Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry: Janvier

Limbourg Brothers, Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412-1416 
By SAI GONDI

Saddle up folks, its fiesta time. Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry is a manuscript comprised of twelve works  intended for their loyal patron the Duke of Berry. The creators of these works are simply known as the Limbourg Brothers. Jean, Paul, and Herman spent the early 1400s creating their coveted illuminated books. Très Riches Heures uses a calendar style to portray the Duke of Berry and life around his palace. Each individual month exhibits different scenarios throughout the year using gothic styles and bright, vibrant colors. 

For those who followed us throughout our Spring Break series, Janvier, or January, is a perfect piece for that collection of wild works. In January, the Duke, dressed in a peculiar Peacock robe, sits in his decorated palace flooded with delicacies, guests, and gifts. The event is actually to commemorate the generous month of January known for being the time of gift exchanging. This is seen through the surplus of gold pots objects being examined and presumably traded by the gentlemen on the left. The Brothers use stunning blues, reds, and golds to captivate the viewer and help glorify the Duke. 

There are some elements of this painting I can not necessarily explain. The major one being the accessories hanging off the vintage fanny packs around the two gentlemen in front. Such presumable key chains will likely confuse the viewer into thinking they represent something a little more inappropriate for younger audiences. Then again, I have no insight on 15th century jewelry trends. 

January is, in my opinion, one of the best by the Limbourg Brothers for its use of colors and all around inclusion of depth and three dimension, something rather revolutionary for Renaissance art.  
  • 7:00 AM

Madonna and Child

Simone Martini, Madonna and Child, 1326

By MARY MARGARET SIMS

In 1326 Martini was commissioned by the government of Siena to paint his interpretation of Mary and Jesus. This piece is part of a five panel altar piece, making it easier to transport by folding the panels together. This style was called, polyptych "a painting, typically an altarpiece, consisting of more than three leaves or panels joined by hinges or folds." This display was very unusual for this time period making it stand out more. Martini was one of the more notable painters of his time with his impeccable attention to detail. In this piece you might notice that the child is very plump and that the women is scary looking because of her vacant eyes and this is why I call this painting shrek baby and alien lady. 

Since I am new to art history I don't look at this piece of art and think, "Oh that's for sure a Martini because of the face shape and the eyes." I look at this painting and think, "That's an ugly baby and a weird looking women with scary long spider fingers." This may seem sacrilegious in the art world but since I am still a newbie in the art history realm this is all that my untrained eyes see.


  • 7:00 AM

Rucellai Madonna


Rucellai Madonna, 1285, Duccio
by REID GUEMMER

I'll admit, Renaissance art has never exactly appealed to me. I've never found solace in a painting which displays the classic values of the medium, despite the almost constant religious subject matter. I've admired the gold leaf press and the rich blues, but I have never felt anything but aesthetic pleasure from renaissance paintings.

Although, one thing I do admire about Renaissance art is the progressive mindset. The desire artists had to learn and evolve was well and alive.  Experimentation with the basic Greek and Roman styles led to the development of everything we consider art today. The most influential artists of the period were taught by one another. They all took bits and pieces of what they found admirable and worth experimenting with from each others work, using them to complete the beautiful masterpieces we can still see today. Although the result creates a common difficultly between art historians studying the period, and that is to differentiate the work of these artists.


Rucellai Madonna, for example, caused its fair amount of controversy between art historians. The question at hand: was the painting done by Duccio or his mentor Cimabue? Although art historian Franz Wickhoff later decided to compared Ruccellai Madonna to Duccio's most famous work, Maestà. He found that the two paintings shared many similarities and overlapped in technique, providing enough evidence for Duccio to reclaim his piece.


For me, Renaissance art is less about the individual but more about the progression of a era. Although Rucellai Madonna isn't Duccio's most famous piece, I feel it defines his stylistic evolution. It serves as a mile marker in his career, one that works as a compilation of all the characteristics he experimented with, all their prime.

I'm not sure I'll ever get over the creepy man babies constantly portrayed in Renaissance painting, but I can slowly feel myself warming up to style. Despite what it seems, Renaissance art is much more than just religious paintings. It functioned as a great turning point in style and the development of all that is today.
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Guidoriccio Da Fogliano

Simone Martini, Guidoriccio Da Fogliano, 1330
By ELLIE SCHNEIDER

In Guidoriccio Da Fogliano, Simone Martini illustrates the capture of Montemassi, a village in Tuscany, by the condottiero Guidoriccio Da Fogliano in 1328 when he was fighting for Siena. This piece is a famous fresco from the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena.

