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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:20

Painting in central Italy

Video transcript

we're new feet see looking at Domenico Vanessa knows st. Lucia altarpiece this is an artist who's actually a Venetian but this was made for a Florentine Church originally there were five small pradelio panels underneath that are now in different museums one of those interesting things about this painting is that it's a new type of altarpiece usually an altarpiece would have an elaborate gold frame with subsidiary figures in two separate panels but here the different Saints occupy the same space as the Madonna so we have less emphasis on elaborate gold frames and the carpentry and carving involved in those and more emphasis on the figures and the believable space that they occupy that's what I was going to say when I look at this this is a remarkably occupiable space in other words I feel like I could walk around without hitting my head on the architecture which is so often the case in the previous century if you think about masaccio's Holy Trinity as the first really believable space created by the use of linear perspective just 20 years before this is in a way much more complex space and the greens and the Rose colors and the white marble remind me of so much architecture that we've seen like the Duomo here in Florence it's true there really is attention to the architectural space I'm really taken with the severely foreshortened tile on the floor which is a tour de force expression of linear perspective and saying well I can do far more than a straight line of tiles on this floor look at John the Baptist's feet so firmly on the ground is foreshortened right foot a cast shadow behind him also the influence of masaccio to me this is a bringing together of so much that masaccio and Brunelleschi did in the 14 20s and 30s you know there's also a kind of specificity in the rendering of the figures Lucy at the extreme right is so beautiful and in a perfect profile almost as we would expect a Renaissance portrait the figure next to Lucy is st. shinobi asjuan of the few Saints associated with Florence Christ is a real child here there is an understanding of the anatomy of an infant with its baby fat and that large head and there's a real sense of his mother's delicate touch look at the way her finger just comes under his toe it's really just love like where's John the Baptist he looks tough it's so interesting to see these figures all in one space think about the figures chronologically you have the Virgin Mary in Christ who lived roughly 1500 years before this was painted and Francis who would have live just a few hundred years or this was painted right Domenico Veneziano is mixing Saints up from all different time periods and bringing them together into this one space and that's really the definition of the word that's often used for these kinds of paintings which is sacra conversazione a that is to bring figures from different historical periods together into an altarpiece environment and sacra conversazione a means a a sacred conversation