Example Of The Elements Of Art In The Painting: Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Painting, Baptism, Art, Chastity, Color, Angel, Clothes, Infant

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/15


Fra Bartolommeo (or Baccio della Porta by birth (Pietersma) painted The Rest on the Flight Into Egypt With Saint John Baptist and Two Angles in a prominent Renaissance model, which is obvious from the painting’s expression, subject matter and representational manner of style. His late works, including the said painting, are said to have been immensely influenced by Raphael and Michelangelo’s Vatican frescoes (Cavallini to Veronese), and, given the texture, colors, lines and composition of The Rest on the Flight Into Egypt With Saint John Baptist and Two Angels, this statement is easy to believe.

The lines in the painting are thin, almost invisible. They are smooth and curvy, the most pronounced lines shape the palm leaves and the tree leaves in the top, while the middle and bottom composition is painted softly and swiftly. The shapes above are quite abrupt (palm leaves in contrast with soft clouds, half-ruined fortress tower in contrast with a round woman’s face), and the bottom of the painting contains much more gentle and flowing shapes – the angels’ bodies, the woman and the man’s clothes. Round forms are predominant in the painting – mostly, as it resembles frescoes and is of Renaissance style. Even the palm leaves, despite having been painted with sharp, straight lines, resemble rounds and ovals in their silhouettes. There is little to no space between Joseph, Virgin Mary, Christ Child and infant John the Baptist. They are grouped together, while the space behind them is wide, and the silhouettes of the town - supposedly, Bethlehem (J. Paul Getty Museum) creates the atmosphere of three-dimensional space. The colors, as dictated by Renaissance style, are not ablaze and flamboyant, rather delicate, mellow and pastel. Joseph’s clothes are rather fiery, compared with somber and muted Virgin Mary’s clothes of dark red (primary) and deep dark blue (primary) colors with an element of green (secondary) piece of clothing. The palm tree in the left top corner is painted in dappled green (secondary), and looks natural. A pomegranate, by Virgin Mary’s left foot, is painted in dusty, restrained brownish-red (intermediate), and it emphasizes more on its symbolism (J. Paul Getty Museum), than on its naturalness. Considering the painting to have been painted with oil on panel, the texture must be quite soft and smooth.

Principles of Design:

The painting is not central-balanced, as the figure of Joseph is a bit cropped out of the composition, and the figure of infant John the Baptist is depicted fully, leaving the space for the landscape view on the right side, which creates additional dimension for the painting. Emphasis is put on Virgin Mary and two angels (Christ Child and infant John the Baptist) – the angels’ naked skin is painted in translucent colors, and its paleness catches the eye by standing in outright contrast against Virgin Mary’s dark, richly colored clothing. Bare Mary’s foot in the left bottom corner also stands against Joseph’s clothes, and creates certain balance between the two angels at the right side and the left side of the painting. The movement is initiated by the balance – the viewer is bound to look at the figures of Virgin Mary and two angels first, to proceed to Joseph and, eventually, see the landscape, palm tree and the misted town obscured by the pale colors between the hills. There is barely any pattern to the painting – all the objects carry their individual meaning, closely connected to religion (for example, pomegranate symbolizing Resurrection, palm tree symbolizing Christ’s final entry to Jerusalem, etc) (J. Paul Getty Museum). The proportions, especially those of human body, seem to be properly followed in the painting – there is no apparent violation of physical proportions of the faces and bodies depicted in the painting, as well as the trees and buildings on the background. Rhythm, enhanced by variety, can be said to be present in the painting – for example, the figures of four people depicted in the painting stand as the letter “M”, with the heads of Joseph and Virgin Mary being the M’s tops, and the virtual letter starting from Joseph’s right elbow and ending on infant John the Baptist’s head. On the background, this visual letter is also repeated in the figure of hills painted on the right side, and the trees right above the hills. Unity in this painting is rather achieved by symbolism, religious motives and the choice of colors than by composition characteristics, however, the people depicted in the painting are grouped together, which gives the sense of balance and unity, as well.


Iconography is quite apparent in this painting, since the Gospel of Matthew – being the only known reference to this event - describes the depicted event in full details, thus, the subject of the painting is taken from the Bible. Many works of art are dedicated to this specific event, and, although some modifications and own interpretations take place and no specific storyline is preserved, the characters remain the same in the majority of works – Joseph, his wife and infant son Jesus. Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist, and their meeting was also painted by da Vinci and Raphael, making the Flight into Egypt a popular and widely discussed biblical event, represented and interpreted by many artists, especially in the Renaissance period.

Works Cited:

Cavallinitoveronese.co.uk,. 'Cavallini To Veronese - Italian Renaissance Art'. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Getty.edu,. 'The Rest On The Flight Into Egypt With St. John The Baptist (Getty Museum)'. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Pietersma, Lisa. 'Deceptive Simplicity: A Study Of Mariotto Albertinelli’S Holy Family With The Adoration Of The Child | CUJAH'. The Concordia Undergraduate Journal of Art History. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.

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