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Giotto di Bondone - Art of Naturalism and Realism (Renaissance Artist)

Updated on December 31, 2016
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Ancient art and architecture isn't only for historians, but for people like us who’ve always been interested in anything olden and periodic.

Around the 13th century, the early renaissance artist Cimabue of Florence, a man given the title 'first of the modern painters', discovered the great artist and renaissance painter Giotto.

According to the history of Italian renaissance art, Giotto and Cimabue were the artists that invented the art of painting. They were both pioneers in the arts, and with story-telling and perspectives in their works, this gave rise to the movement of naturalism in painting.

Renaissance Art
Renaissance Art | Source

Born in 1267, Giotto de Bondone was the first naturalistic Italian painter who opened the door to a new world of painting art. He was known for his emphasis on "broad structural forms" in his method of painting religious themes on wet plaster, using tempera colours.

This Italian renaissance art style and method of painting art is referred to as fresco.Fresco paintings were portrayed with greater realism than any Byzantine mosaic.

Giotto's Naturalism

Giotto painted the biblical story of the Virgin Mary, her parents, and Christ Jesus. The fresco narrative is painted in a "comic-strip" set of wood panels, lined in three rows along the walls.

Its colours (tempera colours) are composed of water-soluble pigments that are easily absorbed by wet plaster so that when it dries, the painting becomes long-lasting, hard and an integral part of the plaster.

Giotto's religious frescoes showed a movement toward naturalism, realism and the third dimension. His style was later to become a dominating factor of the Florentine School of painting.

He is the first of the known Italian artists who based their works on observation of events around them and his motto was "follow nature", a dictum he strictly adhered to.

What Influenced Giotto Style?

Giotto's influence and painting style arose from St. Francis of Assisi's revolutionary reaction against the tyranny and oppression of a misguided church.

He used his art to promote and create a form of movement that awakened in the people an awareness of the doctrines of the saint. His desire was to help "lead the people back to the simplicity of Christ's teachings".

This famous early renaissance artist may have lacked the knowledge of the law of perspectives but the "messages" he intended to deliver was simply to "tell the truth".

Many of Giotto's fresco works were done at the church in Assisi, built in honour of St. Francis.

Disciples of Giotto di Bondone

Giotto's main disciples are the following famous artists:

  • Massacio - a realist painter
  • Uccello - a mathematically inclined painter, famous for his battle scenes

Other renaissance artists influenced by the religious teachings of St. Francis of Assisi include:

  • Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro da Mogello) - a Dominican monk. He interpreted the teachings of St. Francis through his paintings
  • Donatello - a sculptor
  • Vasari - A painter that never allowed himself adopt a secular approach. His paintings were mainly of heavenly bodies, angels and saints who appear as visions of purity, singing the exaltation of Christian philosophies.
  • Bottichelli - He was a genius in artistic creativity who turned to pagan mythology. His works depicted humanism, pleasures, and earthly joys.
  • Verrochio - Is claimed to be one of the first artists to paint landscape scenes, air and light.

© 2012 artsofthetimes


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    • artsofthetimes profile image

      artsofthetimes 5 years ago

      Thank you Passthejelly.

    • passthejelly profile image

      Mark Passarelli 5 years ago from Lakewood Colorado

      Beautiful art and explanations.