Vasari famously wrote that Giotto "recovered the true method of painting, which been lost for many years before him," and indeed he is traditionally considered a founder of the Italian Renaissance. Producing a series of commissioned works for the church and upper classes in his native Tuscany and surrounding regions, Giotto changed the course of European art by breaking away from the rigid, stereotyped figures of the Byzantine and Giotto medieval traditions. His innovation was to give his characters natural movement and expression. His great fresco cycles, such as the lives of the Virgin and Christ in the Scrovegni (or Arena) Chapel, Padua, are populated with realistic depictions of three-dimensional figures; secondary characters, both comic and tragic, display the range of the painter's wit and invention. And Giotto's treatment of perspective was just as revolutionary as his approach to the human form. The dramatic power of his scenes is heightened by the convincing illusionistic spaces in which he places them.
In this authoritative survey of Giotto's life and work, Professor Francesca Flores d'Arcais draws on an impressive range of sources, from fourteenth-century documents to the most recent art - historical investigations. Her research leads her to important re-attributions of Giottesque paintings and to new conclusions regarding the execution and dating of both famous and lesser-known works. This second edition also includes a discussion of the earthquake of September 29, 1997 that damaged the frescoes of the Upper Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi - some of which are attributed to the artist in the early phase of his career - and the restoration effort that followed.
More than three hundred illustrations, most in full color and some on double gatefold pages, reproduce all of Giotto's important frescoes in exquisite detail, as well as his moving crucifixes and jewel-like polyptychs. These illustrations are based on new photography of Giotto's paintings, many of which have recently been restored to their original brilliance, making this the definitive monograph on the greatest of trecento masters.
Francesca Flores d'Arcais is Professor of Medieval and Modern Art History at the University of Verona, Italy, and an expert in Northern Italian painting.