When I look at this painting, the first thing that draws me in is Guidoriccio Da Fogliano himself and his horse. When looking at Guidoriccio Da Fogliano in closer detail, it amazes me that Martini painted with this amount of detail in the 1300s. Both the horse and Guidoriccio Da Fogliano wear an  argyle ensemble with a pattern in earth tones, complimenting the rich orange that acts as the base. The orange does not overwhelm you like a neon orange, but still demands your attention.

The orange balances well off of the deep blue background. While we just started studying Renaissance art, I have noticed that painters from this time period often use bright and rich colors. Rather than look completely realistic, painters attract viewers through their detailed works with bright and rich colors. I like that the blue looks like water colors, and the blue changes from a faded indigo on the right side of the fresco, to a vivid navy. When thinking about the story of the fresco, I am interested why the color gets darker when Guidoriccio Da Fogliano travels to Montemassi, which he conquered. I think that the deep navy over looming over Montemassi adds a dramatic effect to his capturing of the village.

The rest of the scene is not very attractive. It shows barren lands between two villages, all created with a variety of earth tones. While these colors do not attract my eyes, I appreciate that because of the presence of the orange and blue. The earth tones create a stage for Guidoriccio Da Fogliano and his horse. The sand colored lands also contrast nicely with the blue background. The extreme contrast between the orange, earth tones, and blue creates depth in the painting.

At first, I picked this painting because it did not depict a bible story or feature Jesus. I was naive after taking Modern Art History,  and I did not anticipate the mass amount of crucifixion paintings we would look at in Renaissance Art History. I am not as familiar with the bible, so I found this fresco,  which is not based off a bible story, to be refreshing. While, at first I picked it for what it was not, I now appreciate it for what it is. 
  • 7:00 AM

Meeting at the Golden Gate

GiottoMeeting at the Golden Gate, 1305

by HARPER TRUOG

Imagine running into your spouse's arms under a great, golden gate. Imagine crowds of onlookers smiling and sighing at this display of love. Imagine that you can't kiss properly because you haven't had sufficient practice. The child that has caused all of this passion wasn't even conceived by humans, but by angels.

The two people kissing are Joachim and Anne, Mary's parents. They could not conceive a child, so they prayed to God and an angel granted their wish. This painting shows their reunion at the gate the angel instructed them to go to. The faces are more sophisticated than Giotto's earlier works because they show clear emotions. The group of people under the gate are happy, the couple is relieved and joyous, and the lady in the black clothing is repulsed.

If you zoom in on the couple's eyes and lips, their faces are making strange expressions. Their eyes are in the process of closing, but it looks like they are trying to sneak a look at each other's faces just to make sure that the other's eyes are closing too. The half-closed eyes paired with the people's uneven heights and the existence of irises, also gives the impression that they are cross-eyed.

The lady in black seems to be the only person who recognizes the strangeness of the couple kissing. She is the only one looking away from Joachim and Anne and has a clear look of disgust on her face. I feel like she is meant to represent all of us, or those of us who cringe when couples kiss passionately every time they see each other. The group of ladies represent all of the people who think the couple is adorable and that they will be together forever.
  • 7:00 AM

Lamentation

Arena Chapel: Lamentation, Giotto, 1305
By LIBBY ROHR

Starting this year with Renaissance painting had me skeptical. How could I compare my love for modern masters like Monet and Chagall to the likes of Duccio and the Limbourg Brothers, literally hundreds of years of skill and progress behind my favorites? However, after a year of art history, I've learned to trust the process. After all, if I can learn to love and appreciate Malevich's White on White then I can figure out these guys, too. 

In studying the Arena Chapel works, I see the creation of something, like art is a child at play learning that if she moves her legs a bit faster, she can run. Here, perspective is being born. It's still a bit crude and unrefined, as you can see in the folds of the fabric. Outlines are still utilized to define figures, but unlike its predecessors, shading and shadow is coming into being in the faces of Mary and Jesus. The blue of the background is stunning, making the golden halos pop all the more. Giotto begins to play with the idea of staging here, as the back rock wall frames the scene, and the man to the far right grounds us with his (slightly misshapen) feet. The rocks form a line, leading wandering eyes back to Jesus at every turn. In fact the eyes of every person or angel in the painting are directed at Jesus. No matter where you look, Giotto has a tool to refocus you. Directly above his body is a hole in the crowd, a passageway to the heavens, leaving him in full view of God. I can see Giotto working the audience into the spectacle with the two men in front. Backs to us, their faces are hidden, a long time artist's tool for including the onlooker. It may as well be you or I hunched over mourning Christ.  

