The importance of the figure of Mary in Tuscan art

Ambrogio Lorenzetti Annuciation

The importance of the figure of the Virgin Mary for Tuscan art was more than a devotional phenomenon . In Tuscany the process of identifying Mary with the idea of the perfection of human nature established itself even before the spreading of the emotional spirituality of the XIV and XV centuries. Ambrogio Lorenzetti ‘s Annunciation is only one of the many Annunciations with the Archangel Gabriel on the left and the Virgin on the right. Ambrogio Lorenzetti worked in the wealthy city of Siena and the Madonna had a double value indicating both Mary and a woman-queen as those loved by poets. The function of representing the divine Annunciation of the motherhood of Mary( the theological question was resolved in Council of Ephesus in 431 and closed a complex period in which heretics had questioned now, the humanity, now the divinity of Christ) is now the representation of a woman in flesh and blood, whose feminine features cand be sensed under her clothing. To the figure of Mary was attributed both a religious and a courtly reference, and in particular the kindness of an aristocratic damsel. The young Girl with her hands crossed on her breast seems the essence of the woman who inspired the troubadours of the style of Toulouse.

In Renaissace Italy artists had a better Social status compared with artists of other European countries because wealthy men, merchants and princes knew better how to appreciate their talent. Usually in Italy the artist worked by the Court of the Prince. The courtly reference evokes the atmosphere of that remote time with the intertwining of sacred and profane themes even in an apparently religious painting like an Annunciation.


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