Madonna and Child (c. 1320) by Giotto

Madonna and Child - Giotto - c.1320 - c.1330

Artwork Information

TitleMadonna and Child
Datec.1320 - c.1330
MediumTempera on Panel
Dimensions33 5/8 x 24 3/8 in (85.5 x 62 cm)
Art MovementProto Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

About Madonna and Child

The artwork “Madonna and Child” by Giotto, created roughly between 1320 and 1330, represents a significant example of Proto Renaissance art. Executed using tempera on panel, this religious painting measures 33 5/8 x 24 3/8 inches (85.5 x 62 cm). The piece is housed in the National Gallery of Art, located in Washington, D.C., where it contributes to the rich tapestry of art history collections available to the public.

Examining the artwork, one can observe the Virgin Mary, rendered with a serene and contemplative expression, cradling the Christ Child. Mary is adorned with a richly decorated halo, signifying her sanctity, and her garments are rendered with meticulous care, highlighted by luminous gold accents that convey a sense of the divine. The Child, on the other hand, depicted with a mature expression uncharacteristic for his age, is a common method in art of this period to symbolize the wisdom of Christ even in his early years. He is shown interacting with Mary, creating a moment of tender intimacy that was designed to elicit contemplation and devotion in the viewer.

The precious use of gold leaf in the background and on the halos enhances the spiritual aura of the scene. Giotto’s skillful manipulation of the tempera medium allows for refined detailing in the drapery and facial features, which had started to depart from the more stylized forms of the Byzantine tradition. This artwork stands as an early harbinger of the Renaissance with its increasing emphasis on naturalism and the humanization of sacred figures.

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