Why was Cimabue so Important? - How To Talk About Art History
View Homework Help - Discussion Questions from ARH at University of Alabama. Compare Cimabue to Giotto. In your opinion, what was the most profound. Most historians view Cimabue (pronounced Chee-ma-boo-ee) as the last of the medieval masters, and his pupil Giotto (Gee-otto) as the first. Cimabue is considered the master artist who trained Giotto in the art of painting. According to Dante, Giotto's reputation had eclipsed Cimabue's.
Not much is known about his life at all, but a few of his paintings remain. There was a very specific look to art in the s. Paintings were flat with little or no depth and figures had a highly stylized look. Many medieval painters instituted a stylized black line to outline figures, and had a limited understanding of accurate body proportion. We can see that his Christ is elongated but somewhat less stylized.
Jesus even has a slight green hue to his skin. You can feel the coldness of death in the painting. Giotto broke significantly with the traditions of medieval art, painting bodies and drapery with intense shadows and a feeling of depth. He also infused his figures with a newfound emotional depth. His most famous works are found in Padua in the Scrovegni Chapel fromwhere Giotto decorated the walls and with vividly colored frescos.
Everyone’s Talking about Giotto
In it, the dead Christ has been removed from the cross and is mourned. In particular, Giotto paints drapery and clothing with precision- you can easily sense the shape of the bodies undernieth. Most impressive are the weeping faces, which are incredibly expressive and enhance the feeling of sorrow and despair. The first person in European history, other than a king or queen or emperor or soldier or saint, to achieve something like modern celebrity was Michelangelo in the 16th century.
The man who carved David and painted the Sistine Chapel saw two rival biographies of himself appear in his lifetime; there are few individuals before modern times about whom we consequently know so much.
Yet two centuries before Michelangelo, the Tuscan painter Agnolo di Bondone achieved, as Giotto, spectacular fame.
In fact, in medieval literature, he is an archetype of fame. Giotto was admirable, says Boccaccio in The Decameron, for "wearing his celebrity with the utmost modesty" - and this is what his story illustrates, as Giotto laughs at his own unimpressive, mud-besmirched appearance.
Clearly, he would have been a popular bug-eating winner of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. To this day, he is so famous that even an imitation of one of his paintings is news. The National Gallery has just bought and put on display a painting by Giotto's follower Bernardo Daddi. The Coronation of the Virgin, with its powerful modest figures and intense feeling, is recognisably derived from Giotto and is in fact based on one of his paintings.
Giotto is famous enough for the National Gallery to promote this work by his pupil as a connection, albeit second-hand, with the master. Seven centuries ago, he was famous for being famous. Fame is fickle, the gift of Fortune, who readily and inevitably takes it away.
Every celebrity learns this in the end.
Giotto, the world's first celebrity artist | Art and design | The Guardian
But the great 13th-century painter Cimabue learnt it in the cruellest way, according to Florentine legend handed down to the 16th-century artist and storyteller Vasari.
Before Giotto came along, Cimabue was celebrated. He was the first Florentine - rivalled only by his Sienese contemporary Duccio - to reject the hieratic stiffness of what Italians came to scorn as the "Greek style" in painting. One of the cliches about the history of Italian art is that the Renaissance began with the import of Greek learning from Byzantium.
But in painting, it began in the opposite way - with the repudiation of Byzantine art in the 13th and 14th centuries. But Cimabue's fate was to be eclipsed - and by the boy he himself plucked from pastoral obscurity. It was said that Cimabue found the young Giotto tending his flocks, and saw him drawing in the earth with a stick.
He instantly recognised the child's natural talent, and took Giotto as his pupil. Vasari, who relates how Cimabue discovered Giotto, tells how when Cimabue painted his captivating altarpiece for the Rucellai Chapel at Santa Maria Novella, the Florentine people were so delighted they staged a solemn festival.
The painting was borne through the streets with music and prayers.
Everyone’s Talking about Giotto | The Getty Iris
It is a spectacular image of medieval fame, scarcely diminished by the fact that the Rucellai Madonna is by Duccio. In Leighton's picture, Cimabue, dressed in white and wearing a laurel wreath, holds the hand of his young pupil, Giotto. Tragedy was just round the corner. Giotto owes his mythic status to his contemporary, and probably his friend, the poet Dante Alighieri.
Dante tells the story, in the early 14th century, in his Divine Comedy. The pilgrim Dante, given the privilege of seeing the places we enter after death while still alive, is climbing Mount Purgatory when he meets a man renowned in his lifetime as an illuminator of manuscripts.
Oderisi of Gubbio is one of those being punished for pride. He warns Dante of the emptiness of earthly glory, the transitory and worthless nature of fame. And he mentions a glaring recent example: Giotto, the boy folklorically plucked from his herds by Cimabue, has ruined his master's reputation.