Monday, March 30, 2015

Giotto: The Raising of Lazarus

Raising of Lazarus
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him. (John 12:9-13)
This reading from today's gospel comes directly before Jesus's entry into Jerusalem in John's gospel. I had never noticed until I read this last night, on Palm Sunday, that the gospel gives one of the reasons for the large crowds that came to welcome Jesus as a desire to see the man who had been raised from the dead. Also, we can see in the plotting of the chief priests to kill Lazarus, a portent of what can be expected by those who are associated with the mission of Jesus in the future.

Giotto's portrayal of Jesus in the above picture and in the picture from yesterday are almost identical. The slight differences in color may have to do with differences in the photos and not in the actual pictures. You also see an almost identical representation of Jesus in fresco of the Marriage at Cana.

You can see that Jesus's robe in the picture on the left has much less blue in it than the one on the right. The presentation from the Kahn Academy explains that except for the blue parts, the fresco used is buon fresco which means that the plaster was still wet when the color was applied, and is therefore a part of the actual wall. The blue is fresco secco, which means that the plaster was already dried when the blue was applied. The blue color is made from lapiz lazuli which was very expensive, and the patron of the chapel, Enrico Scrovegni wanted to use fresco secco because it required less lapiz lazuli. Because this method was used, much of the blue has flaked off over the years.

All pictures are from the Web Gallery of Art.


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