Cimabue Vs Giotto

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Cimabue and Giotto both painted their own versions of the Virgin Enthroned with Child. Cimabue was a Florentine painter who mentored Giotto. These two altarpieces were created during the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, in which there was a shift away from the Byzantine (maniera greca) style. Painters took inspiration from the Bible for their works of art. This leads to a lot of well-established Iconography. During the 13th century, a lot of early Italian Renaissance art was influenced by the traditional Byzantine style. Originality and creativity were both about advancing an artwork. Even though Cimabue painted this scene about 30 years before Giotto, Giotto advanced the aesthetics. This progression of aesthetics, therefore, was the creativity…show more content…
His monumental 12’7” feet tall by 7’4” feet wide altarpiece set a new precedent for altarpieces. You can see the Byzantine iconography when you look at how the Virgin looks out at the viewer while gesturing toward her son as the path to salvation. The painting is hieratically scaled, so that the figure of the Virgin holding her child are painted larger than the surrounding angels and the Hebrew prophets below them. This hieratic scale shows that the focus of the painting is on the holy figures. Depth and perception are not regarded in traditional Byzantine art, therefore we have an explanation to why Cimabue paints stiff body forms. We can also see the lack of depth when you look at how the angels on either side of the Virgin are stacked up on each other, creating a flat two dimensional effect. Cimabue did pay some attention to spatial volumes by using a delicate modeling in light and shade to attempt to simulate a three dimensional form. His use of shadows and patterns to create perspective to the painting can be seen in how the arches at the bottom of the throne are of a darker tone than the pillars supporting the arches. He was the first to show some depth by adding white lines and shapes into the Virgin’s blue robe. This added life to the fabric, but even then she appears very tall and thin. Byzantine icons are meant to be beautiful works of art which were created for spiritual reasons and were never meant to reflect naturalism. Cimabue moved away from that by adding realistic folds in the drapery and filling figures out a little more. Byzantine influence can be seen in how all of the faces are stylized in Cimabue’s work, wearing an unexpressive expression. They weren’t meant to express naturalistic emotion, they were meant to be objects of worship. While Cimabue’s angels and the prophets are all looking separate ways, this creates several points of view for the viewer (Giotto made

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