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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsGiotto And His Works In Padua - 9. The Rods Are Brought To The High-Priest
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Giotto And His Works In Padua - 9. The Rods Are Brought To The High-Priest Post by :eLogo Category :Nonfictions Author :John Ruskin Date :May 2012 Read :2228

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Giotto And His Works In Padua - 9. The Rods Are Brought To The High-Priest

IX. THE RODS ARE BROUGHT TO THE HIGH-PRIEST

"Then he (the high-priest) appointed that all the men of the house and family of David who were marriageable, and not married, should bring their several rods to the altar. And out of whatsoever person's rod, after it was brought, a flower should bud forth, and on the top of it the Spirit of the Lord should sit in the appearance of a dove, he should be the man to whom the Virgin should be given, and be betrothed to her." (Gospel of St. Mary, v. 16, 17.)

There has originally been very little interest in this composition; and the injuries which it has suffered have rendered it impossible for the draughtsman to distinguish the true folds of the draperies amidst the defaced and worn colours of the fresco, so that the character of the central figure is lost. The only points requiring notice are, first, the manner in which St. Joseph holds his rod, depressing and half-concealing it,(17) while the other suitors present theirs boldly; and secondly, the graceful though monotonous grouping of the heads of the crowd behind him. This mode of rendering the presence of a large multitude, showing only the crowns of the heads in complicated perspective, was long practised in mosaics and illuminations before the time of Giotto, and always possesses a certain degree of sublimity in its power of suggesting perfect unity of feeling and movement among the crowd.

(Footnote 17: In the next chapter, it is said that "Joseph drew back his rod when every one else presented his.")

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