A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne

A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne

A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne

A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne

Excerpt

GIOTTO DI BONDONE ( 1267?- 1337) is thus one of the few great painters recognized and applauded in his lifetime for being a revolutionary. Some later artistic revolutions have been less warmly received; and Giotto was fortunate that his movement was in the direction of a three-dimensional realism welcome after earlier flat Byzantine-style pattern pictures. In fact, he did not so much break with that tradition as evolve from it under the influence of sculpture and mosaic. In 1228, two years after the death of St Francis, the foundations were laid for a great basilica in his honour at his native Assisi. As well as a church, this became a meeting-place and a forcing-house for artistic talent. St Francis, though an inspiration to painters from the first, had actually taught the ungodliness of art and had recommended only buildings in accord with Holy Poverty. So it cannot be said that the basilica of S. Francesco, though it glorifies his achievements, typifies the ideals of St Francis. Indeed, when one of the saint's companions visited the church he commented that the brethren now lacked nothing but wives.

Before Giotto artists were already employed there on schemes of fresco decoration. North from Rome and south from Florence had come painters with their assistants to fresco the basilica built on two levels and consisting of an upper and lower church. What remains of these early fresco schemes, the work of painters very largely unknown, is a palimpsest partly damaged and partly repainted. A few fragments go back to the time of the basilica's founding and are in the style Giotto finally made redundant . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.