GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)

No. 5 Scenes from the Life of Joachim: 5. Joachim's Dream

Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Joachim is slumped in the shelter of the hut and the rock, asleep. The shepherds watch over him and their flock. One of them appears to see the celestial phenomenon - an angel bringing Joachim tidings of his impending fatherhood. Tremendous tension is created along the diagonal between the angel and Joachim, allowing us to comprehend what is happening.

Giotto's tendency to depict human figures almost as geometrical shapes is demonstrated by the way the sleeping figure of Joachim seems contained as if within a cube. The stillness of the scene is broken by the liveliness of the sheep. Here Giotto was perhaps inspired by his legendary youth as a Tuscan shepherd boy.