Jesus, maybe for the first time, looks truly human. He lays limp and mortal in the arms of his mother, distinguishable as holy only by his halo. Staring at his mother's face, I see the other revolutionary piece of Giotto's work, the appearance of emotion. This lamentation is actually that. Angels and people alike, divine and imperfect, rich and impoverished, brought together in despair that shows. The pleading in Mary's face, just inches from her son's, is heart-wrenching. Yes, he's still Jesus, but forget the crowd, forget the angels, forget who these people are. Looking at this scene, it's a mother and a child, a perversion of the natural order strong enough to break so many. Yes, I still see Jesus, but he's presented in an a way that any onlooker can relate to. When I see Jesus and Mary, I also see my aunt crying over her brother's casket. I see my mother's clients in the hospital, holding their hurt children for their last times. I see myself kneeling next to my grandfather's bed in his last hours.

We all have tragedy in our lives. We all understand the pain of loss whether or not you've experienced the death of a loved one. Giotto creates this painting on the wall of a chapel, so in many ways it's functional. It tells the story of Jesus and glorifies the church itself, but it goes so much deeper than that. By showing a lamentation that we can all understand and creating a composition that draws us in, he brings Jesus and religion to the life of the onlooker. He has the power to change the worshipers' relationship to the story. No longer is Jesus some unattainable, distant, holy figure, in this painting he is your experience of loss and as a result Giotto gives the audience to own the story of Christ for themselves, too. That's where art is always the same, whether we're talking Proto-Renaissance or Suprematism. You don't have to know the story or the artist or the time period to see this Lamentation and feel the connection to Jesus and Mary. Giotto doesn't need to play off of anything other than our humanity. And no matter who you are, reader, that's the one thing we'll alway's have in common.
  • 7:00 AM

Temptation of Christ on the Mountain

Duccio, Temptation of Christ on the Mountain, 1308-1311
by MISSY ROSENTHAL

We all are easily enticed by the seemly handsome devil. A task or an action that we understand as immoral can seem like the right choice because it's simply easier in the short term. Whether it he dazzles you to be dishonest academically or socially, all of us can relate to Jesus' struggle in Duccio's masterpiece. Duccio brilliantly portrays the New Testament scene (Matthew 4:1-11) with tempera where the devil offers Jesus rule of the entire Earth. 

This piece showcases how Duccio’s work set the stage for future Renaissance paintings. While the artist still paints his central figures in a flat fashion, he incorporates new methods. Duccio uses the classic background yellow-grey background while including several new techniques. These styles include perspective and buildings with more two dimensional elements. 

The light focuses on the angels and shadow engulfs the devil while Jesus sits in-between. This emphasizes Jesus' juxtaposition. Duccio arranges the four figures in the piece in order of holiness the angels, Christ and Satan. Duccio humanizes Jesus, showing that he lies somewhere between good and evil.
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Maestà

Duccio, Maestà, 1255–1319

by NAYOUNG KWON 

Being able to learn Renaissance art history this year kept me curious and excited, but it was also nerve-racking. I believed that all renaissance art would be much more hard to depict what the artist was going for and there would be hundreds of way of figure out the meaning behind it. However, by taking this class I have started to appreciate the story and skills that goes into the each paintings. Although I'm not much of a religious person seeing Maestà made my jaws drop. To think he spent years creating this piece sure is admiring. 

Commissioned by the city of Siena, Duccio painted Maestà around 1255 to 1319 using tempera paint and gold. Since tempera paint is thinner than oil paint or acrylic, it requires multiple layers to attain vibrant colors. Its breathtaking to see how he used gold to give the shiny effect. The amount of detail in the painting shows the amount of effort he put in it. The painting it consists total of 26 episodes and 14 panels that tells the history of Mary and Jesus. We all know the painting Mary and Child seems a bit off, but as time passed Duccio's skill truly developed. The flow of the painting is smooth, pretty symmetrical, and not to distracting to the eyes - especially the proportion of humans, their emotions, and the way fabric flows has become much more realistic.

