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Torment Of St. Anthony By Giovanni

Essay by   •  March 16, 2011  •  584 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,230 Views

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What could be harder than living in the desert for several decades? Being tormented by

the devil like St. Anthony was drastically increased his desert hardships as depicted in the

painting. The feeling I got from the painting Torment of St. Anthony by Giovanni

Girolamo Savoldo is one of perseverance. The elements and principles of Art that create

this feeling are deep, rich color, the effects of light, and meticulously detailed figures.

According to Athanasius (The Greek Vita of Athanasius. Ed. by G. J. M.

Bartelink), the devil tormented St Anthony by afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and

the phantoms of women. He overcame all of these hardships by the power of prayer,

which provides a theme for Christian art like Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo’s work

Torment of St. Anthony. With Savoldo’s use of deep, rich color, the effects of light, and

meticulously detailed figures he affectively conveys this power of prayer and sense of

perseverance I felt.

The deep, rich color shown in Torment of St. Anthony by Giovanni is very vivid.

Giovanni uses very bright almost warm colors on one side of the work, while very dark

and bleak shades dominate the other half of the painting. This helps establish the

contradiction of St. Anthony’s life. On one side he has the bliss of faith in God and the

power of prayer. Yet, the dark colors on the other side show the pain and suffering

inflicted by the devil. This clash of colors sets the stage for St. Anthony’s struggle.

Now that the stage has been set with Giovanni’s use of color, he furthers the

dramatic overtone with conflicting lighting. Torment of St. Anthony by Giovanni depicts

unusual effects of light. Just like the clash of color there is a clash of light as well. On one

end of the painting the scene is very illuminated; the skies are pristine and very blue. This again I feel conveys the power of prayer. On the other hand the right side of the painting

is very dark. The sky is so bleak it gives a sense of brooding and despair. I would

describe it as nocturnally lit

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