Bernini and Caravaggio Baroque Art Was a Term Paper

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Bernini and Caravaggio

Baroque art was a style that appeared in response to the 16th century Mannerist period and was characterized by religious iconography and figures but with a focus on the pre-Christian religions such as Greek and Roman mythology. The characteristics of Baroque art can be seen in many branches of the art world such as in sculptures, paintings, literature and architecture. The movement started around 1600 in Italy where the Catholic Church was particularly strong and spread throughout most of Europe very quickly. Many of the artworks from this period show the influence of the church on the daily lives of the people and how the artists fought against this. Following this period, the Baroque era is when the taboos of what was and was not appropriate to paint seemed to deteriorate, if not disappear forever, In many works of art at the time, the complete female and male form is depicted, including the vagina, penis, breasts, buttocks and other erogenous zones, once hidden behind clothing. What is more interesting is that during this period it was not only the nude that regained popularity, but the Rubenesque nude, a fully-figured woman with large breasts and imperfect thighs. This made the idea of sexuality come down from the canvas and into the real world. These were real women and thus they possessed all the same things that the women on the street might have which was not an idea that was supported by the rigidity of the Catholic Church. Two specific artists of the Baroque period who showed the influence and rejection of religion through
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their artwork are Bernini with "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" and Caravaggio with "Crucifixion of St. Peter."

The "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" sculpture made by Bernini is located in the Cornaro Chapel in Rome. It is actually part of a larger set of sculptures located within the chapel. The two central figures are St. Teresa and an angel who has come to her from Heaven. What becomes obvious from just looking at the sculpture is that the angel is holding a spear and looks like it is going to use it to pierce Teresa. This goes along with the story that St. Teresa told of an angel coming down and using his spear to fill her with religious ecstasy. The angel is androgynous looking; it might be male or female because while it does not appear to have breasts, the figure has curly hair which goes down to the neck and presents something of an effeminate appearance. It is swathed in cloth and even though it is holding a weapon, the look on its face is one of serenity and peace. The angel does not have any mean intentions towards the woman from the facial expression and body language that is seen. St. Teresa on the other hand has a very odd expression on her face. While she claimed that the incident with the angel sent her into a feeling of religious ecstasy, the look on her face is more akin to a woman having an orgasm. She cannot even look at the angel because of the strong feelings going through her body. This sexual interpretation is added by the fact that Teresa seems to be sitting up and engulfed in linens as though woken from…

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