Art History: Giotto vs Duccio

Topics: Painting, Oil painting, Fresco Pages: 3 (1053 words) Published: November 19, 2006
After closely studying the fresco The Flight into Egypt by Giotto, the tempera panel The Rucellai Madonna by Duccio and the gilding The Annunciation by Martini, it is evident that the content and style of each painting is influenced majorly by the process in which it was created. Discussed will be the extent to which I believe these paintings are affected by the medium they are created from, with specific evidence.

The artist Giotto could be described most accurately, although amongst other things, as extremely innovative. His artwork The Flight Into Egypt , which is painted on fresco, is just one example of his incredible innovation. It is fairly obvious though, within looking at the artwork for more than a few seconds, that the painting process he used had a rather huge impact on the finished product. For example, no panel painting of the time had achieved such naturalistic depth, or such simple and clear narrative. So what was it about the fresco medium that made it so influential on a innovative new artist? Well, to begin with, it's size. A fresco covers the entire span of a wall, and with such huge area to cover, an artist barely has the time (nor patience no doubt) to spend time on intricate and decorative detail. In fact, the simplicity of the composition and therefore readability is heaven-sent for an illiterate society. Instead, wide washes of paint are brushed onto the plaster surface, creating naturalistic tonal variation, which adds volume and weight to figures and landscape. Keeping in mind that the artist only has a few hours a to work on each new plastered section, they waste no time on unnecessary details. The problem with fresco is if it dries too much before you paint on it, the plasters won't "suck in" and preserve the pigment brushed onto it. Time is therefore the biggest issue for fresco painters. The selection of pigment colour to paint on fresco was actually very limited. This is because the chemical make up of pigments often...
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