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Christ Resurrected

Siena, Museo Diocesano

Pietro Lorenzetti

(1280 - 1348)

Date : C. 1336 | Medium : Detached fresco

This fresco fragment, taken from the walls of a Franciscan convent in Siena, represents Christ walking through the door of the tomb after his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The frontal aspect of the silhouette contrasts with the movement of the feet to the right accompanying the directional gaze of Christ.

The layout is not as logical as it seems at first glance and betrays a certain awkwardness. The draped arm of Christ emerges from beyond the door to create a striking spatial effect but the halo that could have accentuated the salient effect through the use of superimposition is merely juxtaposed with the lintel. The shaft of the banner signalling Christ's victory over death is deployed ambiguously. It emerges from the back of the tomb, passes in front of the arms of Jesus and ends up inside the tomb once again.

The understated and monumental language of this work is the opposite of the fashionable elegant Gothic complexities and is closer to the production of Giotto and ancient sculpture.

In an otherwise visually geometrical ensemble, the only concession to the linear flexibility favoured by Sienese tastes is the garment held by Christ.

The overall height of the body corresponds to that of the head repeated 8 times. This reference to ancient sculpture, the visual boldness and the search for a plausible anatomical representation predate a similar quest in the Florentine Renaissance by nearly a century.

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