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Proto Renaissance - AP Art History Paper

            Italian humanists of the 16th century defined the contemporary art of Italy as a revival from classic art. One can see how artists of the time often drew from Byzantine, Greek and Roman influence in a variety of mediums, whether it be sculpture, painting, or calligraphy. It is vital that one sees these influences and how they carried on into the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, while also noticing how artists integrated elements of their own personal style. In Proto Renaissance painting, one can see how Byzantine influences were incorporated, such as the infamous gold background, while new elements were also experimented with, such as perspective and foreshortening. In Giotto Di Bondone's fresco, Lamentation, a few essentials of his style are revealed. The focal point of the fresco is a congregation mourning over the death of Jesus Christ, to emphasis where the viewer's eye should go, Giotto uses the presence of boldly foreshortened angles. Accompanying the use of foreshortening is a shallow stage for the figures, along with a steep slope that blatantly indicates the dramatic focal point on the lower left. Although all of these new elements were introduced, one can still see how Byzantine influence plays a role in this fresco with the rocky setting resembling that of a Byzantine mural. .
             In comparison to Lamentation, a painting for the early 1600s, Preparation for the Crucifixion, is extremely similar regarding influence and composition. The artist of this piece is unknown, but it is speculated that the painter is from north of Alps. In the piece, the subject matter is very similar, as it pertains to the last few living stories of Christ, his Crucifixion and death. Also similar to that of Lamentation is the landscape that seems to go off into the background drawing attention directly to the focal point, Christ. Also similar to Giotto's fresco, is the way all the figures in the painting's gestures seems to lead toward Christ, again bringing the central focus to him.

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