The pulpit by Nicola Pisano (created in 1260) is a major work of medieval sculptural art. Unlike the traditional Tuscan pulpits, this pulpit does not lean against the church wall, but is standing unsupported in open space. Thus the pulpit itself can be seen as a sculpture whose ornaments can be viewed from all sides. The form was hexagonal, with panels in high relief consisting of scenes from the life of Jesus. The pulpit is supported by elaborate columns, three of which rest on carved lions. The shape of the pulpit and the use of antique prototypes are thought to derive from an early training in S Italy. Imbued with the classic spirit, Nicola concentrated on the human figure, creating a style of monumental dignity Pisa Pulpit 1260 Marble, height: 465 cm Baptistry, Pisa
Nicola Pisano. Nativity, detail of Baptistery Pulpit panel: Annunciation, Nativity and Annunciation to Shepherds 1259-60 Italian Gothic This is a relief carving. The relief varies greatly in the height and or depth of each of the figures and objects. In general the composition is fairly symmetrical yet it is very crowded and almost seems disorganized. Most of the figures are placed in the foreground of the picture plane and the space created is not very illusionistic. Space is created by placing the figures in the foreground lower in the picture planeThe rendering of each of the figures is fairly naturalistic and the clothing, drapery and poses are somewhat reminiscent of carvings such as the this one from the Parthenon's pediment. Several of the figures, such as the main one which depicts Mary and the child (Jesus) are repeated because several scenes are simultaneously being represented. This kind of continuous narrative is common in Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance art. The realism of her pose and drapery demonstrate the beginnings of the heightened realism that occurs during this period. These classical references refer to the new ideas concerning a more humanistic approach towards interpreting scripture. The naturalism relates more towards the viewer than ever before and it is possible to imagine the scene as something real.
Many paintings like this have a rather Byzantine flavor or style to how they are painted. This formulaic attempts to emulate Greek icons is what Vasari (an art hsitorian from the late 16th C) called the maniera greca in Italy. This altarpiece is painted in tempera on wood. At five feet, the representation of St. Francis is depicted as nearly life-size. Art of the Byzantine period largely influenced Italian Gothic art. There is no depth to St. Francis. . His feet are not standing on the ground but seem to be floating just above it. Iconography: St. Francis is situated in the center of the painting - a position usually reserved for Christ or the Virgin Mary. The identification with Christ is further enhanced with the clearly displayed stigmata on his raised blessing hand. The three knots on his rope belt represent chastity, poverty and obedience. He is flanked on either side by angels and is surrounded by boxes containing major events in his life. This altarpiece was completed in 1235, less than ten years after Francis’ canonization. St. Francis taught that studying nature was a way to understand God and religious ideas should be discovered through human experience of the world. These observations were partially responsible for the reflection on nature rather than most art of its time and were a prototype for new works. This led to new observations of nature in art and the beginnings of scientific study. Bonaventura Berlinghieri, panel from the Saint Francis Altarpiece , San Francesco, Pescia, Italy, tempera on wood, 5’ x 3’ 6”
Gothic and Late Gothic Paintings The transition from the Byzantine or "Greek Manner" to the Late Gothic and Renaissance Styles. The overall composition of this work is symmetrical. The largest figures of Mary and Jesus are at the center of the composition and they are flanked by two rows of angels and Saints overlapped as if they are standing on bleachers. In order to create space, Duccio uses the same convention of vertical perspective we saw in Pisano's pulpit. The figures that are highest up in the picture plane are furthest back. This painting was rendered with tempera paint and gold leaf. Tempera is a medium which is made from egg (sometimes just the yolk sometimes the whites) glue and ground up minerals that serve as pigment or colorant. The egg actually glues or binds the pigments to the surface. The paint is applied in small distinct brush strokes that show the brushwork when looked at closely. The background is gold leaf on a wooden panel that has been painted with a a combination of glue and marble dust or chalk referred to as gesso. The gold leaf is then incised and punctured with designs (Stokstad calls this punchwork .) Gold leaf has also been added to the drapery as a means to highlight the folds. Again the rendering of the face and hands was an attempt by the sculptor to represent convincing human forms however, the faces show no real expression and the bodies are completely covered with an almost Byzantine style of drapery that almost completely conceals both figures' bodies. The child Jesus is not rendered as a child buy rather a stiff looking miniature adult. The poses of both figures are stiff and fairly wooden but in the case of Mary, this is appropriate if you look at her role in terms of the work's iconography
