Art: Birth of the Virgin

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In Pietro Lorenzetti’s triptych, Birth of the Virgin, the artist’s gift for pictorial illusionism is clearly evident. The painting is 6’1’‘X5’11’’ in dimensions and painted with tempera on wood. Lorenzetti enhances the illusion by using various vertical lines as well as painting a column through one of the figures. This creates an illusion of extended space within the painting. Lorenzetti uses shades of red, brown, green, black and blue. The clothing of the figures are darker in shade compared to the background of the scene which is painted in tints of yellow and white. The contrast each other very well and draws more attention to the subject of the painting, Saint Anne. The strong contrast between the light and dark colors of the painting create a three dimensional illusion. Lorenzetti uses the tints of white and yellow to contrast the the wardrobe and appearance of the figures. The artist also used extensive shading on the wardrobe and curtains to add a three dimensional appearance to the painting. Lorenzetti was successful in creating depth within his painting for it shows the room as three dimensional rather that two dimensional. Overall, the colors truly create a sense of drama within this painting.

The subject of the triptych, St. Anne, is in a reclining posture. There are three scenes within this painting. First, we see the child informing Joachim on the birth of his daughter. We also see women bringing gifts to the new mother. Lastly, the midwives attend to and wash the new child. The painting has two triangular aspects in this painting with St. Anne at its highest point and also the dome at the top of the triptych as another high point.
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