Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Art History and Feminism

History of Arts

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter by Caravaggio is a piece of art representing the religious reformation in Rome. Paintedin 1600 in Santa Maria del Polo, modern day Rome, Crucifixion gave a new look of religious art (In Pericolo, & In Stone, 2014, p. 45). It was approximately forty-eight squared feet in size. However, Caravaggio faced a down fate the following year when two other pieces of the same version of art were rejected. The rejected pictures violated moral standards of art by trespassing into the arts of others such as Cardinal Sannesio. However, there is a bit of confusion in the documentation of the painting. At some point, it was stated that Caravaggio replaced a typical painting of the same for the origin work. Nevertheless, an accepted version of the paint was admitted within the 17th century.

On the other hand, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini is believed to be curved around 17th century too, somehow between 1598 and 1680. It is also one of the major arts of the Counter-Reformation, which shows the attributes of the Catholic faith. Though designed differently, they themed the same course of religion.

The Role of the Church

Crucifixion stands in for the image given by the foundational Catholic Church. It was developed with the impression of the church. This implies that the church mentored the painting and the caption in it both visual and imagery description. The church represented Peter; the disciple to which the church believes Jesus demanded the church be built on (In Pericolo, & In Stone, 2014, p. 49). So could be the reason as to why Christians refer to him as Peter the Rock (In Pericolo, & In Stone, 2014, p. 50). Caravaggio’s paint therefore symbolized Rome’s doctrine, which was Catholic. Roman Catholic dominated the pilgrims and old Roman. They represented the counter-Reformation and to which crucifixion themed. The image was used to deny the claim of the Protestant called backsliding.

However, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa had unique representation of the church. Unlike Crucifixion, Ecstasy’s curving was inspired by the modern generation of faith. Saint Teresa’s life and push for revolutionary fellowship was the greatest push behind the art.

History of Artists

Caravaggio faced a number of challenges along his career. He charged for another crime in 1603 for buttery. A year later, he was charged for throwing an item at a waiter and subsequently threatening to stub her with a sword. As if this was not enough, he practically wounded a notary after realizing his affairs with women Caravaggio had fancied prior. This became the violent life of Caravaggio to the point he killed a fellow and left for Malta Island. He was given an honorary knight to John in the island, as he had desired. Unfortunately, he killed another man and was expelled out of the region. He returned to his home on a free bail or pardon from Pop Paul V but was not lucky enough to survive it. In July 18 1610, he died after an illness merely at the age of 36 years (Petersen, 2004, p. 37).

Lorenzo Bernini is a renowned sculptor by the 17th century in Rome. He worked during a reign of Innocent X, a Pamphili Pope with whom he enjoyed a mutual relationship. Unlike his fellow artist Caravaggio, Bernini was a law-abiding citizen who enjoyed the fruits of his loyalty to moral, leadership, and society. This got commission for his religious contribution by Cardinal Federico.

Focal Point

Crucifixion’s center of focus is the image Saint Peter blended with mass of Romans around him. The image of Peter has little light while the background is dominated by dark color (Petersen, 2004, p. 41). The minimal light used shows additional strength to the tone of the painting. The shadowed faces of the army behind give a large spotlight on Peter’s image. He gives strength to fragility of the image by focusing more on the image of Peter than others in the art’s focus. The artist used light colors and dark tone gives the focal point of the art. This is what gives attention to Peter’s image.

On contrary to Caravaggio’s work, Bernini narrowed down his work (Petersen, 2004, p. 41). He reduced his imagery capture in the art to two images, Saint Teresa and another angel. Being a curved piece of art could be the reason for his centered images to two. His art focuses on Saint Teresa. He too uses light color and a dark tone to give the focal point of the art.

Description of the Arts

Crucifixion is an intent paint art making use of light sources in capturing the figure of Peter that uniquely converges on a contrasting dark shadowed background. Such were the styles that were cropping up after the sudden change in religious perception, one that depicts the religious revolution that occurred that moment. Christianity as a religion is the character theme in the art (Petersen, 2004, p. 43). The intertwining of elements in the art shows the viability of the visual effect of the art while the concentration of a single light source gives the art tragic tone.

The painting crucifixion of Saint Peter shows the mistreatment of apostle Peter to crucifixion. It indicates Peter as an elderly person, bearded with a couple of muscles on his body. He is on a white rob. The painting also shows how Peter is crucified upside down (In Pericolo, & In Stone, 2014, 52). They never wanted him to imitate the manner to which Christ was crucified. The image also depicts images of three soldier putting Peter on the cross. One soldier holds the cross keeping it upright while the other is holding Peter’s legs to keep the cross steady. The third soldier holds a rope fixed to the cross just around Peter’s leg.

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa depicts of the peace enjoyed by Saint Teresa alongside entertainment by an angel. The art capture the figure of Teresa, a church convert image and an angel by her side. She seems to be in a deep sleep but very peaceful and pure in her heart. While Crucifixion gives of the suffering religion seekers exposed themselves to, Ecstasy depicts of the peace they are yet to enjoy upon completion of their duties in Christ.

Analysis of the Art

Caravaggio’s art Crucifixion of Saint Peter indicates the humility to which the church become. The church carried with it spiritual image of Peter as a disciple and one to which Christ believed the Church would be built (Petersen, 2004, p. 63). Thus, this image focuses on the images of soldiers struggling to crucify Peter upside down. Regardless of the struggling soldiers indicated by their ropes in hand, Peter’ face show restlessness and lowered face of sacrifice. However, from this, the Catholics believed that Peter indicated signs of sureness and success upon them. His humility and resoluteness gives the most conducive place to build the church, hence the reaffirmation that he is indeed the church of God.

However, Bernini’s work of Saint Teresa gives a specific interpretation of the art. The writing “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” literally interprets as the tenure of spiritual pleasure in serving Christ. The art advocates for the need of the Catholic Church to commit themselves to peace and truly serve God, as did Saint Teresa.


In Pericolo, L., & In Stone, D. M. (2014). Caravaggio: Reflections and refractions. Print.

Petersen, N. H. (2004). Signs of change: Transformations of Christian traditions and their representation in the arts, 1000 – 2000. Amsterdam. Print.