Yasmeen Al Idrissi
Professor Milda Richardson
Renaissance to Modern
8 February, 2016
Humanism and Renaissance Artistry
at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Renaissance movement started in Italy during the 14th century and then spread to the rest of Europe and ended in the 17th century. The Renaissance meaning rebirth, came in between the Middle Ages and Modern History, and it acted like a link that bonded the past, present and future together. Many innovations were developed during the Renaissance period in fields such as art, politics and science.
Giotto di Bondone was one of the first and greatest Italian artist whose art contributed to the Italian Renaissance period. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Giotto, captures the moment Mary hands over Jesus to Saint Simeon. Just looking at this piece allows you to see the emotion and feelings of the people in the painting. Specifically, Giotto’s Presentation of Jesus in the Temple differs from other medieval icons because of its high sense of naturalism. Giotto was known for capturing unity and emotion between the figures in his paintings by using very simple and natural gestures. This particular painting by Giotto shows no exaggeration in the story and events of what is happening, but is still able to capture a very strong emotion and feeling from the viewer.
This painting differs from other medieval icons for several reasons. During this time period, artist would usually portray Mary, Jesus and Saints as being supernatural and out of this world, and many viewers believed that through them, they could connect to God. As stated before, Giotto did not over exaggerate with the figures and create this feeling towards them. The figures look very natural and the way he distinguished them as being out of this world and different than people who were not holy and sacred, was by creating this very subtle halo or ring around their heads. As you can see, prophetess Anna did not have a halo around her head, but she does not stand out among the other figures because of Giotto’s strong sense of naturalism which distinguished him from other medieval icons.
There are a few innovations found in the Giotto panel which is made out of tempera and gold on wood. Firstly, he did not paint the figures looking or facing the viewer, the figures are facing each other and interacting with one another and not with the viewer, which establishes a strong bond between the figures. The figures in his paintings were treated as human beings and living individual, much differently than how many other painters treated the figures in their paintings. The composition of the panel is also very strong. He has placed the figures in a very balanced manner, having a man and a woman on the right, and a man and a woman on the left in between a temple. This very balanced composition also helps develop this very natural feeling to the painting. In the painting, Mary is handing baby Jesus to Saint Simeon with her arm still placed in...