Two Virgins

The Two Virgins Gallery is a gallery dedicated to two beautiful Virgins, The Rucellai Madonna by Duccio and the Madonna with Child and Two Angels by Fillipo Lippi Lippi.

The stylistic differences between these two paintings could not differ more. While both paintings are largely religious in nature, the Renaissance style is more lifelike and true to form. Lippi's Virgin is thought to be a picture of his wife, thus the beautiful detail in her face and true to form features. Duccio's Virgin is not true to scale, lacks detail in her face and is expressionless, which resembles the Byzantine style of the 13th Century. The Baby in Lippi's picture, looks like a baby, beautiful, pure and round, whereas Duccio's baby appears to be a man in baby form. Lippi's painting resembles more of a portrait painting in depth, scale and detail. Duccio's dimension is within the detail of the drapery and the throne, and his Virgin is not true to scale. Lippi modeled his Virgin after someone, while Duccio modeled this after what he had seen from his peers and predecessors. Both artists incorporated transparency in both of their paintings, but their use of light varied. Lippi's use of light looked like it was coming from a candle or sunlight, reflecting from the right to the left. Duccio's use of light was simply in the reflection of the gold.

Madonna with Child and Two Angels, painted in 1465, is a stunning example of lyrical expression and humanism in Renaissance Art made out of Tempera paint on wood. Virgin Mary is seated by a window praying while Baby Jesus embraces her, supported by the hands of two angels, one smiling,rumored to be Lippi's son. Shadows linger to the left of the frame, showing light coming in from the right, she looks lost in prayer. This painting resembles more of a portrait piece than an altar piece. The background, I find fascinating, it is reflective of a Tuscany or Florence landscape, another resemblance of portrait painting. The Virgin's lapis blue robe signifies that she is the Virgin Mary, the transparency of her veil creates the illusion of movement. Lippi used soft hues of ivory while painting the Virgin, Baby, and Angels, while using deeper tons on the landscape.
This is Duccio's first documented piece of work, commissioned on April 15, 1285. This is the largest panel painting (4.5 * 2.9 meters) from the Italian 13th Century, made of five poplar panels glued together and painted with tempera and gold leaf. This painting was made as an altarpiece for the Rucellai Chapel of Santa Maria Novella. Duccio's use of gold in this painting represents the Virgin's holiness and to illuminate in a candlelit church. The azurite blue robe with amazing edged detail is draped over the Virgin as if she is floating and not seated on the throne. She is holding Christ as a child with elongated fingers, not true to scale, while his right hand is raised in blessing. The Madonna is large in scale compared to the Angels surrounding her. Her golden halo illuminates her presence on the throne, while the gilded edging on her robe shows movement. The robe of the baby appears to be transparent while the angels that surround her are painted in beautiful colors of lilac, pink, blue and green. The frame is decorated with roundels filled with pictures of prophets and patriarchs. If you zoom in on the throne, you can see the beautiful detailing of the angels, throne and baby's robe. The drapery on the throne is patterned with very detailed cross like emblems containing rich blues, light green, , red and gold, the shadows within the drapery show movement or lack of foundation. The throne itself is extremely detailed with similar colors but the artists technique gives dimension and texture to the woodwork. The footrest is supported by a light double arch the back is crowned with delicate arching and little pinnacles. Each Angel has a unique robe incorporating transparent paint. These colors were unique and very expensive to incorporate into a painting . If you zoom into Christ's robe you can see Duccio's unique use of gold when painting the fabric, this too would illuminate in a candlelit church. The Virgin in this painting is reflective of Byzantine style in the 13th century, however, the fine detail of the throne ,drapery, and robes steps outside the norm of this medieval period.
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