Comparing El Grecos St Francis Venerating the Crucifix to El Grecos St John the Baptist

  • Length: 1653 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Comparing El Grecos St Francis Venerating the Crucifix to El Grecos St John the Baptist

The compared works of art, St. Francis Venerating the Crucifix and St. John the
Baptist, were both written by the same artist. The actual name of this artist is Dominikos Theotokopoulos, but some people prefer to call him El Greco, which in translation simply means “The Greek.” Both paintings were written by El Greco towards the end of his life, and both are of important religious figures in Christian religion-one of St. Francis and the other of St. John. Both are similar in style and composition, and both were written in practically the same time period, approximately only five years apart. St. Francis was written at about 1595 and St. John at about 1600.

In the painting St. Francis Venerating the crucifix St. Francis is shown with his
right profile to the viewer. He is shown in the rocky, cave-like surroundings kneeling on
one knee, with his arms crossed at his chest, in front of a rock upon which rests the
crucifix. Crucifix is shown also leaning against an old-looking skull, and there is an
old-looking book to the side of it. St. Francis himself is shown wearing a very simple
robe, which covers him all the way down to his feet, and a cape with a large,
heavy-looking hood. In St. John the Baptist El Greco chose to picture St. John in full
frontal view, facing the viewer. He is shown standing in an open, somewhat rocky field.

Behind that there is some green grassy land with a couple of trees, and behind the grass
land there is a mountain and a city at its foot. St. John is shown wearing animal furs,
which cover his waist and some of his torso. He is holding a very tall, slender cross in his left hand, while looking with a diffused look to the right. Also, to the left of him (to the right from the viewer’s perspective) there is a sheep lying upon a rock.

