• What is Foreshortening? • Types: Artistic Foreshortening Compared to Photographic • Foreshortening in Illusionistic Frescos • In Landscapes • History and Development • Other Painting Techniques

Apollo and Beatrix of Burgundy By Giambattista Tiepolo. From his commemorated Wurzburg Residence frescoes (1753)

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What is Foreshortening?

In illustration, the term "foreshortening" refers to an approach of representing an object in a picture in depth. For example, imagine exactly how a standing male looks in regards to dimensions, checked out from the front. Now imagine that this number has been enabled to loss gently backwards, until stretched lengthways on the ground, via his feet pointing in the direction of you and his head furthest amethod. If you wish to sketch this number, the regulation of linear perspective dictates that, since his head is even more away than his feet, you need to make it show up smaller sized, so as to convey the illusion of "depth" in the drawing - i.e. that it is receding amethod from the viewer into the image area. Conversely, considering that the feet are now closer, they need to appear bigger. Many importantly, the figure"s torso and limbs need to be compressed or "shortened" in the sketch, to provide result to the optical illusion that an item appears shorter than it actually is once angled towards the viewer. Foreshortening was initially stupassed away throughout the quattrocento (15th-century) by painters in Florence, and by Francesco Squarcione (1395-1468) in Padua, that then taught the renowned Mantua-based Gonzaga court artist Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506).


An wonderful instance of this type of foreshortening in fine art painting is The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (c.1470-80, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan) - a timeless work of the Italian Renaissance by Andrea Mantegna. Notice just how the artist shor10s the length of Christ"s chest and legs in order to represent perspective or depth in the picture area.

Other commonly cited examples include: Battle of San Romano (c.1438-1440, National Gallery, London) by Paolo Uccello and Stop at Emmaus (1601, National Gallery, London) by Caravaggio , and Study of a Supine Male Nude (c.1799-1805, Tate) by J.M.W.Turner.

Types: Artistic Foreshortening v Photographic Foreshortening

A sketcher or painter is most likely to shorten objects slightly in a different way from a cam. This is bereason, while a video camera never before lies, an artist may not wish to replicate the complete brutal result of foreshortening. Instead, he will often mitigate the relative dimensions of the nearer component of the object (in the case of The Lamentation, the feet) so as to make a slightly much less aggressive attack on the viewer"s eye and incorpoprice the truncated photo more harmoniously into the all at once composition. Without a doubt, this is specifically what Mantegna did in The Lamentation. He deliberately decreased the dimension of Jesus"s feet so as not to block our see of the body. Whereas, if a photograph was taken from the same angle, the feet would have actually been so huge that they would certainly have obscured our view of the legs and torso.

Illusionistic Ceiling Frescos

Shortening an item is basically an illusionistic gadget to simulate depth in a photo. This allows a painter to indicate three-dimensionality and also volume in his figures. This leads to a noticeable boost in realism. The same uses to landscapes, where foreshortening adds considerably to the naturalism of the watch (check out below). However before, the most visually stunning application of foreshortening is in architectural decoration, such as illusionistic fresco paint, specifically on ceilings. This kind of mural paint offers techniques such as perspective di sotto in su ("watched from below") - created by the Forli-born artist Melozzo da Forli (1438-94) - and also quadratura (ceiling paintings that simulate the expansion of genuine style into an imaginary space), in order to create the illusion of three-dimensional depth in an otherwise two-dimensional ceiling surconfront above the viewer.

Foreshortening in Landscapes

This approach is many generally associated through numbers or objects, although in fact it is likewise used consistently in landscapes. The road that will certainly show up fairly long if it runs directly ahead of us up a tall hill, will be much shorter if it stretches amethod on a flat simple in front of us. Rivers and also bridges will certainly likewise seem shortened or compressed if sketched at anything like ground level. For good examples of landscape foreshortening, see: Ville d"Avray (1867, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC) by Camille Corot, The Thames Below Westminster (1871, National Gallery, London) by Claude Monet, Footbridge at Argenteuil (1872, Muview d"Orsay) and also The Watering-Place at Port-Marly (1875, National Gallery, London) by Alfred Sisley, and Road to Vladimir (1892, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow) by Isaac Levitan.

History of Foreshortening

This illusionist approach was first pioneered throughout the Early Renaissance. As well as Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), and Vincenzo Foppa (c.1430-1515) (many of whose works have been lost), Andrea Mantegna (1430-1506) was probably the biggest at an early stage exponent, and his strategy is exemplified in the Lamentation and also the di sotto in su ceiling oculus in the Camera degli Sposi frescoes (Camera Picta) of Ludovico Gonzaga"s Ducal Palace in Mantua. A younger modern of Mantegna was Luca Signorelli (1450-1523), detailed for his frescoes of the Last Judgment (1499–1503) in Orvieto Cathedral.

The next good practitioner was Michelangelo (1475-1564) throughout the High Renaissance, whose Sistine Chapel frescoes (1508-12) - notably the picture of The Separation of Light from Darkness in his Genesis Fresco - in which he makes God appear as if he is climbing above the viewer by shortening his body.

After Michelangelo tbelow was Correggio (1489-1534), the excellent painter of the Parma school, whose illusionistic methods and also dramatic foreshortening - see for circumstances his significant Assumption of the Virgin (Parma Cathedral) (1526-30) - influenced a variety of later functions. These encompass the Assumption of the Virgin (Cathedral of Forli) by Carlo Cignani (1628-1719); frescoes for the cupola of S. Maria dei Miracoli in Saronno, by Gaudenzio Ferrari (1480-1546); the Allegory of Divine Providence (1633-39, Palazzo Barberini), Four Ages of Man (Sala della Stufa) and the Planet paints (Pitti Palace, Florence), by Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669); as well as functions by Lanfranco (1582-1647), Baldassare Franceschini (1611–1689) and Il Baciccio (Giovanni Gaulli) (1639-1709). The apogee of High Baroque trompe l"oeil mural painting was the 55-feet wide ceiling fresco Triumph and also Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1688-94), in the Jesuit church of S. Ignazio, by Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709). Alengthy the way, Paolo Veronese"s ceiling paintings for San Sebastiano, the Doge"s Palace, and also the Marciana Library, established him among his Venetian contemporaries as a grasp of foreshortening able to integrate the figurative subtlety of Correggio through the heroic figuration of Michelangelo.

The greatest Rococo exponent of foreshortening was Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) whose fresco paints in the state dining room (Kaiseraal) and also the ceiling of the Grand also Stairinstance (Trepenhaus) of the Wurzburg Residenz verified to be the greatest masterpiece of his career. The emphasis of the job-related is the soaring image of Apollo Bringing the Bride (1750-1) in the centre of the Trepenhaus ceiling, which exemplifies Tiepolo superb draughtsmanship, foreshortening and perspective, and also his shimmering luminosity of colour. These architectural decorations of the Wurzburg Residenz properly carry to a close the Italian heritage of fresco paint initiated by Giotto (1270-1337) four hundred years previously.

Other Painting Techniques

For more illusionistic painting approaches, see:

Chiaroscuro The use of light and shadow to imply volume in figures. Tenebrism The taking care of of light and also shadow for pudepend dramatic purposes. Grisaille Monochrome underpaint or stand-alone grey monotone paint. Sfumato The use in oil paint of imperceptible graduations in tone. Impasto Building up layers of paint to develop a crusty texture on surconfront of a painting. Disegno Not a method but the Renaissance concept of as a whole style. Colorito The painting indistinguishable of disegno.

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