Example: Milestone Two
The following is an example of a Milestone Two submission. Note that this is only an example, so it may need to be revised in order to meet all of the Milestone Two requirements. Click on each blue highlighted area below to learn more about areas where the essay needs improvement. Feel free to refer back to the Milestone Two Guidelines and Rubric to consider how well this paper meets those guidelines. The following is an evaluation of the student’s submision according to that rubric:
- Introduction, Artworks: 2 of 2 points possible (100%)
- Introduction, Argument/Idea: 1.5 of 2 points possible (75%)
- Historical Background, Relationship: 8 out of 8 points possible (100%)
- Historical Background, Influence/Shape: 9 of 9 points possible (100%)
- Similarities/Differences, Similar: 6 of 8 points possible (75%)
- Similarities/Differences, Different: 6.75 of 9 points possible (75%)
- Similarities/Differences, Express: 6.75 of 9 points possible (75%)
- Similarities/Differences, Represent: 6.75 of 9 points possible (75%)
- Modern Influence, Expression: 6 of 6 points possible (100%)
- Modern Influence, Influence or Define: 6 of 6 points possible (100%)
- Modern Influence, Learn: 4.5 of 6 points possible (75%)
- Modern Influence, Echo: 6 of 6 points possible (100%)
- Modern Influence, Archeytpe: 4.5 of 6 points possible (75%)
- Modern Influence, Parallels: 4.5 of 6 points possible (75%)
- Articulation of Response: 5 out of 5 points possible (100%)
- Total Points: 84.25 of 100 points possible for a B+ submission
Artist’s Name: Simone Martini
Title: The Annunciation
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Style movement: Medieval Gothic
Date: c. 1333
Location: Uffizi Art Gallery
Literary Work: The Divine Comedy
Author’s Name: Dante Aligheiri
Title of Illustration (above): Plate IX, Canto III
Illustrator: Gustave Doré
FAS 201: Introduction to the Humanities
Southern New Hampshire University
August 15, 2015
Comparing and Contrasting Two Annunciation Paintings
For the final project I will compare two works of art and consider how a theme they both share finds expression in contemporary ideas and events. The visual work of art is by Simone Martini and is titled The Annunciation. Martini’s Annunciation was painted in approximately 1333 in Italy and represents a Medieval Gothic painting style. The literary artwork I will consider is The Divine Comedy, an epic poem penned by the Italian author Dante Aligheiri in 1320. I will compare the themes and tone of the works of art, as well as the experiences and attitudes of the main “characters” of each, the Virgin Mary and Dante. I will connect these commonalities to the contemporary experience of believers, in particular those who have their faith challenged by secular ideas, scientific theories, and other world events.
Martini and Lemmi’s Annunciation was painted in Italy during the Medieval period and in a Gothic style. Artwork created during the Medieval period “emphasized Christian faith with an emphasis on the afterlife [and]…respect for social and religious hierarchy” (MindEdge). Medieval painting often took the form of altarpieces, which is what The Annunciation is. Altarpieces were displayed in churches and with the intention of teaching churchgoers, visually, about significant moments in the Bible (Fiero 165). Altarpieces, such as Martini and Lemmi’s, were painted in tempera. The rich, densely saturated colors in the painting contrasted with gold leaf. The gold leaf reflected the candlelight in the church, which no doubt provided a dramatic impact that drew more attention to the subject matter in the painting (Fiero 165; Uffizi). Many Gothic paintings, like The Annunciation, still used the flat, one-dimensional Byzantine style but incorporated more “natural and expressive body positions” (Fiero 165; MindEdge). The goal of Medieval Gothic art was “not to imitate optical reality, but rather to teach spiritual truths,” and you can see the flat perspective, curved body positions, and focus on spiritual truths represented in Martini and Lemmi’s painting (MindEdge).
Dante Aligheiri’s The Divine Comedy was written in Italy during the Medieval period, and it has since come to be seen as one of the most important and masterful Italian texts. Issues of faith were standard for Medieval Italian literature, and The Divine Comedy explores these issues in the format of a lengthy epic poem. The political context in which Aligheiri authored the poem was tumultuous. He was heavily involved with politics, and as a result he was eventually exiled when the opposing party took power. After being exiled, he moved about from place to place, finding time and financial support to write during those journeys (Kumar). Those travels are not unlike the travels the protagonist of his most famous literary work undertakes in search of salvation. The powerful imagery of the language has also made The Divine Comedy a popular text for illustration, thereby inspiring countless visual works of art.
Martini and Lemmi’s Annunciation and Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, although artworks of different mediums and of vastly different scopes, are similar in many ways. To begin, the two works have similar origins. Both are of Italian origin and were created during the medieval period.
Furthermore, both works of art depict the annunciation, which is an important moment in the Christian tradition, the moment when the angel Gabriel appears before the Virgin Mary to declare that she will bear the son of God. However, the annunciation is just one event in a series of events in The Divine Comedy, which chronicles its protagonists journey through hell, purgatory, and finally heaven. On the other hand, it is the only event depicted and the focus of Martini and Lemmi’s, The Annunciation. This difference in the scope of the two artworks is largely a result of their different mediums. The Annunciation is a one-dimensional painting, whereas The Divine Comedy is a sizable epic poem.
In addition to being from approximately the same time and place, the subject matter of these artworks overlap in important ways. Both works deal, in particular, with issues of faith and with a recognition of the will of God. In The Annunciation, the Virgin Mary is depicted as reacting to the news, delivered by the angel Gabriel, that she will soon bear the Son of God. Her position in the image, the fact that she is leaning away as the other characters and lines in the artwork lean toward her, indicates she is surprised and perhaps challenged by his message. However, she quickly comes to embrace this information, a clear testimony to her unwavering faith. The protagonist of The Divine Comedy, Dante, also faces issues of faith. His journey encourages him to consider the will of God and to realize that salvation is only possible after giving over entirely to that will.
This theme of faith in the face of adversity is not irrelevant for religious believers in today’s society. Believers may face many crises of faith, some of which are the result of particularly modern events, like scientific advancements and the spread of secular ideals. The number of Americans identifying themselves as having no religious affiliations are rising, increasing from 16 percent to 20 percent between 2008 and 2012 (Worthen). Scientific explanations seemingly leave increasingly less room for the attribution of miracles, nor is a belief in some higher power necessary for understanding many facts about the world in which we live. While there is no obvious reason why these scientific explanation are not compatible with religion conviction, they may challenge faith based reasoning.
Fiero, Gloria K. Landmarks in the Humanities. 2nd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. Print.
Kumar, Akash. “Historical Context for the Divine Comedy by Dante.” Columbia University. Web. 16 November 2015.
MindEdge. FAS 201: Introduction to the Humanities. MindEdge, Inc., 2015. Web. 25 July 2015.
National Gallery of Art. “The Annunciation.” National Gallery of Art. Web. 15 July 2015.
Uffizi Gallery. “Annunciation by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi.” Guide to Uffizi Art Gallery. Web. 16 July 2015.
Worthen, Molly. “One Nation Under God?” The New York Times, 22 December 2012. Web. 16 November 2015.