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Flashcards in Giotto Deck (28)
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14th century Italy artists



14th century Italy background

-14th C - Italian Byzantine painting style began to be challenged
-paintings more realistic + reflected St. Francis of Assisi's appeal to make art more understandable to ordinary ppl
-term 'trecento' often used when referring to art


Cimabue (vs Giotto)

-last sig. painter in Italian Byzantine Style
-mosaic artist in B style
-Inventive + interested in ancient Roman sculpture, particularly rep. of folds in drapery
-figures more naturalistic, less rigid than typical stylised, flat Byzantine figures


Giotto (vs Cimabue)

-born near Florence, probably trained w/ Cimabue
-considered 1st great artists of Italian Renaissance
-received commissions (church leaders)
-paid salary by city of Florence for work
-compassion + sympathy for humanity in work reflects in fluence of teachings of St. Francis of Assisi


comparison and contrast with Cimabue's painting

-Giotto's Mary: solid, has weight. Cimabue's Mary: delicate, could be paper thin
-Giotto's angels: sculptural element. Cimabue's angels: flatter
-neither show realistic bg, both show heavenly space
-more modelling in face of Giotto's Mary than Cimabue's


The Arena Chapel Frescoes

-The Deposition' or 'The Lamentation of Christ'
-'The Kiss of Judas'
-'Flight into Egypt'


Why Giotto's blue skies in his arena chapel frescoes have deteriorated badly:

Blue pigment reacted badly w/ wet lime plaster. Consequently, Giotto painted the blue skies in Arena chapel frescoes on dry plaster (fresco secco). As a result, blue paint deteriorated badly


Giotto's influence

-ahead of his time, realistic figures laid foundations of Italian Renaissance painting
-true successor: Mosaccio (studied Giotto's frewscoes + imitated 3-dimensional forms)


Giotto's personal style + technique

-dramatic storytelling. Few figures + simple backdrops
-expressive figures instead of lifeless Byzantine-style
-fresco technique w/ rich colours
-light + shade suggest 3-dimensional form
-naturalistic solid figures, unlike flat Byzantine style
-simple perspective create convincing depth
-bg landscapes less realistic than figures


'Madonna Enthroned'




'Madonna Enthroned'


-tempera on wood panel
-minerals suspended in egg media as painted
-method good for little lines (but doesn't blend well + dries quickly)
-gold leaf glued on to bg + burnished


'Madonna Enthroned'

themes/subject matter



'Madonna Enthroned'


-large figure of Mary sitting on large throne + holding the baby Jesus
-surrounded by angels + prophets
-angels positioned to left + right. 2 angels at foot of throne steps
-places viewer at particular point in relation to figures, looking down at step, looking up at Christ, see more of right window. Slightly off centre view
-2 prophets looking thru wings of throne


'Madonna Enthroned'

treatment of figure

-Mary occupies space, has monumentality + presence + physicality. looks solid + has weight
-angels have individuality. Positioned one in front of another + some partially hidden
-prophets positioned among angels


'Madonna Enthroned'

shading + light

-Mary: turn of body created by transition from highlights to shade. See her neck + drapery pulling across body
-real sense of Mary sitting in throne, knees foreshortened, showing illusion of space
-drapery defined by modelling from light to dark
-sculptural element to figures of angels


'The Deposition' or 'The Lamentation of Christ'

themes/subject matter


moment Christ taken down from cross
followers mourning


'The Deposition' or 'The Lamentation of Christ'


-natural environment, trees + rocks behind
-sky: swooping lamenting angels
-Christ positioned in lower left, cradled by mother
-Mary props him on lap, Mary Magdalene w/ red hair seen at his feet
-Position of figures - leave gap to see dead Christ
-figures leaning + looking at Christ, lead eye to him
-2 figures show back to viewers
-diagonal line of rock bring eyes back to Christ


'The Deposition' or 'The Lamentation of Christ'

treatment of figure

-proportions realistic + natural looking
-figures use shading + look 3-dimensional
-figures - no two look alike
-lines in clothing describe figures underneath
-hands + face realistic, show emotions thru expressive facial features + body gestures
-displays emotion felt by followers, tries to get us to empathise
-broke away from trad. methods of displaying figures + scenes, greatest achievement: displaying characters' emotions
-known as "grandfather of the Renaissance"


'The Deposition' or 'The Lamentation of Christ'

Style and Technique

-light - single source, create sense of realistic setting. Figures modelled w/ shading + 3-d feel
-foreshortening in figures of angels + arms of larger figures. Illusion of reality + showcase understanding of this phenomenon
-developed technique of painting on wet plaster (Buon Fresco). Small sections of wall plastered, drawing transferred + painted in 1 day
-prior:common to paint on dry plaster ("Secco"), quicker + easier to to carry out, but not permanent


'The Kiss of Judas'




'The Kiss of Judas'

subject matter

-Giotto's interpretation of Judas' kiss
-after Last Supper, Judas identifies Jesus for Roman soldiers by kissing him at garden of Gethsemane
-center: Judas, in yellow robe, gives Jesus intimate embrace
-2 men lock eyes as angry soldiers carrying weapons surround


'The Kiss of Judas'

how he conveys drama

-every movement, gesture, gaze heightens tension
-see tension especially thu St. Peter cutting off ear of an attacker
-drama of event captured in infinitely long exchange of glances


Giotto's Innovation/style

-created illusion of real pace
-real people against real bgs
-human emotion thru expressions
-naturalistic solid figures, unlike Byzantine
-dramatic storytelling
-correct proportion + foreshortening
-light + shade create 3-d form
-improved trad. fresco techniques. Wet plaster instead of dry plaster
-use of fresco technique w/ rich colours


Arena Chapel Frescoes

-Giotto employed to decorate small family chapel
-covered walls w/ 38 fresco series from 'The Life of Jesus'
-change from symbolic Byzantine art noticeable
-faux marble panels or walls
-ceiling covered w/ painted stars + biblical figures
-organised in strict way
-3 registers behind at top + move downwards, telling story of Jesus
-1st register = begins w/ Christ's grandparents, Birth of Mary + her marriage
-2nd register = Christ's life
-3rd register = the passion, events at end of Chrit's life + after Death



means painting on plaster


fresco techniques

buon fresco
fresco secco


buon fresco

-painting quickly on thin later if damp, freshly laid plaster
-used pure pigments mixed w/ water
-as plaster dries, paint becomes permanent part of wall
-small sections painted in a day
-true fresco technique (regarded as)


fresco secco

-painting on dry plaster. Paint mix of pigments mixed w/ water + egg/glue
-artists can paint more slowly
-paint does not become part of wall + may eventually flake off