Η εποχή της Αναγέννησης – Renaissance

Giotto di Bondone – The Lamentation

Giotto’s masterpiece is a series of frescoes that decorate the wall of a small chapel in Padua, Italy. Working between 1305 and 1306, Giotto illustrated the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary on the Arena Chapel’s walls. He used the fresco technique to fill the walls of the chapel with three powerful bands of paint. “The Lamentation” is one of the paintings in the series. The scene appears to be played out be a group of real people. The figures are in active, natural poses: leaning, holding, sitting, and bending. They are monumental and solid. The large folds in their robes suggest weight and mass. His use of shading creates a sense of roundness and natural light that comes from above outside the limits of the picture. Finally, a hint of natural landscape (not a gold background that was typical of the Medieval style) enhances the reality of the event.

After the Betrayal of Christ (Kiss of Judas), the Lamentation of the Death of Christ is the most famous of the Scrovegni Chapel frescoes painted by Giotto in the first decade of the 14th century. The frescoes were commissioned by the wealthy Scrovegni family for their private chapel in Padua. (It is also known as the Arena Chapel because it was built on the site of an ancient Roman arena.) Recognized immediately as a masterpiece of Pre-Renaissance painting, Giotto’s fresco cycle introduced a revolutionary style of naturalism with more realistic figures and more realistic emotions. Suddenly the conventional style of medieval painting – as practised, for example, by the Sienese School of painting – appeared wooden and old-fashioned.
The Scrovegni Chapel murals consist of 39 sequential scenes pictorializing the Life of the Virgin Mary and the Life of Christ. The overall iconographic theme is Christian Redemption – probably because the chapel was intended to expiate the sins accumulated by the Scrovegni family as a result of their moneylending activities. In addition, the wall around the chapel’s entrance is decorated with the Last Judgment.
In the scene of the Lamentation, Christ’s body has been cut down from the cross and is surrounded by his weeping family and friends. His head is cradled in the arms of his mother, the Virgin Mary – who is the focus of the picture – while Mary Magdalene grieves at his feet, and John the Evangelist opens his arms wide in shock and anguish.
The emotions of the mourners are expressed largely through their hands and faces, especially their mouths which seem to tremble with grief. Their bowed heads and hunched bodies add to the overall impression of misery. The human figures are given much greater three-dimensionality than normal, while Giotto also creates a convincing impression of space which lends an additional sense of reality to the picture. These three factors – (1) the naturalness of Giotto’s faces and expressions; (2) the sculptural nature of his figures; and (3) the «depth» he creates in his pictures – marked a revolutionary turning-point in painting, and signalled the demise of the old traditions of Byzantine art, with its flat one-dimensional imagery. This traditional style might have been ideal for mosaic art – see, for instance, the awesome Ravenna mosaics – but Europe was developing fast and its art needed to change, too. As it was, Giotto’s innovations provided huge inspiration for Proto-Renaissance artists in Italy and France, and formed the foundation for the Florentine Renaissance and ultimately Renaissance art throughout Europe.

https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/art/looking-at-a-masterpiece-the-lamentation-of-christ.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giotto

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