Giotto di Bondone, the son of a Tuscan shepherd. Born in 1267, Giotto began his apprenticeship at the age of 12, and with his naturalistic treatment of medieval Christian iconography, was recognised as the first in a line of great painters and architects who contributed to the Italian Renaissance.
Giotto’s contemporary, the banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani, wrote that Giotto was “the most sovereign master of painting in his time, who drew all his figures and their postures according to nature” and of his publicly recognized “talent and excellence”.
In his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, Giorgio Vasari described Giotto as making a decisive break with the prevalent Byzantine style and as initiating “the great art of painting as we know it today, introducing the technique of drawing accurately from life, which had been neglected for more than two hundred years”.
Giotto’s masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua, also known as the Arena Chapel, which was completed around 1305. The fresco cycle depicts the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ. It is regarded as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Early Renaissance.
This major 26-part series takes a fresh look at the most important artworks of some of the greatest artists in history. Shot on location in over fifty museums, churches and palaces throughout Europe and the United States, this series is a comprehensive survey of the history of Western art. Both intelligent and informative, it’s the perfect introduction to the art of the Old Masters.
This set contains all 26 episodes of the Great Artists series: Giotto, Leonardo, Durer, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer, El Greco, Velazquez, Turner Van Gogh, Piero della Francesca, Holbein, Caravaggio, Constable, Whistler and more.
Tim Marlow takes us on a unique tour of the life and times of the artists and examines what makes them great. Each episode takes a fresh look at the artists, their work and the world in which they lived. We learn why John Constable, often considered to be a painter of chocolate box scenes of the English countryside, was in fact, a radical artist of his time. We see how Goya’s masterful painting style and haunting visions combined to produce some of the most powerful images in the history of Western Art.
We discover how the American painter Mary Cassatt, the only female artist in the series, challenged the male dominated world in which she lived, and against the odds, became the only American accepted into the group known as the Impressionists. And why Caravaggio, who lived a life marred by violence and even murder, produced some of the most remarkable art ever made.