Giotto di Bondone is considered to be a reformer of art, the one who once again has introduced in painting the idea of imitating nature. He was active at the very beginning of the thirteenth century, in the Middle Ages. However, his works are composed according to the rules that will develop in the Renaissance for good. What surprises the most is his ability to build the impression of spatial depth as well as psychological one. An interesting example of this is the fresco from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua showing the scene of Pentecost.
The apostles were shown in the cenacle, reminiscent of an openwork reliquary, with Gothic arches arcades.They sit on benches along the walls. Giotto showed them as if he were looking at them from the outside – one apostle is visible only from behind, the heads of the other two are obscured by columns of arcades. The entire group conducts a lively conversation and does not pay attention to the rays of the Holy Spirit flowing down from the vault. The one who is missing is Maria, the mother of Jesus, who is usually depicted in this scene.
Pentecost is a holiday associated with the missionary activity of the Church. The apostles received then gifts from the Holy Spirit: the gift of speaking in the world’s languages and spiritual gifts. They were enabling them to start missionary activities. This event took place in the first Jewish holiday of Pentecost aka Shavout after the Resurrection.
More about this theme I wrote here: