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Narrative Essay on Paintings in the Baroque and Rococo Period

Narrative Essay on Paintings in the Baroque and Rococo Period

Narrative Essay on Paintings in the Baroque and Rococo Period

In the history of art, the narrative essay on paintings in the Baroque and Rococo period artistic movements and periods form some of the major artistic movements. These have shaped artistic styles and presentation of art works. The Baroque artistic style is believed to have started around 1600 in Italy. Before spreading to most parts of Europe and other parts of the world. It is mainly characterized by rough and irregular paintings. These have images that do not fit in the picture frame.

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On the other hand, the Rococo artistic style is believed to be the late Baroque and started in the early 18th century in France. It became the predominant artistic style throughout the century. Therefore, this style is characterized by humorous, florid and more playful approach as contrasted with the baroque. It uses light colors and witty themes as compared to the Baroque. As such, it is clear that although the Rococo is believed to be the late Baroque. There exists paramount differences between the two artistic styles, which are highlighted below.

The Calling of Saint Matthew

In addition to the differences and similarities between the two artistic styles, we do analysis. The paintings for Baroque style – The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio and the Rococo style – The Swing by Fragonard are analyzed. The narrative shows a group of people, presumably colleague tax collectors of Mathew and Jesus on the far end.  Jesus is calling Mathew to follow Him. In regard to religion, this painting shows how Christians are expected to follow Jesus. This is in regards to their profession, status in the society, and their age.

In this painting, caravaggio efficiently employs the Baroque feature – use of large images that do not fit succinctly in the painting frame. He creates a scene in which a third party is a distant observer of the scene and not part of the event. In regard to color, He uses a dark background, but illuminates the subjects with light originating from the right hand side, making the subjects visibly clear and bright. This helps to make the painting clear and concise in its message. The light also casts shadows on the left hand side on the subjects, a show of realism.

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The Swing shows a woman on a swing, being swayed by an old man as a young man is watching her from a bush. Hence, the image shows of the moral decadence of women during the era, as the young woman is exposing part of her body to the young man, while flickering her shoe towards the Greek god sculpture, a show of lack of reverence for religion. Fragonard forms a triangular scene, with the young man and the old man at the base and the woman at the top to increases visualization of the subjects, but fits all images within the painting frame, making every subject and object visible.

The artist places third party persons as observes of the scene and not part of the event. Therefore, artist balances color pattern by using bright color at the center of the painting and dark color at the periphery of the painting. This enhances clarity and realism. Conclusively, it is clear that the Baroque and Rococo artistic styles have similarities. Many differences arise in the way they present their messages and images in paintings.

Fig 1: Caravaggio, The Calling of Saint Matthew, 1599-1600

Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm, Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome (This painting is a representation of Mathew 9:9 showing the exact moment when Jesus called Mathew from being a tax collector into becoming His disciple).

Fig 2: Fragonard, Jean-Honoré, The Swing, 1767, Oil on canvas, 81 x 64 cm, Wallace Collection, London. (This image shows a woman on a swing being watched by a young man. Moreover, he is hidden in the bushes while she is being pushed to swing by an old man).

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