Hey, Happy Palm Sunday everyone!
Now I know that not all of you are Christian and celebrate it, but way back I told you all I was a Christian and it is a holiday I always celebrate. So the past two years I have picked different famous pieces of art depicting Jesus, but only starting with a portrayal of The Last Supper. This year I decided to be different and am starting with The Triumphal Entry, then doing The Last Supper, Betrayal of Christ, and ending on a depiction of Good Friday.
So we are starting this year with a work from Giotto, Jesus Enters Jerusalem. Giotto was one of the pioneers of Renaissance, looking toward depicting art in a more natural sense, much different from the flat Byzantine style that his contemporaries like Duccio were doing.
In this image the viewer is given “a window onto a world”; that is we are seeing the scene as we would in real life. People overlap each other, there is movement, emotions, etc. Giotto was the pioneer of creating these emotional realistic scenes, that later artists eventually copy.
So we have Jesus coming into town on a donkey, having chosen this animal as he has a message of peace, rather than war (a horse). You can also clearly see the excitement of the townspeople as their faces not only depict those emotions, but accurately shows the throwing of the robes on the ground, preparing the way for Jesus.
To help further the realistic image, we have the two trees creating a background. We also have people climbing those trees, picking palms to lay on the road, who are smaller than the people in the crowd. Now to those of you who are artist, you might think, no duh; but this was revolutionary. In fact, a lot of people didn’t like it at the time, but it eventually started a revolution in art.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
‘Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
For more on Palm Sunday, go to Path of Palms
For more of Giotto’s work, go to The Betrayal of Christ