Giotto, Mattise, And The Religious Imagination

2659 Words11 Pages
Giotto, Matisse, and the Religious Imagination: Reflections on Invisible Space In the collective art historical canon, Giotto and Matisse share unexpected yet poignant similarities. In Out of Eden by W.S. DiPiero from the essay, Matisse’s Broken Circle, the author explores Matisse’s concept of the religious imagination and his emulation of Giotto. I am intrigued by Matisse’s fascination with Giotto after reading this quote by Matisse: “All art worthy of the name is religious. Be it a creation of lines, or colors: if it is not religious, it does not exist. If it is not religious, it is only a matter of documentary art, anecdotal art…which is no longer art” (DiPiero 123). Religion today is not what is once was for a majority of the world’s populations. It is hardly as definitive as it once was. While spiritual perception is individual, we can still hope that there is some small amount of truth available to us all. Giotto and Matisse both envisioned this truth. Each artist had an ethereal way of weighting figures – they appear to be suspended from the air, but still possess a sense of massiveness. Both worked within a designated pictorial plane, allowing their figures a weightless freedom, a suggestion of ascendance. This paradoxical relationship between weightless and massive forms articulates the evocative effects of gravitation, heaven, and religious space in both artists’ work. In this essay, relationships between the artists’ religious imagination, spatial perception, and rejection of traditional perspective will be examined. Giotto di Bondone was a thirteenth century Florentine painter and architect whose influence is considered to have liberated Western art from Byzantine tradition, as well as stylistically initiate the Renaissance. Though he focused mainly on religious themes, Giotto was one of the first artists to possess a strong command
Open Document