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Intro Caravaggios the Crucifixion of Saint Peter, is a religious painting measuring nearly eight by six feet, this painting was painted during the Baroque Era for the Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1600) is an religious oil on canvas painting that amplifies the use of light sources on the figure Peter which contrasts with the dark shadowy background. Christianity is one of the main themes in this painting, as is Crucifixion, his use of these themes and the use of many elements throughout this painting contribute to the paintings visual effect, but the use of one light source on St. Peter gives this piece a more tragic tone to this religious event.
In the painting The Crucifixion of Saint Peter it depicts the martyrdom of St. Peter by crucifixion, it depicts St. Peter as an elderly but muscular man with a beard, and he is wearing a white loincloth. Due to St. Peter not wanting to imitate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ he asked for his cross to be inverted, hence he is depicted upside-down. The painting also shows
three Roman soldiers struggling to erect the cross of St. Peter; one of the soldiers is using his back to prop up the crucifix so it will be more easier to lift, while another solider holds St. Peter legs to keep him steady and from falling off the cross, and the last solider has a rope
attached to the part of the crucifix where St. Peter legs lay to pull the crucifix up.
The painting center focus is St. Peter, while the Romans are scattered around him. In this piece the background is dominated by dark colors while the figure St. Peter has more light around him, by Caravaggio using minimal light sources it adds emphasis on the tragic tone of this painting; also by using shadows to cover the faces of the Roman soldiers it puts a bigger spotlight on the figure St. Peter. In this piece Caravaggio puts more emphasis on the human structure and contrasting light and shadows, in the anatomic structure of the figure St. Peter he conveys the strength yet fragility of his anatomy. In this painting Caravaggio use of natural colors with dark tones dominates the painting with the only lighter tones being used on St. Peter, strengthens the focal point of the painting which is St. Peter. Also by St. Peter being the singular light source of this piece it instantly draws the viewers’ attention to St. Peter.
Info about the artist
According to (blank) Caravaggio lived a life full of gambling, and violence when he was not creating the most astounding New Testament scenes. He was born in a northern Italian town in 1573 where he would work on his paints for a time, he would then take to the streets with his sword and dagger where he would fight and gamble, developing a criminal record well documented in Rome’s police files. But in the midst of his crime infested life, he managed to paint some of the most astounding Christian paintings of his time. Also he was an innovator; he rejected the ideals of the Renaissance artists to depict beauty and harmony. Instead he used reality, and for his models he used common street people. As an artist he was a master of naturalism, using striking light and dark effects, with dramatic composition. Since most of his commissions were to decorate church altars and chapels, the majority of Caravaggio’s paintings centered on Catholic themes. Perhaps unwittingly, he became an effective painter of the Counter-Reformation – a time when the Roman Catholic Church had to reassert its beliefs and practices in the face of Martin Luther and emerging Protestantism.
History of Painting
According to (blank) this piece of art was commissioned in September 1600 by Monsignor Tiberio Cerasi. Also Caravaggio’s original versions of this piece and Caravaggio work The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus (1601) were both rejected. They passed into private collection of Cardinal Sannesio and several modern scholars (including John Gash, Helen Lagdon, and Peter Robb) there has been speculation that Sannesio may have taken advantage of Cerasi’s sudden death to seize some pictures by Caravaggio. Also the first version of the Crucifixion of Peter has disappeared; some scholars have identified it with a painting now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, but this is not generally accepted (in the Hermitage catalog Martyrdom of St. Peter attributed, with a question mark, Lionello Spada and dated on the first quarter of the 17th century). In all events, the second versions, which seem to have been more unconventional than the first, were accepted without comment by the executors of Cerasi’s estate in 1601.
How is Christianity amplified in this painting?
This represents the foundations of the Catholic Church, Peter the `rock’ upon which Christ declared Church to be built. Caravaggio’s paintings were thus intended to symbolize Rome’s (and Cerasi’s devotion to the Princes of the Apostles in this church which dominated the great piazza welcoming pilgrims as they entered the city from the north representing the great Counter-Reformation themes of conversion and martyrdom and serving as propaganda against the twin threats of backsliding and Protestantism.
Crucifixion theme (may be apart of paragraph before this one)
Why was this painted?
(Crimes he committed)
In 1603, Caravaggio was put on trial for libel against a fellow painter whom he disliked. In 1604, he threw a plate of hot artichokes at a waiter and threatened him with his sword. In 1605, he wounded a notary with his sword when he learned the notary had had dealings with a woman Caravaggio fancied. In 1606, the artist and his friends got into a fight with another group over a bet on a tennis match that Caravaggio had not paid up. During the scuffle, Caravaggio killed a fellow named Ranuccio Tommasoni and fled Rome. The following year the artist traveled south, ending up on the island of Malta, with the hope of becoming a Knight of St. John. He was named an honorary knight, a distinction he apparently wanted, but one that failed to calm him down. In 1608, Caravaggio attacked another knight and was imprisoned, but he managed to escape to Sicily. The knights expelled him from the order. In 1609, Caravaggio moved to Naples, where he was attacked in a hotel, his face badly slashed. In 1610, Cardinal Ferdinando Gonzaga of Mantua tried to obtain a pardon for the Rome murder from Pope Paul V so Caravaggio could return there. The prospects for the pardon appeared good, so Caravaggio set sail from Naples in the summer of 1610. He decided to play it safe and disembarked just north of Rome, at the Port’ Ercole, but there he was mistaken for someone else and imprisoned for two days. He was released and then struck by a raging fever and became bedridden. He died a few days later on July 18, 1610 at the age of 36.
Crucifixion of St. Peter
In Carravaggio’s “Crucifixion of St. Peter,” (1600-1601, Santa Maria del Popolo Church, Rome), there is nothing romantic about this humble beginning of Christ’s Church on earth. Caravaggio has reduced this scene of Peter’s crucifixion to the essentials: Peter, the laborers and the cross.
The scene is inspired in part from Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus asks the disciples who people say He is. “You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answers, “the son of the living God!” Jesus replies, “Blest are you Simon. . . . I for my part declare to you, you are rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:16-18).
Caravaggio’s painting shows the sheer mechanics of the execution as the laborers strain to crucify Peter upside down. The positioning of the four people create a cross of bodies as muscles, rope and brute strength struggle to raise Peter on his cross. But there is something more in the demeanor of Peter, who is neither resisting nor angry. Rather, his face shows resignation and sacrifice
As Peter looks beyond his crucified hand, there is a sense of sureness and resoluteness. In this moving and dramatic scene, Peter is shown actually becoming the rock of Christ’s Church on earth.
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