Religious symbolism, although less obvious in some forms than in others, is
present in both paintings. El Greco presented both St. John and St. Francis with a very
loving and kind expressions on their faces, which could very well be symbolic of a
number of things: the adoration and love that both Saints experienced towards
Christ/God, the love and kindness, or the good, that the Christian religion conveys, or the inner happiness and the peace of mind, or the reward, that the person would inevetably achieve by following the word of Christ.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Comparing El Grecos St Francis Venerating the Crucifix to El Grecos St John the Baptist." 20 May 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay The Perspective of Art by Francis Bacon - 1. Pick any painting and analyze it from the points of view of the (a) formalist, (b) the expressionist, (c) and the philosopher of “aesthetic experience”. Which perspective, if any, do you find most convincing. I chose a piece by Francis Bacon, an Irish artist born in 1909, called the Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X. (a) From the point of view of a formalist, this piece would be examined in different perspectives such as the dark tones, shapes, and lines that the piece has, to the context and reasons of why Bacon decided to paint it as a re-modernization of the classical painting of Velasquez, exploring all the textures and dimensions of the painting to determine its art...   [tags: Francis Bacon, art] 940 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Comparing Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now” - The focus of this Comparative Essay is to evaluate the similarities between Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now.” Resemblances in both stories are prominent when reading the novel or watching the film. The resemblance which will be used in this essay will be the similarities between the protagonists in both stories, Charlie Marlow and Captain Benjamin L. Willard. Both men are in search of two other individuals that go by the same name, Kurtz....   [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Cop]
:: 2 Works Cited
1230 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Remembering the Life of Sir Francis Drake Essay - “Sent by Queen Elizabeth on a mission, the whole country is counting on this war.” “Look, Captain Drake. The Armada is in eyesight!” “Man the cannons, I’ll take the wheel. Today is not the day we die. Pull it together men!” This perhaps is what thoughts were running through Sir Francis Drake’s mind at the point of one of the worst battles fought for his country, the battle between the English and the Spanish Armada. Militarily and economically, England wasn't the world power that they would soon become....   [tags: francis drake, spanish armada, queen elizabeth]
:: 7 Works Cited
1016 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Aesthetic Pedagogy of Francis of Assisi Essay - The Aesthetic Pedagogy of Francis of Assisi ABSTRACT: Despite his anti-intellectualism, Francis of Assisi was an effective teacher who intentionally illustrated the life of virtue in his own way of living. He was a teacher in the sense that the Hebrew prophets, Socrates or Gandhi were teachers. He was a performance artist for whom drama functioned pedagogically. His life was not always meant to be an example to his followers; sometimes it was a dramatic lesson, meant to be watched, not imitated....   [tags: Francis Assisi Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
3470 words
(9.9 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Quick Death in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Essay - Quick Death in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Ernest Hemingway created a masterpiece of mystery in his story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber". The mystery does not reveal itself to the reader until the end of the story, yet it leaves a lot to the imagination. At the end of the story Margaret Macomber kills her husband by accident, in order to save him from being mauled by a large Buffalo while on a safari in Africa. The mystery is whether or not this killing was truly accidental, or intentional....   [tags: Francis Macomber]
:: 1 Works Cited
1925 words
(5.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Reflex by Dick Francis - Reflex is a classic book written by Dick Francis. This is the twenty-second book he has written. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the novels he has written. This book is based on the life of a Photographer. The photographer’s name is Philip Nore, the book deals with the trauma a jockey has and how hectic his life is. In the first 50 pages of the book it deals with Philip being approached by his grandmother; (who he hates) and being asked by her to find her granddaughter. It also reveals that George Millace, a recently passed away photographer, has a secret black-mailing mystery and it is Philip’s job to uncover the Mystery....   [tags: Reflex, Dick Francis]
:: 1 Works Cited
390 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Biography of Saint Francis of Assissi Essay - Biography of Saint Francis of Assissi 1. Birth Saint Francis was born Giovanni Bernadone in either 1181 or 1182 in the Italian hill town of Assisi. His parents, Pietro and Pica, were members of the rather well-to-do merchant class of the town. Pioetro Bernadone was away in France when his son was born. On his return, he had the boy's name changed from Giovanni to Franceso (“The Little Frenchman”-perhaps a tribute to France, a country he loved and from which his wife's family came). Saint Francis of Assisi, was born in 1182, more probably in the latter year....   [tags: Saint Francis Italy Religion Essays] 3708 words
(10.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Theme of Carpe Diem in Francis Macomber and Capital Of The World Essay - The Theme of Carpe Diem in Francis Macomber and Capital Of The World The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber and The Capital Of The World A lot of Hemingway’s stories deal with life and death. Death even found it’s way into some of the titles we have read so far. However, in discussing death, we first have to look at life or rather how a life was lived, to truly understand what death meant in the particular instance. Both short stories, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, and The Capital Of The World deal with lives cut short by a chance and accidental encounter with death, while the soon to be deceased seem to gamble and court death....   [tags: Francis Macomber] 1097 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Francis I and Henry VIII Essay - Francis I and Henry VIII On April 27th, 1989, at Sangatte on the northern coast of France, a ceremony was held to mark the commencement of the main work on the Channel Tunnel. At the tunnel entrance stood two giant pasteboard figures. One was of Henry VIII of England and the other was of Francis I of France. Their symbolic presence at the beginning of an ambitious project designed to link England and France was especially appropriate. Henry VIII is often called a |Renaissance prince' and is popularly remembered for his ebullience and the extraordinariness of his reign....   [tags: Francis of Angouleme France England Essays] 3844 words
(11 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Francis Bacon's The Four Idols Essay - Analysis of Francis Bacon's The Four Idols      In "The Four Idols," Francis Bacon discusses the concept of what fundamentally stands in the way of a human using the correct way of arriving upon a conclusion. Bacon believes there are four falsehoods that delay people from uncovering what they need to: the idols of the tribe, cave, marketplace and theater. At first I thought that these idols did not apply to humans at all, but now, after careful consideration, I understand how each idol relates to humankind....   [tags: Four Idols Essays Francis Bacon Human Nature]
:: 2 Works Cited
1019 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches

Both Saints are also portrayed in a very simple, almost “material-free” surroundings. St. Francis is being shown in what seems to me like a cave, wearing nothing but a robe and a cape, with the crucifix, the skull, and the book being the only things present, and St. John is shown in a field, wearing animal furs, and holding only a cross in his hand. That carries a very powerful message the meaning of which is that not only it is possible for one to go about his daily life without indulging in the “wordly” matters, but that in order to truly reach and follow the word of God one should abstain from those matters completely, and concentrate only on the developement of the spiritual growth and happiness. The portrayal of the right profile of St. Francis is symbolic of the “right,” or true way of the Christianity, same meaning that St. John’s look to the right conveys. The cross that St. John holds in his hand might be symbolic of Christianity, and the sheep lying at St. John’s feet might be symbolic of him as a “good shepherd” who is taking good care and showing the right way, (just like Jesus in a lot of cases being showed surrounded by sheeps.)

