Gaddi was commissioned by the rich Baroncelli family to decorate their chapel.
The naves of the Franciscan and Dominican Gothic churches in Italy were simple, compared to their northern equivalents, they were used mainly for preaching, but they were also built to be constantly adaptable, especially to the addition and decoration of private chapels where wealthy merchant families were commemorated.
Typical is the the basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, built by the Franciscan in 1296, with its slender, widely spaced piers and the Baroncelli Chapel, painted by Giotto's godson and pupil Taddeo Gaddi.
Taddeo painted the chapel so as to capture the effects of actual southern light coming through the lancet window.
He placed a series of mystical experiences, one above the other, at the left.
At the top is the Annunciation of the Virgin, traditionally associated with the propagation of light because Mary conceived Christ without any material rupture of her body.
In the annunciation to the shepherds below, another, more sudden, incandescent flash of light shocks the shepherds from their sleep.
The three Magi on the bottom tier kneel before another vision, this time of the infant Christ, glistening like a star before them.
Light here is identified with revelation and patterned to coincide with the light streaming through the actual window.
Another important visual element in the Baroncelli Chapel is the altarpiece, a polyptych of the Coronation of the Virgin painted by Giotto and his assistants.
Originally it was not in a classical rectangular frame but in a structure with pointed canopies that echoed the shape of the stained-glass window above it.
Taddeo Gaddi, one of Giotto's pupils painted the Baroncelli Chapel in the church of Santa Croce in Florence around 1328, brilliantly employing the technical achievements of his teacher.
His scenes for the Life of the Virgin were painted with two goals in mind.
First, to compose the painting so that it corresponded to the form of the chapel bay, which was arched.
Second, by means of the architecture of the painting itself, to create a sufficiently deep stage for the sequence of events to be played out.
Gaddi came up with an ingenious solution for the upper section directly under the arch.
He placed the architecture of the temple directly beside a cliff which looms up on the right so that in the the upper section a quatrefoil shape is created, an open space out of which he let an angel descend.
This served to link the scenes Joachim driven from the temple and the Annunciation to Joachim.
The sections below, with their alternating interiors and exteriors, appear as sets in front of which, and in which, the events take place.
From the Meeting at the Golden Gate (top left) we move on to the Birth of St John the Baptist, the Virgin on Her way to the temple, and finally the Betrothal to Joseph.
As in San Francesco in Assisi, the architecture of the painting is closely linked to the architecture of the church, the continuous narrative to the way a viewer reads.
Флоренция: церковь францисканская Санта Кроче
Florence: Franciscan church of Santa Croce
the left wall
Изгнание Иоакима из храма и Благовещение Иоакиму, вверху
Joachim driven from the temple and Annunciation to Joachim, the upper part of the fresco cycle