(b ?Vespignano, nr Florence, 126775; d Florence, 8 Jan 1337). Italian painter and designer. In his own time and place he had an unrivalled reputation as the best painter and as an innovator, superior to all his predecessors, and he became the first post-Classical artist whose fame extended beyond his lifetime and native city. This was partly the consequence of the rich literary culture of two of the cities where he worked, Padua and Florence. Writing on art in Florence was pioneered by gifted authors and, although not quite art criticism, it involved the comparison of local artists in terms of quality. The most famous single appreciation is found in Dantes verses (Purgatory x) of 1315 or earlier. Exemplifying the transience of fame, first with poets and manuscript illuminators, Dante then remarked that the fame of Cimabue, who had supposed himself to be the leader in painting, had now been displaced by Giotto. Ironically, this text was one factor that forestalled the similar eclipse of Giottos fame, which was clearly implied by the poet. About the same date, Giottos unique status was suggested by his inclusion, unprecedented for an artist, in a world chronicle (c . 131213) by Riccobaldo Ferrarese (see §I, 2(i) below). The artists name first became synonymous with the best painting in a poem by the Florentine Cecco dAscoli (d 1327) and, more subtly, in several observations by Petrarch (for comments from Boccaccio onwards see §III below).Grove Art excerpts - Electronic ©2003, Oxford Art Online
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