Refectory, Sant' Apollonia, Florence

   The refectory of the Monastery of Sant' Apollonia boasts frescoes by Andrea del Castagno executed in 1447. The largest scene is the Last Supper, and above it are the Crucifixion, Entombment, and Resurrection. Castagno's mastery at one-point linear perspective is evident in that the space in which the Last Supper unfolds is so convincing as to appear to pierce the refectory wall to reveal a second room. While little emotion is shown in the facial expressions of the figures in this scene, the marble panels behind them add drama as the veinings are busiest above the heads of Christ, Judas, St. John, and St. Peter. Judas is isolated from the rest by his placement on the opposite side of the table. He is also the only figure without a halo. While the rest of the apostles gesticulate in reaction to Christ's announcement that one of them will betray him and ponder on its significance, Judas keeps his hand movements to a minimum and seems unaffected. The work shows Castagno's focus on the representation of the human form. The figures are individualized and in a variety of poses, their heads and halos foreshortened to enhance realism. The draperies are as well defined as they are in Donatello's sculptures, which were a major influence in Castagno's art. Above the Last Supper, the three scenes, now in poor condition, occupy one pictorial field, though interrupted by the room's two windows, with angels above converging toward the center. The Crucifixion is in the middle, with Christ's head foreshortened to bend toward the viewer below, the Resurrection is on the left, and the Entombment on the right. Christ's seminude body in these scenes afforded Castagno the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of human anatomy. Arm muscles bulge in response to the lifting of arms and they painfully stretch to emphasize Christ's suffering.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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  • Refectory —    A dining hall in a monastery where meal taking is permeated with the spirit of prayer and meditation. In the Renaissance, the religious nature of the refectory was often emphasized by the paintings that decorated the walls. These usually… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Last Supper —    On the eve of his arrest, Christ took his last meal with his apostles. Since on the occasion he declared that the wine they were consuming represented his blood and the bread his body, the event marks the institution of the Eucharist as a holy …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Resurrection of Christ —    The moment when Christ resuscitates and emerges from his tomb, triumphant over death. The scene is often depicted in art, with Christ usually shown stepping out of his sarcophagus while holding a banner that symbolizes his triumph. On the tomb …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Sinopia —    An underdrawing for a fresco that is rendered in red earth mixed with water. Examples of sinopie that have been revealed during restorations are those now housed in the Papal Palace in Avignon for frescoes commissioned from Simone Martini by… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Castagno, Andrea del — orig. Andrea di Bartolo born с 1421, San Martino a Corella, Republic of Florence died Aug. 19, 1457, Florence Italian painter active in Florence. Little is known of his early life, and many of his paintings have been lost. His earliest dated… …   Universalium

  • Castagno, Andrea del — (c. 1419 1457)    Andrea del Castagno was born in the Mugello, near Florence. Little is known of his life, though Giorgio Vasari described him as a violent individual, stating that he murdered his competitor Domenico Veneziano out of envy. In the …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Andrea del Castagno — Castagna redirects here. For other meanings, see Castagna (disambiguation). Andrea del Castagno or Andrea di Bartolo di Bargilla (c. 1421 ndash; 1457) was an Italian painter from Florence, influenced chiefly by Tommaso Masaccio and Giotto di… …   Wikipedia

  • Apostles —    The word apostles stems from the Greek apostellos and stands for to send forth. It refers to the 12 disciples of Christ who were charged with the mission to spread his word throughout the world. There are four biblical sources that give the… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

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