Comparing Matthias Grunewald 's Poem ' Crucifixion With The Virgin, Saints John The Evangelist And St Mary Magdalene
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I believe the two artworks of pair number six are similar in terms of their subject matter and content, however, the method of showing the content differs and the context behind the content does as well. I also believe that Matthias Grunewald uses a similar triangular composition from Pietro Perugino’s painting “Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saints John the Evangelist and Saint Mary Magdalene” in his own work, the “Isenheim Altarpiece.”
First, both artworks are about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and have the focal point as Jesus on the cross surrounded by saints. Perugino’s painting, the left artwork, has four saints (from left to right): Jerome, Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene (Adams 322). Likewise, the right artwork by Grunewald has (from left to right) saints Sebastian, Mary, John, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, and Anthony, in addition to the characters on the base placing Jesus in a tomb (Hayum 503, 510). I believe the artworks share three specific people because the works are depicting the crucifixion as it is documented in scripture, and those three individuals (Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene) are said to have been with Jesus as he was dying on the cross.
However, I believe the two artworks depict their content of the crucifixion differently. According to Laurie Schneider Adams, “Perugino’s Crucifixion,…painted around 1485, conveys a mood of serene resignation,” and I believe Grunewald’s work shows the opposite of serenity (321). In the artworks of the Renaissance I have seen, all works appear to have the same mood of serenity or calmness; there was no intense emotion, pain, or agony. Therefore, the left artwork can be said to be characteristic of the Renaissance’s art style. In contrast, Grunewald’s right artwork p...
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...ered to. In addition, Grunewald’s particular selection of saints Sebastian, Anthony, and John the Baptist also relate to the right artwork’s secondary purpose per their patronages. Christians associate St. Sebastian with the rejection of disease, St. Anthony with the curing of disease, and St. John the Baptist with the healing nature of water in the Christian sacrament of baptism (503, 510). Therefore, a patient with (or at least familiar with) Christian beliefs of the crucifixion can be uplifted by the promise of healing because he or she could identify with the saints depicted and in the image of Christ suffering (Hayum 509). In this way, the right artwork’s content both harmonizes with the church architecture and helps the hospital patients bear their sufferings as Jesus did, whereas the left artwork only accomplishes harmony and symmetry with the space around it.