The Lamentation of Christ, by Giotto di Bondone
185 x 200 cm
Chapel of the Sand, Padua
This fresco unites the features that made Giotto the main precursor to Renaissance painting. The figures are now fully human, both in their external appearance and in their gestures,
and they move in a space that is true to life which allows them to breathe. But above all, the fresco shows that Giotto has directly observed nature, rather than relying on the conventional ways of presenting it.
Pre-Giotto painting used to lay out the figures in a symbolic design, which did not respect the bonds of time and space. Giotto is the first artist who sets some serious limits on this freedom, as he deemed it incompatible with a realistic construction of pictorial space.
However, in The Lamentation of Christ, Giotto still enjoys some of that old freedom, now put to the service of a deeper expression of the event depicted.