A-Level: Baroque religious painting

videos + essays

Il Gesù, Rome
Il Gesù, Rome

Created at a dramatic moment in European history, this explosive ceiling fresco celebrates the triumph of Jesus.

A-Level: Caravaggio, <em>Deposition</em> (or <em>Entombment</em>)
A-Level: Caravaggio, Deposition (or Entombment)

Spotlight on Christ! Watching this dramatic scene unfold, we become a part of it, as if already inside the tomb.

Caravaggio, <em>The Conversion of St. Paul</em> (or <em>The Conversion of Saul)</em>
Caravaggio, The Conversion of St. Paul (or The Conversion of Saul)

That hoof, that sword—everything is so close! This chapel gives us a privileged view of a private conversion.

Andrea Pozzo, <em>Glorification of Saint Ignatius</em>
Andrea Pozzo, Glorification of Saint Ignatius

Pozzo’s fresco reaffirms the authority of the Catholic Church and hails its expansion across four continents.

Nicolas Poussin, <em>Landscape with Saint John on Patmos</em>
Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Saint John on Patmos

Poussin’s ideal landscapes inspired generations of followers. Here, our eye finds a place to rest amidst the ruins.

Annibale Carracci, <em>Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way</em>
Annibale Carracci, Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way

Lord, where are you going? As Peter recoils in astonishment, a muscular Jesus points the way to Rome.

Caravaggio, <em>Death of the Virgin</em>
Caravaggio, Death of the Virgin

Uniting spiritual and earthly realms, Caravaggio has left a space open for us in this circle of mourners.

Caravaggio, <em>Crucifixion of St. Peter</em>
Caravaggio, Crucifixion of St. Peter

A world turned upside down? Caravaggio not only upends St. Peter, but also turns artistic convention on its head.

Caravaggio, <em>The Supper at Emmaus</em>
Caravaggio, The Supper at Emmaus

As the apostle’s tattered green shirt suggests, this is a rough and tumble world, far from the pomp of the Church.

Caravaggio, <em>Calling of Saint Matthew</em>
Caravaggio, Calling of Saint Matthew

Caravaggio captures a spiritual awakening, with only light and gesture identifying these figures as divine.

Andrea Pozzo, St. Ignatius Chapel, Il Gesù, Rome
Andrea Pozzo, St. Ignatius Chapel, Il Gesù, Rome

This is Baroque scenery at its finest. Like a stage set, the altarpiece lowers to reveal a statue of St. Ignatius.

Guercino, <em>St. Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin</em>
Guercino, St. Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin

In this defense of images, St. Luke turns his back on the written word to focus on painting