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Joachim Among the Shepherds

Giotto, Joachim Among the Shepherds, 1304-1306
by ETHAN DOSKEY

Joachim, having been denied entry to Jerusalem by the high priest for his childlessness, skedaddles to the country. Here, he embraces a shepherd's lifestyle and fasts. Receiving a message from angels promising them a child after forty days of his exile, his wife, Anne, gets a bun in the oven (that bun being Mary, Jesus' eventual mother).  

Depicted in fresco in the Arena Chapel, Giotto portrays Joachim's humble request to join the Shepherds of the desert. In the style he became known for, Giotto creates a set, placing emotionally vivid characters into their manipulated environment. Similarly to his other works, Giotto's choice of story is lesser-known — Joachim's not appearing at all in the bible. 

A dream-like cliff face draws Joachim and the shepherds away from the setting in a disproportionate fashion. The tower of rock in the top right section of the painting along with the "sheep" and cave/hut/dwelling facility, causes the right half of the panel to seem weighted, offsetting the open space around Joachim. The placement of the two shepherds is striking; the "is this guy for real?" look combined with the fact that the other man is facing away, draws focus and intrigue from the viewer while further adding dramatics. An aspect I do not quite comprehend or suggest an explanation of, the dog at Joachim's feet appears to be the only thing in motion. Additionally, although this may have changed through time, the dog's light coat demands attention compared to the gorgeous indigo sky and the overwhelmingly neutral tones of the rest of the painting. 

  • 7:00 AM

Sant'Ansano Altarpiece

Sant'Ansano Altarpiece, Simone Martini 1333
By NATALIE BEYER

Starting Renaissance Art History, I thought that I would never fully appreciate how much time and effort an artist put into his or her paintings. Not even two weeks into class when I first saw this painting, I immediately fell in love with the colors and story it portrays. Not being a very religious person, I was not sure if I would enjoy paintings such as this one, but I was proven wrong.

The Sant'Ansano Altarpiece, painted by Simone Martini around 1333 depicts Angel Gabriel giving the Virgin Mary the news that she will be having a child soon. The annoyed look on her face and the words spewing out of Gabriel's mouth make this painting even more beautiful. However, Martini's technique and gentleness in this painting brings all the lines and color together harmoniously. 

Another aspect of this painting comes with the sense that each person is acting. From Mary's expression of surprise and fear to Gabriel leaning down on one knee, informing Mary with literal words flowing from his mouth to create drama for the Virgin all create a scene. However, all the movement in his painting stresses elegance, creating a sort of sophistication throughout this masterpiece. Also keeping traditions, Martini uses a bright gold for the background and uses blue for Mary's robe and white lilies. The Virgin sits in a throne, her flowers in a vase, and the detailed floors suggests an attempt to make a real space for the people to be in, instead of the Byzantine ways of one-dimension.  



















  • 7:00 AM

Marriage of the Virgin by Giotto

Giotto, Marriage of the Virgin, 1305
By BLAIR HUXMAN

Marriage of the Virgin by Giotto is part of a fresco cycle considered to be a masterpiece of Western art. It rests alongside other panels chronologically depicting the life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin. The Scrovengi Chapel In Padua, Italy displays these frescoes from around 1305.

In Marriage of the Virgin Giotto depicts the marriage between the Virgin Mary and Joseph. The priest entrusts Mary's safety to Joseph by the guided touching of their fingertips. We see that they are holy by the gold halos around their heads. Mary holds her belly gently indicating possible pregnancy while onlookers appear humbled by God's presence. Giotto's work shows a clear shift from the two dimensional, rigid Byzantine style that dominated art in the day. Giotto painted the dome behind the ceremony with dimension; it clearly caves inward. He tries to create gentle folds in the fabrics by using shadows and adjusts the color depending on how much light hits the subject. The outlines of breasts and arms can be seen by the gently draping fabric. 

Faces are not flat and forward-facing like in traditional Byzantine artwork. Faces have depth and convey a variety of emotions. In Marriage of the Virgin, Giotto uses new styles and techniques to portray the commencement of the journey of Christ in this beginning section of his larger work,
Life of the Virgin.
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The Last Judgement




Giotto, The Last Judgement, 1306
By DIEGO JEREZ

This is Giotto's largest work in the Arena Chapel. This extensive description of the Last Judgment in the west of the church is dominated by the large enthroned Christ as supreme Judge in a rainbow-colored mandorla in majesty at its center. The twelve apostles are surrounding Christ. In this area the archangels Michael and Raphael hold the cross in the middle. This fresco contains the Heaven, Purgatory, and the Hell. The bright gold background, Giotto’s style of painting gives the perception that Christ is showing his power.

