Pontormo is one of those sadly obscure artists of the Renaissance, as most of his work as been lost or destroyed over time. That makes this painting an even more precious and fragile artifact of Renaissance art history. Pontormo had a way of drawing the viewer in, and I think The Visitation is a perfect example of that quality. When I look at it, I want to keep looking at it. I've estimated that the average person in an art museum looks at any given work for about an average of 8 seconds before moving on. There is no way I could look at the work of Pontormo for that short amount of time. We are invited into the scene, and so our presence as the viewer makes us active participants in the scene. If you've ever experienced the sight of a street performer doing something amazing that you can't look away from, whether they're playing an instrument, performing magic, or dancing... That's how much I am drawn into Pontormo's work, particularly this painting.
oil on wood