Giotto and Picasso
Giotto di Bondone and Pablo Picasso, two of the greatest artists in history, greatly influenced today’s art and its techniques. Both of them broke the boundaries applied to their time and expressed space in ways that had never been seen before. Nonetheless, there exist differences between the two. For instance, their artistic styles and stages differed. While Giotto painted in the Gothic period and in the style of frescoe, Picasso, being a painter of the twentieth century, had many styles and stages broken down into periods to his works. His most famous period, also known as the most radical art of the twentieth century, has been Cubism. Furthermore, Giotto dealt largely in traditional religious subjects, something which Picasso did not. Giotto was also the first to apply expression to faces, making each person an individual; show detailed clothing and fill in his background with trees and mountains. Their way of breaking boundaries also differed. Giotto broke free from the old stylistic conventions that had dominated European art for more than a thousand years. Picasso, on the other hand, opened up a century’s worth of exploration on the meaning of art through his angry masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and his conclusion to the concept of Cubism. Yet another difference between the two would be their use of space. In his Madonna enthroned, Giotto opened up space in front and behind the Madonna, creating a window that allowed the viewer to see into an illusionistic space on the two- dimensional panel; while Picasso began to express space in strongly geometrical terms, creating an almost sculptural sense of space in the late 1906 during the beginnings of Cubism. Both being such great influences on art, it would be hard to decide who the better artist had been and, although Giotto may be recognized as the first genius of art in the early Italian Renaissance, Picasso is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.
Giotto was a painter of the Gothic period, which was from approximately 1200-1300, and painted in the style of frescoe.1 Although he lacked the knowledge of perspective and anatomy, which was common amongst other artists of his day, Giotto was the first to have a grasp of human emotion and of the significance that human life holds.2 He was also the first to present detailed clothing and a filled-in background along with showing people in his paintings as individuals, each portraying some sort of expression or emotion on their face. In his Lamentation of the dead Christ or ‘Pieta’, Giotto showed each face in the painting as a different person with expression or emotion on the faces and filled in the background with trees and mountains. He broke free from the old stylistic conventions that dominated European art in his painting of the Madonna Enthroned. Here, he opened up space in front and behind the Madonna, creating a window that allowed the viewer to see into an illusionistic space on the two-dimensional panel, giving the panel a sense close to tri-dimensionality.3 Giotto also introduced a naturalistic style of painting.4 In his Madonna and Child, Giotto showed baby fat, baby hands doing baby things (instead of blessing people) and details on the Madonna’s clothing. In his Kiss of Judas, one can see individual hairs and Judas’ lips puckering for the kiss. His works dealt largely on traditional religious subjects, such as the Madonna or Judas, but he gave them an earthly and full-bloodied life and force.5 Although his style began to die down, it was later revived in the 1400s by Masaccio.
Pablo Picasso began to draw at an early age and, unlike Giotto, had many stages and styles to his paintings. He had a “Blue Period”, a “Rose Period” and an “Abstract” or “Cubist Period”; the latest of the three being his most famous period.6 Picasso’s “Blue Period” was during his late teens, around 1901 to 1904, and the works he produced were quite...
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