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The Paintings of Duccio & Giotto

The paintings of Duccio remain essentially Byzantine in nature, while those of Giotto show a new vitality and a rejection of the Byzantine. In a work like The Betrayal of Jesus (1309-1311), Duccio represents several episodes of the event in the frame. The figures display a variety of emotions. Duccio humanizes the religious subject matter, and this trend will continue and be even greater in subsequent years. In The Annunciation of the Death of Mary (1309-1311), Duccio shows another trend as he creates a new sense of inner space in the illusion of an architectural space enclosing the human figure. This was something entirely new in painting.

Christ Entering Jerusalem (Giotto, 1305-6) is a painting that is representative of the Gothic period in painting and shows the somewhat flat representation of the scene, with the subject matter, the story behind the painting, serving as a point of interest for a design that fills the frame with symbolism and direct devotional elements. There is a certain minimalism in the way this story is presented here, with everything serving to convey the reference and with no extraneous design or decoration. The foreground is where the mass of the work is found, and it is here that the essentials of the story are pushed forward from the less detailed and somewhat less defined background. Giotto makes use of the ground plane of the picture to draw the viewer into the action and make him or her seem to be a participant. Janson says that Giotto was the first to develop this point of view and to demonstrate this new way of thinking, a method that would be copied and amended by other artists.

Duccio solved his problems within the framework of the Byzantine style, but Giotto made a more radical break with the past. Duccio also painted a Christ Entering Jerusalem which can be compared to that of Giotto. The figures in Duccio's work have the same scale throughout. Giotto's version is radically simp...

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The Paintings of Duccio & Giotto. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 14:08, February 21, 2017, from