At a first glance it appears the subjects of these two paintings could not be more opposite; one is vain and one is divine. The first painting being one of Albrecht Durer’s self portraits from 1500. Durer painted just himself. He is pictured wearing a fine robe and his cascading over his shoulders. The second being The Virgin and Child With Four Angels by one of Duccio’s followers painted about 1315. The differences in subject are very apparent, one is a self portrait and the other is a religious depiction. Durer seems as if he is trying to glorify himself while The Virgin and Child Is glorifying God. Despite the stark differences Durer may not have been as vain as his picture may lead on. The way he paints himself suggests that he is painting the God or Jesus Christ. He has the same frontal sitting position and the same flowing hair. In reality both of these paintings are dealing with the divine.
Both of these paintings are aesthetically pleasing for different reasons. The Durer is full of neutral browns and tans with the occasional white accent which is pleasant to look at. The Virgin and Child, on the other hand, is full of characters and vibrant colors which is very interesting to look at. Durer in the painting stands out because he is the lightest figure in the painting against a dark background while mary and the baby stand out because they are the darkest figures set against the red cloth held by two of the angels. This technique could also be referred to as framing. One of the ways a painter draws one into the painting is by using sight lines. The most important part of the Durer painting is his face. His fingers pointing followed by the collar of his coat opening up to his face naturally brings the eye up to his face. In The Virgin and Child painting all the angels as well as the virgin Mary are looking too the baby Jesus also bringing the observers eye to rest on the infant. One of the things Durer projects better then the Duccio follower is perspective which also is influenced by the time period of the paintings. The self portrait seems perfectly natural while the Virgin and Child seems out out of proportion.