Nov 212008
Caravaggio: The Cardsharps

This painting (hanging in Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, USA) follows The Fortune Teller in depicting a scene of sharp practice which very well might have been based in reality. This Wikipedia article on The Cardsharps mentions realism (the unglamorous theme, the ragged gloves, the dramatic tension) as the quality that made Caravaggio […]

Nov 152007
Giotto, Virtues and Vices: Injustice

Injustice is the only clearly identifiable male figure among the allegories: he wears a distinct facial hair, and sits in a masculine posture. His eyes are covered — the man is blind — a feature that becomes characteristic of all Giotto’s vices to one degree or another: Despair appears dead altogether (her eyes are closed […]

Nov 132007
Giotto, Virtues and Vices: Justice

The visual thrust of the Justice allegory ensues mostly from the various attributes and ornamental additions: they may appear to “steal the show” from the sitting crowned figure — in fact, of course, complementing her and expounding her purpose. This rivalry occurs on some level in other allegories as well, but in this one it […]

Nov 122007
Giotto, Virtues and Vices: Faith

The episcopal garment and the reflective facial expression immediately immerse the viewer into a serious, perhaps somewhat grave context. The facial expression adheres to medieval iconic standards more than any other in the entire group of fourteen allegories, and purposefully so: Giotto amplifies the theme of faith via an association with a long standing pictorial […]