Giotto Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1267 – 1337 *** Full Name: Giotto di Bondone but he was known simply as Giotto *** Place of Birth: Giotto was born near Florence, Italy *** Early life and childhood: Giotto grew up and spent the majority of his early life in Florence *** Education: Giotto began his artistic education as an apprentice to Cimabue *** Giotto di Bondone died on January 8th 1337
Giotto moved away from the Byzantine art style and developed new ideals of naturalism and creating a sense of pictorial space. His style of painting would become known for its accuracy in proportion and perspective as well as the life-like qualities.
Giotto Fact 1: Date and Place of Birth – Giotto was born in Colle di Vespignano near Florence, Italy c1267, but due to the lack of accurate records at this time his exact date of birth and birthday is unknown.
Giotto Fact 2: Family – Little is known about his family, but it is said that his father was a man of good standing. Giotto married Ciuta Ricevuta di Lapo del Pela in 1287 and the couple had eight children. One of his sons, Francesco, would follow in his father’s footsteps and become an artist.
Giotto Fact 3: Background and Early Life of Giotto – Initially raised as a shepherd, it is said that he his work, drawings of the sheep he was tending, made on rocks, were seen by a passing Florentine painter, Cimabue.
Giotto Fact 4: Cimabue recognised the artistic talent of the boy and Giotto was apprenticed to the Florentine master artist. He began his apprenticeship in the workshop of Cimabue in 1280.
Giotto Fact 5: Giotto then accompanied Cimabue on his travels seeking other commissions in Rome. In Rome Giotto became involved with the local of fresco painters, of whom the most famous was Pietro Cavallini.
Giotto Fact 6: The artists travelled from Rome to Assisi to work on the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi and began painting a fresco with scenes from the Old and New Testaments and frescoes depicting the life of St. Francis called the St. Francis Cycle.
Giotto Fact 7: Giotto was given a commission by the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella in 1290. His work included a fresco of the Annunciation and the massive suspended Crucifix, which is about 5 metres (15 feet) high.
Giotto Fact 8: The work of Giotto was greatly admired and the artist was called to Rome in 1300 by Pope Benedict XI who commissioned him to paint a mosaic over the entrance to St. Peter's (the navicella)
Giotto Fact 9: Between 1304 - 1306 Giotto moved to Padua and completed a cycle of 37 religious frescoes inside the Scrovegni Chapel, known as the Arena Chapel as it was once the site of a Roman arena. Giotto worked on other projects in Padua including painting frescoes in the Basilica of. St. Anthony and the Palazzo della Ragione
Giotto Fact 10: Between 1306 - 1311 Giotto moved to Assisi where he painted frescoes in the Lower Church of Assisi that included The Life of Christ and the Franciscan Allegories. He also returned to Rome in this period and created the Navicella mosaic for the courtyard of the Old St. Peter's Basilica
Giotto Fact 11: Giotto returned to Florence in 1311 where he created frescoes in the Church of Santa Croce. Giotto worked for the Bardi and the Peruzzi families who were the Florentine dynasties who owned the most important European banks of the 13th century. He remained in Florence for a number of years during which time he painted the panels of the famous altarpiece known as the Ognissanti Madonna in the church of the Ognissanti (all saints) in Florence.
Giotto Fact 12: Giotto returned to Rome in 1320 where he had been commissioned by Cardinal Stefaneschi to complete the Stefaneschi Triptych. He remained in Rome for six years working on numerous projects for the most influential people in the city.
Giotto Fact 13: Giotto di Bondone travelled to Naples (1330 - 1333) where he was a guest at the royal court of King Robert of Anjou. During this time Giotto completed numerous projects which sadly have not been preserved.Giotto Fact 14: Giotto returned to Florence and in 1334 the city of Florence honored Giotto with the title of Magnus Magister (Great Master) and appointed him architect to Florence Cathedral.
Giotto Fact 15: Death – Giotto died on January 8th 1337 in Florence, Italy and was buried in Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral of Florence
List of Famous Works by Giotto: San Giorgio alla Costa Madonna and Child *** Badia Polyptych *** Scrovegni Chapel in Padua *** Adoration of the Magi *** Basilica of. St. Anthony *** Lamentation *** The Life of Christ, Franciscan Allegories *** Maddalena Chapel *** Dormition of the Virgin *** Ognissanti Madonna *** The Santa Croce Chapels *** The Stefaneschi Triptych *** Noli me tangere
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