It is possible that Dante, the great Renaissance poet and an acquaintance of Giotto's, was inspired by this depiction of Hell when he wrote The Inferno. In the book Satan is in the deepest part of hell, devouring people, like in the fresco. In the hell there is lot of individuals hanging from things that look like trees. Giotto did a really good job by presenting it, because make the viewer that the hell is cruelest place of all times.
A curious thing can be found at the bottom part of the fresco, Enrico Scrovegni the representative of the Arena Chapel, is portrayed as presenting the chapel to the Virgin Mary. 

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The Three Living and the Three Dead, The Triumph of Death, The Last Judgment and Hell

Buonamico Buffalmacco's The Three Living and the Three Dead, The Triumph of Death, The Last Judgement and Hell, 1330
by ELIZABETH ELLIS 

Buonamico Buffalmacco's The Three Living and the Three Dead, The Triumph of Death, The Last Judgement and Hell features angels carrying the fortunate away, demons casting the unfortunates into a bloody mass grave while a garden party goes on, and clergy members tucked away into the countryside while a funeral procession for royalty passes by below them. Buffalmacco's only surviving artwork predicts the Black Death that would soon come to decimate cities while those in the countryside survived. His iconography of the angels and demons reflects the thoughts at time; God was punishing people and death would overtake everyone. 

"Since prosperity has completely deserted us, O Death, you who are the medicine for all pain, come to give us our last supper." 

This phrase is written on scrolls held up by angels over the heads of beggars. It exemplifies the desperate tone of the stricken people suffering from disease, poverty, and death surrounding them in direct comparison to the levity of the youths enjoying themselves in nature and peacefulness of the religious members in the upper lefthand corner. 

Buffalmacco's painting of the group of young people in a garden in the lower righthand corner likely inspired the basis for Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, which features a group of young adults who travel to the countryside to avoid the plague and sit around telling stories. In fact, Buffalmacco appears as a main character and trickster in three of Boccaccio's stories in Decameron.

Buffalmacco's frescoes are currently located at the Camposanto Veccio in Pisa, Italy. I am lucky enough to have been able to travel there, though I was unable to go inside the building because of renovations. I would have loved to see his frescoes and experience the contrasting imagery in person. 
  • 7:00 AM

The Miracle of the Child Attacked and Rescued by Augustine Novello

Simone Martini, The Miracle of the Child Attacked and Rescued by Augustine Novello, 1328

by CHARNAI ANDERSON 

Simone Martini, an Italian artist from the International Gothic era, paints an uncharacteristic painting of the onslaught of a child. The thing that makes this painting uncharacteristic is that during this time it seems as if there was an unwritten rule that you must paint about Jesus, or perhaps "Madonna and Child." While we will never fully stray away from religion, specifically Catholicism, with this painting we are at least given the opportunity to take a break from Jesus. There's only so much one can take of Madonna's unusual finger length and Jesus' unorthodox mannish face. But I hear practice makes perfect.

This painting makes me feel a sense of hope. The hope I obtain from this painting resides in the miracle. At first glance, to me, the child is already dead. Although I feel as if the great architecture of the building would draw one's attention at the initial sight of this painting, I was first drawn to the child and the blood on the ground. In a logical sense this child has been wounded and most likely will die from a substantial amount of blood loss, that in the painting we see is already beginning to take action. But here Martini assures us to never lose faith. For though the Saint Augustine Novello is dressed in black, a color that corresponds with negativity and, well, death, he has come to save not only the child but also end the despair and grief of the family members. Not only does this give me hope, but also reassurance of second chances because although this child is supposed to be dead by default, God, for some reason has decided to spare his life, and give him a chance at living.

All while giving me wonderful gifts of hope and chance, Martini corrupts my brain by creating such an innocent creature to look as vicious and savage as can be. I just saw this dog on my afternoon run around the neighborhood. It's home is near the local high school. Because of Martini I now have to find a new route.
  • 7:00 AM

The Dream of Joachim

Giotto Di Bondone, The Dream of Joachim1305
By EMMA SHAPIRO

Joachim and his wife, Anna, had a wealthy and prosperous life, but they bemoaned their childlessness. Joachim fled to the countryside to pray, while Anna grieved his departure and her inability to bear a child. Separately, they each received a message from an angel announcing they would conceive. After having their daughter, Mary, they left her at the Temple at Jerusalem to be raised, as promised. 

