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It is logical to begin with Giotto di Bondone, perhaps the most famous of all Florentine painters. His Arena Chapel frescoes of 1303-5 paved the way for many advances that were made during the Renaissance.

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The development of interior and exterior space during the trecento is an interesting topic. Over a period of thirty years or so in the early trecento many developments occur in both Florentine and Sienese painting. These are best discussed by comparing works from the two regions and highlighting some of the stylistic differences at the same time. It is logical to begin with Giotto di Bondone, perhaps the most famous of all Florentine painters. His Arena Chapel frescoes of 1303-5 paved the way for many advances that were made during the Renaissance. To begin with Giotto's main concern was to tell stories of the life of the Virgin and of Christ directly and simply. This is the Franciscan way. The exterior and interior spaces that he designed to do this are shallow, and often unrealistic, but having said that, many of his ideas are still innovative for that time. For example, in Birth of the Virgin he doesn't divide exterior and interior but connects them using the two women. Also the building is set on an oblique angle to give depth to his picture plane. John White states that, "seventy five percent of Giotto's architecture settings are on oblique angles". Giotto's main aim is to show his figures realistically, standing in the picture plane. ...read more.


In front of this are the city wall and the city gates. Through the arch of the city gate (a contemporary design of Duccio's own era) we see the jutting out top storey of a Medieval house. To the left of the gate Duccio creates a small area of open landscape where trees appear to be olive trees, strong enough for people to climb and hand down olive branches. In front of this there is a road bordered on two sides by grey stone walls. The surface of the road appears to be beaten clay or cobbles/tiles. The colours are bright and contemporary with the Italian landscape of the time. Terra cottas, beiges and sand colours. The man/boy in front of Christ holding a palm leaf demonstrates that Duccio does not really know what palm trees are like. The branch is more like a laurel matching the trees in the foreground. Also in the foreground is the beginning of the rocky hill and a sentry box which stands empty (presumably because the guard has left his post to watch Christ's procession entering Jerusalem). Although Duccio makes an effort to create a population dressed in possibly biblical robes the whole cityscape would be comparable with contemporary Siena, including the uphill road. Giotto's version of this story is much simpler with just a gateway in front of Christ, a road, and a rocky backdrop. ...read more.


Anne on the bed. The sense of distance is stopped abruptly by a white curtain hanging around two sides of the bed. He used the lines of a tiled floor and a checked bedspread to lead the eye of the viewer right to the back of the picture space. In the latter Presentation in the Temple, Ambrogio Lorenzetti creates an even more fully developed interior space. He uses the mosaic floor tiles to lead the viewer from slender gothic pillars past five weighty figures in the foreground, to an altar where a priest/ rabbi officiates. A. Lorenzetti has continued a receding structure of pillars and arches behind the chair of the priest to a final gothic double-paned window in the center distance. By a view which seems to have been painted by the painter standing outside the temple he is also able to show a tower at the top of the central panel. This is clearly linked to the domed ceiling that the viewer sees inside above the head of the priest. Both Florentine and Sienese painters make great strides towards the development of exterior and interior space which come to be a part of the era which we think of as the Renaissance. It would seem that the Sienese painters learn much from the Florentines about how to paint figures, but that the Sienese painters with their love of detail go further into the creation of realistic interior and exterior spaces. ...read more.

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