Giovanni Cimabue

c. 1240-c. 1302 Italy/Medieval

 

Brief Biography-During an era when the arts were virtually non-existent due to wars and natural disasters, Giovanni Cimabue was born into a noble family in Florence. His father observed his sharpness of wit and placed him in a literary school. He filled his time there, drawing at free will and ignoring his studies. At this time, the governor of Florence contracted Greek artists to restore decaying frescos, Cimabue spent his days scrutinising their work. His father conceded it would be best to enrol him as a disciple with them. He quickly surpassed the performance of his masters, and Florence held him in high esteem on discovering his work.
The people carried one of his paintings in possession to the church of the Virgin Mary, attended by musicians amidst pomp and ceremony. Vasari stated that when he was painting this panel, King Charles of Anjou viewed it when passing through Florence. On hearing this, the people of Florence ran to see it in the most massive crowd in the world and with the greatest joy. The merriment that occurred there caused the neighbours to name the area Borgo Allegri "Merry Quarter." However, recent utterances state its name is because of the notorious nightlife therein.
His works were all done in distemper as oil was not yet in use. He was so devoted to supremacy in his paintings that if there were any imperfections, he would promptly deface and abandon them. There is uncertainty about many attributions to a lot of works. The picture of Saint John in Pisa is the only one that has assured conviction.
Vasari attributed most of the wall-paintings in the church of Saint Francis at Assisi to Cimabue; however, he attests to the hand of some Greek masters existing in these frescoes. Scholars have hailed him as the Father of Modern Painting, but some laud him as the last of the Byzantine School. Some declare attributions should belong to the Sienese painter Duccio.
Cimabue discovered the young Giotto drawing nature subjects on rocks and became his master. Giotto's skills surpassed that of his master, the poet Dante lavished praise on Giotto, and he declared him as the creator of a new era in art. Either way, Scholars can certainly credit Cimabue with initiating the New Age of Painting.
He died in 1302 while working on a mosaic in the Duomo of Pisa. His remains rest in the Church of the Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

 

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christ mocked

christ mocked


crucifix

crucifix


flagellation

flagellation

madonna enthroned
with angels

madonna enthroned with angels and prophets


madonna with child

madonna with child


maesta

maesta


saint francis

saint francis


the last supper

the last supper

virgin and child
enthroned

virgin and child enthroned with two angels

frescoes in the
upper church

frescoes in the upper church of san francesco at assisi


example of frescoes

example of frescoes