There can be little doubt that Art as a medium has been used to influence the viewpoints of any time; as a medium Art has been used as propaganda, to induce a certain ideology in people, and to even educate the masses, since Art doesn't limit itself by any barrier of language. It is free for all to see and be inspired from, depending only on how they connect with the piece itself!
Biblical Art has been one of the most popular themes, whose origin can be traced to the end of the second century (Farber n.d.), and which remained a prominent theme in the work of many artists up till the end of Renaissance, a period when man became the center of the universe rather than God! But how can such a change in the thinking of the Renaissance Period make any impact on the Biblical Art, which by its very nature and definition is inspired from God and his Prophets?
There can be little doubt that Art as a medium has been used to influence the viewpoints of any time; as a medium Art has been used as propaganda, to induce a certain ideology in people, and to even educate the masses, since Art doesn't limit itself by any barrier of language.
Art in the pre-renaissance eras consisted only on glorifying the stories of Bible, the entire attention being paid to the work and not the artist, whose worth was insignificant before this wondrous depiction of God's wonder! It is no wonder, therefore, that most of the work in this era is unsigned, since the artist's vision has absolutely no worth in such a time and era (Smith n.d.)
The shift in the thinking of the Renaissance period required the re-evaluation of the entire society and every subject that can influence society, including Arts and Sciences! The focus now was on the "human" element of the biblical character, rather than making them perfect and depicting them in a certain God-like perfection! It was now man who was important and his vision was above everything else and it was only his subjective interpretation of any event -- religious or not -- that would count (General Characteristics of Renaissance n.d)
This theme is very much clear in the works of both the artists under consideration -- Giuliano Bugiardini's Madonna and the Child with St. John the Baptist and Rogier van der Wyden's Deposititon! Despite taking up religious topic as the subject of their painting, what is evident in the painting is the artist's version of how things would have been. The main character in both of the paintings is Jesus, however, the while one renders the beginning of his life, Rogier's work focuses on the end of Jesus' life. However, the fakeness of the entire concept of "holiness" has been shredded down to show the reality behind these events -- realities that exist in the imagination of the artist!
Bugiardini's painting shows the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus and St. John the Baptist, and is done with a background that is highly non-biblical! Neither is Jesus shown as a perfect specimen here; instead what you have is two children, while one tries to get the attention of the other. There is no doubt that the painting is a biblical reference, and even in the way St. John is looking towards Jesus, a certain reverence could be seen for his Messiah! The Virgin Mary takes the center attention on the canvas with the central position; however, this position too indicated towards the divine role that she played, as the link between Jesus and St. John.
But the painting doesn't glorify any of the characters. What you have are three characters against a simple country landscape, showing that they were in a fact simple people with a divine purpose bestowed upon them! The use of color in the painting in itself makes Virgin Mary appear as the most dominant character in the entire painting, with the landscape just blending behind her in a blur of brown and insignificance!
This theme is prevalent in all of Bugiardini's work that have taken up the subject of Madonna, and shows that this was in a fact, about finally glorifying the human's behind these biblical characters, who have been made to stand up on a pedestal, as being's ho can never be wrong!
Rogier's work has been defined as the capturing of a single moment which could not have lasted for more than a few seconds, but still the artist has been able to catch it, in all its naked emotions on display (Web Gallery of Art n.d.). The theme from the work of Bugiardini continues in this painting as well, with absolutely no glorifying of the crucification of Jesus. Instead, what is visible is the human factor again as the body of Jesus is being lowered down from the cross. There is a definite effort in performing this task, and the struggle is very much clear in the painting, with many of the Apostles trying to lend a hand, as a man on the ladder finally succeeds in lowering the body. One can see that the body is twisted and turned in a very human manner, and there is nothing exuberant about the entire ordeal (Glover 2009).
The marks of the nail in the palm of the Christ are all too visible, and instead of angels surrounding the body, there are only the Apostles, mourning the death of their Prophet! Nothing divine is shown about the entire event, there is no celebration about the meeting of Jesus with his Lord, there is no happiness about the Restriction; instead what you see is the pain of the mother, who has fainted on the death of her son. The entire event is no doubt a tragedy for her -- if not in the great scale of things, then for sure on a personal level!
The painting shows that the event of crucification are felt on a very deep, personal level by all those who are close to Jesus, there is little that can comfort them at the loss that they feel! But what is truly most remarkable about the work is that the attention to each and every subject matter has been distributed justly. There is not a single face that has been lost due to the presence of Jesus, so much so that despite the title of the painting "The Deposition of Jesus," one can feel a certain confusion regarding who is the central focus in the paining. Is it Jesus who has just been crucified, or is it the pain and the Apostles of Jesus who have been left behind to face the pain of the tragedy.
This confusion is further added upon by a close look at the painting; in the painting, Jesus despite being in the center of the canvas, is not in the foreground! The foreground position has been taken up by Virgin Mary and in connection to her, it can be argued, the main subject matter of the painting thus becomes the pain and the tragedy itself! This is for sure a great deviation from the Biblical Art of the pre-Renaissance Period, in which the entire focus of a painting was Jesus!
The overall experience of viewing an art piece is rather incomparable to that of viewing a reproduction. The quality and the technique of the art work are very much apparent in a view up close, like that in a museum. One can see the brush strokes, the intensity, and the intricate details of facial expressions, which are simply lost in a reproduction! One can also argue that the overall environment of that of the museum also does a lot…