In both of his works of art, El Greco is working within a same format, a vertical
rectangle. The scaling of the works, however, is different. St. Francis venerating the
crucifix is about four by eight feet in size, whereas St. John the Baptist is only about two and a half by four feet in size. The medium used in both works is the same, oil on canvas.

The composition of both works is also very similar, probably because, besides
being done by the same artist, the were done in the same period of time. In both of the
paintings El Greco prefers the triangular and rectangular shapes to any other ones (the
only round forms that he uses are the shapes of the Saints’ faces), and the triangular
forms are dominant over the rectangular ones. In Saint Francis Venerating the Crucifix
the big slab of rock in the background forms a triangle in an upper right corner (from the viewer’s percpective,) The kneling position of St. Francis and his cape form a right
triangle, so does the crucifix leaning against the skull. The Christ’s body on the crucifix forms a number of triangles-first is formed by his legs being bent at the knees, second is formed by his body and a right arm, and yet another one is formed by his body and his left arm. The sides of the rock in front of which St. Francis is kneeling form rectangles, and the top of it, which is being used as a table, forms, again, a triangle. Two triangles are also being formed by St. Francis’s hands being crossed on his chest. In St. John the Baptist, on the other hand, the overall shape of St. John’s body is a vertical rectangle, whereas his hands each create a triangle with his body on each side. The top rock to the left of St. John (viewer’s percpective) also forms a triangle, and the rock directly below it forms a rectangle. The triangles are also formed by an overall arangement of the clouds at the both sides of St. John. The sides of the rock upon which the sheep is laying, to the right of St. John, form rectangles, and so does the top part. The overall shape of the sheep itself forms another two triangles.

Both paintings are asymmetrical, that is the forms of the details on the right and
the left sides of each picture do not match each other. However, even though they are
asymmetrical, both pictures are perfectly well balanced. The big right triangle that is
formed by St. Francis’s body that takes up more than half of the format space is balanced
on the other side of the picture by a rock that is smaller in size, so that the St. Francis’s head emerges on top, as the center of the picture. In the same way the two smaller rocks on one side of St. John are balanced by a larger rock with a sheep on another side.

In St. Francis Venerating the Crucifix the neutral colors are heavily dominant
over hues. There is, in fact, almost no hues at all, except for the dark-yellowish color of his skull, which El Greco deliberately makes low in value so as to match the
surroundings, and some very little blue of the small piece of the sky which is shown in an upper right corner. Overall, the picture is low in both intensity and value, with the main colors being gray (St. Francis’s robe), brown and dark brown (the surrounding rocks), and some black (shaded part of the rocks). The face of St. Francis and the Christ on the crucifix create a strong contrast in value with the rest of the objects shown in the picture.

They are in comparison are much higher in value because they are the only objects in the
picture upon which the light from the sky falls from the top corner. In St. John the Baptist the artist uses a lot more hues. They are: blue (the sky in the background), green (the grassland behind St. John), and indigo/violet (the mountain in the background). The neutrals are only the brownish color of the earth upon which St. John is standing, gray rocks, and gray sheep. Overall, the colors in the picture, being high in value & much higher in value in comparison to St. Francis, work together to create a much warmer look as opposed to the grim neutrals of St. Francis. Both pictures, however, are low in intensity, that is there is no bright colors in either.

The lighting used in both pictures is very different. In St. Francis Venerating the
crucifix the light comes only from the top right corner, and falls only on St. Francis’s face and the crucifix, whereas in St. John the Baptist the light is diffused. There is no strong contrast between light and shadow in either picture, but it is much more obvious in St. Francis because his face being illuminated creates somewhat of a contrast with the shaded areas.

The texture in both works is the same. The actual texture, being old in age and
being oil on canvas, is somewhat rough, although it looks smooth from a distance. The
visual texture created by both works is also smooth.

I found both works of art to be very unusual, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They
seem to be filled with an artist’s passion to convey the beauty of the spirit of religion. I found both to be truly inspiring works of art, Both rich in context as though they were taken straight from the bible. Seeing drawings of the two Saints really made me think about values of life, in terms of what are the more important endeavors that a person needs to attend to, and where does the real spiritual happiness lies. Both works are truly inspiring and original, and although my own religion is a little different, these works still convey to me the essence, the beauty, and the might of Christian religion.

Return to