FeAr part IV

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a very reckless painter. He was agressive, always got into brawls, and have pages of police records. During his lifetime he was wanted for murder and stirred up a lot of controversy with his use of prostitutes for models in his Virgin Mary paintings. Caravaggio was always interested in people and his surroundings. Much of his work came from his own experiences in life. Living with the fear of being hunted down and wanted for murder he fled from place to place until his death. I would not even want to imagine what that felt like.

I chose Caravaggio’s work as his paintings suggest the desperate fears and frality of man. The first one is called Judith Beheading Holofernes. It’s kind of funny how he was commissioned to paint a lot of religious scenes, yet was not a church-goer himself. In this painting, Judith sought out Holofernes, got him drunk and then behead him. This is definately a paiting that shows Holofernes had no idea what was coming to him. The look on Judith’s face is priceless-it’s like she’s thinking eew, the blood got on my pillow and not oh no, I just killed someone. The old lady on the other hand looks as if she wanted nothing more than for him to be dead. She exudes so much anger. Holofernes on the other hand, shows us his fear and that he had no idea this would ever happen.

The next work of Caravaggio’s I chose is called The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. When I first look at this painting, it makes me jump a little. It shows the unbelieveable, but at the same time curiostity. The man on the left (Christ) is even grabbing the other mans hand encouraging him to discover the truth. You can see St Thomas’ eyes widening in incredulity. The crinkled foreheads of the men also add to their disbelief being proven wrong. Caravaggio was able to channel his passion into works of art that were as dramatic as his own life and personality.

Edvard Munch was a Symbolist painter, a printmaker, and a forerunner of expressionistic art. I chose him becuase of the fear he instills in his art. My project focuses on unknown fear which then leads to other things such as anxiety. All of his paintings have so much emotion in them. I had the pleasure of seeing his work in NY at MOMA a few years ago. Everyone is familiar with his famous painting, The Scream, which envokes fear and the unknown. Although I love The Scream, I chose two other pieces of his artwork to talk about. The first one is called Ashes. It pictures a woman who looks extremely frantic. There is some chaos around her as something has just happened. She is in the middle of what seems to be a forest and it also appears to be nighttime. Just each of these aspects by themselves are fearful to me. You don’t know what will happen next or what may be in front of her. I know a million thoughts would be running through mt head like how am I going to get out of here?, is there anything/anyone else out here?, am I going to live?, and so on. My stage project focuses on the unknown and Munch creates a perfect example of the unknown here. She doesn’t know what will happen next….

The other painting I chose from Munch’s works is called Evening on Karl Johan. It also evokes the unknown and anxiety. The people in the front of the painting have just experienced something horrific or they know something the others walking the opposite direction don’t. Their expressions show the worst, as if what they know is inevitable. Whatever is going to happen is close. I feel the darkeness of the sun setting and the lights that have come on inside the buildings are symbolic of that. It’s like they’re walking away from death to avoid it a little longer. They don’t know exactly when it is going to happen and that is skyrocketing their anxiety levels.


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