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Comparison of Annunciation and The Raising of Lazarus Essay

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Annunciation (Paolo Caliari) and The Raising of Lazarus (Joachim Wtewael) are oil on canvas paintings located in the Blanton Museum of Art. Annunciation is set on a balcony during sunset; the archangel Gabriel appears to be ascending from heaven and a woman seems to be falling in awe of the sight. The Raising of Lazarus depicts about fourteen people in a scene where everyone is looking at a different person, but no eye contact is taking place. The people are in the foreground, and a city can be seen in the background. Although these works of art were created during a similar time period and share a few similarities, these paintings also contrast in a number of ways when viewed closely.
One obvious difference in the two paintings is in the choice of colors used by the artists. Paolo Caliari’s use of lighter pastel colors in Annunciation could be due to the angelic presence being illustrated in the painting. The light colors create a heavenly feeling; darker colors would be less likely to have the same effect of inducing the feelings of comfort and serenity that these light colors do. On the other hand, The Raising of Lazarus uses bolder, darker colors; Wtewael utilized these colors because they are more appropriate for the austere scene of people that he is depicting. Light colors would have clashed with the darkness of the distressed facial expressions and body gestures of the people in the painting. Unlike Annunciation, the colors in The Raising of Lazarus stand out only in the foreground of the painting in order to draw the viewer’s focus to the subject instead of the background.
The use of light is an integral component of both of these paintings. In Annunciation, the light source, which is coming from the heavens, is be...


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...elationship between the people in the composition and their feelings in each other’s company. The viewer is forced to think critically about the people in the painting and their feelings and body language.

I found The Raising of Lazarus and Annunciation to be interesting pieces on their own as well as to be compared. At face value, these paintings do not appear to contain many contrasting features. However, by examining these paintings closely, one can conclude that paintings with similar themes, mediums, and time periods can still differ in countless ways. Light, medium, subject, color, space, and viewpoint are just a few of the characteristics that can be considered when analyzing Wtewael and Caliari’s works. It is imperative that observers of art take a deeper look into the different features of artwork in attempt to uncover the intentions of the artist.




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