To keep things interesting I wanted to include a variety of works in these Advent reflections so today I thought I’d look at some more traditional art.
I’ve chosen Giotto di Bondone (or just Giotto) because it is so different to anything else I’ve chosen and because his paintings are simply beautiful.
His paintings brought to life the scenes he was depicting, both by giving them depth and a sense of realism but also because he had a ‘genius for distilling complex stories into a series of compelling moments’ (p538 Art History). While following in the tradition of the time, he also brought his own sense to his work - giving the people depicted a compelling humanness and dimension, ‘he paints the story with a clarity and realism unknown by his contemporaries’ (p37A Journey into Christian Art). The people are involved in the scene, they are imbedded.
They present beautifully crafted moments in time and remind us of the sacredness of small moments as well as the ‘largeness’ of these particular moments.
I also simply enjoy the beautiful and amazing bright colouring and light that seems to reflect out of his images.
He painted a number of works with similar subject matter over time. Below I’ve put links to a series of four but you could explore this site further to have a look at his others.
I’ve chosen these because they stood out to me. Here are a few things in particular:
- In the Annunciation I am fascinated by the way the words of the angel are visible, almost as though they might physically be absorbed by Mary.
- I am drawn to the beautiful gold shimmering in Annunciation & Nativity.
Adoration of the Kings
http://www.giottodibondone.org/Adoration-of-the-Kings.html- In Adoration of the Kings I love the line of people waiting to meet Jesus and worship at his feet.They seem happy to be there, eager, waiting for their turn but prepared to wait all the same, they simply want to meet him
In The Epiphany I love the watchful eye of Mary over her newborn son and the joy of the angels playing above. Jesus has been placed near her and possibly with the intention of allowing Mary to sleep, but her newborn still draws her eye.
In Christ’s birth I am fascinated by Joesph. It is rare to see a tired Joseph and it reminds us that even though this has of course been a very tiring event for Mary, that Joseph too has had a very interesting experience - travel arrangements, not to mention trying to find non-existent accommodation and the worry of a birth. But now mother and baby are fine, so maybe he too can rest.
Adoration of the Kings
A Journey into Christian Art by Helen de Borchgrave
Art History by Marilyn Stockstad & Michael W. Cothren