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Raphael's Galatea and Castello's Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx are two great paintings that have some similar characteristics, but also some different characteristics. Raphael was born in 1483 in the city of Urbino and he was considered one of the most influential painters of the High Renaissance period. Raphael used a long line of great artists to learn how to use his unique style. This line started with his father, Giovanni Santi, soon after he would end up spending time with the famous condottiere Federico. While with Federico he would be influenced by the works of other artists before him these would include; Uccello, Giorgio, and Signorelli. Eventually, his father would send him to the Perugino workshop where he would learn a great deal about himself and his style of art. He specifically learned that he should not be too focused on using too much detail in a painting. This idea was very helpful with his particular Renaissance style. He would continue to use his work from the Perugino school, but eventually he turned away and modeled himself after two of the most important artists of their time, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Over the course of his life Raphael's style was solidified as utilizing forms and philosophy of classical characters along with using mythological figures in his paintings. Some of Raphael's greatest works were School of Athens, Madonna of the Meadow, and Galatea.
The High Renaissance style in Italy is probably the most important time period for art. This lasted from the late fifteenth century until the early sixteenth century. This was a period of trouble and tension but as for the art it was balanced and classical. This style was characterized as having many great artists in one area, by using heroic themes, and by artists having great imaginations. This form of art was not over dramatic like some other styles were, instead this style of art showed how the things in the world actually looked. This was achieved by the controlled use of color, light, and perception.
Castello was born in Genoa, Italy and spent most of his time working with the artist Domenico Fiasella. Castello also had a unique style, his style consisted of combining Mannerist and Baroque influences. Some of the painters that he learned from were Beccafumi, Procaccini, and Van Dyck. Castello received a lot of helpful techniques from Van Dyck. Van Dyck showed him how to have very effective technical skills. He also introduced to him the importance of having great gestures and poses in his artwork. Castello would usually make small oil sketches, which would lead up to his very large paintings.
Part of Castello's style was influence by Mannerism, which ironically became known after the death of Raphael. The mannerist style used exaggerated gestures and depicted the things that were going on in Europe at that particular time. This style was the exact opposite of the High Renaissance, in that it used very strange figures and poses, as well as odd colors. This style was mainly utilized until the end of the sixteenth century and was known as a bridge between the High Renaissance and Baroque styles. The other part of Castello's style was influenced by the aforementioned Baroque style. The Baroque style originally emerged from Italy and would eventually move all the way to Paris. Italy and Paris just happened to be the art centers of Europe at each particular time. This style is describes as being involved with a lot of other diverse styles. This style was applied from the late 1500's to the late 1700's. Most artists of this style turned away from the Mannerist style, and used naturalism and science in their works. The paintings of this time also showed a great deal of expression and emotion.
Raphael's most important mythological work of art was completed in 1512 and was known as Galatea. This was painted for Agostino Chigi, and was put in the grand salon of his villa. This painting is a representation of a pagan water chase. Galatea is running away from the mythological Greek Cyclops Polyphemos, who is in the painting next to Galatea in the grand salon. The Cyclops has killed her lover and is now after her. She is running away on a seashell chariot that is being pulled by two dolphins. She looks like she is worried about the situation, there are many mythical creatures around her, who happen to be blowing trumpets. There are also three cupids aiming arrows at her.
Castello's Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx is described as a work of allegory and was completed around 1650. This painting is showing that Chastity is having a triumph over lust. This theme is coming from the poem Metamorphoses which was written by Ovid. This painting contains Diana and Actaeon with a pair of nymphs on the right, along with Pan and Syrinx who are accompanied by Ladon the river god. The poses of the figures make it seem like they are all having deep conversation. This piece contains great light effects, foreshortening, and emotional brushwork.
These are two very interesting paintings that have some things in common. First, there is a great use of mythological figures by both of the artists. These figures are the basis for both of these paintings because they make up everything that is going on in the paintings. The next thing that is similar in both of these paintings is the poses of the figures. The poses in Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx make the characters seem like they are talking to each other. On the other side in Galatea, the characters surrounding Galatea are all in erotic poses. Another possible similarity is that it seems like in both paintings there is one side against the other. There is definitely conflict in Galatea because she is running away from the Cyclops. In Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx there could be conflict because it seems like the main figures are trying to get to the other side.
As much as the paintings are similar, they also have their differences. Galatea does not use shadowing and different light effects, instead the painting is consistently the same color all the way around. Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx has a great deal of shadowing and light effects which makes it seem more dramatic. The other difference is that both of these paintings were done in two completely different eras. Galatea was completed during the High Renaissance period which was a classical period. Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx was completed during the Baroque period, which was a very diverse period. The other difference is just between the two painters. Raphael was not known for his mythological works, he was more known from painting classical themes such as the Madonna. Castello was more known for his dramatic realism and this painting is perfect for his style, more so than Raphael.
In conclusion, these are two great mythological works of art that have some major similarities and differences. They were completed by two artists that mastered their particular styles of art during their respective time periods. The art of the High Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque time periods is very influential and has many great characteristics. These works of art show an enormous amount of creativity and intellect, and are great pieces from each time period.