According to therapists, paintings are works of art whose meanings cannot often be easily interpreted at a glance. One has to look at the vividness or lightness of colors truly and the figures being portrayed in the masterpiece for you to have an inkling regarding the ideas that have been running in the artist’s mind when he or she was finishing it.
The subject that they paint is not always unique. The distinction shows in the manner that they have expressed the scenario. A particular matter that many artists have done a piece of in the last centuries in the Madonna.
The Mother And Child
Madonna is the illustration of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus Christ. This has been the subject for various Italian Renaissance painters, to be specific, because of the strong prevalence of Catholic and Orthodox religions in European countries. To craft such a representation of a religious icon exhibits their belief and devotion to the lady who has agreed to carry in her womb the son of God, despite her purity and unmarried status at the time of conception.
Some of the talented people who have painted their version of Madonna are Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, and Michelangelo. However, the artists who have nailed their name in art history through this figure are the Master and Antoniazzo Romano.
Master’s Straus Madonna
If typical depictions of Madonna only show the mother and the child, Master’s Straus Madonna are more elaborate than that. In his painting, you will see both of them gazing at each other’s eyes. The two angels are watching over Mary and Jesus, while the four saints – two of which have been identified as Saint Dominic and Saint John the Baptist – are below them.
Upon taking a closer look, it is apparent that the mother and the child are floating above the saints, and the angels seem to be ascending with the two. The creases and folds on the characters’ garments are very defined, and the cloth that covers the baby’s lower body has a pinkish hue.
Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna
The Madonna painting that was created by Antoniazzo Romano gives a clear picture of the Virgin Mary’s enthronement. The image produced displays a crown directly above the mother’s head. On her right is Saint Peter, while Saint Paul has occupied the left side. The former is presenting a book the Mary as he holds the actual key to heaven in his other hand, whereas the former clutches a bible and a sword.
In this case, the baby is standing on his mother’s lap and is only slightly supported by Mary’s arm. The background is similar to a church setting, yet the new queen is sitting in an actual throne. There are extra details on the halo of Mary and Jesus as well, in comparison to the saints’.
The Artists’ Painting Styles Explained
The greatest painters, even though they paint diverse things all the time, illustrate most of their subjects in a fashion that can only be attributed to them. The Master of the Straus Madonna, for instance, has formed slim figures, as this is what he is famous for. As for Antoniazzo Romano’s Madonna, the faces are slightly bigger and somewhat lighter.
The two paintings are similar, however, in the sense that the artists have used the same medium to generate such masterpieces. During the time when the idea about these artworks has been perceived, the painters have become accustomed to painting on a panel. Before that, the artists back then have only been familiar with working on walls, ceilings, and statues, and their imagination has brought the fresco into existence. Further experimentations and their desire to be able to paint on something that can be carried anywhere has made them realize that painting on wood is a great choice as well.
Romano and Master’s versions of Madonna have been done with gold leaf and the tempera medium. Tempera refers to colors which have resulted from mixing the egg yolk and different pigments. The yolk serves as the binding material between the dye and the panel. Because the shades that an artist can obtain from this are quite limited, they have decided to incorporated bits of gold into the artwork, intending to emphasize the shapes and lines in it. This is the ultimate secret behind the figures’ three-dimensional forms.
Master Vs. Antoniazzo Romano’s Representation
The identity of the mother and child may be alike in the paintings of the artists, but their facial expressions are not. The Master has displayed Mary as a parent who lovingly stares at her son. She cradles Jesus in both of her arms, and you can get the feeling that you are witnessing a special bonding moment between the two. This has always been how the Virgin Mother’s character was portrayed across history.
On the other hand, Romano’s Madonna does not have the warmth that surrounds the Master’s painting. In this specific piece, Mary and baby Jesus’s gazes are directed to what is ahead of them. Because of this, it can be immediately deduced that she is the queen, and in her arms is the future king of all the kings. This invokes a solid sense of superiority there that is not evident in the Madonna made by the Master, even though in that masterpiece the mother and child are ascending to the heavens and with the saints underneath them.
One explanation that can come to mind is that the visible changes are due to the age difference of the infants in Romano and Master’s paintings. The latter is in a very early stage of his life in which he cannot do anything without his mother. Thus, they are communicating through emotional and physical touches alone. On the contrary, the baby in the former can stand up, so it entails he can already understand Mary’s words. This does not entail though that the bond that is connecting them has been broken.
The slight dissimilarity in the masterpieces of Antoniazzo Romano and the Master shows the true nature of mothers in the universe. Their love for the offspring is everlasting, yet they know when is the right time to let go and allow the child to do his or her life tasks.