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“Vesperbild”: The Scale, Composition, Perspective-Pictorial, Space, and Pattern

People of lower classes in society majorly observed Christianity in the past, and therefore religious art did not receive substantial funding. People also adhered to the forbiddance of crafted images, apart from having a smaller number of Christians. They obtained most items from pagan artists and molded them to include Christian symbolic meanings. This paper contains a formal analysis of Vesperbild, an artwork crafted when Jesus’ mother held His dead body on her lap. The description covers the scale, composition, perspective/pictorial, space, form, line, color, light, tone, texture, and pattern of the sculpture.

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Scale: Vesperbild is diminutive, measuring (38.1 x 39.1 x 14.0) cubic centimeters (Metropolitan Museum of Art). These dimensions are significant in the overall and relative sizes of the bodies in the artwork. The scale of the deceased body is diminutive relative to the monumental dimensions of His mother. It was derived from ancient German mystical belief that Mary grieved imaging the way she held her son as an infant, and therefore she had to hold Him again after His crucifixion. Artist used this scale to emphasize Mary’s suffering, holding a son in swaddling clothes, which was Jesus’ burial shroud.

Composition: the sculpture depicts Mary seated and swathed in long robes, holding the dead body of her son, Jesus Christ. The deceased’s head flops against Mary’s shoulder while she supports his legs on her lap. The artwork was created after Jesus’ crucifixion, and the two figures have disproportionate sizes. Although the son is muscular, His figure is small compared with Mary’s extremely large size. The artists depicted her as having the beautiful features of a young woman instead of presenting the mother of an old man.

Perspective/pictorial space: The sculpture is a three-dimensional representation of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding his lifeless body. The perspective of Vesperbild was derived from ancient Germany when vespers referred to the sunset of Good Friday. It was during this period that Jesus’ body was taken from the cross for burial.

Form: Vesperbild is a Roman sculpture reflecting the lamentation of Christ. It was crafted from the Passion, and it consists of a dead body lying on the legs of the Virgin Mary. This form contains a beautiful mixture of art elements, depicting the value of Vesperbild in history.

Line: The lines utilized in the statue give the energy and value of the figure. The woman’s clothes are folded to create multidirectional lines, which are diagonal. The body of the deceased person contains many lines with a few distinctions to reveal His lifelessness. There is a diagonal line running from Mary’s chest to the upper abdomen of her son (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Vertical lines from Mary’s robes depict balance, alertness, and formality, while diagonal lines suggest movement and action, giving the statue a lifelike aura. From this sash, the viewer learns the absolute connection between the two figures.

Color: The artists used a mixture of white and blue Carrara marble, derived from the region it was mined in Italy. This color is among the favorite medium of artwork in ancient Rome (Metropolitan Museum of Art). It is associated with natural and calming features in art, and therefore the sculpture creates a melancholic feeling in the viewer.

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Light: The material used to construct the Pieta Vesperbild has a luminous quality, resembling human skin. Constructing recesses and curves helped the artist achieve different values in the statue. For example, the folds of Mary’s robes contain dark shadows around her neck and under the deceased body (Metropolitan Museum of Art). The statue appears luminous on her face and on Jesus’ body.

Tone: Pieta Vesperbild depicts a somber tone, inspiring emotion, and faith through the stylish depiction of Mary holding Jesus Christ (Metropolitan Museum of Art). The poignancy of this artwork portrays the extent to which Christianity touches the soul concerning the love of a mother for her child. It also portrays the tragedy that mothers undergo for losing their children. The tone of Vesperbild is sorrowful, evoking pity feelings among viewers.

Texture: The Pieta Vesperbild is exclusively made from a very smooth Carrara marble. It depicts Jesus’ body having wavy hair falling on the folds of Mary’s veil and dress (Metropolitan Museum of Art). This appearance gives the sculpture a varied texture that inspires sorrowful emotions in the viewer.

Pattern: The sculpture has a pyramidal shape, where its top contains Mary’s small head. The statue expands to the woman’s waist and legs covered in large robes. The face is relatively small and pretty, with an ovular shape at the pinnacle of the pyramid. Jesus’ body resembles an inverted obtuse triangle, portraying unity and interest (Metropolitan Museum of Art). The pattern is intriguing, suggesting tranquility, stability, and calmness, which are ideal features for the purpose of the sculpture. This pattern originates from Renaissance art, and the figures are unproportioned because it is difficult for a mother to hold a fully-grown man.

Conclusively, the Pieta Vesperbild was crafted to emphasize prayer and reflection. The artist used Carrara marble, with a smooth texture and a luminous quality. The tone is somber, evoking sorrowful feelings among viewers. Vesperbild is pyramidal in shape, having diagonal, vertical, and horizontal sashes. Its scale is unproportioned with a three-dimensional representation of Jesus and Mary holding his lifeless body.

Work Cited

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pietà (Vesperbild), ca, 1400, Web.

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