Monday, October 18, 2010

The Trinity, the Virgin and the Saints

Title and Date of Work: The Trinity, the Virgin and the Saints, 1500-1510
Name of Artist: Luca Signorelli
Exact Location: Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Medium: Tempera on Wood
Dimensions: 272cm by 180cm

     This work was originally located in the Confraternit√† della Trinit√† dei Pellegrini in Cortona. The placement of this work in the Uffizi did not occur until 1919, nearly four centuries after its creation. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the main museums in Florence. Its significance comes from its connection to the Medici family.
     The Medici family was once one of the most powerful families in Florence and therefore one of the most wealthy. It is known for its banking system. This family was known for its political clout and power. Due to its vast resources and connections, the Medici were able to build a ‘kingdom’ that is still recognized for being a great example of economic prosperity and success. Their ability to establish a system of banking allowed the Medici family to truly prosper in a variety of ways. As a result of their seemingly infinite wealth, this family acquired many works of art. Thanks to this family much art was preserved despite the “Burning of the Vanities” promoted by Savonarola in 1497. The Medici family had a large role in the preserving and honoring of the arts and due to that this painting, like many others, is still available today.

The Trinity: Capitoline Museum

Title and Date of Work: The Trinity, 1405-1410 ca.
Name of Artist: Niccolo di Pietro Gerini
Exact Location: Capitoline Museum, previously in Florence
Medium: Tempera on Panel
Dimensions: 217 cm by 89 cm

     This painting was commissioned to Niccolo di Pietro Gerini by Francesco Datini. Within the painting the faces of three members of the Datini family are present- Francesco, his wife Margherita, and his adopted daughter Ginevra. The importance of the patron is seen in the placement of this family within this work. Clearly the painter wanted to recognize his patrons showing his appreciation for them, but also it demonstrates the power of the patron over the painter.
     The symbolism within the painting is very clear. The depiction of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are relatively traditional. What is remarkable is the fact that God the Father seems to be holding up the cross upon Jesus is crucified. This demonstrates the loving relationship between God the Father and His Son. The placement of the Holy Spirit further represents the full presence of God throughout the whole event.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holy Trinity

Title and Date of Work: Trinity with the Virgin, St. John the Evangelist, and Donors, 1427-28
Name of Artist: Masaccio
Exact Location: Santa Maria Novella, Florence
Medium: Fresco
Dimensions: 21 feet by 10 feet, 5 inches

     Masaccio's fresco is simple but at the same time conveying the necessary details. If you look up at the ceiling, you can see the small squares, which are called coffers, the Corinthian and Iconic columns and capitals.  For those who do not know what capitals are, they are the decorated top of a column or pilaster. Iconic columns has a scroll shape whereas the Corinthian columns have a leafy shape. He also used receding lines to draw the audience's attention to certain things. Our attention is instantly drawn to God the Father and slowly moves down to the base of the cross, there the lines disappear. This gives the viewers the impression that they are looking up at Christ.
     The audience can also see the humanism in Masaccio's fresco by looking at his portrayal of God the Father. Many Renaissance artists usually painted God the Father as a hand but here, Masaccio has given the Father a body, with details that include toenails. We can see from the painting that the Father is holding up Jesus, which many artists had never done before. Some scholars contribute this to Masaccio's teacher, Brunellschi.

San Paolo: Mosaic of the Apse

Title and Date of Work: 13th Century; Renovations Made Since
Name of Artist: Various Venetian Masters
Exact Location: San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Medium: Mosaic
Dimensions: 24m by 12m

     In the center of the Mosaic we see Christ making the symbol of the Trinity; this is Christ's hand displaying three fingers (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the other fingers represent Christ's double nature, divine and human.
     To Christ's right we see Paul and Luke. Paul's name is the only name to be written in both Greek and Latin. To Christ's left we see Peter and Andrew.
     Christ is holding an open scroll displaying the last judgment. The scroll reads "Come, you blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom that has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world."
     The scroll that Paul is holding reads "At the name of Jesus, let every knee bow down, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth."
     Peter's scroll reads "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maesta Tri Santi Giovanni Battista e Giovanni Evangelista

Title and Date of Work: Maesta Tri Santi Giovanni Battista e Giovanni Evangelista, 1368-1452
Name of Artist: Bicci di Lorenzo Exact Location: The Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Francis in The Frederick Mason Perkins Collection Assisi, Italy
Medium: Oil and Gold
Dimensions: About 3 feet by 1.5 feet

     This painting is one of fifty-eight pieces from Frederick Mason Perkins private art collection donated to the Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Francis. American painter, Perkins died in 1955, two years after signing his collection over to the Basilica. The reason he wanted his collection at Saint Francis's Treasury is to show his adoration and love for Saint Francis. He was baptized at Saint Francis’s and joined the Catholic Church. Therefore he adopted the name Francis and joined the family of Secular Franciscans at the Basilica.
     The collection left to the Basilica of Saint Francis contains art works from Sienese, Florentine, Emiliana, and Venetian styles and dates back from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. From 1977 until 1997 the collection was located in an ancient dormitory of the Scared Convent but after an earthquake in 1997 the treasury was closed until resonantly being open to the public. The Frederick Mason Perkin’s collection broadened the culture heritage of the First Saint Francis Shrine endowing the Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Francis with Italian Gothic and Renaissance art works.