Since antiquity, art has been used to inspire, influence, and direct the minds of its viewers towards its creator's aim. Yet within the canon of art, no motif can be said to be more persuasive than depictions of war and military encounters, which often had the power to subdue or inflame depending on how each artist chose to represent their subject. Whether through the creation of propaganda or in the act of documenting the realities of war, artists and patrons have sought to give their struggles voice and to create narratives which still live on today. On this account, both Diego Velázquez's Surrender of Breda and Fransisco Goya's The Third of May 1808 distinguish themselves- not only for their individually singular approaches to war in their own times but also by how they have shaped the overall artistic wartime narratives. When placed side by side, these works not only present two sides of the spectrum of war imagery, from the civilized engagement of The Surrender of Breda to the expressive violence in The Third of May 1808, but they also work to relate the changing shape of Spanish identity and artistic practice.
When Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio completed the painting The Calling of St. Matthew in July 1600 he did so in the culture of the Counter Reformation, with a Catholic Church that sought to reach out to its parishioners through art. Throwing aside the conventions of the Renaissance and creating his own, Caravaggio worked to fulfill this mission with a realism, immediacy and a flair for the dramatic that sometimes was off putting to those around him. Yet the profound effect of his work cannot be denied and the ways in which he created would change the face of the art world.
Crystal has a MA in the History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art as well as a BFA in Art History from the Academy of Art University.