Джотто ди

Italia • 1267−1337
Giotto di Bondone (ital. Giotto di Bondone, July 1266, Vespignano - January 8, 1337, Florence) - Italian artist and architect, founder of the Italian school of painting, one of the largest reformers in the history of European art.

Features of the work of Giotto di Bondone: the artist is known as the master of church fresco cycles (St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Scrovegni chapel in Padua) - his “secular” paintings painted during his stay at the court of Robert of Anjou in Naples, although they are mentioned in Vasariapparently not preserved. In an innovative fresco painting, radically different from Byzantine, Giotto fully affirms the value of real human life. His vivid and clearly interpreted images oppose the abstract symbolic art of the Middle Ages, which is why Giotto can be called the first Renaissance artist.

Famous frescoes by Giotto di Bondone: "The Taking of Christ in Custody, or the Kiss of Judas", "Mourning of Christ (scenes of the life of Christ)", “The Dream of Joachim (Scene of the Life of St. Joachim”) ", “The magnificence of the common man (The holy fool predicts the coming glory of young Francis”), “Madonna of the Onyssanti Cathedral”,"The Last Judgment".

The work of the Italian painter and architect of the XIII-XIV centuries Giotto di Bondone is a watershed between medieval Gothic and Renaissance art, that rubicon, having passed which European painting will radically and forever change its appearance.

Giotto's mission is to overcome the Byzantine icon-painting tradition.

This is Giotto's first to portray biblical events not on a conditional, but on a very specific architectural or landscape background. It is he who “invents” the composition - such a way of conveying the events of the Sacred History, in which not strictly established canon prevails, but his own point of view, his one-of-a-kind author’s vision. This Giotto will begin to outline the perspective and develop the depth of space. He will let living emotions into religious painting. And this Giotto will overcome the medieval flatness, guessing that if you gradually brighten or darken the local color, you will get a three-dimensional and plastic form.

Starting from work Giotto di Bondone, European painting will choose as a guideline not speculation, but reality.

Giotto's biography: years of childhood and teachings

He was born around 1267 (date presumably) in the village of Vespignano, located 14 miles east of Florence, in a poor peasant family. From childhood, Giotto was distinguished by injustice, a lively mind and a perky disposition. His father will begin to introduce his son to the family business early: entrust him with the graze of sheep.

According to a popular legend, a Florentine artist passing by caught a teenager Cimabue. A cheerful shepherd painted charcoal on a lamb stone, since nature was always at hand. Cimabue convinced Giotto's parents that he needed to study, and for this to enter his workshop. So the young provincial first came to the capital of Tuscany.

Florence at the turn of the XIII-XIV centuries is a magnificent and politically independent city with a population of 100 thousand unthinkable for this time. She thrives on wool trading and banking. And therefore, there is always a request for large-scale construction and orders for artists at the Cimabue workshop.

Quite quickly, Giotto moved from the stage of rubbing paints and preparing the board for Cimabue to independently write backgrounds and even secondary figures, and received his first fame. And in Florence, he met his contemporary and almost the same age - Dante Alighieri, who will become his friend and perpetuate the artist on the pages of “Divine Comedy”. This time itself, the turn of the XIII - XIV centuries, will later be called "The era of Dante and Giotto".

Giotto's works in Assisi: a chronicle of the life of St. Francis

Dante is the founder of Italian literature, who first began writing not in Latin, but in his native Tuscan dialect. Giotto is a reformer of painting. About a century before they lived in Italy and another person who radically transformed his sphere of activity, Francis of Assisi.

The future Saint Francis abandoned a rich and wild life, choosing the path of poverty and repentance. He exposed the corrupted church, healed lepers, gained stigmata and preached to the birds, marking a new era in the history of Catholicism.

The city of Assisi in Umbria is the birthplace of Francis. At the end of the 14th century, a grandiose temple was built in memory of him. Giovanni di Muro della Marca, who was head of the Franciscan order at that time, invited the recognized master Cimabue to paint the church, and a few years later his talented student Giotto.

It is in Assisi that the inevitable will happen: Giotto's painting eclipses the work of his teacher. Disputes are ongoing about which of them performed which part of the paintings. It is believed that the ceiling of the transept painted Cimabue, and most of the 28 frescoes telling about the life and exploits of Francis belong to Giotto, because in the future Assisi finds will be used in his work: realistic details, written from nature, and a consistent “frame-by-frame” narration, thanks to which Giotto is jokingly called the chronicler of St. Francis.

