Blog post 4. week 6


Chose any two of the paintings you fell in love with yesterday and give a critical appraisal of their importance to your understanding of the world of the Renaissance and/or Shakespeare. You can, of course, explore the artist and provide links etc to make your blog a useful scholarly resource.

Our trip to the Art Gallery of NSW and the State library was a truly wonderful experience. We explored artwork in the world of Shakespeare and the Renaissance which provided many beautiful pieces of art. As a history student, I was drawn to two artworks, in particular, these were The Death of Crassus (1545) and Sir Peter Paul Rubens Constantius appointing Constantine as his successor (1622). The Death of Crassus 1545 was created on a glazed fluted dish while Paul Rubens work was painted oil on canvas.



Retrieved from

The Death of Crassus was so important to me as being a history student I can fully appreciate the historical context of this work while also furthering my understanding of the world of Shakespeare and the Renaissance. Crassus’s’ death by the hands of the Parthians in Romes Eastern Frontier. The artist captured Crassus having molten gold poured down his throat as it historically happened. What I was drawn to in this painting, however, was the white glazed pottery from the Italian Renaissance. This method was known as Maiolica which was distinguished by a white opaque glaze due to the presence of tin. The beautiful colours that this method captured helped me appreciate the art making techniques of the Renaissance, the vibrant purples (maybe blues can’t tell because of being colour blind) and oranges brought me to understand the Renaissance world which was just recently uncovering ancient Latin and Greek art and culture.



Image retrieved from

Sir Peter Paul Rubens Constantius appointing Constantine as his successor (1622) was another Renaissance artwork I fell in love with at the art gallery because of its historical context and its structure. Rubens work brings the viewer right up and close with the canvas as if they were Ruben himself painting the artwork. This artwork helped improve my understanding of what artists in the Renaissance made and created, Rubens work was commissioned for King Louie the 13th who compared himself to Constantine as the greatest king in Europe. Similarly, Rubens work revealed that he only used enough paint that was necessary leaving the lines of white chalk underneath visible.

There is a great audio commentary on this work by Ruben that I suggest taking a few minutes to listen to as it helped me to understand this artwork in greater detail.






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