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The 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor', and 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' are some of the most intriguing pieces of art found at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor' was painted by an early renaissance painter from Italy called Bartolommeo di Giovanni, but popularly referred to as Alunno di Domenico. Bartolommeo is reported to have been active as a painter from 1480 to around 1510. The 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor' is, therefore, estimated to have been done in 1490. The painting measures 163.8 cm high by 191.7cm wide. Bartolommeo did the painting using the oil based paints and colors on the canvas sheet. On the other hand, 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' was painted by an unknown Flemish school in the late fifteenth century, probably around the same time as the 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor'. 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' measures 80.6 cm high by 98.4cm wide, which means that it is smaller than the 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor'. 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' is painted using egg tempera paints and colors on a smooth, flat piece of wood. Egg tempera painting involves the use of powdered pigments, egg yolk, and water to create a fluid that can paint. Tempera paint dries up relatively fast and has been used since the medieval periods and in other ancient ages by painters. 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' from the Flemish school is divided into three parts by hinges. The middle part is twice as big as the two other pieces. This makes it possible for the painting to be folded into a small box. Some differences and similarities are downright obvious from the two paintings. This creates the basis for the formation of a thesis. The 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor' by Bartolommeo di Giovanni depicts grief, hopelessness, defeat, acceptance of circumstances, darkness and fear while 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' is more gallant, triumphant, remorseful, and complicated.
The 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor' by Bartolommeo di Giovanni shows what seems to be a recreation of the scene after Jesus Christ was crucified. The general mood exuded in the painting is somber. In the painting, there are five men and seven women crouched in grief over the body of the fallen Christ. Just behind the group is a bloodied pole, which can be assumed to have been the cross with which Jesus Christ had been nailed on and crucified. All around one can see the artifacts and tools used in crucifixion. On the ground, lean across and a crown of thorns. In the painting, only two men are standing; as an indication of their importance in this part of the crucifixion story. One man carries a cross and is assumed to be Simon of Cyrene, and the other man is affluently dressed and bears a small jar, which means he could be Joseph of Arimathea. All the women in the painting are knelt before Christ and are holding his body in pain and grief, since he has departed from them. The grief and pain in the painting is further emphasized by the jagged, rocky terrain in the background, scanty desert vegetation and dark clouds in the sky. The sharp edges on some of the objects in the painting, such as the crosses, bible, and spears seem to be a pointer of the tough times and grim living conditions experienced by the characters. However, as is the norm with many early renaissance painters from Italy, Bartolommeo di Giovanni also imparts a sense of vitality, his belief and hope through the same painting. This he does tactfully by the use of bright colors robust bodies of the characters. The flagrant use of red in the painting may be an indication of pain. There is also a compelling addition to the painting that shows hope and faith in religion. All characters in the painting have a halo floating above their heads to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit, divinity of the characters and promotion to the sainthood. It is to be noted that the halo on Christ's head is bigger, brighter and has a cross as a symbol that he is their leader. There is strict and keen attention to detail by Bartolommeo di Giovanni in the use of color to express the intensity of the moment. Extravagant use of color red is used to show intimacy and compassion by the followers to their master. Bartolommeo concentrates deeply on the psychological interactions of the actors in this painting.
'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' is also a fascinating piece of art. It has many characters depicting all the parties present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. From the right side of the painting, there are people who seem to be followers of Christ. In the middle of the painting lies the body of Christ held by a woman. This part of the painting is dominated by women, could be 'the women of Jerusalem', and Jesus Christ is the only man. On the left side of the painting is a group of strict looking men. One of the men has a colorful robe, a scepter and a crown. 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' reveals a mixture of triumph, compassion, grace and repentance. The painting has more color and exudes joy and boastfulness. Initially intended to portray a grim event, the painting ends up showing more of love and passion. From the first glance, one can see from the mood of the followers of Christ that they are happy that the will of God through Christ has been fulfilled. The physical features in the painting are soft and smooth thus taking away the edginess of the events of the crucifixion. The vegetation in the background is lush and green, while the skies are a clear blue with a few traces of white, cotton-like clouds. The Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the law have knelt in repentance. In 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints', the bodies of the characters are not as robust or well-built, like the actors in Bartolommeo di Giovanni's painting. This may be an indication of weak belief of the painter of 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints'. The middle section of the painting (the one containing the body of Christ and women) is most colorful. It contains bright pigments such as red, several shades of blue, green and white. The soft white is used to cover the body of Jesus as a sign of his purity and divinity.
Both 'The Deposition with Donors and Patron Saints' and 'Lamentation with Saints and a Donor' are paintings from the same era and about the same subject. Paintings from the early renaissance period showed a deep sense of humanism and care for their characters. These two paintings are remarkably different in expression of the same event. This shows the different mindsets and feelings about the crucifixion by the two painters. Bartolommeo obviously views the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as an injustice and crime while the Flemish painter views it as a reason to be happy. The Flemish painter sees salvation for all and manifestation of God's glory through the crucifixion. These two schools of thought were particularly prevalent during the fifteenth century, and that is probably where the painters draw their ideas.
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