The History of Art
GIOTTO OF BONDONE – PAINTER, ARCHITECT, SCULPTOR
Florentine Artist during 1266-1337 surrounded with mythic episodes, many of
which had historical evidences in reality, thanks to profound researches and
studies carried on by many other very reliable artists, among whom Vasari,
therefore he doubtless had been a pupil under Maestro Cimabue.
frescos the representation of the San Francesco’s Life in the
superior church of his basilica probably done during the last years in
thirteenth century. Further exterior evidences of his paternity of the
fresco are represented on a board with the San Francesco’s Stigmate
where some of the frescos are reproduced even if with some changes, which is
located at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
In case this board was not
personally painted by Giotto it at least provides on more evidence it
belongs to his school. After learning and mastering what his direct teachers,
and those belonging to the past taught him, and also after being "contaminated"
by the Roman school, he started proclaiming his new and sour (because of his
young age) art and, later, he softened it . In Assisi at the superior church
of San Francesco, also the last frescos about the story of the Old and
New Testament are considered done by him. Unfortunately we know very
little about the period between the frescos done in Assisi and those done in
In 1300 the Pope called him to Rome. There are some anecdotes about
how the Vasari was astonished after seeing with what natural ability
Giotto would have drawn, by hand without any instrument to be precise but
only using a brush dipped in the red ink, the famous circle which has become
a myth in Art History from then on. In Rome he left, at the Vatican, two
Angels of the mosaic of the "Navicella" and at "San Giovanni in Laterano"
church the fresco with Bonifacio VIII who is proclaiming the Jubilee
where Giotto begins to soften his primitive sourness by searching for a
gradual fusion in shades and lights. Also the crucifix of S. Maria
Novella in Florence and the big icona of the Madonna at the
Uffizi, masterpieces of the same period, are attributed to him. Also
belong to him, in Padova, at the Cappella degli Scrovegni 37 stories of
the Madonna del Redentore and the Final Judgement.
In all of his
latest works, his use of prospective is masterly as well as his way in
representing spirituality and drama in his works: the slaughter of the
innocents, "Noli me tangere", the escape to Egypt; the sleeping of the
Madonna at the Museum in Berlin. He spent his last 30 years in Naples,
Florence and Milan while increasing his production thanks to his pupils who
became more and more. Works dating back to this period are in the Bologna
Art Gallery, at Santa Croce Art Gallery in Florence and at the Vatican one
in Rome. In addition, it is sure that the frescos of the cappella Bardi
in Santa Croce and of the cappella Peruzzi in Florence, city
where he also was "Capomastro" of S. Maria del Fiore of which he also
started drawing a project for the bell tower which might have been completed
by Andrea Pisano.
In his artistic expression the conscience of human
reality prevails wile opposing the gothic, rich dispersive taste in order to
give more value to the intimate need for the essential things. In such a way
he is proposing once again to the Western World the superiority of the human
creatures through their spiritual and Christian experiences. This value had
already been respected in the classic art and it develops and glorifies
itself during Renaissance years.