Among the artists who were born in Tuscany, there are many painters who have indelibly marked the history of art. This is due to the fact that not only have they revolutionized the way of representing reality, but also because they have been able to deeply influence artistic productions. This is true both for those contemporary to them, and with respect to those that came in the following centuries.
Among the Tuscan painters who most deserve this type of recognition, worldwide, there is undoubtedly Giotto, who was also an architect. This is due to the fact that his most famous works have now become part of the popular and collective imagination.
Giotto was born in the second half of the 13th century, probably in Vicchio, from a family of small landowners who moved to Florence.
Here the young man was entrusted to Cimabue’s workshop, from which he distinguished himself to the point that already during his life several legends were born.
Among these, in addition to the famous ability to draw a perfect circle without the use of the compass also reported by Vasari, there is one that was represented by several painters after Giotto. This is the episode according to which Cimabue would have understood the talent of his disciple seeing him draw sheep in a realistic way, simply using coal on a stone.
Another myth sees the Florentine master victim of a joke, since the young Giotto would have drawn, on a canvas, a fly so realistic that Cimabue himself would later try to chase away. Once the joke was understood, it was time to dismiss the student, whose training was now complete.
All these stories show how the Florentine painter was appreciated for his great technical ability and for the naturalness of his art. So much so that he even opened his own shop and was surrounded by a large number of students.
To these he entrusted the minor works or the development of the most important ones, but only after having imported the sketches.
Giotto’s greatest merits are so revolutionary that they made the works of art immediately preceding him obsolete.
These skills include not only the use of perspective, which had not been used in Europe until then, but also the ability to create chiaroscuro, capable of bringing realism and depth to his drawings.
All this created a clear split with the dictates of Byzantine art, deeply static and devoid of any naturalistic or landscape context.
On the contrary, Giotto’s figures overcome the two-dimensionality and are inserted in a living narration, so much so that they get to dialogue with each other when the composition allows it, showing a strong emotional expressiveness.
Among the most important works by Giotto painter are undoubtedly the Florentine Crucifix of Santa Maria Novella, the Cycle of Stories of St. Francis in the Basilica of Assisi and the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, inside which there is the famous fresco representing the Last Supper.
If you want to discover Giotto’s figure and talent, we are waiting for you at Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort in Mugello, a few kilometers from Vicchio, where it is still possible to visit Giotto’s birthplace today.
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