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The Adoration of the Magi

Title: The Adoration of the Magi

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

Date: 1481

Location: Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Medium: Oil and gold on canvas

Size: 97 inches by 96 inches

Commissioned in 1480, da Vinci intended to paint this for the main altar in a monastery near Florence; however, we can clearly see that it is unfinished. Leonardo left Florence for Milan shortly after receiving the contract to create this. Do not be shocked; the contact was quite pathetic and loose. The monks that drafted the contract decided that instead of paying da Vinci the full amount in cash that they would give a third of the value in property. He was not excited and in typical Leonardo fashion he didn’t finish.

The captivating and mesmerizing glow that the brown and yellow canvas expels demands the attention of the viewer. Even in its unfinished state, da Vinci pulls us into his studio as if we were an innocent bystander, watching another masterpiece being created.


Title: Rucellai Madonna
Artist: Duccio da Buoninsegna
Date:  1285
Location:  Uffizi Museum in Florence
Medium: Tempera and gold on wood
Approximate Dimensions of work: 450×290
The Rucellai Madonna was painted by Duccio da Buoninsegna in 1285. It was painted for the Rucellai Chapel of Santa Maria Novella until it was placed in the Uffizi museum. The artist included techniques used in traditional Italian paintings along with some new aspects to this Madonna and Child, the new stylizations eventually became a fixture of Sienese art. The  curving outlines and movement of the ends of Mary’s cloak were new. The style of the throne indicates influence from beyond the Alp mountains. Also new was the iconographical use of the angels, instead of holding up the throne as part of the background, they are all bent toward the Virgin in reverence.

Web Gallery of Art, Image Collection, Virtual Museum, Searchable Database of European Fine Arts (1000-1850). Web. 13 Apr. 2010. <;.

“Madonna and Child | Duccio Di Buoninsegna | All | European Paintings | Collection Database | Works of Art | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Web. 13 Apr. 2010. <;.

Madonna and Child
Artist: Niccolo di Ser Sozzo Tegliacci
Date:  probably between 1350-1363
Location: Uffizi
Medium: tempera on wood
Size: 85×55
This painter was most active between 1350 and 1363. The artist, Niccolo di Ser Sozzo Tegliacci was a painter and the son of an illuminator from Siena. In 1363 he was acknowledged in the Book of the Arts for his town. Tegliacci work was finely detailed and highly decorative in style. He is quoted by the Getty Center in Los Angeles as having “fluid forms and subtle, harmonious chromatic effects…,Niccolo’s early illuminations combined with Sienese refinement with Florentine concern for modeling and weight.” His paintings were more embellished and detailed than his panel works, though these continued to express the impressions left on him from Simone Martini,, a Sienese painter. His style was more natural and realistic than many older works of the Byzantine era. Mary and baby Jesus are more lifelike, and we see details like the muscles in her neck and the toes of Jesus’ feet stretched upright.

“Niccolò Di Ser Sozzo Tegliacci Biography • Virtual Uffizi Gallery.” Uffizi Tickets Reservations • Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy. Web. 13 Apr. 2010. <;.

Title: North Rose

Date: 1250

Location: Notre Dame de Paris, France

Medium: Stained glass

Approximant dimensions: 12.9 meters in diameter

Magnificently placed and delicately displayed, the North Rose of Notre Dame de Paris stunningly captures the artistic capabilities of the artists that have worked over the centuries to maintain it. Her grandeur is accentuated by her sheer size. At an enormous 12.9 meters in diameter, the North Rose stands out among the rest of the windows in this classic gothic structure.
The North Rose depicts many stories from the Old Testament; however, its main and central image is of the cathedral’s patron, Mary the Virgin mother of God and Christ. This Madonna and Child depiction is an original from the 13th century. The rose survived the Middle Ages when much of the windows in Paris were smashed by reformers and those who felt that dark stained windows should be replaced by better lit and more welcoming clear panes.

This typical, classic Gothic style window began one of the most widespread practices in church decoration. A must see when traveling to Paris.

Title: Madonna and Child enthroned

Date: 1200

Location: Notre Dame de Paris

Medium: Marble relief

Approximate dimensions: 5 meters by 9 meters

The grand, overwhelming and absolutely stunning Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral is a must see when traveling in Paris. Mary, the virgin mother of God Himself, is the patron of this magnificent structure. Enthroned above the main portal, she presents Jesus Christ to the parishioners, to the city and to the

world.  As Christ holds his hand above the people, blessing them as they enter the doors of the church, one feels a sense of anticipation for the beauty that lies within.

The cathedral was constructed under the leadership of bishop Eudes de Sully starting in the 12th century. As bishop of Paris he declared that the original structure, St. Steven’s, that stood on the same sight was not fit for a city as great as Paris. With Pope Alexander III present, the first stone was laid in 1163; however, the façade wasn’t constructed until 1190.

