We all enjoy looking at old photographs and laughing or cringing at how much we and our family members or friends have changed over the years. Sometimes the changes are for the better but usually not. We grow older, grayer, balder, fatter, and wrinklier. We also grow wiser, but photos aren't too good at showing that. If all of this is true of individuals, the same is true of mankind in general. Of course I'm not talking about physical changes, though old photos tend to indicate we're now taller on the whole, and probably somewhat heavier than were our ancestors who didn't eat as well and no doubt physically worked harder. No, I'm talking about the role art, particularly painting, serves in illustrating how mankind has changed in the ways in which we think and act during the past seven or eight hundred years in which painting has developed and become an effective, plentiful form of art.
|Miracles as painted today--mocking miracles.
|St Nicholas of Bari Preventing a Shipwreck, 1433-35, Bicci di Lorenzo
Ole St. Nick has changed some too.
|Procession in the Square of St Mark,1496, Gentile Bellini
|The Miracle of the Slave, 1548, Tintoretto (he used a live model for St. Mark).
|The Miracles of St. Ignatius Loyola,
1619, Peter Paul Rubens