Dec 13, 2017 in Art

Art History

The picture “Adoration of the Magi” was painted by the representative of the Renaissance period. His name was Bartolomeo di Giovanni. The picture was created between 1485 and 1488. It was supposed to become a piece of the altar in the church of Santa Maria degli Innocenti. The subject of the picture which had been chosen by Dolmenico Ghirlandaio was the adoration of the Magi. As a matter of fact, this subject used to be the most common one among all the others used in the Florentine Art. Actually, the drawing of the painter was approved beforehand by a special commission, so the general view and the colors used were chosen long before the picture was created. The author painted it using the tempera on the wood. Generally speaking, the picture goes beyond the previous versions of the same theme which were used by Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. It was definitely more detailed and more magnificent. The other picture which is to be compared is “Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels”. It was created by Raffaellino del Garbo. He was also the representative of the early Renaissance period. The real name of the painter was Raffaello Cappomi. He used a nickname which actually denoted the gorgeous delicacy of his previous works. The picture was created in 1502. It was painted on the poplar panel. The painter used the oil to create the picture. It is necessary to add that he also decided to choose the traditional type of depiction of Madonna which was very typical for the Western European Art. Actually, on both pictures Madonna occupies the central position on the painting. On the picture by Bartolommeo di Giovanni she is holding the Child with her right hand, however, on the picture by Raffaellino del Garbo, the Child is sitting on the left knee, and it is logical that Madonna is holding him with the left hand. Bartolommeo di Giovanni depicted a lot of people and all of them are showing their respect to Madonna and the Child. It is obvious from the fact that one man kisses the foot of the child and some others are standing on their knees pointing on Madonna or just looking at her and the Child. The picture of Bartolommeo di Giovanni seems to be overcrowded; however, it is easy to spot the Magi. There are three of them, as it has to be traditionally. They are symbolizing three periods of man’s life. The oldest is kissing the child’s foot, the other two are depicted with presents. The youngest one is portrayed as the one who holds the gold and glass goblet. The author also painted Saints and one of them is John the Baptist. He is on the right side of the picture, and he is pointing at the Christ. On the left side we can see John the Evangelist. A very interesting fact is that Bartolommeo de Giovanni depicted Francesco di Giovanni Tesori. That is actually the man who commissioned the painting. The author also decided to depict other children except the little Christ. And again, these two children are situated on the both sides of the painting. The most significant fact is that both children have injuries on their bodies. The children are standing near Saints. It is widely hailed that these children represent all of those who suffered during the Massacre of the Innocent. And by the way, the scene of this Massacre is depicted on the left side of the picture. Above that scene the author painted a stylized Rome and the spectators may see the Trajan’s column, the Coliseum and even the Pyramis of Cestius. That picture is very peculiar because the author paints the Gothic church on the hill and the pagan Rome which stands on the way to the true religion. It is noticeable that in the centre, on top, author depicted the angel chorus. We can see that angles are looking on Madonna with the Child and they are singing. They are also holding the scroll with the phrase “Gloria in excelsis Deo” on it. Not only human beings are depicted on the painting, there are also two animals on both sides near Madonna. The animals on the picture are quite traditional, these are an ox and a donkey.

The other picture was created by Raffaellino del Garbo. This picture is not so much crowded with characters. There are seven characters except Madonna with the Child. The author depicted two Saints on the picture and four angels. Two angels are situated on the both sides near Madonna. The other two angels are depicted above. Raffaellino del Garbo painted saint Bartholomew on the right side of the picture. He is traditionally portrayed with a book and a quill in his hands. Saint Gerome is depicted on the left side of the painting. He looks on Madonna and holds a cross in his left hand. There are versions that it was Saint Nicolas but the author used two proves to show that it was Saint Jerome. First of all, he is always depicted with the cross. The key to this proof lies in the almost unnoticeable character on the picture. Raffaellino depicted a lion near the left leg of Saint Gerome. Actually, Saint Gerome is always portrayed with the lion, because the animal symbolizes the story of how the Saint healed the paw of the lion. However, the other reason why the author decided to portray a lion is because he wanted to show the ancient history of Mary’s family line which goes back as far as David. And the lion actually symbolizes the family line of David. Another proof of why the man on the left is Gerome is the red hat on the bottom of the picture. The red hat in art usually emphasizes the rank of Gerome. He was a cardinal and artists tried to show this fact by depicting some objects on paintings. Madonna is portrayed with the lily. This flower is widely known to be the symbol of purity. It is interesting that there is no such symbol on the other picture by Giovanni. As a matter of fact, much less attention is paid to Madonna on the picture by Giovanni. She is holding the child, but even the child is not looking on the mother. And on the painting by Garbo, the child is approaching his mother and looks on her. There is another object depicted on the painting, and this is the opened book on the bottom of the painting. It is believed that Mary is a Saint patron of studies and learning. That is probably the reason why the author has chosen to depict an opened book, because it actually symbolizes the knowledge. As we already know, the red hat is the symbol of the cardinal. And that is crucial as Virgin Mary is a central person of the Church especially in the Roman Catholic religion. The basic difference between the pictures is the fact that Raffaellino del Garbo did not depict any kind of background on his picture. The painting by Bartolommeo di Giovanni shows not only the background with different scenes. People are depicted out side under the canopy with singing angel’s chorus on it. Raffaellino depicted Virgin Mary in the niche with the scallop shell above Mary. As a matter of fact this shell became very popular in the Renaissance epoch. This is the sign of the classical past, as well as the depiction of the columns, and it is widely known that the masters of Renaissance era returned to the attainments of the past art. Generally speaking, despite the fact that the topic is similar, its implementation is different. Raffaellino del Garbo used new trends in the art and painted his picture using oil. That actually made his painting more realistic and made the colors more saturated. He also used more symbols of the classic era which is very peculiar for the Renaissance epoch. As a matter of fact, Bartolommeo di Giovanni used traditional egg tempera while creating his picture. The author did not have the actual possibility to experiment because his work was approved with the commissioner. The colors and their quality were decided beforehand and even the cost of the painting was set. The painting had really delighted all of the middleman and definitely the client. On the other hand, Raffaellino del Garbo actually began his career as an assistant of Filippino Lippi. He was the artist who admired pagan themes that is why probably his influence is evident in the work by Garbo. However, Garbo’s style is full with youthful freshness and peculiar charm. There are also facts that Garbo remained in Rome. Researchers say that he worked in the Vatican with some frescoes and this was the reason of the Umbrian orientation of his paintings. On the other hand, Bartolommeo del Giovanni had a striking Nordic style which is quite different from the style used by Raffaellino. Both artists used the theme of ‘throne of wisdom’ which is a sanctimonious title for the Mother of God. The blessed Virgin is actually associated with glory and teaching, and we can see that each of the artists emphasized only one feature. Virgin Mary is the vessel of the incarnation, because she is carrying the Holy Child. Artists had different approaches, but their works are very magnificent and influential.

Related essays