaroscuro effects, but in European painting the technique was first brought to its full potential by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century in such paintings as his "Adoration of the Magi" (1481; Uffizi, Florence). Thereafter, chiaroscuro became a primary technique for many painters, and by the late 17th century the term was routinely used to describe any painting, drawing, or print that depends for its effect on an extensive gradation of light and darkness.
 "chiaroscuro."  and  Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Britannica.com Inc.   November 19, 2002. 
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usu. realistically he.do.nism n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- he.do.nist n -- he.do.nis.tic adj -- he.do.nis.ti.cal.ly adv
neo.clas.sic or neo.clas.si.cal adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- neo.clas.si.cism n -- neo.clas.si.cist n or adj
 
pas.to.ral adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- pas.to.ral.ly adv -- pas.to.ral.ness n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
ped.er.ast n [Gk paiderastes, lit., lover of boys, fr. paid- ped- + erastes lover, fr. erasthai to love--more at eros] (ca. 1736): one that practices anal intercourse esp. with a boy -- ped.er.as.tic adj -- ped.er.as.ty n
rib.ald n [ME, fr. MF ribaut, ribauld wanton, rascal, fr. riber to be wanton, of Gmc origin; akin to OHG riban to be wanton, lit., to rub] (13c): a ribald person ²ribald adj (1508) 1: crude, offensive <~ language> 2: characterized by or using coarse indecent humor syn see coarse
ten.e.brism n, often cap [L tenebrae darkness] (1954): a style of painting esp. associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by a concentrated beam of light usu. from an identifiable source -- ten.e.brist n or adj, often cap
according to the Brittanica,
"in the history of Western painting, the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to heighten their dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the Latin tenebrae, "darkness.") In tenebrist paintings the figures are often portrayed against a background of intense darkness, but the figures themselves are illuminated by a bright, searching light that sets off their three-dimensional forms by a harsh but exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro . The technique was introduced by the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571?-1610) and was taken up in the early 17th century by painters influenced by him, including the French painter Georges de La Tour, the Dutch painters Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrik Terbrugghen, and the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán."
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)