Giotto di Bondone, mostly known only by Giotto, was an Italian architect and painter from Florence. He was active during the Late Middle Ages, producing artworks of Late Gothic and Proto-Renaissantist style.
Giotto di Bondone is mostly known only by Giotto. He was born circa 1267, although the precise date and place are mostly unclear, recent research suggests Giotto was born in a region north of Florence and was the son of a peasant.
His proficiency in art was noticed at a young age. The early Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti published in his book about Tuscan artists that, as a boy, young Giotto was a shepherd. At one time, the young artist drew a picture of a sheep on a rock slab; Cimabue, who was the foremost painter of the period, saw such drawing and promptly took Giotto as his pupil.
Whatever are the origins of their professional relationship, scholars believe that Giotto came under Cimabue’s tutoring by his ten years of age. Giotto probably accompanied his teacher to Rome, before arriving in Assissi, where Cimabue received a commission to decorate the lower Basilica of St. Francis.
Giotto married in 1290, to Ricevuta di Lapo del Pela. Around the same time, Cimabue left Assissi to attend to other commissions, while Giotto was commissioned to finish the higher level of the aforementioned Basilica.
Soon, Giotto surpassed his teacher Cimabue in both technical prowess and overall fame, being recognized by distinguished contemporaries, such as Dante Alighieri, who even referenced Giotto and Cimabue in his Divine Comedy.
Following an extensive period in Assisi, the artist began to travel regularly to Italian city-states, a practice that somewhat characterized his career as a whole. The artist established several studios on many different locations, where his assistants would emulate Giotto’s style. His workshops also produced artists that developed a career of their own.
By the turn of the century, Giotto spent three years in the city of Padua, where he received a commission decorated the Scrovegni Chapel or Arena Chapel, which would arguably become his most famous artwork.
Giotto’s artwork on the Peruzzi Chapel became very well-known and celebrated by distinguished Renaissance painters, such as Michelangelo. By 1328, Giotto was summoned by the King of Naples Robert of Anjou to his court, probably as a recommendation by the Bardi family, as Giotto recently executed frescoes on the family’s chapel in the Santa Croce church.
Giotto di Bondone died on January 8, 1337.