"The Storm" vs "Christ on the Sea of Galilee"

Essay by AnagrinCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

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In comparing the two paintings, Watteau's "The Storm" and Delacroix's "Christ on the Sea of Galilee", it is easy to see the differences within the two paintings and determine which one is more of a Romantic work and which one is more of a Neo-classical work. "The Storm" by Watteau is obviously from the Neo-classical era, while "Christ on the Sea of Galilee" is from the Romantic era. There are a number of differences between the two paintings that tell you this and several characteristics within the paintings that reveal the styles within.

In looking at "The Storm", the Neo-classical characteristics that stand out most to me are things such as the clear profile of the people within the painting. You are easily able to see the expressions on the faces yet you are keenly aware of the fact that you cannot feel the emotions within the "personalities" of the people depicted.

The painting is of a storm, however, it portrays a time occurring just moments before the actual dramatic event of the storm takes place. Neoclassicism demonstrates the belief that a "rational state of mind is believed to be the ideal state, emotion is suppressed to the minimum."

As you study "Christ on the Sea of Galilee", the dramatic style of the Romantic era stands out clearly. Nothing in the painting itself is actually clear and identifiable, yet the painting as a whole clearly depicts a vicious storm. The extreme intensity of the storm practically leaps out at you yet the painting as a whole is blurred, as if it is part of a dream. The colors within the painting are much more vivid and lively yet the feelings within the painting are almost inconceivable, as if they are too intense to explain. The painting shows the pleasure...