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Compare and Contrast “The Alba Madonna” and “Deposition”

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Compare and Contrast “The Alba Madonna” and “Deposition” Two great works of art, both done at different times by different artist, have similar features and can be portrayed in the same light. We will look at “The Alba Madonna”, painted by Raphael in 1510 and “Deposition”, was painted by Rogier Van der Weyden, dated around 1435-1438. We will take a look at what makes these paintings similar and what makes then so different.

When we look at “The Alba Madonna” and “Deposition” the first thing that stands out is the is the color choices by the artists, blues, greens and reds, all well placed for the eye to catch. The main women in both paintings are in blue, the focal point in both paintings is drawing you to the center of the painting and bringing your eyes outward to view the rest. Great detail is given to each of the painting figures; you can notice the expression on the faces of those involved. In both works you can see the flow of movement, as if you can imagine where each hand will fall. Both paintings are two dimensional and done with oil paints. Both paintings are very northern Renaissance based, with the same characters in each picture, and the same clothing. In both paintings there is so much detail in the clothes and faces, it is almost life like, and everything flows very well.

The figures in both paintings are centered in one small space, in “The Alba Madonna” the figures are centered and your eyes will go outward to the landscape and the details surrounding them and in “Deposition”, the focus is centered on Jesus and will go outward to catch the expressions of those around him, also both paintings are centered and in a pyramid like shape. In both paintings, even though it is at different time periods or ages in Jesus Christ’s life, the painting are depicting Jesus in Mary’s lap as in “The Alba Madonna”, and in “Deposition” being brought down from the cross to be place again in Mary’s lap. To me this shows that both painters wanted to show the love and compassion that Mary had for her son. I see in both paintings a sense of movement, in “The Alba Madonna”, it’s is as though Raphael had caught Mary and Jesus in mid turn towards, Saint John the Baptist and in “Deposition” it is as if Rogier Van der Weyden had caught right at the moment that Jesus was removed from the cross and the emotion that was felt right then, you can feel the breath taken from Mary as she faints.

When we look at the two paintings in contrast, even though they are very similar, you can find many differences in them as well. For starters, let’s look at the space in which each painting is done, in “The Alba Madonna”, the setting is and open field with vast area around them and in “Deposition”, the setting is in a small confined space, almost as if they are in a tomb of some sorts. In “The Alba Madonna” there is brighter light and as if you can feel the breeze as it blows upon the characters and in “Deposition”, it is as if the air is stuffy and hot; there is not a lot of room for their movements. The expressions in both pictures tell very different tales as well, in “The Alba Madonna”, it is as though there is wisdom and inquisition, whereas in “Deposition”, there is grief and despair. If you look at the surroundings of each piece you will see the contrast of life and death, in “The Alba Madonna”, you have mountains and green grass, there are flowers growing at their feet and in “Deposition” you have dreary brick, vines and skulls at their feet. Raphael is depicting life and expression of knowledge where Rogier Van der Weyden is depicting death and heartache.

“The Alba Madonna”, has a cool and inviting feeling to it, as if there is certain clarity to the work. The “Deposition” seems dark and uninviting into this very personal moment in time. “The Alba Madonna”, was done on panel, however was transferred to canvass and “Deposition” was not, it remained on wood panel even though both were done with oil painting. . There is also a significant size difference in the two paintings, “Deposition” is capturing its figures at about life size and “The Alba Madonna” is a normal sized painting. While both paintings were beautifully done and have great detail, “Deposition” captures much more feeling and emotion, the attention to detail that was put into this painting is amazing, each fold, in each article of clothing, and the actual tear drops and red noses of the faces are amazing.

In conclusion, we see that these two paintings are beautifully done and the artist have similar views on how to create a masterpiece and have great use of their space, they are also very different and can create different emotions when looking at them.

Works Cited
Sayre, H. M. (2007). A World of Art. Upper Saddle Riber, New Jersy: Pearson Educaiton Inc. . pgs. 174, 175 , Figs. 221; 222;223 “The Alba Madonna” Pg. 454, Fig. 618 “Deposition”


Art and the Bible http://www.artbible.info/art/large/323.html



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