Thursday, 18 March 2010
bit of history
Duccio was born around c.1255-1260 in Siena, Italy. He worked mainly with pigment and egg tempera. The work which I will be focusing on (the main panel of the Maesta altarpiece, The Virgin and child enthroned in majesty) which is made with Tempera on Panel. This was commissioned by the city of Siena for the cathedral’s high altar. This would have been for all to see as it wasn’t for a private chapel like the lamentation by Giotto. (This was made using the Fresco style and afterwards completed in secco.) Duccio’s Virgin and child enthroned was 2.13x3.96m compared to Giotto’s The lamentation which is only 2.31x2.02m this is probably because it was done in fresco and therefore each section of it has to be done very quickly before the plaster can dry whereas which tempera there isn’t such strict time schedule. The effect of the fresco is that the people look more alive than in Duccio’s the virgin and child enthroned however in this painting they look more srcene. Both have a wonderful use of colour with the virgins rich blue clock and the blue sky in Giotto’s, in Giotto’s the people are well divided from the background and therefore stand out well.
Giotto has used fresco as his medium which is done whilst the plaster is still wet this means that the painting has to be done in small busts, lamentation (2.31x2.02m) is smaller than Duccio’s The Virgin enthroned which is done in tempera on wooden panel is quite considerably larger at 2.13x3.96m this could be because it doesn’t have to be done as quickly as fresco, these techniques give slightly different effects Giotto’s looks more defined so that everything seems to stand out more, however with the speed that it has to be done at there is less detail and smoothing to the shading on the faces which Duccio seems to have made his shading look smoother and therefore looks more lifelike.
The Lamentation is the fifteenth in the scheme of decoration on the Northern wall of the Arena Chapel in Padua, Italy. Before this is the crucifixion and after is the resurrection. This is an easy order to follow the story goes from the top left downwards then when it gets to the bottom it is continued next to the first image to the right.
Giotto showed influences from Nicola Pisano. Nicola Pisano showed several scenes of the biblical text in the Pisa Pulpit, c.1260 which is in the Baptistery in Pisa. The building of the baptistery was due to some recent navel victories in 1258. the shape of the pulpit is quite rare with its small polygon shape which means that it fits into the surrounds perfectly. It was also had influence as the a panel of it didn’t just show one depiction of the Nativity for example I had multiple scenes in one panel, for example in the Nativity (figure 3) has Joseph being appeared to by Gabriel the angel. And the shepherds which are following the star towards the stable which Jesus was born in.
Giotto Also showed influences and advancement on the work of Cimabue who was Giotto’s master. They both have detailed drapery whoever Giotto’s looks as if it’s showing the form of the people below there clothes whereas Cimabue Madonna Enthroned with Angels and Prophets (figure 4) the fold of fabric on her leg doesn’t look as if the knee is bent or out straight instead it curves in a unnatural manner. Giotto seems to add more emotion into his characters you can really see there pain and anguish at the death of their beloved lord. Cimabue’s Madonna enthroned is more presenting the Christ child with a satisfied smile, but none of the figures show emotion and movement like Giotto’s. In Giotto’s mourning of Christ it looks like the central man In peach is going to sweep down and hold the body any minute, and the Virgin mother holding Christ looks as though she is going to hug the corpse or stroke it.
Duccio was influenced by Simone Martini which is easy to see as the way they did the faces are very similar however what is more similar is Simone Martini’s The Annunciation and two saints and Duccio’s The Virgin and child Enthroned (figure 1) where both of the depictions of the Virgin Mary are wearing exactly the same coloursto symbolise there connection to heaven.