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For the visual description, I decided to write about the oil painting on panel attributed to Master of the Kress Epiphany and related to Dutch art, which is a 1988 gift of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum, in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The title of the artwork, The Expulsion of the Money-Changers which is dated about 1500, does not consider the historical meaning that can represent the idea of art piece entirely.
A vertical structure of approximately 167 x 98cm, the painting illustrates a real place by using bright, visible brushstrokes; thus, the texture of the painting is smooth. Considering the overall impression the shapes and forms, which are accurately depicted, also do not propose an exact interpretation that provides a sense of the work that remains its mysterious appeal. On this account, the artwork designed by Master of the Kress Epiphany is visually eye-catching from every side and, as the observer examines it by acquiring a new way of thinking and a main concept of the painting domain, new details and values occur.
Even though the title of the painting does not provide a full understanding of the artwork, its content is attractive in that major of the action is comes out of center, with Jesus pictured as raging through the chapel and swinging a scourge to frighten the money changers away. In this piece, the central action is replaced from the inner of the church to outer the entrance. At the back of the temple opens up a view of Jerusalem. The powerful image of Christ is on the left side of the composition. The intense deep red of his garment highlights him out against the multicolor finish, mostly olive-green and other dark colours of the picture. The flow of light that comes across the chapel center seems separates Christ emphasizing the image of dynamic his movement. It illustrates him from overhead and therefore, his facial expression remains indelible and cannot be indicated; nevertheless, such insignificant hints allow viewers to think of the historical context of the work.
The Expulsion of the Money-Changers is a significant part of dramatic performance from the end of 15th century designed by Master of the Kress Epiphany. In those times, artists had a penchant for the Classical and biblical matters; accordingly, they demonstrated these themes in their painting. In the described piece of art, Jesus, keeping his right hand up with a scourge ready to hit the outgoing money changers is the center of such element of the fresco. Considering the historical background the Torah ordered the Jews to go to the church on three holidays, meanwhile they were awaited to offer an animal sacrifice and pay tribute. It was traditionally for traders to hold themselves outside the church to exchange currency and to market beasts and promotional items for sacrifice. Artists of Renaissance era, made this painting by illustrating it in a more figurative than realistic way and style. The money changers, who are out of doors, and the citizens onlooking have the same expressions of their faces. In addition, the farm animals which were supposedly being traded for sacrifice, are illustrated exiting the picture on two sides of the paint, representing a forerunner of the running money changers. Beginning in the thirteenth century, local authorities, bishops, and kings all over the Western Europe, permanently commanded the expulsion of foreign citizens, who lent money at interest. The punishment if there people, mainly Christians originating from the Northern Italy, arised against a contextual surrounding of occuring worries about the social and cultural consequences of a rapidly developing credit economic system. Furthermore, since 1272, such exiles were followed by the canon legislation because of the temple hierarchy, which was inspired by urban cases, ordered rulers throughout the nation to expulse foreign money usurers from their territory. Constant threat of banishment was appropriately carried in law books from Salzburg to the Northern Spain. On this basis the artwork The Expulsion of the Money-Changers was created by orienting on such dramatic historical background.
According to the personal thoughts and ideas concerning the visiting of the Art Gallery of Ontario, especially the selected piece of art, the painting leaves the impression of the work that makes people to think about its philosophical, religious issued, and political context. Despite the name of the piece, it is not difficult to realize that the money changers in matters are not being flushed from a Jewish delubrum but from an opulent gothic temple. Many things of this painting surprised me the most. Firstly, the extraordinary representation of perspective. There are some various vanishing parts of the painting that the mind cannot reconcile in reality. Thus, before the observer has even captured in the image, they maintain such anxious feeling that something is amiss. Secondly, the artist made every possible effort to create the work because during the course of the painting’s creation, the ecclesiastical polity and institutional church were the primary protector of the arts; thus, the trading of indulgences was prevalent. The painter run a risk in such straightly and apparently illustrating a correlation between the the lordship and the money launderers that Jesus argued. The last thing that struck me is the readiness of the author to deal with a political issue. In the current world, fine arts includes many creative and exciting works, but the issues they address are unexceptional, safe, and cautious. The modern society needs the art that can take a risk to concern challenging and profound questions regarding political system, power, money, and religion. Accordingly, at the times of reformation, many people regarded that such context is a symbol of Luther’s disapproval related to the papa indulgences selling. Therefore, this theme was popular with artists from Protestant states.
Moreover, Christ’s explosion was not characteristic of him; probably, for this reason it attracted people’s attention. In ancient period, the knout was applicable to perpetrators and animals; therefore, it had particular importance for community of that time. The action of Jesus leading animals before him and flipping furniture over presents one of general embarrassment because it considered the supplantation of ancient Judaism by Christian religion. The animals were served as the sacrifices, the pigeons were for poor people, the sheep for the wealthy.
Consequently, the painting The Expulsion of the Money-Changers carries the message of those days considering all peculiarities and principled of the ancient world and addresses the issues of political, economic, and social challenges.
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