Giotto: Lamentation of Christ

Giotto Lamentation of Christ
Giotto, The Lamentation of Christ; fresco, Arena Chapel, 1305-6, Padua; Florentine proto-renaissance style

The Life of Christ is a common Christian narrative art series popular in the 11th to 17th century which depicts the events of Jesus’ Life on Earth. The Lamentation of Christ is a particular event which artist would paint the moment when Christ’s body decent from the cross and prominent figures morns his passing.

Giotto’s Lamentation of Christ is painted in the Arena Chapel in Padua, Italy, along with his other Life of Christ narrative series. In this panel is the image of Christ being lowered from the cross and is held above ground by Christ’s Mother, Mary (holding Christ’s head) and Mary Magdalene (holding Christ’s feet). Saint John, who is standing on top of Christ, is swinging his arms open in grief while other glooming figures wearing golden halos are Christ’s disciples. Above Christ’s body are eleven angles elegantly hovering over with a mix of woe emotions.

What make Giotto’s art standout to other artist in the early 14th Century is the understanding of three dimensional space and depth by the use of a flat background to make the main figures stand out with volume. Furthermore, Giotto human forms compliment the flow of the painting with the use of detailed free flowing fabric and facial expression to create a more emotional story telling than other painters at the time.

Giotto’s masterful understanding of three dimensional space and detailed figures is a new adaptation to early renaissance style into the 14th century.

Quick Notes:

  • Lamentation of Christ is one of the main events on the Life of Christ art series depicting the event which Christ’s body decent from the cross.
  • Giotto’s Life of Christ series is painted on the Arena Chapel panels.
  • Main Figures in the painting: Christ, Mother of Christ; Mary, Mary Magdalene, Saint John, Christ’s disciples, and 11 angels.
  • Early Renaissance style.
  • Free flowing fabric with detailed facial emotions and body posture.
  • Early three dimensional understanding in 14th century painting.

More of Giotto’s Life of Christ  in the Arena Chapel here: GIOTTO V. DUCCIO: CHRIST ENTERING JERUSALEM.