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The two pictures that are going to be discussed in this essay are saint George and the Dragon and Michael the Archangel.

‘Saint George and the Dragon’ is one of the Byzantine artifacts and paintings of famous icons together with the medieval arts. These have accounted for about 200 artistic works found within the Menyl collections. This is one of the eerily 16th Century works (Cameo, 19940). It is one of the Russian icons of the 16th century. This stands out to be one of the best works of the school of Novgorod (Annette, 2000).

Archangel Michael, a small oval cameo, depicts the archangel Michael. It used to be very common in the 14th century when many people would set it in a metal frame and wear it suspended on their necks. It depicts Michael’s role as the commander in chief of the forces of heavenly angels, a divine healer and conductor of souls. This would make the depiction a logical choice on a phylactery.  The artist of this work has artistically, skillfully and very carefully utilized the material forming a contrast of the light relief of the saint against the dark red background d of the matrix (Huxley, 2009).

The angel is depicted to be standing on a footstool, as depicted in original versions of the same paintings. He is dressed in a complete attire of the military. He handles the sheath of his sword with his left hand, with the sword itself on the right hand, depicting a show of strength and might (Cameo, 19940).

The two pieces of art use almost the same iconography. Though there are some different aspects of the two paintings. The similar aspects of these two paintings are that they are both depicting religious warriors each with a weapon with which they are intending to defeat their enemies. For the archangel, the enemy is included in the painting, leaving the viewer to find out who the enemy really is. But it is obviously known by any religious person that the chief enemy of good is always the Devil. On the other hand, the enemy that is being fought by Saint George is also given in the drawing; a dark colored dragon with dark red wings (Cameo, 19940)

The two paintings are both of the religious genres, with the two characters victorious religious figures who are widely known in the whole of Christendom. The dragon depicted in the Saint George painting clearly tells that he is the Devil. This represents the forces of evil which are strongly being opposed and fiercely fought by the saint (Annette, 2000).

The archangel, being the commander of the heavenly host of angel, is depicted with a sword. This clearly depicts the martial role of the archangel. The painting shows the archangel not directly gazing at the viewer. He is instead looking to his right giving a clear sense of vigilance. Saint George on the other hand also looks directly at the dragon that he is pining down with his ling sharp spear.

The most striking difference between the two paintings and the characters they depict is that the archangel is a heavenly being who has just descended from above. His wings are a testimony to this fact. On the other hand, Saint George is an earthly being by virtue of the fact that he is riding on a horse.

Artistic styles

Both artists have carefully used the European artistic expressions which are strongly influenced by medieval aesthetics (Annette, 2000). Both the artists have skillfully employed different levels of contrasts by using different blended shades of colors for both the objects themselves and their backgrounds. The archangel is observed to be lighter than the background of the matrix upon which he has been drawn. This background is dark red creating both a realistic and an aesthetic value on the whole art work (Huxley, 2009)..

In the Saint George’s painting, the artist uses an array of colors ranging from dark to very light hues. The horse also depicted in the painting s whitish in color. The saint himself is reddish while the dragon is black with dark red wings. The background used a light red matrix which gives a very significant level of contrast (Huxley, 2009).

These two paintings clearly bring out the intended messages especially when properly interpreted. These can easily be interpreted by any keen observer. The martial role of the archangel is clearly bought out. This clearly depicts the image of a Byzantine military aristocracy. On the other hand, the saint is depicted having a ride on a whitish horse, giving the impression that he actually represents the forces of light. The dragon that he is defeating and trod ding down upon with his horse is dark which clearly portrays the forces of darkness. The swiftness with which he does this is also clearly brought out (Huxley, 2009).

The sense of movement is also clearly shown on both the pictures with the archangel just having landed as shown by his wings and the saint being on the horse, indicating that he is actually in motion (Annette, 2000).

The artists have in both cases commensurately compared the conceptual view of their artistic expressions with what could be the naturalistic understanding of what they represent. This is clearly discussed above, pitting the two characters (Cameo, 19940). These in general and specifically depict forces of righteousness fighting against and indeed defeating the forces of darkness.

The expectations of the viewers are clearly are clearly given in an abstract style as far as the angle is concerned and in a very naturalistic way in the way the saint is depicted (D’Alleva)

Conclusion

In conclusion it is worthy noting that the two works of art discussed above are of the same iconography (Cameo, 19940) They both depict religious characters; Michael the archangel and Saint George. Even though they are works of two different centuries, separated by almost two hundred years between them, the styles used are almost the same. Contrast is the order the order of the day in both of the them.

The two works of art, even though are of the same subject matter, will end up affecting their viewers in diverse ways with respect to both the emotional and psychological impacts that they create.

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