Fra Carnevale made the painting “The birth of the virgin” in 1467 at Urbino from an altarpiece of the church of Santa Maria Della Bella. The artist displays the birth of Madonna in contemporary terms after which the baby is bathed by midwives. At the forefront, women greet each other. The palace is decorated with materials that were derived from the roman sculpture. Before the painting, the author worked in Florence when he saw the paintings by Piero Della. He met Leon Battista Alberti, the great architect-theorist. The interesting thing about the historical painting is the focal point which appears far from the open space. Besides, the architecture is one of the first impressions that the viewer gets from the painting. It is evident that the artist used a smooth, beautiful, elegant patterns, plaster and stone and spacious interiors, among many elements. It is also notable that the spaces have cheerful colors that are filled with the cool light.
The painting was originally located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, after which it was transferred to Boston, where it represented the birth of the virgin. While in New York, the painting represented the presentation of the virgin in the temple. The two panels represented similar scenes and same size that were taken from a perspective grid that contained scholarly subjects and debate. While in the temple, the image portrayed the religious objects that were contemporary inspired and identified by an altarpiece that was confiscated in the 1930s by the Cardinal Antonio Barberini. It is also evident that the painting was first owned by Leon Battista Alberti, who was responsible for the façade. Besides, the artist is believed to be the source of inspiration to Fra Carnevale’s painting. The architectural treatise reflected the oblique treatment that became the subject of discussion for centuries.
The painting methods employed the tempera and oil on wood techniques. The artist sought for the perfect methods and techniques in Washington annunciation. In this, he settled on the tempera and oil on wood because the brushstrokes on wood were perfectly visible. Besides, it was also possible to examine and follow the painting and to execute the painting. Additionally, the rich binding medium was remarkable and obsessively depicted all minute details of the painting. Fra Carnevale must have used the binding medium as a way to compensate for the excessive use of the incisions in the planning segment.
As noted in the above context, the painting of the “birth of the virgin” symbolizes the painting on the “presentation of the virgin on the temple,” which was also painted by Fra Carnevale. In this, the artist uses these two paintings to create an image of the new one, that is, the birth of the virgin. The painting on the presentation of the virgin in the temple was figured earlier than the birth of the virgin. The later was reflected in New York while the previous took place in Boston. As a result, the artist uses the two images to illustrate his theme of religion by providing images that were taken from the church grounds or the temple. The aspect of the “virgin” and the “temple” is also a symbol of the texts, meaning that the artist was inspired by priestly acts during his painting work.
The element of the altarpiece indicates that the painting is a religious one. This creates a religious story where the birth of the virgin occurred in the altar. It symbolically represents the artist’s association with the temple, in that; he could have been a priest. Besides, other artists such as Giorgio Vasari noted that Fra Carnevale was a painter- priest who was popular in the mid 15th century, even though he later faded from view. The paintings by this artist were related to architectural settings such as that which is seen in the image. It is clear that architectural projects contributed to fine paintings which could be identified with the normal eye. The identification of the object in the metropolitan painting is crucial and reflects a religious case where the painting was done in the church of Urbino. The virgin is dressed in blue as it was the science of linear perspective during those days. The features generally represented those of an illusion that had a slat or deep surface.
When standing in front of the image, one is likely to identify significant details of the painting. Firstly, the deep shape that originates from the blue sky is noticed. The light appears intense and bright, subsequent to the unrelenting shades of white and grey in the architectural design. The artist mixes the complimentary hues reflected by the dull pinks and blues that help to neutralize the dark color effect shown on the upper left corner. It is also notable that the outfits of the women have delicate colors that are melodious against the white of the masonry and the sustained grey. A balance is created between the architectural structures and the blending of the figures as shown below.
Figure 1. The birth of the virgin.
It is also clear that the artist used the shading of colors to provide a pragmatic looking drapery which is achieved through folds. The shadows of the figures can also be seen by the viewer, suggesting that the source of light comes from somewhere in the lower left to the middle left of the painting. The brightness of the walls in the splendid temple can also be a source of the light. Standing in front of the portrait, the image looks darker than it is on the photographs. The art of painting is also evident on the actual image than it is on the photographs.
A look on the image reflects the gentle movement of the ladies which is idealized by the virgin on the foreground. The unified and slow movement creates the realistic, calming, and balanced scene of the viewer. The aspects of embracement and responsibility are identified as one woman seems to be holding a child by the hand while two others greet each other, a situation that also signifies visitation. The point where the virgin lies is the focal point of the painting which is kept in an open state room. As a result, the human figures cover the largest portion of the portrait. The architectural setting also indicates that the artist had interest in the subject matter.
Importantly, I chose the painting by Fra Carnevale because it encompasses reliable and contemporary sources. For instance, the artist derived the façade techniques from another great artist of the period, Leon Battista Alberti. It is also evident that the artwork has a calm background and clear pictures that enable the viewer to understand the topic under investigation. Besides, the artwork lacks misunderstandings or controversies by other artists because one can clearly see that it was figured in the temple. Also, the different artists of the period lacked arguments based on art piece. This meant that the artists were inspired by people who were much older and knowledgeable than themselves. Even though another portrait by the same artist, that is; the presentation of the virgin in the temple, closely resembles the one in question, it is apparent the two portraits have various similar elements that also lacked a point of argument.
During the research, I realized that the different art pieces found in the metropolitan age encompassed various art elements such as symbolism, imagery, subject matter, and light, among others. I also realized that the general religious theme provides the emphasis of the setting which is built at the expense of the reader’s first impressions. The eyes are first directed to the church in which the entire image looks like a story. The women who walk quietly signify respect and humbleness, which is found at the center of the portrait where the virgin lies. The entire image is interesting due to the greater sense of flexibility and movement evident throughout the portrait. The painting surprised me because it lacked comparable flaws as it is the case with any art piece. Various artists do not reflect on the idea of portraying the imaginative experiments, explorations, and perceptual jokes, which lead to upset expectations and unseat perfection. In this, the image clearly identifies the elements that are visible by any other artist, making it interesting to observe. The fact that was a religious painting also caught my attention as not many artists are likely to critique such paintings. The fact that many artists lack sufficient religious knowledge could have led to the few critics, essential in expanding the piece of art.
Going through the various pieces of art history, I was surprised to see that the many portraits encompassed images of humans. Others portrayed nude images whereby the largest pieces reflected women. I realized that the renaissance artists figured on women as the center of focus while creating their diverse paintings. In this, it is evident that it would be simple to paint a nude female image compared to a nude image of a man. As reflected in the birth of the virgin, it is clear that the image is filled with images of women who are in movement from one point to the other.