In Giotto's The Dream of Joachim, Giotto paints the scene in the same manner as staging a play. The spotlight shines on the lethargic Joachim, sitting under the roof of his hut. Although Giotto's art is among the most well-known of his time period, aspects of his art still lack a mastery in proportion, especially but not limited to, the 2-D roof  above Joachim. Giotto's herd of sheep shows his next perspective faux pas. It is possible that Giotto purposefully levitated the topmost sheep, but also unlikely that he actually believed sheep could both float and stand at diagonals, as the second highest sheep does. Giotto's dexterity may not show through in perspective, but he has a unique ability to stage a scene and evoke emotions and ideas without painting objects. The shepherds enter left stage sensing the angel's dramatized descent towards Joachim, leaning with interest towards the action on center stage. Although Giotto leaves the space mostly empty, the eye draws toward the tension heavy line between Joachim and the angel.

This fresco still decorates the walls of the Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel, along with a large series of other Giotto frescoes of similar hue and composition, today. 

  • 7:00 AM

The Exposure of Woman in Art: Judith and the Head of Holofernes

Gustav Klimt, Judith and the Head of Holofernes, 1901
The Exposure of Women in Art
by EMMA SHAPIRO


Artists typically paint nudes of prostitutes in exposed portraits, portraying them as helpless and weak sexual creatures. Contrarily, Klimt's representation of Judith and the Head of Holofernes, presents Judith’s strength. Her upright body and ferocity yet softness in her face draws the attention away from her nipples. Her slightly cocked head shows a sense of pride, but her sensual expression shows humbleness. Klimt places Holofernes head in the bottom right corner, to remove narrative reference. Klimt also shows no trace of the bloodied sword from the murder. Klimt decided that Judith’s powerful presence mattered more to the compilation of the painting than the actual storyline. Nude subjects almost always include some sexual connotations. In this case, Judith’s bare torso alludes to her attempt to entice Holofernes before his decapitation. Judith finds strength in her body. 

Klimt chose Adele Bloch-Bauer as the subject of this painting, a woman whom he painted several times in his career. Gustav Klimt lived in Vienna, where he made acquaintance with the Bloch-Bauer family. The Bloch-Bauers were a wealthy and influential Jewish family in Vienna, up until the World War II when they had to flee. In the painting, Adele wears her signature choker necklace, which exemplifies her wealth. It also brutally separates her head from her half-revealed body, like a decapitation of her own. Klimt does not draw women as useless creatures but rather highlights the vigor of women like Adele and Judith. This painting differs from the others in the collection because the woman being revealed not only embraces her bare chest, but she also flaunts it. 
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The Exposure of Women in Art: A Mulatto Woman

Eugene Delacroix, A Mulatto Woman, 1824
The Exposure of Women in Art
by EMMA SHAPIRO

In the 1800s Mulattos had a lower social ranking than most whites. Society did not embrace their differences but rather chastised them for their mixed heritage. In Eugene Delacroix’s A Mulatto Woman, Delacroix quite obviously depicts a Mulatto woman. Delacroix painted people of all social status, not just the elites or poor. Although Delacroix paints many women, he concurred with the ideology that women had no place in political activity. 

The painting of A Mulatto Woman preceded one of Delacroix’s most famous works, Liberty Leading the People, by six years. These two paintings simultaneously compliment and contradict each other. Both the Mulatto woman and Liberty wear loose white blouses which reveal their chests. Delacroix exposes Liberty’s chest as a symbol of power, feminine/supernatural strength, and motherly care as she takes care of the young male revolutionists. The Mulatto woman’s subtle leakage has completely different connotations. The woman’s face does not show strength but rather a shy vulnerability. Her solemn face and hesitance to cover up hints toward her submission to male control. During the time of this painting, men who had relations with Mulatto women were seen as a disgrace. The looseness of her blouse makes her appear almost pregnant, giving her spillage a motherly presence. Her white shirt, jewelry, and put-togetherness give her a pure appearance. 

The exposure of Liberty’s chest in Liberty Leading the People created controversy because of the strength of the woman. The bare chested woman in A Mulatto Woman did not receive the same attention because her powerlessness did not contradict societal ideas of the inferiority of women. Her bare chest places her in the motherly, domestic sphere, where society believed she belonged.
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