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Madonna Cimabue

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1855, 222×521 cm • Oil, Canvas

Description of the artwork «Madonna Cimabue»

"Madonna Cimabue" brought Leighton glory. It's dimensions are striking: more than two meters tall and more than five wide. Queen Victoria sobstvennolichno acquired a large-scale painting at the Academy of arts in London in 1855.

Back to the future

In Rome Leighton for two years, wrote this truly monumental work. He depicted street profession or procession in Florence with the altar of the Madonna of the brush Cimabue. This painting was painted in XIII century and comes from the artist's Studio in the Church of Santa Maria Novella. Scene of admiration and worship of the virgin has been described by art historian Giorgio Vasari in the XVI century: "...That's why this seemed like such a miracle to the people of that time, who had not seen until then, and because it is from the house of Cimabue carried in the Church in torzhestvennaya procession with great rejoicing and the sound of trumpets; he's got great rewards and honors..."

The procession is headed by Cimabue himself, on whose head rests a Laurel wreath, and behind him you can see Giotto Dante, leaning on the wall to the right and looking at what is happening as if from outside, Arnolfo di Cambio (the architect of Santa Maria del Fiore), artists, Gaddo Gaddy, Andrea Tafi, Buonamico, Buffalmacco, sculptor Niccolo Pisano. On horseback at the end of the procession should be king of Naples, Charles of Anjou.

With all the styling blade at the past, one can see here the main creative credo of the future is all known Leighton: this bright solid colors and maximum visual enhancement of the images.

"The Madonna of Cimabue," Cimabue's not

The image of the Madonna to see is almost impossible, only the common features of the virgin and child on a throne, as the painting depicted sideways. For the participants of the procession of the virgin — Central events, while for the viewer — she is not art, but only the compositional center. But the historical image is of interest, as it sets in the Grand Byzantine style of the whole composition.

For a long time it was believed that the author of the image of Cimabue, one of the prominent masters of the era of proto-Renaissance through. In this assured readers of Vasari, and the overall composition of an altar image similar to the picture "Maesta" (praise, glorification) Cimabue in the Louvre. But research in the late 1889 convinced everyone that the author was the founder of the Sienese school Duccio di Buoninsegna and not the teacher of Giotto. Of course, the painting of Layton has retained its original, albeit incorrect name.

"The Cimabue Madonna" and public opinion

Probably for the Layton one of the main criteria of success was the opinion of Queen Victoria and heir to the throne albert. The first evening after purchasing the painting, the Queen recorded in her diary: "There was a huge picture of hudoznika by the name of Leighton. This beautiful painting reminded me of the one from the picture Paolo Veronese such as bright and filled with light. Albert was fascinated by the artwork that made me buy it."

Colleagues of Leighton have left "the Cimabue Madonna". The pre-Raphaelite Rossetti he wrote that the picture LeToya "full of great strength and wealth of the dispensation of the artist." His brother, art critic William Rossetti was not so delighted with the picture, noting the high quality of execution, but the lack of any outstanding originality.

However, the picture is an important step not only towards the glory of Leighton, a significant step in his career, but also in the formation and development of his own style, aestheticism, noble restraint, uncomplicated flavor.
"The Cimabue Madonna" stored in the London national gallery.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Religious scene
Style of art and technique: Academism, Oil

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