On our groovy trip through Art History 141, my consciousness has been enlightened. I
have a much greater understanding of power art, and all of its signiﬁcance. One artist who really opened my mind shares my same ambition of being a game changer. This artist of course, is good old Caravaggio. He rejected the Renaissance theory and practice, and substituted it with emotional insight. The Baroque artists had a remarkably different style than artists of the
Renaissance due to their different approach to form, space, and composition. This big difference in style resulted in a very different method of narrative. In my research, I found drastic stylistic differences between the Renaissance and Baroque in form, space, and composition and how these characteristics effect the painting. In my opinion this can be seen in comparing Perugino’s
Christ Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter from the Early Renaissance to
Caravaggio’s Conversion of St. Paul.
One of the great masters of the Early Renaissance was Perugino. His style is
characterized by the Renaissance ideals of purity, simplicity, and exceptional symmetry of composition. His approach to form in Christ Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter was very linear. He outlined all the ﬁgures with a black line giving them a sense of stability, permanence, and power in their environment, but restricting the ﬁgures sense of movement. The ﬁgures seem to not move at all, and looked locked at a speciﬁc moment in time by their rigid outline. Perugino’s approach to the ﬁgures themselves is extremely humanistic and classical. He
shines light on the ﬁgures in a clear even way, keeping with the rational and uncluttered meaning of the work. His ﬁgures are all locked in a contrapposto pose engaging in intellectual conversation with their neighbor, giving a strong sense of classical rationality. The ﬁgures are repeated over and over such as this to give a rational response and to show the viewer clarity.
Perugino’s approach to space was also very rational and simple. Perugino organizes space along three planes the foreground, middle ground, and background. Christ and Saint Peter occupy the center foreground and solemn choruses of saints and citizens occupy the rest of the foreground.
The middle distance is ﬁlled with miscellaneous ﬁgures, which complement the front group, emphasizing its density and order, by their scattered arrangement. Buildings from the
Renaissance and triumphal arches from Roman antiquity occupy the background, reinforcing the overall classical message to the painting even though the event represented in the painting took place long before the Roman Empire. The center temple that occupies the background has a vanishing point running through its doorway and if it weren’t for this illusionistic technique, the painting would be very two dimensional. The combination of the vanishing point with three well deﬁned planes interlocks both two dimensional and three dimensional space, as well as organizing the action in the painting systematically.
Perugino’s approach to composition was, keeping conventional with the Renaissance
style, also very rational and orderly. He used the Early Renaissance compositional triangle giving clarity, static balance, and symmetrical order to the painting. At the base of the triangle, the central ﬁgures of Christ and Saint Peter are placed to give clarity to the subject matter. The static, straight lines used in his overall composition do not make the eye move from place to place, but rather makes the eye look at each object itself, see how it relates to the other objects around it, and then see how all the separate ﬁgures come together and create harmony. The overall clarity
of the form, space, and composition that Perugino presents in this painting gives overall clarity.
In Renaissance art, the idea was the persuasion of the observer