Italian painting 13-14 centuries
The leading role in Italian painting of the 13th century was played by the Byzantine tradition. Italy was a motley conglomerate of cultural centers. A special role among numerous local schools was played by Florence and, in general, the region of Tuscany – the cities of Pisa, Lucca, Siena. The first signs of the Renaissance according to Vasari appear at the end of the 13th century along with two great Florentines – Cimabue and Giotto, who discarded Byzantine techniques and returned to genuine ancient traditions. Giotto’s picturesque reform turned out to be a source of fruitful and creative search for artists of the 14th century. And while none of them succeeded in succeeding Giotto’s synthetic style, all the major artists of the leading centers – Siena Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and the North Italian artists Pietro da Rimini and Giovanni Milano – follow the outlined Giotto in their creative development. After the frescoes in the church of San Francesco located in Assisi, Cimabue becomes the largest Florentine painter of the 14th century. His influence on the development of Tuscan painting is becoming decisive. He influenced the addition of the style of the leading Siena artist of that time, Duccio.
In the composition “Our Lady on the Throne Surrounded by Angels”, the style of Cimabue changes under the influence of the sculptor Niccolo Pisano, which he could see in Rome and especially in Pisa. The artist seeks to move away from the Byzantine style towards the ancient heritage. The harsh interpretation of forms is being replaced by a more tender and flexible, even sensual in the image of the flesh. In the image of draperies, instead of the gold lines, plastic, powerful folds appear that imitate the sculpture. The color becomes more refined, with a predominance of blue, pink, lilac, pale yellow shades.
Cimabue painting “Our Lady on the Throne Surrounded by Angels”
In the history of European art of painting, Giotto was always considered the first to bring features of realism into painting. The direction in painting, which began with Giotto, implied a three-dimensional interpretation of space as three-dimensional and real. Replace ethereal bodies in a surreal space in his painting come dense, voluminous characters. The plastic power of the figures, restrained dramatic and narrative power, a three-dimensional interpretation of architecture, objects depicted in intricate perspectives – all these features characteristic of the famous paintings by Giotto in the Chapel de Arena in Padua, mark the decisiveness of the turning point in Byzantine traditions and anticipate the search for artists Italian Quattrocento. The influence of Giotto, who, in addition to Padua, worked in Rimini, Florence, Assisi, Milan and Naples on contemporary Italian painting was enormous.
In the kneeling figure of St. Francis (“St. Francis receiving the stigmata”) there is a feeling of mass and sculptural volume that distinguishes the mature works of the master.
paintings by Giotto di Bondone “St. Francis receiving stigmata”
The Florentine master Trecento Bernardo Duddy to a certain extent adopted the traditions of art by Giotto and his workshop, but combined them with the sophistication of the Siena school. In his works, he peculiarly embodies innovative ideas borrowed from Giotto and Pietro Lorenzetti. The painting “Annunciation” just indicates that the artist is not only endowed with the gift of narration, but also enriches his work with exquisite decorative details.
Bernardo Duddy’s painting “The Annunciation”
Giovanni da Milano is one of the most expressive Italian artists of Trecento. While in Florence, he draws on Giotto’s artistic vision. Only realism is inherent in his style. Such works as “St. Francis of Assisi” are distinguished by the elegance of elongated proportions, the intimacy of the image, and the acute physiognomic characteristic. The work of Giovanni di Milano had a noticeable influence on the masters of international Gothic, in Italy his successors were Gentile da Fabriano, Masolino, Sassetta.
painting by Giovanni Milano “St. Francis of Assisi”
The master of St. Francis was from Umbria. Starting in the 1340s, he took part in decorating the San Francesco church in Assisi, where his brushes belong to the paintings in the lower basilica on subjects from the life of Christ and St. Francis. The archaic, exquisitely linear style of the Master of St. Francis testifies to his commitment to the Byzantine style, as, for example, in the painting “The Crucifixion”.
painting of the Master of St. Francis “Crucifixion”
Simone Martini, with his themes of aristocratic refinement, determined the originality of the Siena school of painting until the middle of the 15th century. In addition, he played a special role in the development of Gothic taste in painting, especially thanks to the late works created for Pope Clement V, who moved his residence to Avignon.