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"Pieta", Sandro Botticelli - description of the painting

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Pieta - Sandro Botticelli. 107 x 71 cm

Between 1495 and 1590 Sandro Botticelli creates two emotional works with the same dramatic plot - “Mourning of Christ” or “Pieta”. This time cannot be called simple for the master of the Renaissance. The execution of the monk Savonarola, whose religious sermons Botticelli admired, left a huge mark in his soul. The internal breakdown coincided with the extinction of the painter's popularity - his fame faded. It was then that very realistic pictures appeared with the most piercing New Testament narrative. The presented canvas is the first “Pieta”.

Of course, before and after Botticelli, this story was repeatedly reproduced with a brush on the canvas and a chisel in marble, but before him the story was never so piercing and real. A distinctive feature of the “Drinks” of the painter was that Botticelli does not read a textbook chapter from the Bible, but shows us irresistible human grief and suffering from the loss of a loved one.

The multi-figure composition is combined into a single whole, and the connecting link of all those present is sorrow, inexpressible suffering over an innocent soul, which was allowed to go through the thorny path to the cross and be unjustly and shamefully crucified. The body of Jesus lies on the lap of the mother, her face, almost bloodless, as if numb, froze. Above Mary stands Joseph of Arimatheaus, who holds in his hands a crown of thorns and nails, which until recently were hammered into the arms and legs of Christ. Mary Magdalena fell at the feet of the Savior, clinging to the wounds of the martyr. Someone mourning them completely covered his face with his hands, expressing the deepest grief. On the face of the dead Jesus, sadness and liberation from torment is read. You might think that he is sleeping. All figures are approximately the same size and are located in the same plane.

Sandro Botticelli, known for his calm tones of the palette, seasoned images of the Madonnas, passionless portraits, suddenly created an unusually emotional piercing picture, and it is not surprising that it did not go unnoticed, despite the rapidly departing fame of the artist. One of the spectators was Giorgio Vasari, writer and founder of art history. He saw the first “Pieta” by Botticelli in the church of Santa Marna Maggiore (Florence), for the altar of which it was written, and left a description of the work.

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