This painting was rendered with tempera paint and gold leaf. Tempera is a medium which is made from egg (sometimes just the yolk sometimes the whites) glue and ground up minerals that serve as pigment or colorant. The egg actually glues or binds the pigments to the surface. The paint is applied in small distinct brush strokes that show the brushwork when looked at closely. The background is gold leaf on a wooden panel that has been painted with a a combination of glue and marble dust or chalk referred to as gesso. Gold leaf has also been added to the drapery as a means to highlight the folds. Again the rendering of the face and hands was an attempt by the sculptor to represent convincing human forms however, the faces show no real expression and the bodies are completely covered with an almost Byzantine style of drapery that almost completely conceals both figures' bodies. The child Jesus is not rendered as a child buy rather a stiff looking miniature adult. The poses of both figures are stiff and fairly wooden . Color and the gold leaf used also serve as iconographic reminders of Mary and Jesus' status. Gold leaf and red and blue pigments were made from precious stones and materials and are symbols of there status
http://www.abcgallery.com/D/duccio/maesta.html In 1308 the city of Siena commissioned Duccio to produce a panel for the cathedral’s high altar. The work now is world-known under the name of The Maestà. On June 9, 1311 the completed painting was brought into the cathedral. The huge altarpiece originally must have been over 5 meters (about 16.5 feet) high and 5 meters (about 16.5 feet) long. It was painted on both sides. The whole panel remained on the cathedral’s high altar until 1506, and was then displayed on a different altar. Finally, in 1711 the decision was made to dismantle the altarpiece in order to distribute them between the two altars. This dismantling, of which there is a documentary record, is the reason for the work’s present fragmentary state. At first the whole frame, the predellas and the crowning sections were removed. Then the panel was sawn into seven parts. The two predellas were each painted on a horizontally laid piece of wood, and could therefore be taken apart easily. The main panel, however, posed a problem. On the front, it consists of eleven boards arranged vertically, to which five boards, laid horizontally, were nailed from the back. The wood, which had been glued and nailed together, was very difficult to saw in two, and in the process the picture-surface was severely damaged – especially the Madonna’s face and garment. We owe the panel’s present state of presentation to successful restoration in 1956. Sacra conversazione , a formal grouping, usually painted but sometimes in sculpture (e.g. by Donatello), of the Virgin and Child surrounded by saints.
Cimabue. Madonna and Child Enthroned with Eight Angels and Four Prophets (Maestà). 1280. Tempera on panel. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy. The picture originally stood on the high altar of Santa Trinità church in Florence. The iconography is frequent in medieval painting and represents the Madonna enthroned with Child and angels, a pattern commonly said Maestà as shows the Virgin as Queen of Paradise. In the lower part are four biblical figures, symbolizing foundations of Christ's kingdom: the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah under lateral arches, Abraham and King David under the chair of the throne. This Madonna, still shows the influence of the Byzantine tradition. There is, however, an unprecedented tension in the profiles and in the attempt to create spatial depth, which is rendered by superimposing the figures and in the concave structure at the base of the throne behind the figures of the prophets. The architectural structure of the throne becomes a sort of robust spatial scheme which creates a three-dimensional effect, while the edges of the painting seem to compress and hold in the bodies. Cimabue may have been the teacher of Giotto.
The “Father of Western painting”
Giotto's Arena Chapel 1305-1306 also called Scrovegni Chapel (consecrated March 25, 1305), small chapel built in the first years of the 14th century in Padua, Italy, by Enrico Scrovegni and containing frescoes by the Florentine painter Giotto. A "Last Judgment" covers the entire west wall. The rest of the chapel is covered with frescoes in three tiers representing scenes from the lives of Saints Joachim and Anna, the life of the Virgin, the Annunciation, and the Life and Passion of Christ, concluding with the Pentecost. Below the three narrative bands is a fourth containing monochrome personifications of the virtues and vices. The frescoes were completed in or before 1309, and they are generally dated about 1305-06.
Giotto. Lamentation. 1304-1306. Fresco. Capella degli Scrovegni, Padua, Italy The small, bare church is covered with frescoes in three tiers representing scenes from the lives of Joachim and Anna, the life of the Virgin, the Annunciation (on the chancel arch), and the life and Passion of Christ, concluding with Pentecost. Below these three narrative bands is a fourth containing monochrome personifications of the Virtues and Vices. Form: Giotto is known for his ability to create a rational sense of space, even though he hasn't really formulated or learned the laws of perspective as they are known by 1400. In this image, he does not really rely on vertical perspective to create space initially but rather he overlaps the figures. Giotto uses chiaroscuro (the play of light and shadow or shading) to create realism in this work. According to the Brittanica, chiaroscuro (from Italian chiaro, "light"; scuro, "dark"), which is technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects. The drapery is no longer rendered in the cartoonish or awkward manner of earlier paintings and the light source seems consistent across the entire picture plane. The gesture and the creation of space are combined by Giotto in the figure of St. John (?) whose arms he shows as being thrown wide and in the attitudes and poses of the angels and the figures with their backs to the viewer. The torsos of both the angels who fly above and the figures in the foreground are foreshortened. Foreshortening , is when something like an arm, or a finger or even the trunk of the bodies of the angels project forward into the viewer's face. As things move towards the front (the fore ground) of the picture plane, they actually look shorter, hence, foreshortened.
Giotto executed a series of works on the life of St. Francis in the Bardi Chapel of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy.
