Study Guide for Art History

Published 31 Oct 2016

1. Michelangelo Buonarroti’s “Last Judgment” 1534-1541

Michelangelo Buonarroti’s “David” 1504

Michelangelo Buonarroti’s “Temptation & Fall of Adam & Eve” at the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508-1512

These three artworks by Michelangelo have all used biblical stories as the main theme of paintings and sculptures. Aside from this, Michelangelo drew nudes to human element to the art pieces. The human form was accurately crafted with proper body proportions and muscle details. The position of the human figures employed a contrapposto wherein the hip area is slightly twisted to create the illusion of asymmetry.

Meanwhile, the differences of these artworks can be seen in size, composition, and form. In terms of size, the “Last Judgment” and “Temptation & Fall of Adam & Eve” both are huge frescoes painted in the Sistine Chapel almost reaching up to 45-50 feet in length while the sculpture of “David” only measures at 17 feet? More so, the composition of the “Last Judgment” is very crowded where there are a lot of human figures while in the “Temptation & Fall of Adam & Eve” and sculpture of “David” there are only 1-3 human figures. Furthermore, the paintings of the “Last Judgment” and “Temptation & Fall of Adam & Eve” are flat with no depth while the sculpture is 3 dimensional in shape that has volume and depth.

2. Bruegel “Hunters in the Snow” 1565

Bruegel “Artist &Patron” 1565

These artworks both expressed humanity through the employment of human figures as the focal point of the painting and drawing. More so, Bruegel was able to produce clean shapes and lines in molding the different elements present in the artworks like the soft brushwork in the artist’s facial features in the “Artist &Patron” and the series of implied lines in “Hunters in the Snow.”

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Meanwhile, the distinctions of these two Bruegel art pieces are the subject, color, and depth. The “Artist &Patron” is believed to be a self-portrait drawing of Bruegel that was drawn using a black pen on a brown paper (, 2005) so the colors are very simple and basic while the “Hunters in the Snow” is a landscape painting that showcases a peasant community during winter. Bruegel used a variety of colors to put life and enrich the painting. Also, he utilized a linear perspective to create distance and space on a 2-dimensional canvas.

3. El Greco “Resurrection” 1596-1600

Bernini “David” 1623-1624

Both artworks were drawn from religious themes wherein the “Resurrection” by El Greco is a painting about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead while “David” by Bernini is a sculpture of a biblical character. The dates when the artworks were made and the religious themes only show that these art pieces were products of the Renaissance period.

“David” is made from white marble while the “Resurrection” is a pictorial representation drawn on canvas using oil. In terms of human form, El Greco elongated the bodies of the figure and some had complexes poses (National Gallery of Art, 2009). Meanwhile, “David” has a more accurate body proportions. More so, El Greco used intense and bold colors to express emotions but Bernini was more literal because he sculpted the face of “David” perfectly to capture the real emotion of a man who is about to throw a stone at an enemy.

4. Rembrandt “Supper at Emmaus” 1648

Rembrandt “Self Portrait” 1659

These two paintings share the same color treatment and value which can be categorized as byproducts of the Baroque era. Rembrandt used dark by luxurious colors like golden yellow, black and brown. Also, he applied the use of chiaroscuro to create depth or volume by contrasting the value or the level of light present in the painting (, 2004).

Moreover, the “Supper at Emmaus” shows having supper with 2 other guests while “Self Portrait” is a self-portrait painting of Rembrandt. The intensity of the colors is more vibrant in the “Supper at Emmaus” and the brush strokes are more unrefined creating texture while the “Self Portrait” used subtle neutral colors to bring out the life in Rembrandt’s face. Also, this painting has softer and refined brushstrokes making the texture smooth and silky.

5. Monet “Haystacks in Winter” 1870

Monet “Impression Sunrise” 1872

Both paintings are results of the art style of Impressionism. Monet was the pioneer of this movement and in this artworks, it is obvious that he used his vivid imagination to create a different portrayal of ordinary subjects. Also, there is harmony and balance in the paintings because of the soft lighting and brushstrokes.

In “Haystacks in Winter” Monet depicted a farmer’s haystacks during the winter (Layton, 2003) while the “Impression Sunrise” is a portrayal of a port during dawn ( In terms of color, the latter used more pastels and light colors to capture the lighting of the sun at sunrise while the former was dominated by the whiteness of the snow with sporadic hues of brown for the haystack and blue for the sky.

6. Picasso “Demoiselles d’ Avignon” 1907

Picasso “Still Life with Chair Caning” 1912

Picasso is one of the famous Cubist painters. In these paintings, it is obvious that geometric shapes were used to form the subject matters. Also, the shapes and lines were broken down to demonstrate abstraction.

“Demoiselles d’ Avignon” is a painting that reflected the prostitution in the 1900s in Paris. Five nude women in masks with “disintegrated facial features” were incorporated in the painting to show this theme (Urton). Meanwhile, “Still Life with Chair Caning” is more abstract wherein no human figures were used. Instead, Picasso made a collage of images. This is known as synthetic cubism which is intended to be “decorative, and color plays a major role, although shapes remain fragmented and flat” (, 2002).

7. Wright “Fallingwater” 1948

Le Corbusier “Villa Savoye” 1929-1929

These two architectural landmarks showcase the avant-garde ideas of Wright and Le Corbusier during the early 1900s. Both architects made use of concrete to build these houses which are intended to fit a rural setting.

In terms of style, “Fallingwater” adapted the expressionist modern style which is known for less ornamentation and focus on function. Also, this house used “cantilevers dramatically over the rock outcropping and rushing stream. The frame of the house is an irregular shape. Meanwhile, the “Villa Savoye” adopted the modern style with emphasis on simplicity and distinctiveness. This is an “early and classic exemplar of the “International Style”, which hovers above a grass plane on thin concrete pilot, with strip windows, and a flat roof with a deck area, ramp, and a few contained touches of curvaceous walls” (Matthews, 2008).


  1. (2002). Still Life with Chair-caning. Retrieved May 16, 2009
  2. Layton, T. (2003). Lesson 7 – Impressionism: Monet. Retrieved May 16, 2009
  3. Matthews, K. (2008). Great Buildings Collection. Retrieved May 16, 2009, from
  4. (2005).Bruegel. Retrieved May 16, 2009, from
  5. National Gallery of Art. (2009). El Greco (Spanish, 1541–1614). Retrieved May 16, 2009, from
  6. (2004, July 1). Chiaroscuro. Retrieved May 16, 2009, from
  7. Urton, Robin.n.d. Cubism. n.d. Retrieved May 16, 2009
  8. (n.d.) Claude Monet’s Impression Sunrise. Retrieved May 16, 2009, from
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