100 Great Paintings - Duccio to Picasso by Dillian Gordon

By Dillian Gordon

. lge fmt, 1981 illus, 2223pp

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Extra resources for 100 Great Paintings - Duccio to Picasso

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In the event the copy seems to have remained in situ, and the first version to have been sent to France. The Virgin of the Rocks The figures are arranged in a pyramidal composition, locked in a silent communion which excludes the spectator. The Virgin places one arm protectively over the infant John the Baptist; the other hovers over the Christ Child, who blesses St. John, and is himself held gently by the angel. Leonardo drew ceaselessly. With his pencil he investigated the external world o{ plants and rocks, the forms of hair and drapery, with energy as if he would discover the secret of the life-force itself.

However, although he was interested in the creation of an illusionistic three-dimensional space as demonstrated by two of Florence's outstanding Renaissance sculptors, Giovanni di Paolo clung to the tenacious medievalism of the International Gothic style. Like Sassetta (see p. 27), the other leading Sienese painter in the early 15th century, he was interested primarily in decorative effects. The simultaneous narrative showing St. John both leaving home, and going into the wilderness, is as old-fashioned and as unrealistic as is the use of only two basic colours, pink and green.

Composition Lippi has achieved a synthesis of form and content. The arum lilies carried by Gabriel, symbol of the Virgin's purity, have become part of the garden's ornamentation, as well as decorating the head of her bed. The walled garden (hortus conclusus) In this deceptively simple provides not only a naturalistic setting, but also another symbol of the Virgin's purity. The Dove symbolises the Holy Spirit and flies straight from the hand of God towards the Virgin's womb in a flutter of haste, trailing a spiral of golden glittering movement.

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