Exercise: A Roman Palace

This specification is for works of art to hang on the walls in two rooms in my palace in Rome.

One of the rooms is a very large main reception room which is open to the public. The second room is a much smaller and private study area.

I would like to treat these two rooms in very different ways and with two different styles of paintings to hang in each.

Reception

I would like this room to inspire all who visit it with the power and suffering of Jesus Christ. I would like paintings depicting some or all of the scenes from the Stations of the Cross. These are:

  1.  Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus carries his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus’ clothes are taken away
  11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
  15. Resurrection of Jesus

The paintings should depict the suffering of Jesus but his holiness and love for us all should be depicted in each. The finished works will show how ordinary people helped or taunted Him during the period of the crucifixion and they should all be portrayed quite naturally with all their faults and blemishes.

Each painting needs to illustrate the drama of the scene; this should be through dramatic lighting and the expressions on people’s faces. Each scene will have a sense of dramatic action from the movement and reactions of the people within it. The human figures within the scene will show the nature of the people involved through their generous or evil actions, expressions and gestures.

The central figure of Jesus Christ will be portrayed in each scene looking out at (and down) at the viewer in such a way that He can be seen to be asking of each viewer the strength of their faith compared to His.

The whole series will engage the viewer with the power of the scene, the narrative and leave them with a gratitude for the suffering of Jesus that He undertook on our behalf.

This commission might suit an artist such as Caravaggio.

Study

For the smaller study I envisage a series of paintings portraying some of the miracles performed by Jesus Christ e.g.

·         Raising of Lazarus

·         Turning water into wine

·         Story of the loaves and fishes

·         Walking on the water

·         Cleansing a leper

·         Man with withered hand

This is a private room and these paintings will show to me the love and affection shown by Jesus to the people He helped and the power He had to perform miracles.

The paintings should show the miraculous nature of the scenes not through the drama of the lighting or postures but instead through the serene nature of Jesus and his all-pervasive power. The wonder of the miracles should be evident in the faces of the people witnessing it and the neauty of the moment and of nature should be evident in all the paintings.

The paintings should stand alone as individual works of art for contemplation as well as part of a series. The effect of each painting should be to inspire belief in the power and goodness of Jesus Christ. This can be shown through His stature being pre-eminent in all the paintings, through the idealised representation of Him and through the way in which he bestows His guidance on all the people in the scenes.

This commission might suit an artist such as Carracci.

634 words

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