Holy Family by Simone Martini

Holy Family by Simone Martini

This picture, the last of the works of Simone Martini that have come down to us, confirms his reputation as one of the greatest colorists in the history of Italian painting. The sonority of the pure and radiant colors of this picture, the coloristic ensemble of which is formed by contrasting blue, bright scarlet, pink and dark blue colors with a shining gold background, something akin to bright colors in the stained glass of Gothic cathedrals.

Another remarkable feature of this picture is that the artist finds in it a completely unusual for his time interest in showing the experiences of characters, spiritual

movements, expressing themselves in exclusively developed facial expressions and gestures. On the faces of Joseph, who led to the Mother of the lost Son, and Mary herself froze an expression of reproach, but the artist subtly highlights the nuances of feeling: the angry look of Joseph and the indignant gesture of his hand are shaded by the soft and affable expression on the face of the Mother of God, stretching her palm towards the Son and clearly rejoicing that everything ended well. Her expressive gesture underlines a question addressed to Jesus, the Latin text of which is written on the pages of the book on her lap: “Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic?” .

The extreme agitation of parents is opposed by the spiritual strength of Christ, who is aware of his divine destiny.

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