The Sacrifice of Jephthah’s Daughter 1650 by Pietro Vecchia is a rather unusual painting. The premise is that he must sacrifice his own daughter because of a deal with God.
In the painting she has her arms across her chest covering her naked self and is bent over almost in a ball. This cowering is a stark difference to, Giovanni Baglione’s St Sebastian healed by an Angel 1603. Sebastian is in repose with his hands behind his back revealing his body. He has already been shot by an arrow where as the daughter is awaiting her father to stab her with the spear in his hand.Both characters are half naked with a cloth covering their lower bodies. Jephthah’s daughter is more ashamed of her nakedness while Sebastian seems to accept it.
In biblical times the fattest goat was to be sacrificed to gain God’s favor. The heavy set nature of Jephthah’s daughter appears to be an allusion to that sacrificial procedure. St Sebastian is fit and is being healed by a female angel. The daughter is fat about to be hurt by her father Jephthah. There is a major difference between the healing angel and the overly religious father.The angel’s presence makes the viewer calm and feels like St Sebastian is going to pull through. The presence of the father is one of fear and is rather disconcerting.
Even though he is embracing his child the idea that she is about to be killed by him makes him an ominous figure. These pictures seem to scream the difference between a loving God and a vengeful God. Jan Mostaert’s Portrait of a scholar is different than the Portrait of Marie Manoni by Paulus Moreelse in a couple different ways. The first major difference is the size.The portrait of a scholar is not much bigger than a piece of paper while Marie Manoni is the size of a movie poster.
This large size creates a heightened sense of importance. She is powerful, regal, and he is a commoner. One can tell that she is important as well by her attire. She is wearing lavish expensive clothing fit for a queen. The scholar is wearing traditional clothing and has a skull sitting next to him. Marie Manoni is clean and in a way sterilized from traditional farming or other unbefitting activities for someone of her status.
Another notable difference between the paintings is simply the quality of the canvas itself. Portrait of a Scholar has a simple wood frame and the painting itself is cracking. Marie Manoni is beautiful oil on canvas that is as flawless as she tries to be.
Even the frame is a polished black that is more expensive than the one of the scholar. In Marie’s hand is a small elegant fan. The fan says to the viewer that this is not someone who does hard labor or for that matter the dishes.The skull in the Scholar’s hand implies that this is someone who is of lower class, and connects him to the dead by the juxtaposition of the skull next to him. These two portraits show two very different people. The next two paintings are the Denial of St.
Peter 1630 (Master Jacorno), and Mythological figures in a landscape 1739 (Jacob de Wit). The element in these two paintings that is most consistent is the lighting. They are both oil on canvas and about the same size, but the use of lighting to highlight certain attributes of the paintings is what jumps out. In the Denial of St.Peter the woman’s face and peters face are noticeably brighter than the dark background. The roman soldier is dark except for a line down his right shoulder, of which the meaning is unclear. In Mythological figures in a landscape the woman figure is lit up while the area around her gets steadily darker.
She is literally a light, and brings life to those who surround her. She is placed in the center of two men just as the woman from the Denial of St Peter. In her case she is trying to decide between the two men while the woman of St Peter is trying to keep the two men apart.In Mythological creatures in a landscape the man on the right is much larger and brighter than the one on the left. It is safe to assume than he is mythological while the other one isn’t. The woman is large and bright as well which makes it clear that she is with the larger mythological man and not the human. In St Peter the same lighting is used for both Peter and the woman to show that they are indeed together.
The lighting in both of these paintings provides focal points and identifies relationships between the characters.