Storytelling in Christian Art from Giotto to Donatello
Yale University Press, 2006 M01 1 - 353 pages
Recounting the biblical stories through visual images was the most prestigious form of commission for a Renaissance artist. In this book, Jules Lubbock examines some of the most famous of these pictorial narratives by artists of the caliber of Giovanni Pisano, Duccio, Giotto, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio. He explains how these artists portrayed the major biblical events, such as: the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Annunciation, the Feast of Herod and the Trial and Passion of Jesus, so as to be easily recognizable and, at the same time, to capture our attention and imagination for long enough to enable us to search for deeper meanings. He provides evidence showing that the Church favoured the production of images that lent themselves to being read and interpreted in this way, and he describes the works themselves to demonstrate how the pleasurable activity of deciphering these meanings can work in practice.
This book is richly illustrated, and many of its photographs have been specially taken to show how the paintings and relief sculptures appear in the settings, for which they were originally designed. Seen from these viewpoints, they become more readily intelligible. Likewise, the starting point and the originality of Lubbock's interpretations lies in his accepting that these works of art were primarily designed to help people to reflect upon the ethical and religious significance of the biblical stories. The early Renaissance artists developed their highly innovative techniques to further these objectives, not as ends in themselves. Thus, the book aims to appeal to students, scholars and the general public, who are interested in Renaissance art and to those with a religious interest in biblical imagery.
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Giovanni Pisanos Pistoia Pulpit
Donatellos Head of St John and the Invention
Masaccios Brancacci Chapel Frescoes
Ghibertis Gates of Paradise
Common terms and phrases
action Alberti appears architecture argues artists attention Baptistery beginning body bronze Brunelleschi building central centre century Chapel chapter Christian Church claim close composition death depicted designed Diatesseron distance Donatello doors Duccio earlier early effect employed episodes evidence example eyes face figures Finally Florence follow frame fresco front Gates Ghiberti Giotto Giovanni Pisano Gospels ground hand head Herod images important interpretation Italian Italy Jesus John Joseph justice Last London looking Lorenzo Mary Masaccio means narrative Notes oblique observed original painter painting panel Passion perhaps perspective photograph pictorial picture Pilate Pisa Pistoia position present probably provides pulpit relief represent saying scene Scrovegni Chapel sculpture seems seen sense sequence showing side Siena single spectator St Peter standing story suggest Temple things tion Trial turn viewpoint Virgin visual wall