Taddeo Gaddi, The meeting of Joachim and Anna , 1338 Giotto, The meeting of Joachim and Anna , 1305
Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi Loss of Cimabue and Giotto frescoes and 4 lives due to earthquake. By the time the dust had settled, more than 2,300 square feet of frescoes, including famous works attributed to the Florentine artists Giotto and Cimabue, had collapsed, shattering into tens of thousands of fragments.
Since the later thirteenth century, the city grain market had been located on this site. Grain supply was crucial to the stability of urban life.. The current building was begun in 1336 and replaced an older wooden loggia that had been destroyed by fire. Orsanmichele was originally an open loggia (grain market) around the central grain market of Florence. Located at the heart of Florence along an axis extending from the cathedral to the town hall, Orsanmichele represents the intersection of economic, civic and religious life. After the completion of the ground floor in the 1350s and the upper stories were begun, it was decided to enclose the open loggia. Inside was a tabernacle which protected a miracle working image of the Madonna and Child. The tabernacle became a kind of memorial to the plague
The painting inside of the tabernacle is of the Virgin and Child by Bernardo Daddi . The panel depicting the Madonna is linked with the plague of 1348 that struck Florence, an event that halved the population of the city
An altarpiece is a carving, painting, sculpture, screen or decorated wall made for a Christian church altar, the table at which mass is said. They vary enormously in size and conception, from tiny portable pictures to huge structures embracing the arts of architecture, sculpture and painting. Normally, the altarpiece rests on the altar, but it is also found behind or even above. The centre of the altarpiece features a depiction of Christ, the Virgin Mary or a saint, with the side panels generally showing scenes relating to the life of the central figure. These are presented in chronological order and can be read like a comic strip. The backs of the side panels are almost always painted, giving a finished aspect to the altarpiece when closed. Sometimes panels are attached along the bottom; this is referred to by the Italian term 'predella'. International Style A style that appealed to the taste for brilliant color, lavish costume, intricate ornamentation, and themes involving processions in which knights and ladies, complete with entourage, could be shown. This style began with the association of Simone Martini.
Simone Martini, Annunciation, 1333 10'x8' (central panel) Lippo Memmi, (Wings) Frame 19th C Anonymous polyptych, diptych and triptych Words emanate from Gabriel's mouth, "Hail favored one! The Lord is with you
The altarpiece was executed between 1329 and 1333 for the chapel of Sant'Ansano of the Cathedral in Siena by Simone Martini and his brother-in-law Lippo Memmi, to whom are attributed the two lateral figures: Saint Ansano - patron of Siena - and Saint Giulitta. Mary is holding either a book of hours or a Bible. Brittanica describes a book of hours as a, devotional book widely popular in the later Middle Ages. The growing demand for smaller such books for family and individual use created a prayer book style enormously popular among the wealthy. The demand for the books was crucial to the development of Gothic illumination. These lavishly decorated texts, of small dimensions, varied in content according to their patrons' desires.She pulls away slightly from Gabriel as he announces that she will be having the son of god demonstrating a very human response and therefore humanistic perspective. Both Mary and Gabriel are dressed in a cross between Byzantine clothing and Roman style togas indicating a historicism about them. The colors used for the clothing are expensive and so is the gold leaf in the background. Both the figures heads are adorned with halos that are ornamented with punchwork. However, there is a bit more in terms of their ornamentation. The checked pattern on Gabriel's gown may actually be a reference to either a popular style of fabric design or a type of fabric produced by the patron. Plant forms figure powerfully into this kind of image. Between the two figures is a vessel filled with lilies. The vessel refers to Mary's role as the "vessel of God" and the white flowers refer to her purity. The olive branch is a reference to the story of Noah in which the dove brings an olive branch back to the ark and this is a symbol of God's renewed covenant with Noah. The wreath of olives around Gabriel's head is a similar refernce both also refers to the Greek and Roman traditions of honoring heroes and athletes with the laurel wreaths on there head as an impromptu crown. It may also be a reference to Christ's crwon of thorns.
Pietro Lorenzetti, The Birth of the Virgin, from Siena Cathedral, 1342. Tempera and gold on wood, frame partially replaced 6'x5' Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena Formally a triptych, in fact it is a single scene. In the centre St. Anne in a position similar to the Etruscan sarcophagus. The composition is Byzantine but the painting as a whole is Italian showing the influence of Giotto. The framework structure of the panel shows the walls and supporting uprights of a house with the front wall removed. The rooms are shown in convincing perspective, with the anteroom on the left giving access to a tall, Gothic inner courtyard. In the main room St Anne, who has just given birth, is lying in bed while maidservants wash the newborn Mary. The child's aged father Joachim is receiving the happy news from a boy in the anteroom. “ box space” scenes
The Triumph of Death is one of, if not the fundamental work of art to express the obsession with death during the plague of 1348. Painted in 1350 by Francesco Traini on walls of cloister around cemetery. Portrays the right way (monastic) to proceed through life without being killed by the plague Death as a woman invades orange grove Above cliff, angels and the Devil fight over the souls that are leaving the bodies Cliff hovering over mound of corpses Hunters come across dead people and realize their fates Man's preparation for death.