Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Jesus Christ, Art, Emphasis, Artists, Viewer, Supper, Light, Time

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/07

New WowEssays Premium Database!

Find the biggest directory of over
1 million paper examples!

Emphasis and focal point are two of the most important devices used by artists through the centuries. They help the viewer locate the principal areas of a work of art, the exact areas that the artist wants to highlight. DeWitte, Larmann and Shields (138) say that emphasis refers to a specific area or areas in an artwork where the artist tries to focus the attention of the viewer. Focal point has a similar function, being a specific point in the area of emphasis that the artist wants particularly emphasized. This usually contains an important message and/or the main idea of the work (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 138). On the contrary, subordination, achieves the opposite effect, the downplaying of specific areas in favor of some others. In this short essay, the close examination of two works of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Tintoretto’s The Last Supper, will show in what ways artists have managed to employ these devices successfully.
Leonardo is one of the most revered artists of all time. The Last Supper, painted on a wall in the dining hall of the monastery of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan, proves to a great extent his mastery. Christ is certainly the focal point of the work and one cannot fail but notice it, as the artist uses four elements of art in order to lead the eye of the viewer to this direction. These are placement, form, light and linear perspective (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 380). While the other figures are arranged in groups, Christ is placed at the center, on his own, and at a certain, albeit small, distance from his disciples. His figure is presented in triangular form and has a calm disposition, as opposed to the other figures that surround him. Light enters from behind, illuminating Christ at the center. At the same time, Leonardo, has used linear perspective to place emphasis on the figure of Christ, placing the vanishing point of the work directly behind him.
Although Christ is the focal point of the work, Leonardo placed emphasis in two more areas. The extending hand of the Christ on the table points to the sacrament of the Eucharist, as Jesus is believed to have blessed the wine and bread on the table (Kleiner, 582). Judas is also emphasized, although in a different way than that used to emphasize the figure of Christ. While Jesus is illuminated by the light entering from the windows behind, Judas stands in the shadow, and it is this contrast that shows not only his identity, but turns eventually the eye of the viewer on him (Kleiner, 582). These areas of emphasis make the viewer understand the meaning of the work and the timing in the story of the Last Supper that it represents. This is the first Eucharist, and the theme is therefore related to religious doctrine, ritual and belief (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 380). Equally, the emphasis on Judas and his facial expression signifies the moment that Jesus announces that someone has betrayed him, thus placing the work into a specific moment in time (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 381). .
While the specific areas discussed above have been emphasized, others have been downplayed. The other disciples are less important in Leonardo’s narrative and are thus placed in groups, although each has a distinct facial expression. They are all, with the exception of Judas in the same imaginary line, in a distinct distance from Christ, the focal point of the work.
Another work where emphasis, focal point and subordination have been used with mastery is Tintoretto’s The Last Supper. Although the subject is the same with Leonardo’s, the artist chose to represent it in a completely different way. The focal point is again Christ himself. He is placed at the center of the composition and the eye of the viewer is directed at him through an imaginary diagonal light. His halo is the brightest of all, making him the most illuminated figure in an overall dark painting. Furthermore, he is standing and seemingly engaged in action that clearly refers to the Eucharist. Another source of light, a lamp on the ceiling places emphasis on another aspect of the work: the angels that seem to descent from heaven. This gives a spiritual emphasis on the painting that totally contrasts with the worldly occupations of the people that surround Jesus and his disciples (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 391). It is this spirituality that seems to be the primary message of the work and Tintoretto’s main aim (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 391). The viewer is still able to locate Judas, being placed at the other end of the table opposite of the figure of Christ, the only one of the disciples not to have a halo (DeWitte, Larmann and Shields, 391).
The artist chose to use subordination on a number of elements in the painting. The people working in the dining room where the Last Supper takes place are presented in the shadows. They are shown continuing their jobs unaware of what is happening right next to them.
Leonardo’s and Tintoretto’s works are different in many ways. They are similar, however, in the ways the two artists chose to show the focal points and areas of emphasis in their respective paintings. They both employ masterly the elements of art and composition in their attempt to direct the viewer’s eye to the areas they want to highlight. At the same time, they use these elements to subordinate other parts of the works that are of less importance in the overall understanding of their messages.

WORKS CITED

DeWitte, D.J., Larmann, R.M & Shields, M.K. Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts. London: Thames and Hudson. 2012.
Kleiner, F. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, vol. II. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth. 2009.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, December, 07) Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples. Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/
"Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples." WePapers, 07 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/. Accessed 19 October 2021.
WePapers. 2020. Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples., viewed October 19 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/>
WePapers. Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed October 19, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/
"Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples." WePapers, Dec 07, 2020. Accessed October 19, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/
WePapers. 2020. "Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved October 19, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/).
"Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 07-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/. [Accessed: 19-Oct-2021].
Focal Point, Emphasis And Subordination. Leonado’s The Last Supper And Tintoretto’s The Last Supper Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/focal-point-emphasis-and-subordination-leonados-the-last-supper-and-tintorettos-the-last-supper-essays-examples/. Published Dec 07, 2020. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Copy

Share with friends using:

Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.

If you need an original paper created exclusively for you, hire one of our brilliant writers!

GET UNIQUE PAPER
Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now