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Virgin Mary and Jesus

At the first  glance, the paintings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus by Cimabue’s Madonna and Child Enthroned, Italian Tempera on Wood, Titian’s Madonna of the Pesaro Family, and Italian oil on canvas may appear similar. However, when   a proper scrutiny and inspection is done, major contrasting details are found indicating the different authenticity in which the painters based their art. Cimabue painted his work in towards the end of Medieval Ages in 1280s while Giotto painted the same type of piece in early 1500s.The time frame differences in the paintings depict the ideological changes and the declination of the Church’s power in Italy. Nevertheless, the same subject matter is conveyed with the use of similar figures Virgin Mary, baby Christ and the angels in the pictures.

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There are also bearded men in both of the paintings although they are placed differently. Cimabue has placed them below the throne, which is at the middle of the scene that makes them separated from the angels. On the other paint, similar men have been put on the left and right sides of the grand throne, though at the back depicting them as worshipers. The differences may have resulted as an attempt to introduce the Roman and Greek idealism into painting by Cimabue and to emphasize human nature as a virtue of Christianity in the artwork by Giotto. Moreover, Cimabue has painted angels surrounding the throne in each row at different locations to indicate the equal level of significance. On the other hand, Giotto has angels closer to the observer for clarity while some are obscured and placed behind the rest. This positioning of the angels shows contrast between the artists and has continued to raise eyebrows about the division of the people and the church. Nevertheless, Giotto’s version seems to depict the Virgin Mary and Jesus as the most revered beings by angels looking at them unlike the Cimabue’s version.

Importance of the pictures has also been expressed by the different techniques employed by the artists. Cimabue made his work presentable by lengthening the fingers and nose of the portrait of Mary. Furthermore, he introduced the use of lines to define her clothing and make her different from the angels. The other artist depicted Mary as prominent being in his painting. He used contrast painting her clothing and made her appear large to emphasize on her presence. Biblical allusion is brought out clearly in the painting by the presence of the scrolls carried by the bearded men.

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Several contrasts emerge with the continuous analysis of the paintings. The paintings differ because of the viewpoints shown by the artists. Cimabue placed the throne far up to enable the viewer to see Mary and Jesus from the top. This rendition portrays the significance of the heavenly creatures and beings at the time of painting. In the other painting, the throne is backed up for the viewer to concentrate on the middle of the painting consisting of the back row of angels and the horizon. Giotto encourages that the viewer is below Jesus by placing the horizon below Christ’s chin. Moreover, emphasis is on the right axis so that, Jesus looks at the viewer when he looks up at from the central viewpoint.

Analysis of the two paints revealed the fact that Cimabue was trying to develop multiple viewpoints. The idea of putting the throne either at the background or above the viewer gave the piece a divine thought. This is because the viewer has to look at Jesus and worship Him. However, Giotto’s artwork had the throne at a position that gives the viewer an opportunity to look at the throne on at a singular point of view. Thus, the paintings were driven towards debating or describing the setting of the churches today. Both paintings continued to emphasize on divinity spirit by using gold to indicate the heavenly lights. In a nut shell, the existence of the similarities and differences between the paintings has assisted in the understanding of the historical information that is behind the beginning of the Renaissance.

Although the paintings may appear to give a clue on the reverence of Jesus and the divine sense, only Giotto’s artwork can be said to hold more water compared to that of Cimabue. This is because his painting is detailed enough and clearly leads to the truth. For instance, in the painting of Virgin Mary and Christ child, Mary is painted in such a way that it comes out as prominent figure. She is painted visibly with protruding knees as   shown by the folding of her clothing. Moreover, the outlines of her eyes give adequate detail of her visage as depicted by the brushstrokes clearly defining her chin. Similarly, details on the painting of Jesus give credible results for visualization. The facial aspects resembling that of the mother and bulk on his cheek are quite realistic in nature. This piece further denotes how the angels are all looking at the Virgin Mary and Jesus at a high angle. This vivid description as illustrated from Giotto’s painting reveals the work as factual and reliable for reference.

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The art of painting changes daily with the new ideas in place and the skill of an artist. Therefore, for an artwork to be termed as authentic and original, the painter ought to include every detail of the picture in question. The themes defined by the paintings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus were the same, but the details included by the artists made one of them popular. Cimabue and Giotto both included Virgin Mary, Jesus, angels and the elders in their paintings. However, the positioning of the angels facing at Christ child brings the difference between the two. 

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