Madonna and Child Enthroned is a significant painting by Giotto completed towards the end of his career. This large altarpiece was painted for the Church of Ognissanti in Florence and measures 325 x 204 cm. The painting features a conventional Byzantine background with gold leaf symbolizing the kingdom of heaven and white rose symbolizing Mary’s purity. Madonna and Child are surrounded by angels and saints, all possessing golden halos.
What sets this artwork apart from previous artists’ work is Giotto’s representation of Madonna and Child with more natural gestures and physicality, making them appear more like sculptures. Even though the figures possess divinity, they remain human-like, providing viewers with an immediate emotional connection to the subject matter.
In addition to its historical significance in art history as a departure from schematic Byzantine style, this piece also showcases Giotto’s unique style compared to other painters before him, specifically his ability to bring more humanity into his representations of religious figures. This emphasis on naturalism paved the way for Renaissance painters later on. Overall, Madonna and Child Enthroned represents not only a crucial development in Renaissance painting but also serves as evidence of Giotto’s exceptional talent for creating emotionally impactful religious artwork.