essay 1 - Niamh Cunningham 05923751 Compare Caravaggio's...

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Niamh Cunningham 05923751 Compare Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ (c.1598) in the National Gallery of Ireland and the miniature representing the Arrest of Christ in the Book of Kells (folio 114 recta) The arrest of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane is a common theme found in western art. These two art works, Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ (c.1598) and the miniature representing the Arrest of Christ in the book of Kells, share this common theme. This aspect is perhaps the only factor these two works share. They differ in their intended function, their treatment of the subject manner and their interpretation. Caravaggio was a very bold and revolutionary painter who worked around 1600. He was condemned a naturalist, he had no liking for classical models or any time for the “ideal beauty”. 1 His intent was to copy nature faithfully. The Book of Kells was composed over 1000 years ago, containing Latin copies of all four gospels. It is lavishly decorated, and is on display today in Trinity College Dublin. The intent behind the imagery in the Book of Kells differs enormously to that of Caravaggio’s work. The decoration of the manuscript glorifies aspects of Christ’s life, and its key moments. The images were also there to portray the message to people who could not read. To enable this further, the images are packed with symbolism and iconography. Pope Gregory the Great explained that images provided “a living reading of the lord’s story for those who cannot read.” 2 Christ’s name, face, attributes, properties 1 E.H.Gombrich, The Story of Art, (New York 2002) p392 2 Bernard Meehan, The Book of Kells, (London, 1994) p29
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and symbols are to be found throughout the Book of Kells, to reinforce the text, the story of his life. The images in the Book of Kells are stylised. Stylised meaning the artist used
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essay 1 - Niamh Cunningham 05923751 Compare Caravaggio's...

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