Essay 1: Comparing Enthroned Madonna to Rucellai Madonna In the 13th century naturalism was on the rise. This can be seen in both the work of Duccio di Bouninsegna and Giotto Di Bondone. However there is difference in their artistic style. This can be seen if you compare Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna to Giotto’s Enthroned Madonna. By looking at Duccio’s work you can see the influence of the Byzantine traditions. Duccio also stays true to the gothic style and the classical view of the way the human body should be portrayed.
This is something that not only did Duccio do in this specific piece or work, but also something that he continued to explore and perfect throughout the remaining duration of his career. This classical view is something that is not a constant throughout the work of Giotto. This can be seen when looking at his Enthroned Madonna. Giotto also shows the shift that happened form the 12th to 13th century. His Madonna is a good example of emphasizing the natural human form and using shading as well as placement to achieve this. Giotto’s Enthroned Madonna is also known as the Ognissanti Madonna.
The Enthroned Madonna was commissioned sometime during 1305 and 1310. It is not known specially when it was painted. However it is believed that the work was originally painted for the Church of Ognissanti. The work was done on a wooden panel that is 3. 25m by 2. 03m in Tempura (Adam, 26). The tempura mix, which was used by grinding pigments and mixing them with egg yoke to create a substance to paint with, was also used in Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna (Adam, 11). Duccio also used a wood panel to create his piece, but his was much larger. The Rucellai Madonna is 4. 52m by 2. 0 m. The Chapel of Santa Maria Novella is who commissions Duccio’s to do this rendition of the Rucellai Madonna.
Looking at the two pieces it is easy to see the similarities between the two. They depict the same concept. Both of the pictures show the Virgin holding the Christ Child while sitting upon a throne while surrounded by saints and angels. Even though the concept is the same, the actual content and the details of it are what make up the differences between the two pieces of work. Something else that is similar to each of the paintings is the symmetry of both.
Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna shows the throne with three angels on each side who seem to be floating in the air equidistant apart. This is different from Giotto. Giotto portrays his saints and angels more life like. They all seem to be worshipping at the foot of the throne while gazing up to the Virgin and Christ child. Giotto also used seven instead of just the three that appear in Duccio’s piece. Even though both of the artist have depicted the virgin sitting on a throne the look of the throne is depicted extremely different.
The throne that Giotto depicts in his version of the Madonna in a throne that has a large front step that seems to be constructed of marble, two large side panels, and a pointed vault at the top. The alter itself is also symmetrical which lends itself to the theme of symmetry that is throughout the entire painting. The grandness of the alter found in Giotto’s Madonna juxtaposes the alter that is found in Duccio’s Madonna. The alter that Duccio depicts is much smaller and not as detailed. Duccio created an alter that had a smaller front step that is support by two arches. This also lends itself to the symmetry found in both paintings.
The background of the alter looks to be a draped curtain. Another thing that draws the attention of a viewer in Duccio’s Madonna are the differences in the angels when compared to Giotto’s. The angels that are in Duccio’s seem to be much more supernatural. They are floating on either sides of the alter and look to have been superimposed into the painting. All of the angels are kneeing to worship the Christ child as well. The Virgin Mary as well as the Christ child are definitely two areas of differences in the two images. In Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna the Virgin Mary had a much more two dimensional face.
There is not as much shading around her nose and the hallows of her cheeks so this give her face a greater appearance of being flat. The Christ Child is seated upon her left knee. He is very skinny. His face doe not look very childlike. Duccio portrayed the Christ Child as almost just being a miniature version of a grown man. The way that Duccio portrays both the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child is much different from the way that Giotto in his Enthroned Madonna portrays them. The Virgin Mary and the Christ Child when portrayed by Giotto are much more realistic.
Giotto added a great deal of shading in the Virgin Mary’s face. He also created a sleek line with her eyebrows that flows into the shaded that is created by the bridge of her nose. The way that he allows all of the lines of her face to flow together really helps to emphasize the realistic nature of his paintings. Giotto also depicted the Christ Child as just that, a child. Christ is much more baby like. This is because of his weight as well as his softened features. Giotto depicts the child as chubbier than he has been seen in other paintings. This chubbiness creates a softness that is normally found in children.
Giotto also placed a scroll in the Christ Child’s left hand, which is something that cannot be found in Duccio’s depiction. However both Duccio and Giotto portrayed the Christ Child blessing the angels and saints around him with his right hand. The reasoning for the scroll being placed in his left hand while he is blessing with his right is because it is symbolizing the last judgment in which the bible describes that on judgment day people will be saved by his right hand and damned by his left (Adam, 27). All in all when looking at the two works or art it is very similar to find the things that are consistent between paintings.
However it is the differences that make these two artists unique. Duccio attempted to create more depth and detail in his painting but was not able to achieve the naturalism on the same level as Giotto. Giotto was able to bring new lift to the 13th century with his work. The fact that his angels where not simply suspended in the air, his Virgin Mary had a great deal more detail, and his alter shows the gothic influence of the time it is obvious to see that Giotto was able to develop a greater sense of lasting change during his time.