Description of the artwork «Madonna of Oniissanti (Maesta)»
"The Madonna of Onisanti" ("Madonna on the throne," "Maesta") - the only surviving to this day altar image of Giotto. Unlike other famous works of the artist, "Madonna of Onisanti" is not a fresco, but a painting painted on wood with water-based paints. It was created between 1306 and 1310 years for the Florentine Council of All Saints - in Italian "Oniissanti" - and retained this name, even when it was moved to another place.
Exactly 500 years later, in 1810, the Madonna of Onisanti was transported from the cathedral to the gallery of the Florentine Academy, and in 1919 she moved to the Uffizi Gallery, where she is currently represented.
It is believed that the Madonna of Onisanti is Giotto's only original in the world's museums. The fact is that most of the surviving works of Giotto are frescoes in Italian temples. Wooden panels attributed to the artist, in the national galleries of London and Vashintogon - controversial work, rather not belonging to Giotto personally, but to the artists of his studio. Hotly disputed and belonging to Giotto Louvre panels "The preaching of St. Francisca to the Birds " and "Approval of the Franciscan Law".
In one hall of the Uffizi Gallery with Madonna Oniissanti, another outstanding work is presented - "Madonna in Glory" Florentine artist Cimabue, teacher Giotto. They are located opposite each other, and by this they unwittingly set up the visitor to match. The paintings are separated by about 25 years. Both belong to the same iconographic type - "Maesta" ("Madonna on the Throne", "Glorification of the Mother of God") and are comparable in historical and artistic value. And yet, their careful and thoughtful comparison shows how dramatic changes have taken place in Italian art throughout the entire quarter century and how Giotto's new proto-Renaissance style differs from the traditional Gothic style of Cimabue.
"Madonna" Cimabue has elongated proportions typical for Byzantine painting: long fingers, thin elongated nose, narrow face, oblong sorrowful eyes. This icon-face is beautiful and ethereal.
"Madonna" Giotto and looks like "Madonna Cimabue" (she also sits on the throne with the baby Christ in her arms surrounded by angels), and at the same time - strikingly unlike. The Virgin Mary, represented by Giotto, is by no means incorporeal. She has broad shoulders, a strong neck with realistic longitudinal strips, a face with blush. The lips of the Virgin Mary are slightly ajar, and the delicate fabric of the dress delineates the developed chest - this is the breast and become a nursing mother, more likely an earth woman than a disembodied Madonna. The human figure of Giotto becomes more tangible and rounded than on icons.
Extraordinarily beautiful are the kneeling angels at the foot of the throne. Infant - weight and chubby. The Giotto image is very different from the Byzantine canon, its character is more earthy and more intimate. Both Madonna - and Giotto, and Cimabue - are surrounded by figures. But Cimabue just gives them one over the other, while Giotto gives the image a semblance of perspective, achieves more sculpture, tries to convey the three-dimensionality of space.
Art critic Paola Volkova describes the "Madonna" of Giotto: "On a beautiful encrusted throne (inlay with marble was just entering fashion) a woman is sitting - broad-shouldered, powerful, young, with a blush on the cheek. She holds a strong baby strong. A beautiful white shirt emphasizes her corporeality, her power. And she looks at us calmly. There is no suffering in her face: she is full of high human dignity and peace. This is no longer the icon of the Virgin - this is the Madonna in the late Italian sense: both Mary and the Beautiful Lady ".