Giotto di Bondone

(c. 1267-1337)
   The first Italian painter to attain international fame, Giotto is considered the father of the Renaissance. He was born to a peasant family in the village of Colle di Vespignano in Tuscany. Lorenzo Ghiberti wrote that, as a young shepherd boy, Giotto drew a sheep on a rock when Cimabue, then the most prominent artist of Florence, passed by. Recognizing the boy's skill, Cimabue asked Giotto's father permission to take him in as his pupil. The exact dates of Giotto's apprenticeship with Cimabue are unknown, though it must have ended in c. 1280 when Cimabue was called to Assisi to work on the apse and transept frescoes in the Upper Church of San Francesco.
   In the mid-1280s Giotto was in Rome creating the Crucifixion for the Church of Aracoeli (c. 1285-1287), painted in the manner of Cimabue with Christ's body sagging and bleeding, and, on the apron, the Virgin and St. John grieving. While in Rome, Giotto also painted a fresco in the right transept at Santa Maria Maggiore depicting a floral frieze, medallions showing the busts of prophets holding scrolls, and an arcade with small foreshortened arches. In c. 1287, probably at Cimabue's recommendation, Giotto went to work at San Francesco, Assisi, where he contributed 28 scenes from the life of St. Francis (some have debated the attribution and chronology of these scenes). Then, in c. 1300, he returned to Rome to work for Boniface VIII, rendering a fresco, now badly damaged, of the pope addressing the crowds. By 1301, he was back in Tuscany, and in 1305 he received the Arena Chapel, Padua, commission from Enrico Scrovegni, his best-known and best-preserved work.
   In 1306, the pope moved to Avignon, France, and Giotto lost his papal patronage. The Roman Cardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi, who continued the patronage of works of art destined for Old St. Peter's in spite of the pope's absence, provided the artist with further commissions. In c. 1307, Giotto designed for the cardinal a large mosaic for the façade of the courtyard in front of the basilica that depicted the Navicella (only fragments have survived), the scene where Christ walks on water to save St. Peter from drowning. He also rendered the Stefaneschi Altarpiece (c. 1307; Vatican Museum) for the canon's choir in the basilica. In the 1320s Giotto was back in Florence painting frescoes in four chapels in the Franciscan Church of Santa Croce. Of these, only the Bardi and Peruzzi remain. The Bardi Chapel depicts scenes from the life of St. Francis, arranged along the walls in three levels. The Peruzzi Chapel shows the lives of Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. From 1328 to 1334, Giotto was in Naples in the court of King Robert D'Anjou. Chronicles inform us that his work there centered on the decorations of Castel Nuovo, the king's residence, that are no longer extant.
   A late work by Giotto (and assistants) is the Baroncelli Polyptych (c. 1332-1338; Florence, Santa Croce), a five-paneled altarpiece commissioned by the Baroncelli family for their chapel at Santa Croce that features the Coronation of the Virgin in the center and saints and musical angels on the lateral panels. To this same period belongs Giotto's design for the Campanile of the Cathedral of Florence (1334-1337), recorded in a tinted drawing on parchment in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo in Siena. When Giotto returned to Florence from Naples in 1334, he was appointed Director of the Cathedral Works, considered a great honor, and immediately set out to work on the Campanile. Under Giotto's direction, the foundation was laid and the first story built. The project was temporarily halted in 1337 when Giotto died.
   Giotto is buried in the Cathedral of Florence, then an unprecedented honor for an artist. An epitaph written by the poet Angelo Poliziano on his tomb reads: "I am the man who brought painting to life . . . whatever is found in nature may be found in my art." This epitaph truly expresses the genius of Giotto. In an era when the Maniera Greca was the style of choice, Giotto introduced a new mode of painting that required the empirical observation of nature and its phenomena, and its replication on the pictorial surface. Cennino Cennini in Il libro dell' arte, written in c. 1400, rightly proclaimed that "Giotto translated the art of painting from Greek to Latin."

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Giotto di Bondone — Giotto Denkmal in Florenz Jesus vertreibt die Händler aus dem Tempel, Fresko in der Cappe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Giotto di Bondone — • A Florentine painter, and founder of the Italian school of painting, b. most probably, in the village of Vespignano near Florence; d. at Milan, 8 Jan., 1337 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Giotto di Bondone     Giotto …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Giotto di Bondōne — (spr. dschotto), ital. Maler und Architekt, geb. um 1266 in dem Orte del Colle bei Florenz, gest. 8. Jan. 1337 in Florenz, war Schüler Cimabues, der ihn als Hirtenknaben, seine Schafe mit Kohle nachzeichnend, getroffen haben soll. Aus seiner… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Giotto (di Bondone) — or Giotto [jō̂t′tō̂ dē bō̂n dō̂′ne; ] E [ jät′ō] 1266? 1337; Florentine painter & architect * * * born 1266–67/1276, Vespignano, near Florence died Jan. 8, 1337, Florence First of the great Italian painters, active in Florence. He decorated… …   Universalium

  • Giotto di Bondone — (izg. đòto di bondȏne) (o.1266 1337) DEFINICIJA najznačajniji talijanski slikar 14. stoljeća, učenik Cimabuea; prekinuo sa srednjovjekovnim stilom (tvrda modelacija, zlatni fond), radio u temperi fresco cikluse …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Giotto (di Bondone) — or Giotto [jō̂t′tō̂ dē bō̂n dō̂′ne; ] E [ jät′ō] 1266? 1337; Florentine painter & architect …   English World dictionary

  • Giotto di Bondone — (spr. Dschotto, eigentl. Ambrogiotto), Bildhaner, Maler u. Architekt, geb. 1276 zu Vespignano im Florentinischen. Eines Bauern Sohn, hütete er seines Vaters Schafe u. zeichnete einmal ein solches mit einem zugespitzten Stein auf ein Stück… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Giotto di Bondone — Giotto di Bondōne (spr. dscho ), ital. Maler und Architekt, geb. um 1266 zu Colle bei Florenz, gest. 8. Jan. 1337 in Florenz; neben seinem Lehrer Cimabue Begründer der ital. Kunst. Hauptarbeiten: Fresken in Santa Croce zu Florenz, in der Ober und …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Giotto di Bondone — Giotto di Bondone, Angelo …   Enciclopedia Universal

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