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Tura's Virgin and Child Enthroned

1 a In Tura's Virgin and Child Enthroned, the artist creates a space that is nearly all foreground, but hints at limitless heavenly skies behind what is shown. In Botticini's Assumption of the Virgin, the artist combines earthly space, presented in perspective, and heavenly space, which takes the form of a strange dome and does not attempt to present space in a convincing manner. The result is that, even though Botticini's earthly landscape is relatively naturalistic, he fails to integrate the heavenly and earthly spheres very well and this adds to the exaggerated effect of the semi-circles in heaven. Because Tura's composition is so much more rigorous, he is able to suggest the limited depth of his foreground with the placement of the chunks of architecture and the angels that are set about on them. Then, behind the pierced facade on which the heavenly beings sit, the sky-blue, which is lighter in the lower portions (much like a real, cloudless sky), can suggest limitless space beyond. This is a much more convincing solution to the problem of representing heaven than Botticini's version.

1 b Botticini's figures, although they are rather stylized, are more naturalistic than those of Tura. Tura's figures are all idealized and have a flatness and sameness of expression that fails to attract the viewer. The Virgin and child seem as remote as the angels around them. The figures of the Palmieris in Botticini's painting are the most naturalistic and, thus, they, along with the surprised Apostles, serve as surrogates for the viewer and direct the attention to the miracle. The figures in heaven, especially the angels, are stylized, and few of them stand out particularly--undoubtedly this was intended.

1 c Botticini creates a non-space in which the figures in heaven are given little clouds on which to rest. The figure of the Virgin kneels before God and the little clouds support her. Botticini did not imagine a way to show...

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Tura's Virgin and Child Enthroned. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:26, September 20, 2019, from