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“The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt Van Rijn Essay

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Updated: Aug 28th, 2020

The painting appears retrospective and crowns the development of Rembrandt’s innovative process. The subject matter of this piece of work is that it has a biblical origin. The painting is quite religious and represents the obscurity associated with human existence, especially how sinners take refuge in God. The artist has endowed the painting with immense tragedy and these acts as a symbol of universal importance. Complex figures are expressed in the painting and the fact that the prodigal son appears to be in anguish is a symbol of contrition, charity, unlimited love, and lament.

In the painting, Rembrandt infers the Christian notion of mercy with great solemnity. The suggestion of spiritual moods and human compassion is the content of the piece of artwork. In an attempt to portray an exhausted and defeated son going back to his father, the artist benevolently painted the extended arms of a man pleased to see his son. The piece of artwork is thus symbolic of homecoming and elucidates the willingness of humankind in helping those who are in darkness. The Aesthetic qualities found in this painting include composition, expressive lighting, coloration, simplicity, and emotional resonance. Rembrandt, by making the painting, had the point of view that the artwork would assist the viewers in realizing the effect of the event of the Prodigal son (Preble & Frank, 2005).

The adoration of the shepherds by Jacob Jordaens

The painting portrays Holy Mary preparing to breastfeed her son, Jesus Christ. Shepherds surround the Virgin Mary as seen in the painting. The content of the artwork is that it is composed of five figures who, with the exemption of Jesus, are portrayed in half-length and this strains the intimacy associated with the event. The painting is quite symbolic and depicts a friendly church where every Christian is open to relate to God.

Aesthetic qualities found in this piece of an artwork include style development, use of significant lighting, high-level realism, and conventional concepts. This quality is seen in the statement, “the Virgin and the Child are rendered in rustic simplicity, and are not even slightly idealized (Sitwell, 2005 p.202).” The aesthetic qualities point towards Adam Elscheimer who is famous for placing sources of light in the center of his pieces of artwork. The artist has employed the above qualities as a principal way of shaping symbolic dimensionality. The subject matter of the work is that it is quite religious. By developing this painting, the artist had a point of view that the audience would concentrate solely on the half-length portraits.

The Union of Earth and Water by Peter Paul Rubens

The painting is made up of four elements, which include, earth, water, air, and fire flames. The four elements were used as symbols for the gods of the period. The painting is represented by a female and the artist’s depiction of the “Cybele” perfectly fits into the paintings flowing characteristics. The content and subject matter of the painting is religion.

Aesthetic qualities evident in this piece of an artwork include motion, color, and sensuality. To symbolize the unification of the two elements, that is, earth and water, Rubens used figures from the conventional myths. In the painting, Neptune, the god of the sea, is seen lying on the trident and this is indicative of water. On the other hand, Cybele, who according to Rubens is the mother of all gods, is seen holding a horn in her hand. This signifies the earth. The union of both the earth and water as seen in the painting is associated with bringing blessings to all humankind (Preble & Frank, 2005).

References

Preble, D., & Frank, P. (2005). Preble’ Art forms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Publishers.

Sitwell, S. (2005). Baroque Art: A Study of Painting Architecture And Music in Italy And Spain of the 17th And 18th Centuries. Malden: Blackwell Pub

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IvyPanda. ""The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt Van Rijn." August 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-by-rembrandt-van-rijn/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt Van Rijn." August 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-return-of-the-prodigal-son-by-rembrandt-van-rijn/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt Van Rijn'. 28 August.

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