Final Exam Study Guide Part I

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Figures from Hartt:
Figure- 8.2
Artist- Gentile da Fabriano
Title- Strozzi Altarpiece, Adoration of the Magi
Date- 1423
Medium- tempera on panel
Location- Sacristy of Sta. Trinita, Florence. Now: Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Physical concerns, iconography, patronage (context and function), perspective, etc- This was commissioned by Palla Strozzi for his family burial chapel. The Adoration of the Magi marks the moment when the infant Christ was first shown to the Gentiles. The theme and the garments of the Magi were appropriate to a sacristy where the clergy dressed themselves and prepared for saying the Mass, during which Christ becomes manifest in the Eucharist on the altar. The frame recalls earlier Gothic examples but the forms are now unified by an exuberant vitality, combined with greater depth and naturalism. The left and right gables feature roundels of the Annunciation, while in the central gable a youthful God blesses the scene; and the prophets recline in the spandrels. In the predella, the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt, and the Presentation in the Temple appear almost as one continuous strip. Three small scenes in the arges of the main panel narrate moments in the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem. In the left arch the Magi gaze at the star, in the center the kings ride up on a road toward Jerusalem, and on the right they are about to enter the town of Bethlehem. The cave is evident, along with ox, ass, and manger, and the modest family. The oldest Magus prostrates himself before the Jesus with his own crown on the ground; the second kneels and lifts his crown; the youngest waits his turn. Attendants crowd the space along with animals.

Figure- 8.3
Artist- Gentile da Fabriano, Nativity
Title- Nativity
Date- 1423
Medium- tempera on panel
Location- on the Strozzi Altarpiece described above.
Physical concerns, iconography, patronage (context and function), perspective, etc- Here, the light effects are more natural. There is a pool of light emanating from the Christ Child, Gentile represents the effects of this light shining upon the ceiling of the cave and upon the faces of the kneeling ox and ass. After illuminating the Virgin, it casts her shadow on the shed and then casts the shadow of the shed itself upon the underside of the lean-to where the midwives have taken shelter (one is curious and the other is napping). That same light even picks out the branches of the tree under which Joseph is sleeping. The attention to nature in this scene is partly Trecentesque, with its miraculous rather than natural light.

Figure- 8.9
Artist- Masaccio
Title- Tribute Money
Date- 1420s
Medium- fresco
Location- Brancacci Chapel
Physical concerns, iconography, patronage (context and function), perspective, etc- Perhaps commissioned by Felice Brancacci. The head of Christ is painted on one of the last giornate of the fresco, probably because this is where a nail, driven in the plaster, had been used as a fulcrum for a string employed to determine the perspective recession of the building to the right. The head of Christ is in the style of Masolino and may have been pained by him. This fresco was painted in 31 days! This painting depicts when Christ and the apostles arrived at Capernaum, Peter was confronted by a Roman tax collector who demanded the usual half-drachma tribute. Peter, returns to Christ for instructions, and is told that he would find the money in the mouth of a fish near the shore of Lake Galilee. He caught the fish, collected the money, and paid the tax collector, who then departed. This scene revises the story and the tax collector comes right to Christ and the apostles who are standing in a semicircle in a wide Arno Valley landscape. Peter is pointing to the left indicating the direction to Galilee. In the background Peter finds the fish in the shallow water and on the right in the foreground he pays the tax collector. This painting may reflect the debate...
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