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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:24

Video transcript

we're in the Prado in Madrid and we're looking at a small Andre Montaigne it's the Dormition of the Virgin and the painting that we're seeing is only the bottom two-thirds of the original right so would have had a top that showed the vaulting of the architecture at the bottom half of which we see in this panel so that would have also shown Christ receiving the Virgin's body that actually sort of raises the question what does Dormition mean and so this was the moment when the Virgin was readying herself to die and invites the Apostles to be with her right not in the Bible itself I think actually Montana has played fast and loose even with the apocryphal version because we've got this set in a kind of classical environment yet out the window or past the porch Mantua yeah you see this incredibly accurate rendering of an actual place in Italy and apparently this is very very early maybe the first truly topographical landscape of a part of Italy I have to tell you that one of the aspects of this painting that I love is the sort of precision with which Montana renders the folds and the sort of textures of the drapery especially in the two front figures in that green and that blue but then also the figure in the red that's leaning away from us if you look at it it's almost as if there's static electricity that nation the the cloth cling to the body that exposes it you were mentioning the classical architecture classical sculpture right being brought to life again but I'm looking also down at the floor where we see the tiles forming the orthogonals of the linear perspective not sure exactly where the vanishing point would be but the lovely feet and their sense of weight and the shadows we have a sense of light coming from the right illuminating the columns and casting shadows that move out from the figures for the left so there's a real sense of light and weight and space here that's incredibly convincing it's true look at the way that the floor brightens in that little negative space between the feet of the figure standing behind Mary and while mentioning Mary she seems so minor in comparison to the rest of the image she's so pale and so frail but so small in comparison to the much more vigorous figures around her and also of course the scale of the architecture but we do have a sense of them surrounding her and this moment that's about to happen of her death and the figures grieving for her we see the figures on the left standing holding a palm frond a symbol of death I'm actually death but of the triumph over death yes right and of course Christ would have received her into heaven had the painting not been cut in two but I'd love on the right the way in which that the figures are singing and the way in which the candles are not held perfectly vertically but are responding to the movements of the body just ever so slightly to make the sense of movement and rhythm and change even in this very stable environment and that figure who leans over her bed who almost is our counterpart in the painting you