image. The message comes across that Mary was an ordinary woman until she was made extraordinary by the touch of God. The other important message becomes across in Caravaggio's Madonna is that everyone is welcome. If you look at the people who are coming to see Mary and baby Jesus, the people were actually being welcomed? Those people are ordinary people. The guy in the foreground? He's an ordinary guys dressed ordinary. I mean, he doesn't have shoes! His feet are absolutely disgusting. The lady in the back? She's an elderly woman she doesn't have teeth! And yet Mary and baby Jesus are coming out on their doorstep to focus on these people. This is a dramatic moment, a moment of prayer, of excitement in seeing Mary and baby Jesus. This is caught in a moment of action; it looks like Mary's just emerged. Her head is at a strange angle. She's holding baby Jesus in a way that wouldn't be comfortable for a long time. And it shows that extreme of light and dark, that chiaroscuro. It looks as if there's a spotlight highlighting the figures, while the doorway in the background fades into darkness, and we can't see what's inside. Now, Caravaggio is our painting poster boy, but the church also uses a sculptor named Gianlorenzo Bernini. Now, Bernini is a deeply baroque sculptor. He does a lot of very very dramatic pieces: this one is his David. Bernini is certainly not the first guy to do a David's sculpture, and he won't be the last. But his David is deeply baroque, very different from Donatello's David or Michelangelo's David. Donatello's David was shown after killing Goliath, with his foot on Goliath's severed head. He was shown in a moment of peace after the battle. Michelangelo's David is shown thinking about killing Goliath BEFORE the battle in a moment of concentration, in consideration. Bernini's David is Baroque. It shows David in the MIDDLE of killing Goliath. He's posed, caught in this moment of action, with a slingshot cranked back. My favorite part of him is his face. Bernini does not hold back on making this realistic. I told you, one of the characteristics of Baroque art is being caught in a moment of action. That's it! I mean, it looks like... If you've ever seen - they just put a coffee table book out recently of photographs of baseball pitchers right in the middle of pitching and that's what Bernini's David reminds me of. He's making this awesome face because he's concentrating. He's caught in this moment of action, and, again, the sculpture reminds us that David was an ordinary shepherd - nobody special - until God chose him. That idea of drama, being caught in a moment of action, depicting someone who is an ordinary person just like you until God touched their lives, promotes the ideas that the Catholic Church are trying to bring across in the Counter Reformation. In focusing on this baroque art, they're trying to win people back to the church to counter the Protestant ideas and bring them back together. What the Catholic church is afraid of,
what they're dreading, what their concern is lies in a rising division in the way that people view the secular and the spiritual. More than before, people are separating the "real world" and the
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- Fall '08
- Baroque, Protestant Reformation