The Wedding at Cana was painted by Giotto di Bondone between the
years 1304-1306. This painting is part of a series of frescoes painted
in the Capella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel). The dimensions are 200 x 185 cm.
The Wedding at Cana is painted in a humorous manner, where the homeliness
of the interior is emphasized by the striped wall-hanging, the round-bellied
amphorae, and the comic characterization of the guests and servants. It
is painted in the typical Early Renaissance style with all the heads lining
up on a similar plane. The background is stark, with no landscape visible.
Jesus, his mother, and John the Evangelist stand out as holy figures due
to the presence of their large plate like halos. The figures are crude
and simple in form, and the faces depict the typical type Giotto preferred,
with long straight noses and almond shaped eyes. The arch above them draws
the viewer to the center of the painting. Despite Giotto's skill, he was
not knowledgeable about human anatomy...the people are all unrealistic
in appearance. The quatrefoil depicts Moses Drawing Water from the Rock.
This miracle is seen as foreshadowing Christ's transformation of water
into wine at Cana.
Healing of the Man Born Blind
This painting was created by El Greco in 1570. The medium is oil
on canvas, and the dimensions are 50 x 61cm. It is now displayed in the
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden. This painting is typical of the El Greco style
because of the tremendous use of bright, dynamic color. El Greco paints
with a loose style and depicts the characters in the painting with strong
emotions and physical movement. Like his predecessor Giotto, El Greco uses
iscepholy, which is when all the heads fall on the same level. The characters
stand in the controposto position, with one leg engaged. El Greco uses
atmospheric perspective in his work which is evident by the intricate detail
visible in the front of the painting while it fades and blurs in the background.
El Greco has grasped the concept of linear perspective in his use of the
dog and the receding presentation of the building. Also, it is typical
of the Renaissance period to show Jesus and his disciples in an atmosphere
that resembles an Italian landscape.
Raising of Lazarus
Benozzo Gozzoli painted the Raising of Lazarus in 1497, approximately
the year of his death. It is an oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 31 3/4 in. in diameter
and is located in the Wiedner Collection. This was one of our favorite
paintings because of the startling difference in color in comparison to
the others. We believe the use of dark, dismal shades may be directly related
to the time period Benozzo created this work. He died in 1497 so this would
be one of his last works. Again, Benozzo uses the typical Renaissance style
which depicts Jesus in an environment that is similar to an Italian landscape.
The architecture in the background recedes in clarity due to his use of
atmospheric perspective. Benozzo uses a large tree to direct the viewers'
gaze to the main focal point in the painting, Jesus Christ. The disciples
and Jesus all wear traditional Renaissance drapery, which falls in complex
and idealized folds. The holy people are evident by their thin gold halos.
Washing of the Disciples' Feet
Duccio di Buoninsegna created this work using tempera on wood between
the years 1308-1311. The dimensions are 50 x 53 cm. and it is located at
the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, Siena. Only John tells the story of the
Washing of the Feet, and the events should therefore be read from the top
downwards, according to the order in which they occur in this Gospel. The
setting is the interior, in central perspective, of an unadorned room;
the only decorative elements are the coffered ceiling and the multifoiled
insert placed on the rear wall. This detail must also be imagined in the
Last Supper, hidden by Christ's halo, since it reappears in Christ Taking
Leave of the Apostles, which according to John's Gospel occurs in the same
place. Echoes from Byzantine art can be seen in the Washing of the Feet,
in the crowded throng of the apostles and Peter's gesture, while Christ's
position recalls Western models. Don't be alarmed, however, by the rats
seen lurking beneath the disciples' feet! They are not rats but ill-conceived
versions of Roman period sandals. We are sure that there were rats in Jerusalem,
but we do not think Duccio would depict them on such a holy occasion.
Raphael's vision of the crucifixion was painted between 1502-03
using oil on wood. The dimensions are 279 x 166 in., and it is located
in the National Gallery, London. This painting truly captures Raphael's
style. The figures are shown with soft, rounded faces and the landscape
is similar to that of a meadow, which Raphael used frequently in his paintings
of the Madonna. There is a harmony in this work, created by the triangular
composition of Jesus, Mary, and the "Beloved Disciple." We see a gentle
intimacy between the figures, evident in the mournful, adoring gazes. Two
angels fly beside Jesus clothed in swirling ribbon and fanciful dress.
Christ looks peaceful in his death...there is little blood or evidence
of his brutal killing. Raphael romanticizes the crucifixion, as is typical
of the Renaissance style.