Madonna of the Rose Garden

Title: Madonna of the Rose Garden

Date: ca. 1470-75

Location of the work: The Louvre, Paris, France

Medium: Tempera on Panel

Approximate dimensions of work: 93 x 69 cm

This painting was painted by Sandro Botticelli around the middle of the 15th century. Botticelli was an early Renaissance artist who later became known for his depictions of religious and mythological scenes, particularly scenes of the Madonna. This particular work predates two of his most famous paintings, La Primavera and The Birth of Venus. Madonna of the Rose Garden is said to be one of the most moving depictions of the Madonna done by Botiticelli. However it is said that Saint John has been painted with an inferior quality, which was mostly likely due to Botticelli using a different master painter to complete this work. In this painting Botticelli uses the white roses seen behind Mary to symbolize her virginity and purity, and it is said that the red roses resemble beauty and love. The expressions of each character are directed differently in this painting, with Mary seen in what looks like contentment with her eyes closed and her hand holding baby Jesus. The baby Jesus is depicted much like a regular baby, with his loving gaze fixed on his mother’s face, seemingly unaware of the audience of the painting. John the Baptist, on the other hand is gazing out boldly into the audience, challenging the viewer and reminding us of what’s to come.


La Primavera

The Birth of Venus

Madonna and Child with Saint Anne

Title: Madonna and Child with Saint Anne

Date: 1605

Location of the work: The Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Approximate dimensions of work: 115 in x 83 in

This is an allegorical work done by Baroque artist Caravaggio painted for an alter of the papal grooms. In this painting we see Mary, with the help of Jesus, crushing the head of the serpent, which symbolizes evil and original sin, while Sainte Anne watches lovingly. We are reminded of the prophecy found in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This painting was seen as somewhat shocking during its time, due to Sainte Anne’s unflattering wrinkled appearance, Mary’s revealing bodice, and Jesus appearing as a fully naked uncircumcised child. However this picture is very powerful because Caravaggio uses an everyday scene, in which all of these characters look like they belong in the Baroque era. The only distinguishing features are the thin halos above Mary and Saint Anne’s heads. This scene allows you to place yourself in this common scene, and yet it is one with so much Spiritual meaning. Caravaggio uses a large amount of light on the characters and little background scenery to assure that our attention is on the three figures and the action taking place in this painting.


Title: Madonna of the Golden Finch

Date: 1506

Location of the work: Uffizi Museum

Medium: Tempera on wood

Approximate dimensions of work: 107 x 77

The Madonna of the Golden Finch is arguably Raphael’s most famous Madonna and Child painting. Originally this painting was commissioned for Lorenzo di Bartolomeo Nasi’s wedding in 1506. In 1574 it was badly damaged, in the collapse of the Nasi home and was restored later.

In this painting Mary is portrayed in her traditional red and blue garb. As he often did Rafael depicted Mary as a loving gazing down at John and Jesus. John appears to be handing Jesus a bird. At first glance this is a cute scene, but when examined more closely it is fraught with symbolism.  Mary’s traditional blue mantle represents purity. John is depicted in his traditional camel skin garb which references the garb he wore when he was preaching in the wilderness. The bird that John is handing Jesus is a golden finch which is a symbol of Christ’s Passion and death on the cross. This Symbolism comes from the fact that the golden finch feeds among thorns and thistles, which could be references to the crown of thorns or the nails in Jesus hands and feet.

“Uffizi Florence-Great Museums of the Word”

Title: Madonna of Foligno

Madonna of Foligno

Date:  1511-12

Location of the work: Vatican Museum

Medium: “Tempera grassa” on wood

Approximate dimensions of work: 308cm x 198cm

The Madonna of Foligno by Raffaello Sanzo is one of his many Madonna and Child paintings. This was commissioned by a prominent humanist by the name of Sigismonde de’ Conti in thanks to Marry for saving his house after it was struck by lightning. In this Madonna and Child painting five other characters are portrayed. Saint John the Baptist stands at the far left, in front of Saint John is Saint Francis kneeling. On the right side we se Sigismondo also kneeling and Saint Jerome standing over him with an angel in the middle. This particular portrayal of Madonna and Child portray them as coming out of the clouds of heaven as to depict that they are part of a vision.

The bright Colors in this painting are typical of the renaissance, but Raphael is known for his remarkably vivid pigments. The triangular layout of the figures portrayed here is something that Raphael picked up from Leonardo after studying some of his works.

References: info:


Cappella Maggiore

Artist: Agnolo Gaddi


Date: 1337

Location: Santa Croce

Medium: tempera on wood

Approximate dimensions of work: alterpiece

The artist was taught by his father, who had been schooled by master, Giotto. Agnolo Gaddi lived in Florence from 1350 to 1396. In 1337 he undertook his most “ambitious work” of  8 frescoes in Santa Croce in Florence, in which his paintings depicted the “Legend of the True Cross”. These focus on design rather than expression and he had “optical unification”. This was a new approach toward painting of International Gothic style.  The frescos began with the archangel Michael giving Seth a branch from the tree of knowledge, and it ended with the Emperor Heraclius carrying the cross as he entered Jerusalem (who was a conqueror and supposedly brought the true cross back to Jerusalem). It is in this last fresco that the painter included a portrait of himself. Gaddi composed his subjects  better than his father, Taddeo.  He portrayed more dignity and individuality in the figures. The images were clear with bold colourist and extremely decorative. His drawings were best viewed from a distance.

In Santa Croce, his Cappella Maggiore is the altarpiece for the church.


“Agnolo Gaddi (Italian Artist) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <;.

“Gaddi – LoveToKnow 1911.” 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica – Free Online. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <;.