Giotto's biography: family matters

In the late 1280s, while still a student of Cimabue, Giotto married Civutta di Lappo del Pella, who will give birth to eight children of the artist. They will not have to live in poverty, as Giotto possessed not only talent, but also a great business acumen. Contemporaries considered him a successful businessman. Documents have survived that he could afford to live in a big way. Over time, Giotto will become so rich that he decides to buy land in Vespignano and its environs so that the places he loved from childhood become the property of his large family.

Giotto in Padua: Scrovegni Chapel

At the very beginning of the XIV century, Giotto received an interesting order - to paint a small chapel in Padua. Now she is known under two names. The first is the Santa Maria del Arena chapel, because it was built on the site where the ancient amphitheater once rustled and raged. And the second is the Scrovegni Chapel, by the name of the rich family whose funds it was built.

The customer’s name was Enrico Scrovegni. His late father, who owned the land where the chapel was supposed to be built, led a rich and far from righteous life. So the chapel, which Giotto would come to fill out, was a kind of otkup for the Skrovegni family, an attempt to atone for the Supreme sins of the earth: they did not spare money.

The artist arrived in Padua with his "team" - painters and henchmen of his own workshop, and the work began to boil. It is the chapel della Skrovenia that will not only make Giotto famous throughout Italy, but will also glorify his name for centuries. He will develop a unique and very entertaining “design” for the design of the chapel. All its walls and ceiling will be covered with several parallel rows of excellent frescoes numbering at least 38.

Giotto decides to tell the gospel story as a series of successive episodes. By their detail, they resemble an illustrated Bible for those who could not read. This method of pictorial presentation was very bold. In addition, in an innovative impulse, the artist will abandon the golden background characteristic of Byzantine icons, which his teacher Cimabue continued to use. Giotto will be the first in European painting to depict the events of biblical history on a “natural” background of landscape or architectural buildings.

Giotto’s other discovery, without exaggeration, is the following: he began to present known events to everyone not as prescribed by the Byzantine icon-painting canon, unchanged for centuries, but as if he, Giotto, himself had witnessed these events and is now ready tell the viewer about them.

Frescoes by Giotto for the Scrovegni Chapel

The visitor to the chapel sees in Giotto not faces, not conditional figures - living characters from flesh and blood: Virgin Mary solemnly walks to the altar, accompanied by a cheerful wedding procession; Christ and Judas peer into each other intensely; Mary, with an expression of deepest sorrow, bowed to the face of the dead Son ... These are not icon-painting images, but full-fledged pictorial heroes experiencing real human emotions and dramas. And that is why it is commonly believed: the great Renaissance painting begins with Giotto.

The artist’s innovation also concerned the purely technical side of the matter. If Cimabue got to work when all the walls were not only plastered, but also completely dried out, then Giotto began to work on raw plaster, applied in fragments just before the start of painting. She dried up quickly - this forced the artist, firstly, to work more dynamically, and secondly, to use more saturated color pigments. But to this day, Giotto’s Paduan works retain their festive brightness.

The frescoes of Giotto that he is most famous for are "Meeting at the Golden Gate", "Flight to Egypt", "Kiss of Judas", "Lamentation of Christ"- they all belong to the Skrovegni chapel.

Giotto's work: Arezzo, Naples, Rome, Milan

Over the following decades, Giotto traveled extensively throughout the Apennine peninsula, carrying out orders for the King of Naples, the Arethine churches, Florentine bankers, Milanese nobility, and even the Pope of Rome. The words Vasarithe story is known about how the Pope, to whom rumors of the great skill of Giotto reached, sent his messengers to the artist in order to make sure that he could be entrusted with work in the Eternal City. The messenger demanded from Giotto drawings confirming his skills. To this, the artist replied by dipping a brush in red paint and pressing his elbow to his side, without using a compass, he drew a perfectly even circle and added that there would be no other evidence. Since then, a proverb has appeared in the Italian language to describe simpletons: "You are rounder than Dzhottovsky O".

Having been in France, Giotto gained an international reputation.

Recent years in the biography of Giotto: Florence

Florence, where Giotto invariably returned, paid tribute to him. The former shepherd received the nobility and was elected an honorary citizen of the city, and Giotto himself changed the attitude to the artist’s work: painting no longer equated with simple craftsmanship, its status became immeasurably higher.

In 1334, Giotto was appointed chief architect of Florence and “The quartermaster of all the fortifications of the city”. He is responsible for all construction projects, reconstruction of bridges and begins work on the most ambitious project in the history of Florence - the construction of the cathedral (Duomo). Giotto worked on drafts and construction plans, designed the bell tower (now it is called Campanile Giotto), but did not see the completion of construction. January 8, 1337 at the age of about 70 years after a long illness, Giotto died.

Another famous Tuscan and younger contemporary artist, author of The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio said: “We can rightfully call Giotto one of the Florentine saints”.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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