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St Sebastian Healed by an Angel, Term Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 693

Term Paper

In the world of expressive art, just a sin the literary world, often the authors use their works in order to send a certain message to their audience. While writers use various literary devices to create certain imagery and use it to influence the audience, painters use various elements of visual perception in order to send a certain message to their audience. The aim of this paper is to analyse Giovanni Baglione’s painting “St Sebastian Healed by an Angel”, 1603. In this regard, the organisation of composition, representation of light, contribution of light and shadow to the overall image of the painting will be analysed.

The composition of the painting consists of two figures: the half-naked body of St Sebastian in the left-centre front of the painting and the figure of an angel that pulls the arrow out of St Sebastian’s abdomen. The angel is located in the right part of the painting. The figure of the saint is shown mainly from his right side, which is wounded, his left shoulder and left side of his face are hidden. The front side of Nagel’s figure and his face are shown. None of the figures is shown in full size, and only one wing of the angel is seen. The two figures take most of the space of the painting, which is particularly vivid in the dim, vague dark background behind them. This organisation of the composition is aimed to attract attention to the figures described; suggesting that the act of healing and bringing St Sebastian back to life is the crucial message of this work of art. In this regard, the close position of figures to one another creates a V-shape image, which can visually make the viewer think about what v might mean. In this context, the most obvious interpretation would be “vitality” or “vivere”, which in Italian means living.

The representation of light and shadow is of particular importance in this painting. In this regard, the artist uses the play of light and shadow in order to emphasise the crucial parts of the painting, meaning the two figures. In this regard, he makes the figures more enlighten than the rest of the composition. This gives him an opportunity to concentrate on the details in depicting his figures, while he pays little attention to the background and such non-important things like angel’s wings. In a certain sense, his message is that the wings are not what make the angel so important and messenger of the God, but his action of healing the saint. Thus, Baglione uses the contrast between light and shadow in order to separate the target parts of the paintings from the rest of the background.

Another occasion in which he uses a contrast is the choice of colour in describing two figures. He uses more pale and pastille colours when he paints St Sebastian. On the other hand, the angel is painted with the use of warmer colours, including diverse shades of pink, orange and red. In this regard, the main function of contrast and differentiating between two figures in their contextual meaning. The pale figure and colourless face of St Sebastian make him look very fragile and spiritual at the same time; they contribute to the lightness of his figure and overall appearance. From interpretational perspective, this suggests that St. Sebastian’s body demonstrated a pre-death experience and that he was becoming closer to the spiritual world. Thus, the choice of colour was to show his mortality and its connection to spiritual salvation. On the other hand, the figure of an angel depicts the strength of life and its heaviness. In this regard, the colour given to angel’s figure, rosy chicks and full red lips, colourful outfit make the figure heavier and more human in its representation. In this regard, the symbolical meaning of the angel is in bringing health and life forces back to the saint and bringing him back to life of virtue. Overall, it can be argued that the use of composition organisation, the contrast between light and shadow and colours were aimed to demonstrate the contrast between life and death, and make two more tangible for the audience.

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