What a way to begin by gazing at the Madonna and Child paintings by Cimabue (1280), Duccio (1285), and Giotto (1310), all painted within the span of a thirty years; each demonstrating the leadership Florence was about to take in the art, religion and philosophy of the West. (We see this same bursting forth in building of churches in the city.)
What does this have to do with solitude? I love visiting museums by myself, and of course there is no other choice when traveling alone. I can move at my own pace, but how about the idea that I can also remain still at my own pace? In these three paintings, however, unlike earlier rendition of Madonna and Child, there is both a moving on and remaining still quality. None are static, but Giotto’s interpretation is more human. His Madonna has flesh behind her robe. The Renaissance is being conceived.
I love the Florentine religious art and architecture of the Trecento and Quattrocento, because its it suggests a place of solitude. I will miss this tranquility when I return to the Uffizi next week to spend time with the works of Titian and Caravaggio. Their works are not about solitude, nor are the silent or simple.