The Madonna adoring the Child Jesus is the work of a renaissance artist, Francesco Botticini. He was born in the 1400s in Italy (Kuhnel 11-13). The year of his birth is estimated to be 1446. There is a debate over the time of his death with some sources claiming that he may have died in 1498 while others give the time of his death as 1497 (Kuhnel 23).On the other hand, the Green Apple is the work of Georgia O’Keefe. O’Keefe was the first female painter to be given a second glance in American artistic circles. Describing her as a trailblazer would be justifiably appropriate. She took up a career that women had hitherto not ventured into and created a huge following in terms of supporters. Georgia O’Keefe was born in 1887 and died in 1986. This is a clear indication that these two artists or painters lived in two different periods. Is this difference in time evident in their works? In this essay, the recognizable similarities and differences between the two artists and their works will be explored. The first part deals with the differences followed by the similarities. A conclusion will then be made regarding the points discussed in the essay.
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To begin with, the most outstanding difference between the two painters is the period in which they lived and did their work. Francesco Botticini lived during the renaissance (Kuhnel 16-18).In contrast, Georgia O’Keefe lived in the twentieth century. Why is this important? The period in which these two painters lived had an impact on the kind of work they produced. The renaissance painting style had too much concentration on human figures due to the debate over religion and scientific thought that prevailed at the time. On the other hand, Georgia O’Keefe’s time was characterized by recognition of the crucial role played by nature in American life. The ideas of Manifest Destiny that ruled the 1800s advocated for the conquering of the new world and developing it for the sake of plenty. This is a definite influence in the work of Georgia O’Keefe.
Secondly, living the times in which the painters lived aside, there is a clear thematic difference in the two works. Francesco Botticini’s work is made up of human figures. Does this give a clue to how his other works were? This painting provides a clue to his other works. All of his known paintings were made up of human figures. This is in complete contrast to Georgia O’Keefe’s Green Apple, which is an item of nature since it is a fruit. This also provides a clue to the type of items that dominated the paintings of this lady. They were mostly parts of plants such as flowers and in some cases, a skull of an animal. What about the two painters painting styles? Were they different?
Thirdly, there is a clear difference in the styles employed by Francesco Botticini and Georgia O’Keefe. In the Madonna adoring the Child Jesus, Francesco Botticini makes use of perspective painting (Kuhnel 57). The highly decorative elements of his style are replicated in nearly all his works and his illustrious ability is hard to miss. On the other hand, Georgia O’Keefe used abstraction to a high degree in her work. Her paintings display the abstract painting at its best (Messinger 32). There is also a clear element of simplicity in some of her works especially the one under consideration, the Green Apple. The usage of distinct colors for the various parts of the items in the set gives the painting a simple and deep presence. The deep green with a light swipe of reddish-brown is in sharp contrast to the dark background that supports the apple. The grey that holds the dark makes the two colors visible and outstanding. This painting is not as decorated as the Madonna adoring the child Jesus by Francesco, which has rich reds and browns as well as deep greens and blacks.
Also, the Madonna adoring the child Jesus as painted by Botticini is a painting that resembled most paintings of his time. Numerous paintings were painted by such painters as Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci that had a religious theme and included baby Jesus. It is, therefore, justifiable to say that Botticini’s painting is a work that conforms with the climate of the time. But this is not the case with the Green Apple. This piece of work by Georgia O’ Keefe was not in agreement with most paintings of her time. The focus of other painters was mainly on human figures and war themes as well as huge landscapes depicting wild America. Therefore her simple work that contained mostly plant body parts was a challenge to the status quo. What about the similarities between the two artists and their works?
Leaving the differences aside, there are similarities too between the two artists and their paintings. The first similarity between Francesco Botticini and Georgia O’Keefe is that both learned their trades from someone else. Francesco Botticini was mentored by such great painters as Bicci di Neri while Georgia O’Keefe learned her painting from Arthur Wesley Dow (Messinger 12-14). The influence that these mentors had on these two painters is immense but difficult to analyze given that fact after learning the trade, a painter moves forward to express ideas that are dear to their convictions. There is also a similarity in the sense of attachment to the natural world through the plant connection. Botticini’s work has a plant in the background and O’Keefe’s work is a plant part.
In conclusion, the two painters lived in different times and their two paintings have differences such as the items painted, the style used, and the setting. There are also a few similarities such as the natural world connection and the fact that each of them underwent a form of apprenticeship.
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Kuhnel, Ernst , Francesco Botticini (1906).New York: Kessinger Publishing. 2009.Print.
Messinger, Lisa. Georgia O’Keeffe. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001.Print.