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Mantegna’s and Giotto’s Paintings The Lamentation over the Dead Christ

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Running head: Compare and Contrast Essay

The Lamentation over the Dead Christ artwork was painted by an Italian artist called Andrea Mantegna in 1480. Conversely, Giotto made the Lamentation painting between the years 1305 and 1306. Both paintings show various people mourning over Jesus’ death. Mantegna’s painting shows Mary – Jesus’ mother, and St. John, beside the dead Jesus’ body; the 2 are weeping (Derbes and Sandona 68). In the painting done by Giotto, five human forms surround the body of the dead Jesus Christ. In effect, Giotto’s Lamentation and Mantegna’ s Lamentation over the Dead Christ paintings reflect on Jesus’ suffering from the torture stake to the grave and thus have deep religious connotations.

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For example, in Giotto’s paintwork, the body of the Christ is held by three women and hence does not touch the ground. This painting thus shows the contacts between Christ’s body and the mourners. In Giotto’s paintwork, a young woman, presumably Mary, supports Christ’s head. The mourners in these two paintings have dull faces which reflect sorrow.

In Giotto’s painting, mountain ridges that intersect the entire composition are well illustrated. Behind the ridges, a tree and 11 angels stand before the huge sky that seems to demonstrate different moods or emotions. The ridges illustrate gaiety while the human figures suggest sadness. In Mantegna’s painting, a fierce perspective foreshortens and dramatizes the whole figure. The entire composition thus points to Jesus’ painful death.

Conversely, there is a very big dissimilarity between Mantegna’s and Giotto’s paintings. As an illustration, in Giotto’s painting, the figures are much more than the forms in Mantegna’s painting.  For instance, Giotto’s painting has three females and two unknown figures at the foreground. Conversely, in Mantegna’s painting, only three persons can be seen in the entire composition. In Giotto’s painting, Christ’s body does not touch the ground while in Mantegna’s painting; the body is portrayed as lying on the ground. In Giotto’s painting, the foreground is clearly distinguishable from the background, through the sky. On the other hand, Mantegna’s painting focuses on the ground, as opposed to the sky. In Giotto’s painting, forms of 11 angels who seem to be in different states of emotions are observable. Conversely, in Mantegna’s painting, no form of angel is seen. In Mantegna’s paint work, various objects are low on compositional plane while in Giotto’s painting, objects that are on low compositional plane and objects on high compositional plane are clearly shown. This strategy unmistakably shows that some objects are on the ground while the others on the sky. In Mantegna’s painting, the feet of Christ have holes to allude to of how he was nailed on the torture stake. Conversely, in Giotto’s painting, the feet of Christ are not well shown; moreover, no nail marks are shown. Mantegna’s painting seems to be strikingly realistic with regard to the foreshortening, while Giotto’s painting clearly shows heaven and earth joining to mourn the dead savior. The painting of Giotto shows a world which is voluminous and is three dimensional while the Mantegna painting is a simple painting which is like a window framing. In Giotto’s painting, the union of the earthly with the heavenly is plainly defined. Conversely, in Mantegna’s painting, focus is concentrated on the earth. In Mantegna’s painting, the body of Christ seems to be big and swollen while the body of Christ in Giotto painting does not show any sign of swelling. In his painting, Mantegna seems to have reduced the size of Christ’s feet. Otherwise, it could have covered the other parts of the body while the Giotto painting seems to have been proportionally designed. In Giotto’s painting, jagged diagonal lines, which show mountain ridges, are seen. Conversely, in Mantegna’s painting, such lines are not visible. In Giotto’s painting, the body of Christ is fully covered. Conversely, in the painting done by Mantegna, the body of Christ is partially-dressed. In addition, Mantegna’s paintwork has wrinkles whereas in Giotto’s painting, the face of Christ does not show any wrinkles. In Giotto’s painting, the body of Christ is elevated while in Mantegna’s painting Christ body is lying on a pinkish slab. The form of a tree is visible in Giotto’s painting. On the other hand, angels can be seen in Mantegna’s paintings. In Giotto’s painting, the texture of clothing appears soft and smooth against the surrounding contrasting rough rock surfaces. Conversely, in Mantegna’s painting, the texture of the garments seem to be rough; they seem to be torn. In effect, such characteristics show that Christ endured much suffering from his crucifixion to his death.

These two paintings have similarities since they portray various entities mourning Christ. In Giotto’s painting, as well as the painting of Mantegna, the body of dead Christ is encircled by other figures. The figure of Mary, as well as that of disciple John, is present in both paintings. In both paintings, the figures surrounding the body of Christ seem to be sorrowful. The mood of both paintings seems to be of great sadness. The paintings made Giotto, as well as that made by Mantegna, are known as Renaissance paintings. Both paintings are symbolic and both artists are remembered for the exceptional work they did many years ago. In the painting of Mantegna as well in the painting of Giotto, light is contrasted with shadow. The realism of the scenes is enhanced by the violent perspective that foreshortens the recumbent figure in both paintings. Mantegna’s painting, as well as Giotto’s painting, depicts an emotional Biblical catastrophe. The color used in both paintings is pastel and complementary. This quality gives the two paintings a feeling of stagnation and movement within the picture plane. The painting of Giotto seems to have rough surfaces surrounding the clothing of the figures in the painting. The same character is evident in the painting of Mantegna whereby the body of the Christ is lying on a rough surface. Mantegna’s painting appears to arouse a feeling of Christ´s suffering. The same feeling is aroused by Giotto’s painting. The two paintings have a sense of history, that is, they reflect on the problems Christ encountered on the cross and how he later resurrected from the death. Both paintings have clear distinctions in their workings because their various figures can be clearly identified. For example, the body of Christ, Mary, and also the disciple of Christ John are clearly visible.

In conclusion, the two artists, Mantegna and Giotto, did a good work which will forever be remembered. Giotto’s painting seems to be more advanced than the paintings done by Mantegna because Giotto includes more figures in his paintings. Giotto’s painting tries to show that Christ has resurrected and that Jesus has accomplished his earthly mission. Conversely, Mantegna’s painting portrays Christ after he has been crucified on the cross and taken to the tomb. To all intents and purposes, the 2 paintworks demonstrate that Jesus experienced much suffering before, during, and after crucifixion.

Works Cited

Derbes, Anne and Sandona Mark. The Cambridge companion to Giotto. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.



Cite this Mantegna’s and Giotto’s Paintings The Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Mantegna’s and Giotto’s Paintings The Lamentation over the Dead Christ. (2016, Sep 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/compare-and-contrast-essay-4/

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