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

No. 35 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 19. Crucifixion

1304-06
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

The crucified Christ towers over the two groups of figures. Angels swarm around him with a great variety of reactions of grief and pain. Mary Magdalene has fallen at his feet, her cloak has slipped unnoticed from her shoulders - her delicately painted, superb head of hair is now her only adornment. His mother, the Virgin Mary, collapses in a faint, while on the other side the soldiers fight over Christ's mantle. The centurion has recognized Christ and is attempting to point him out to the others.

Some of the most dramatic parts in the Crucifixion and the following Lamentation are played by the small angelic spirits, who appear to have the lower part of their bodies hidden by clouds, a much more effective solution than that devised for the angelic spirits at Assisi, whose bodies are merely truncated. These small beings communicate their almost savage desperation through an extraordinary variety of attitudes and facial expressions not given to their human counter parts.




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