Baroncelli chapel, Santa Croce, Florence


Baroncelli chapel, Santa Croce, Florence
(1332-1338)
   Frescoed by Taddeo Gaddi, Giotto's pupil and principal assistant, the Baroncelli Chapel, one of the largest in Santa Croce, boasts scenes from the life of the Virgin, her parents Joachim and Anne, and Christ. The Baroncelli were a wealthy Florentine banking family who wanted their chapel to speak of their privileged position. In Giotto's absence from Florence (he was in Naples in 1328-1334), they gave the commission to his pupil Taddeo, who was running the master's workshop. Some have suggested that it was Giotto who provided the designs for Taddeo to follow since the altarpiece in the chapel, the Baroncelli Polyptych, is Giotto's signature work. Like Giotto, Taddeo gave volume to his figures and draperies, placed them within believable architectural spaces and landscapes, and stressed familial affection and the humanity of Mary and Christ. Taddeo's figures, however, are more slender than Giotto's. Also, unlike his teacher, he had a particular interest in nocturnal scenes, such as his Annunciation to the Shepherds where an angel emerges from the dark sky to announce the birth of Christ.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.