A Comparison of Two Paintings from the Renaissance Period
This paper will compare the themes found in the paintings “Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and an Angel” by Domenico di Bartolomeo Ubaldini (Puligo) and “Madonna Enthroned” by Giotto. Both paintings deal with fables from the Christian faith but were executed during different periods in art. The Giotto painting was created around 1310 and the Puglio painting was executed between 1518 – 1520. Here, these two paintings have similar themes both at the extreme beginnings and endings of the Italian Renaissance, and as such they serve to present an exceptional example of the developments in art that occurred within that time. This paper shall compare these two paintings through addressing a series of questions on the subject.
Subject Matter or Iconography
“Madonna Enthroned” is the earlier of the two works to be surveyed in this paper, and as such there is a great deal more popularity surrounding this work. The image is simple: The subject matter is religious and concerns a host of holy figures surrounding the Madonna with an infant figure of Christ on her lap. “Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and Angel” is similar in that other holy figures are gathered to pay their respects to Christ but the scene is more open and less focused on just the two central figures. “Madonna and Child…” in my opinion is therefore a more complex composition, where instead of having two recognizable figures in the Christian religion, there are three and an angel. In “Madonna and Child…”, the other religious figure of St. John the Baptist is also allowed to stand near the holy mother and child, and an angel is present. Because of this, the viewer contends with a literal story rather than a simple image as in “Madonna Enthroned”. Also in Puligo’s image, where the central figures are larger and better seen, there are religious symbols used. The same might be true in Giotto’s work but the details are harder to distinguish.
Visual Form and Style
The style and the form of these two paintings reflect the development of the artistic techniques during the Italian Renaissance. While both reflect a Biblical theme with a central focal point of the Madonna and Child, “Madonna Enthroned” has a key image that is best viewed from a central position and “Madonna and Child…” has a greater degree of importance over the majority of the surface of the canvas. In “Madonna and Child…” the viewer does not perceive that an image is being forced upon them as is found in the work by Giotto. A use of light and space is also key to preventing the Puligo piece from being “forced”, where the organization of distance visibly removes the viewer from “Madonna Enthroned” while drawing the viewer into the painting in...