Compare and Contrast Essay about Miracle of Christ Healing the Blind by EL Greco and
Denial of St. Peter by Caravaggio.
Miracle of Christ Healing the Blind by El Greco and Denial of St. Peter by Caravaggio are both oil paintings depicting biblical events from the New Testament.
The expressive components of both compositions reflect two different artistic styles conveying profound religious and spiritual content. El Greco’s painting encompasses the hallmarks of High Renaissance masters such as solidly rendered figures, dazzling colors, deep spatial recession and Roman architecture. Caravaggio’s dramatic use of light and shadow and meticulous attention to poses and gestures of his ...view middle of the document...
Alternations of voluptuous, overlapping figures with diagonals of the architecture and tiled sidewalk bring harmony and balance to the composition. The clarity of form and content makes this masterpiece easily accessible and understandable to the viewer.
On the other hand, Caravaggio’s Denial of St. Peter contains limited number of figures, exactly three, shown from the waist up. They are relatively large in relation to the size of the painting, rendered in a fragmented fashion that conveys the realistic volume of a human body. The painter expressed little interest in creating depth in his painting, the figures seem to emerge from the dark background, that serves as a backdrop to the drama played out in the foreground. The meaning of the composition is conveyed entirely by the poses, gestures and facial expressions of the subjects. The viewer cannot embrace the whole composition synthetically like in the case of El Greco’s Miracle of Christ Healing the Bind, because it much less accessible. Since the work is devoid of spatial references to objects, the eye must follow and examine the entire network of relations set up by the characters’ gestures and poses. First, we see Peter with his sorrowful face and his hands pointed to his chest, then we turn to the face of the woman looking at the soldier and pointing her accusing finger at Peter, and this is how we are able to understand the narrative aspect of the painting.
The scene is not evenly lit like El Greco’s canvas, the light that comes from an undefined source, probably a fireplace or lit candle selectively illuminates it. The viewer cannot see the face of the soldier because it is blending with the dark background.
The face of the woman accusing Peter of being a follower of Jesus can be seen, but it is rendered in a rather sketchy way. The spotlight falls on Peter’s forehead and his hands pointing to his chest, his face becomes the expressive center of the painting.
His facial expression covers whole...