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Giotto 1267-1337 the most important Italian painter of the 14th century whose conception of the human figure in broad rounded termsrather than in the flat two-dimensional terms of Gothic and Byzantine styles see Gothic Art and Architecture and Byzantine Art and Architectureindicated a concern for naturalism that was a milestone in the development of Western art He was born Giotto di Bondone in Colle di Vespignano near Florence Details of his early life are scarce but he probably served an apprenticeship in Florence before embarking on a career that took him to Rome Padua Arezzo Rimini Assisi and Naples Giottos entire output consists of religious works primarily altarpieces and church frescoes Few remain in good condition and most have disappeared entirely or have been almost wholly repainted Others cannot be securely attributed to him and are more likely to be the work of followers or apprentices One of his earliest and best-known attributable works is the large fresco cycle illustrating the lives of the Virgin and Christ in the Scrovegni Arena Chapel in Padua which may have been completed as early as 1305 or 1306 Giottos scenes break with rigid medieval stylization to present human figures in rounded sculptural forms that appear to have been based on living models rather than on idealized archetypes He rejected the bright jewel-like colors and long elegant lines of the Byzantine style in favor of a quieter more realistic presentation His emphasis is on the human and the real rather than on the divine and the ideala revolutionary development in an age dominated by religion His settings here as in all of his works consist of shallow boxlike architectural backdrops These are somewhat more open than the flat planes of Byzantine and Gothic paintings but fall short of the full perspective of the Renaissance The Ognissanti Madonna 1310 Uffizi Florence is roughly contemporary with the Arena frescoes and is Giottos only attributable panel painting It shows the influence
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