Using subversion in images, paintings or art is a process in which the system of values and principles which are operating in a society or a place is being contradicted. It is usually common for attacking the public about the political and social system in place. It could also be used to attack the public about their concept of morality. Subversion is common in the paintings during the medieval and renaissance age. In this essay, two paintings are analysed about their use of subversion. The essay also opts to explore the impact of the image during its development and in the modern time.
One example of painting with the concept of subversion is the Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio. In analysing the artwork, one should relate the painting to its history and the institutions that are associated with it. Caravaggio created the Death of the Virgin in Rome where the Catholic Church is controlling most of the institutions as well as the state. The painting was also commissioned by a papal lawyer but the church has rejected the artwork due to its depictions. The painting has the image of the dead body Virgin Mary surrounded by priest which prepares for her burial (McElligott, 28).
In the early criticism of Death of the Virgin, it is said that the church has rejected the painting since the model of the Virgin Mary is a prostitute. However, the approach of Caravaggio is very opposite to the idealist notion of the death of the Virgin Mary. The church insisted that Caravaggio misrepresented the death of the Virgin Mary since immediately after her death, she ascended into heaven. The impact of the image could be very dangerous to the beliefs of the people of the teachings of the church. It may not be a strong impact in the modern times although the misrepresentation is an attack to the social norm of religious beliefs. The effect of the painting could be crucial to all interpreters of historical materials and arts. The Virgin Mary is a significant symbol of the church and its representation must be essential to them (McElligott, 28).
Another painting the used subversion is the Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi. Gentileschi is one of the most famous subversive artists during the mediaeval ages which use naturalism and idealism. The image was a depiction of from the story of the Old Testament in which Judith and her maidservant was using a knife to behead the Assyrian general Holofernes when he was drunk. In the image, the energy of the two females is focused in the knife and the power of the painting could be recognized with the spurs of blood. The lack of decorative background creates an illusion for the viewers to focus their attention to the physicality and brutality of the image (Bross et al. np).
The painting Judith Slaying Holofernes is also an act of religious and cultural subversion. In the painting, it could be recognized that the brutal depiction could be an interpretation of Artemisia Gentileschi to gender inequality. It is a cultural subversion regarding the revenge of women to the concept of rape. It is also a religious subversion of the brutality of depicting the story from the bible. The initial interpretation of the painting could be the issue of gender inequality and it could also be the interpretation in the modern times. The naturalism and the physicality of the scene make the artwork to become a symbol of attack to the social norm about the equality of gender especially the women’s rights (Bross et al. np).
In order to compare and contrast the male and female photographers, their use of their body should be the basis of their works or photographs. Two of the most famous war photographers during the Spanish Civil war are Gerda Taro and Robert Capa. The two photographers are also lovers and professional partners. The objective of this essay is to analyse the similarities and differences of the photogtraphy of the males and the females using the work of Gerda Taro and Robert Capa. The sexism and the use of the body are also evaluated in the works of the two most famous war photographers (Mitchell, 5).
The photograph of Gerda Taro was taken during the Spanish Civil war. The image was comprises of two republican soldiers who are carrying another wounded soldier in the Navacerrada Pass. In this photo, the women’s perspective could be recognized in the purpose of her photography which is the drama or the emotion of the scene. In the image, the emotion was filled with horror and fear which the soldiers could take during the war. On the other hand, the photograph of Robert Capa was the image of the captured German soldier in Calvados, St. Laurent-sur-Mer (Mitchell, 6). The male characteristic of the photograph could be observed with the fierce and pride of the German soldier even if he was captured by the enemy. The two photographs could also be compared using the analogy of female and male stereotypes during the war and in the modern times.
According to most of the artists, female photographers are more focused towards narrative and emotion. It the photograph of Gerda Taro, it could be recognized that the figure could be explanatory and its emotion could be felt. It is one of the female stereotypes in which some believed that they are more emotional than men (Mitchell, 7). In contrast, men are more focused on the action and the technicality of the image. In observing the photograph of Robert Capa, it could be observed that the image depicts more interpretations due to the representation made by the photographer.
Robert uses the aspect of technicality in the image in which depicts the purpose and objective of the image itself.
In using their body as the basis of the image, it could be observed that there are distinction between the male and the female photographers. The female photographer is more oriented towards the detail of the image. It could be observed that the focus of her image is the whole body of the soldiers which detects the full detail of the scene. On the other hand, the image taken by the male is oriented towards the stimulus of the scene. The image taken by the male could only be available in a very short period of time. In addition, the image taken by the male is more dangerous than that of the female. One of the main reasons is that the male is more experienced in the situations of the war. In general, the gender of the photographer could be important in interpreting the image since there are differences on how they react to the subject.
Bross, J. et al. Violence and Virtue. Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes. 2013. Web. http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/violence-and-virtue-artemisia-gentileschi-s-judith-slaying-holofernes
McElligott, T. Carravaggio and the Resurrection of the Body. 2005. The Way. Web. http://www.theway.org.uk/McElligott.pdf.
Mitchell, K. Do men and women take different photos? Pop Photo. 2009. Web. http://ilab.usc.edu/publications/doc/Mitchell09pp.pdf.