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Gaddi, Agnolo (c. 1350 - 1396)
Discovery of the True CrossDate: 1380s
Movement: Medieval & Gothic Art
Theme: New Testament
Museum: Basilica di Santa Croce
Notes: Agnolo Gaddi's portrayal of the Legend of the True Cross was derived from a collection of the thirteenth-century religious writings by Jacopo da Voragine known as the Golden Legend. The frescoes provided the pictorial model which the Franciscans followed for the next century. The narrative tells the story of Christ's cross which, according to tradition, was made from a tree planted over Adam's grave by his son Seth.Agnolo's figures derive their essentially static style from Taddeo Gaddi's frescoes in the Baroncelli Chapel, although his own hand is evident in their elongated,elegant poses, their grouping to suggest volumes in the landscape, and their placement in full, open spaces. Throughout the frescoes there are examples of compellingly individualized facial features which suggest that they were drawn from life. The individual scenes are suffused with light which enhances the solidity of buildings and landscape features against the dark background. The colours of the costumes are lighter than in earlier frescoes, lending the entire cycle a vivacity commensurate with the animation of its figures. These frescoes mark the end of a long development of fourteenth-century painting in Santa Croce which, beginning with Giotto's frescoes for the Bardi Chapel, established new ways of realizing narrative.
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