This is just one of the scenes painted by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel, a small church located on the property of the Degli Ermimitant Monestary in Padua, Italy. The chapel in and of itself is onw of the great jewels of the 14th century, and no trip to Italy can be sid to have been complete without a visit to these hallowed grounds. The frescoes of Giotto that adorn the Scrovegni Chapel are especially impactful, and not even the best, most high-resolution photograph can ever replicate the experience of seeing them in person.
The intense blue found in Adoration of the Magi and Giotto's other frescoes is the result of pigment made primarily from azurite, a mineral found in the mountains of Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, and throughout the old Roman Empire. More than any other artist, Giotto is responsible for the move away from gothic painting to the renaissance. In contrast to the painters that came before him, Giotto gave volume to his figures. For instance, whereas the figures painted by Cimabue,Duccio, and other Byzantine masters were heavily stylized and elongated, Giotto's were much more realistic.
Nor were they were festooned with drapery that magically swirled around them; instead, Giotto's realistic figures were clothed in equally realistically rendered garments that hang from their bodies naturally, and that gave them dimensionality and weight. We can also observe how the halos are placed around the figures' heads. Whereas previously the tenendency had been to show them as flat plates seen from the front, here they also conform to the figure to show perspective and depth.
This is not to say that Giotto's paintings are photorealistic. For instance, here in the Adoration of the Magi we can see that despite its more accurate perspective and the improved realism of the figures, there are still aspects of the work that disqualify its realism. For starters, the mountainous rocks in the background are disproportionately small when compared to the figures. What's more, these same rocks and the tunics the figures are wearing appear to have the same texture. The camels in the piece are almost cartoon like with their anthropomorphic expressions. Nonetheless, Adoration of the Magi along with the other frescos at Scrovegni chapel represent a huge leap forward in the artworld.