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Giotto di Bondone

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Painting of Giotto by Paolo Uccello

This image of Giotto was adapted from the painting Five Famous Men (aka Five Men's Heads), painted by Paolo Uccello in the 15th century. The painting resides in the Louvre, Paris.

This detail is in the Public Domain.
This profile of Giotto di Bondone is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Giotto di Bondone was known for:

Being the earliest artist to paint more realistic figures rather than the stylized artwork of the medieval and Byzantine eras. His focus on emotion and natural representations of human figures would be emulated and expanded upon by successive artists, leading Giotto to be called the "Father of the Renaissance."

Occupations:

Places of Residence and Influence:

Important Dates:

Born: c. 1267
Died: Jan. 8, 1337

About Giotto di Bondone:

Though many stories and legends have circulated about Giotto and his life, very little can be confirmed as fact. He was born in Colle di Vespignano, near Florence, in 1266 or 1267 -- or, if Vasari is to be believed, 1276. His family were probably farmers. Legend has it that while he was tending goats he drew a picture on a rock, and that the artist Cimabue, who happened to be passing by, saw him at work and was so impressed with the boy's talent that he took him into his studio as an apprentice. Whatever the actual events, Giotto appears to have been trained by an artist of great skill, and his work is clearly influenced by Cimabue.

The Works of Giotto:

There exists no documentation to confirm any artwork as having been painted by Giotto di Bondone. However, most scholars agree on several of his paintings. As an assistant to Cimabue, Giotto is believed to have worked on projects in Florence and other places in Tuscany, and in Rome. Later, he also traveled to Naples and Milan. He almost undoubtedly painted the Ognissanti Madonna (currently in the Uffizi in Florence) and the fresco cycle in the Arena Chapel at Padua.

Perhaps his best known work is that done in Assisi, in the Upper Church of San Francesco: a cycle of 28 frescoes depicting the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. This monumental work depicts the entire life of the saint, instead of isolated events, as had been the tradition in earlier medieval artwork. The authorship of this cycle, like most of the works attributed to Giotto, has been called into question; but it is very likely that he not only worked in the church, but designed the cycle and painted most of the frescoes.

Other important works by Giotto include the Sta Maria Novella Crucifix, completed sometime in the 1290s, and the Life of St. John the Baptist fresco cycle, completed c. 1320.

Giotto was also known as a sculptor and architect. Though there is no concrete evidence for these assertions, he was appointed chief architect of the workshop of Florence cathedral in 1334.

The Fame of Giotto:

Giotto was a much-sought-after artist during his lifetime. He appears in works by Boccaccio and Dante, who were both contemporaries, and was included in Vasari's biographies of great artists. Vasari said of him, "Giotto restored the link between art and nature."

Giotto di Bondone died in Florence, Italy, in 1337.

More Giotto di Bondone Resources:

Painting of Giotto by Paolo Uccello

Giotto di Bondone in Print

The links below will take you to a site where you can compare prices at booksellers across the web. More in-depth info about the book may be found by clicking on to the book's page at one of the online merchants.

Giotto
(DK Art Books)

Giotto: The Frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua
by Giuseppe Basile

Giotto di Bondone on the Web

CGFA: Giotto di Bondone
More than a dozen images lead to large, beautiful scans at Carol Gerten's Fine Art virtual museum; a bio is also provided.

WebMuseum: Giotto
Extensive examination of Giotto's life and work by Nicolas Pioch.




Renaissance Art and Architecture



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