Renaissance Break from the Byzantine Style Essay

Renaissance Break from the Byzantine Style Essay

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The Italian painters Cimabue (also known as Cenni di Pepo) and Giotto di Bondone both stepped away from Medieval and Byzantine style and moved forward into a human focused, Proto-Renaissance style. Although each painter made this movement toward the Renaissance style, each did it in their own style and way. Cimabue pursued a new naturalism which was a close observation of the natural world; this aspect of his style challenged many major conventions of late medieval art. Giotto also pursued a naturalistic approach of representation that was based on observation. However, Giotto’s break from late medieval conventions was more radical. Cimabue depicted figures with more lifelike proportions and shading in Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Prophets (Trinita Madonna) and in the figure of Saint John. He also shows a realistic sense of space and volume in Trinita Madonna. In his dramatically powerful Crucifixion, Cimabue unifies architectural space and painted pictorial space successfully. On the other hand, Giotto desired to create a human-like, vivid interpretation of divine subjects in The Kiss of Judas. Furthermore, Giotto’s Madonna Enthroned (Ognissanti Madonna) shows realistic, three-dimensionality and sense of depth through the use of shadows. Figures in the Arena Chapel, which has elements of illusionist painting, are depicted in an emotionally sensitive and naturalistic way. These works answer how Cimabue's and Giotto's works differ and detach from the Byzantine style.
Byzantine Art
The Byzantine style in art was produced during the time of the Eastern Roman Empire. This movement began in 330 A.D., when Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire from western Rome to the eastern B...

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Polzer, Joseph. “Concerning the Chronology of Cimabue’s Oeuvre and the Origin of Pictorial Depth in Italian Painting of the Later Middle Ages.” Zograf 21, (2002): 119-143.
Scott, Timothy. “The Kiss of Judas: Reflections on Giotto di Bondone’s Kiss of Judas (Arena Chapel, 1304-06) and Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Betrayal of Christ (Maesta Altarpiece, 1308-11).”
Rubin, Patricia Lee. Giorgio Vasari: Art and History. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1995.
Vaughan, William. Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
White, John. Art and Architecture in Italy 1250-1400. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1993.
White, John. "Cimabue And Assist: Working Methods And Art Historical Consequences." Art History 4.4 (1981): 355-383.

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