Meeting at the Golden Gate

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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.

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