Danielle Austin’s Art Pic from the Art Institute

31 Oct

“Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints”


The painting I chose is called the Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints.  It is an oil on panel that was done about 1505/1515.  When I first saw this painting I noticed how vibrant it was.  The colors were very saturated and they had a sheen to them.  That’s what I believe made it stand out from the other paintings I saw before finding this one.  I really liked the use of color and how it was able to show depth and texture.  I was most impressed visually with the shading of the clothing; the shading of the colors were able to portray draping so accurately and clear.  I found it to be very beautiful.

This painting was rather a large one.  Despite the fact that it is 3 paintings large, it seemed to me that each part of it was large itself.  Upon looking at each piece, I noticed that at the top they had golden arches.  They reminded me of gold leaf.  I also noticed how the same arches matched the halos over the heads of women in the painting. When I looked at the small caption that was placed next to it, I read that the gold framing was a “common feature of German altarpieces of the time.”

In this painting, the virgin is surrounded by women while holding a baby.  They all are sitting in a field, and holding various objects.  Some are holding books, another is holding a chalice.  The baby is holding what looks to be an apple.  To either side of the center painting, there are separate paintings, each with a woman depicted.  To the left Saint Ursula is depicted , surrounded by women that are half her size.  To the right, Saint Agnes is depicted, holding onto a leashed animal.

When looking at this painting, I could tell right away that this was a religious painting.  I could tell right away that in the center painting the Virgin was the one in the center, wearing the crown.  And I assume that the baby she is holding is Jesus.  After reading the caption, I confirmed my thoughts as it said that the Virgin was “crowned as the Queen of Heaven.”  When looking at the women surrounding her and looking up towards her, I got a sense that they were looking up to her and trying to learn from her, like one would study the Bible.  I felt like the background surroundings of this painting was a place of learning.  I felt that this space was a place of peace.

When I read the caption, it said that this painting “suggests that it was made for a community of nuns.”  I agree with this caption.  I feel that such a painting would be commissioned for nuns to be placed where they live and study.  In a convent, nuns have devoted their life to God and His teachings.  In that painting, I feel that it gives tribute to God and what the nuns have dedicated their lives to doing.  Also, I feel that it could have been a source of strength for the nuns.  It could have been something that they could have come to for solace and reaffirmation, should they have found their faith challenged.

This painting, was a rather thought provoking one for me.  I was never one to really look at a religious painting in depth, but this one struck me.  At first I was not sure as to what I was going to get out of it, but the more I looked at it, the more I was starting
to form an opinion as to what this painting could mean. However, from an artistic standpoint, I was very impressed with the vibrancy of the colors.  I found them to be more saturated than other oil paintings I’ve seen before.  This painting encourages me to go even deeper to find out more of what this painting could mean.

– Quotes were taken from the caption next to the painting at the Art Institute of Chicago


One Response to “Danielle Austin’s Art Pic from the Art Institute”

  1. tpage91 November 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    I very much enjoyed your essay, I completely agree with you when you said that before you looked at the caption you believe it was religious, I also believed the same thing. I think that they are trying to make people think that the virgin mary was the most important person, while people many little people worshiped her and tired learning from her.

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