Baroque Art an Examination Essay

Pages: 3 (983 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

However, the composition and subject matter are completely different in Regnier's painting vs. that of Sellaio. In Regnier's painting, the horizontal line is more important than the vertical, whereas the reverse is true in Sellaio's. In Sellaio's, the canvas is longer than it is wide; and it is the other way around for Regnier. Regnier depicts his figures along the horizontal plane, with St. Sebastian's reclining body the central motif. Moreover, Regnier includes nothing in the background of the painting. The black background is stark, forcing the viewer's eye to rest on the triangulation created by the holy women and the saint. Sellaio, on the other hand, incorporates a naturalistic background behind the subjects, similar to what DaVinci would later do in "La Gioconda." Whereas Sellaio uses no chiaroscuro, thus imparting a rather flat illumination, Regnier's painting is as much a painting of light as it is a painting of human figures. Tenebrism allows the figures of the two women and St. Sebastian to leap from the canvas.

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Whereas Regnier's tenebrism permits only a judicious use of color, with the red folds of the younger woman's clothing the main counterpoint to the otherwise black and white domains, Sellaio includes a variety of pastel and earth shades throughout the composition. Regnier's painting is shadowy, and the space occupied by the central figures is large. On the other hand, Sellaio's painting has no shadows, and the canvas is filled entirely with light-filled objects. Whereas the only straight lines in Regnier's painting are formed by the arrows, Sellaio relies heavily on the use of straight lines in his composition, such as the wall behind Mary and the cross formed by her elongated body and the invisible cross line with John the Baptist. Historical context influences the different style, composition, mood, tone, and symbolism of these two Renaissance paintings. Most notably, Sellaio paints pre-Reformation, and Regnier paints post-Reformation. The arrows in the Regnier composition, which are the only straight lines on the canvas, represent both the injuries done to St. Sebastian as well as the method by which the women deliver his salve. Thus, the Reformation is both an injury to the Church and also a means by which to make the Church stronger.

Essay on Baroque Art an Examination of Assignment

The differences between these two Renaissance compositions bely their similar symbolism. Both stress the centrality of Christian imagery and symbolism in Renaissance art. A cross shape is evident in the linear compositions of both paintings, even though one is rendered horizontally and the other vertically. Themes of redemption and rebirth are also present in the stories of St. Sebastian and likewise in the story of Christ with John the Baptist.

Works Cited

Castelvecchi, Davide. "Renaissance Painting Restoration Leads to Unusual Collaboration." Stanford Report. July 21, 2004. Retrieved online:

Regnier, Nicolas. "St. Sebastian Attended by Holy Women," 1615-1626.

Sellaio, Jacopo del. "Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist." Painting. 1480-85 [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Baroque Art an Examination.  (2014, May 4).  Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Baroque Art an Examination."  4 May 2014.  Web.  28 February 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Baroque Art an Examination."  May 4, 2014.  Accessed February 28, 2021.