Santa Monica College Images Of Christian Saints Art That Depicts a Martyr Discussion

Q. Discussion: Post an Image of a Martyr

John the Baptist is considered a martyr, or a person who suffers or dies for what they believe in.  Many of the Christian Saints are martyrs, because they were put to death for their religious or political beliefs.  
For this assignment please find, post, and provide the title, artist, date, and material of another work of art that depicts a martyr.  In addition, please state why the person depicted is a martyr. Your image need not represent a Biblical figure, although there are many examples of Biblical martyrs depicted in the history of art.  Choose a work of art from any period of the history of art and any culture, as long as it depicts someone that you would consider a martyr according to the definition I have provided. Don’t forget to comment on the work of art and martyr another student in the class has chosen. Here is an example of mine.

Q.1Short Answer Questions: The Merode Altarpiece


First watch and read the following videos and texts:

  1. The Merode Altarpiece  
  2. Early Netherlandish Painting (Links to an external site.)
  3. Oil Painting (Links to an external site.)

Then, using complete sentences, provide a short answer for each question:

  1. Iconography is the use of symbolic objects and content to communicate meaning.  Describe three aspects of the iconogrpahy present in the Merode Altarpiece.
  2. Which figures in this work of art are the patrons, or the folks who paid for it?  What do you think they would have done with this personal triptych (3-panelled) altarpiece?


Discussion Thread: The Original Selfies


First, watch and read the following videos and texts about the Netherlandish artist Jan Van Eyck.  Van Eyck was one of the first artists to start painting his own picuture, called self-portraiture.  It was a way for him both to advertise his skills at creating a close likeness, and allowed him to explore the idea of psychology in painting:

  1. Jan Van Eyck, Biography
  2. Jan Van Eyck, The Man in the Red Turban

Self-Portriats became popular during the Renaissance, as individualism and humanism became entrenched in Western culture.  During this period the identity of the artist becomes fetishized, and the social status of artists becomes elevated from “mere” craftsperson to visionary genius.  Self-Portriats became a way to advertise one’s skill, and to build a brand and business around one’s talent and reputation. 

In a way, the selfie is a form of self-portrait that technology has allowed us to make cheaply, without much skill, and on a vast scale.  We take for granted the ability to document and mythologize our lives, but this widespread practice is a fairly recent phenomenon.  Looking at the self-portraiture of the past helps us better understand the way we represent ourselves.

For this assignment choose a work from any period or culture in the history of art that is a self-portrait.  Provide the Artist, Title, Date, and Material of the self-portrait, and a short description of why you enjoy this work of art.  Reasons could include the biography of the artist inspires you, and/or the way the work is made.


Comparison Essay, The Madonna and Child: Lippi vs. Giotto 

Write a 200 word essay comparing and contrasting Giotto’s Madonna Enthroned vs.Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child with Two Angels.

How has the figure and identity of the Madonna changed?

How has the relationship between mother and child changed?

How has the setting of the Madonna and Child changed?


Comparison Essay, The Annunication: Martini vs. Angelico 


First watch these videos and read these texts:

  1. Gold Ground Painting Technique
  2. Simoni Martini, The Annunciation
  3. Fra Angelico, The Annunciation

Use the comparison images and compose a short essay comparing Martini’s and Angelico’s Annunciation scenes, based upon these four questions:

  1. What does the subject of The Annunciation depict?
  2. How are space and environment depicted differently?
  3. In what way does Fra Angelico incorporate a reference to classicism in his piece?
  4. Which depiction of The Annunication do you prefer, and why?


Comparison Essay, The Holy Family: Raphael vs. Michelangelo 


First, read and watch the videos and texts about Michelangelo’s and Raphael’s art:

  1. Raphael, The Madonna of the Garden
  2. Raphael, The School of Athens
  3. Marble Carving Techniques
  4. Michelangelo: An Introduction
  5. Michelangelo, The David
  6. Michelangelo, The Pieta
  7. Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling
  8. Sistine Ceiling, 360 degree Virtual Tour
  9. Michelangelo, The Last Judgment 

Then, use the Raphael vs. Michelangelo comparison images to write around a 200 word comparison essay between these two works, based upon the following questions:

  1. How has the presentation of the holy family in each image changed?
  2. How has the relationship between the figures changed?
  3. How has the composition different between these two works?
  4. What is different about the landscape in both works


Comparison Essay, The Madonna Child: Lippi vs. Parmigianino 


First, watch and read the text and video about Parmigianino’s Madonna of the Long Neck and the style of Mannerism:

  1. Mannerism: An Introduction
  2. Parmigianino, The Madonna of the Long Neck

Then, using the comparison images, write a 150-200 word short essay comparing Fra Filipo Lippi’s Madonna and Child with Angels with Parmigianino’s Madonna of the Long Neck.  Consider the following questions when making your analysis:

  1. How is the composition different between the two works of art?
  2. How has the relationship between the Madonna and Baby Jesus changed?
  3. How has the articulation of space changed between the two works?
  4. Which work of art do you prefer, and why?


Short Answer Questions: Leonardo’s Painting 


First, read the texts and watch the videos regarding Leonardo’s biography and art:

  1. Verrocchio and Leonardo
  2. Leonardo the Anatomist
  3. Leonardo, The Mona Lisa
  4. Leonardo, The Last Supper
  5. Leonardo and the Secret Life of Paintings

Then, answer the following questions using complete sentences:

  1. Name three aspects of Leonardo’s style, and use his works of art to justify your examples.
  2. Why do you think the Mona Lisa is so famous?  Do you believe the fame of this painting is justified?
  3. What are some examples of Hight Renaissance composition style in Leonardo’s The Last Supper


Thesis Essay Assignment #1: Is Genius Worth It? 


First, read these two articles that describe the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi for $450 million dollars, and one point of view of how Florentine “genius” has been depicted on film:

  1. “Why would anyone pay $450 million dollars for a painting”
  2. Donahue, “Florentine Artists on Film”

Then, write a 300-400 word essay that makes use of the articles “Florentine Artists on Film” and “Why Would Anybody Pay $450 million for a Painting?”, as well as the videos and texts about Leonardo and Michelangelo’s art.

Make sure to include a thesis, or central argument.  Your thesis could be “It is/is not ludicrous to pay $450 million dollars for a painting because….”

In your essay, please address these following questions:

  1. Do you think that Salvatore Mundi is worth $450 million dollars?
  2. Why do you think an anonymous buyer wanted this painting so much?
  3. What is a common paradigm of artistic genius, and how does that confer value on the painting?
  4. Can you think of a contemporary genius from the world of art, entertainment, politics, athletics, etc. that fits that paradigm of genius that was applied to Michelangelo and Leonardo?