The Visitation (1491) by Domenico Ghirlandaio

The Visitation - Domenico Ghirlandaio - c.1490

Artwork Information

TitleThe Visitation
ArtistDomenico Ghirlandaio
Dimensions67 1/2 x 65 in. (172 x 165 cm)
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationSanta Maria Novella, Florence

About The Visitation

“The Visitation” is an artwork crafted by Domenico Ghirlandaio around 1490, characterized as a fresco. Situated within the Early Renaissance art movement, this religious painting measures approximately 67 1/2 x 65 inches (172 x 165 cm) and is located in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The artwork captures a significant biblical event with a high degree of finesse and detail, reflective of the stylistic tendencies of the Early Renaissance period.

The fresco portrays the moment when the Virgin Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting John the Baptist. In the central scene, the two figures are shown embracing, both adorned with halos, illustrating the sacredness of the encounter. The depictions of Mary and Elizabeth are imbued with grace and dignity, characteristic of Ghirlandaio’s style.

Around them, the artwork features an assemblage of female attendants who bear witness to this profound moment. Their elegant attire and composed postures contribute to the harmonious and solemn atmosphere of the scene. The background offers a detailed landscape that extends to a mountainous horizon, displaying Ghirlandaio’s skill in creating depth and perspective—a hallmark of the Renaissance concern with realism. Architectural elements frame the visitation, and the inclusion of classical motifs in the surrounding structures speaks to the influence of ancient art on Renaissance sensibilities.

Furthermore, the fresco is enriched with symbolic elements and underlying narratives, as was common in Early Renaissance works, inviting viewers to engage with the artwork both spiritually and intellectually. The meticulous execution of the fresco, from the figures to the background, exemplifies Ghirlandaio’s mastery and the broader cultural flowering that defined the Early Renaissance period.

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