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The apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas

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1631, 475×375 cm • Oil, Canvas

Description of the artwork «The apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas»

"The Apotheosis Of Thomas Aquinas" – huge, almost five-meter painting by Zurbaran in 1631, the year for the College of St. Thomas in Seville. She was crowned by the altar of the Dominican monastery, to which belonged the College, and is now available in the Seville Museum of fine arts.
There is some paradox of perception: we Zurbaran is associated primarily with a single almost monochrome compositions, stingy and strict, with a sharp chiaroscuro (as still life Agnus Deior image St. Francis). But his contemporaries his greatest work is considered just "the Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas" – not quite surbanovski multi-figure and multi color.

Composition with its division into two tiers – a schematic, but this "dvukhchastotnyi" of earth and sky was in the art of Zurbaran traditional times. Besides, Zurbaran managed to perfectly balance the monumental forms and attention to the smallest details.

In all likelihood, the theme of the Zurbaran paintings inspired customers. "The apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas" is dedicated to the solemn Foundation of the College of St. Thomas, which occurred in 1517. On purple velvet covered table at the bottom of the picture is the Act of Foundation of the College. In the lower tier we can see its founders – of the Emperor Charles V and cardinal Diego de DEZ. Behind the king are the kneeling noble citizens of Seville, and behind the cardinal – the Dominican monks. As for the upper tier, then it includes all those who exercise, so to speak, in heaven patronage over the Board. On the cloud to the right is Christ and the virgin Mary. Opposite them, on the left, God the Father, who, gesticulating animatedly, talking with Saint Dominic. Dove shadowing with wings, which the head of St. Thomas (in the center of the composition), traditionally represents the Spirit of God, or, in a less widespread version, the - divine inspiration descended on Aquinas.

Theologian Thomas Aquinas, whose teaching was the basis of the doctrine of the Catholic Church, is depicted with a pen and book in hand. Around him are other famous scribes: right – saints Jerome and Augustine on the left, Ambrose and George. Their gestures eloquently indicate that they are now reconciled on the books of some theological subtlety.

A special delight is how significantly realistically written characters. Now we're just assessing how they are individualized and specific, and contemporaries Zurbaran – recognize them as their friends. In Thomas round the face with a high forehead they saw the economy of the College of Nunez de Escobar, a friend of the artist; the man behind the king servant gonzález de Abra.

In the second left the monk-a Dominican, shown in profile, some critics see the Zurbaran. As you know, the artist left no self-portraits, so look for Zurbaran incognito in his paintings researchers continue for several centuries. A Dominican with "the Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas" (before the emergence of any new facts or research methods) competes in terms of identification with Saint Luke with "The crucifixion"1639, the year of the Prado Museum.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Religious scene, Allegorical scene
Style of art and technique: Baroque, Oil

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