christ driving the money changers from the temple

Not only are the figures massed together, but they are posed in highly awkward positions. Their bodies are twisted and contorted into positions that would be nearly impossible to assume or to maintain. The resultant sense of confusion is further reinforced by the unnatural proportions of several figures. For example, notice the distorted leg muscles of the man who recoils from Christ’s whip. In addition, the woman with the doves in the left foreground would be extremely tall if she were to stand up. The length of her thigh is excessively long while the longer portion of her leg is shortened. Her head is also very small in proportion to the rest of her body. Also notice the manner in which the artist placed her hand upon her chest. This position is not a naturalistic one, but one common to Mannerist painting.

The surfaces of the fabrics blaze with reflected light, reinforcing the feeling of anger. The light that spotlights Christ and the figures surrounding him does not have a logical source. The sunset we see in the background bears no relationship to the light which falls on these figures. They seem to be lit by a stream of light from the right, for which there is no plausible source.

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