Cimabue Cenni di Peppi
'The Father of Italian Painting'
Artistically and Stylistically Influenced by the following Painters and : - Coppo di Marcovaldo
Education - apprenticed at age 10 to local Greek icon makers and later a gold smith
Medium - Tempera on wood
Cause of death - bloody flux compounded by an advanced age. He is buried in the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore ( Cathedral of Florence) inscribed on his tomb: “Cimabue thought himself master of the field of painting. While living, he was so. Now he holds his place among the stars of heaven.”
Cimabue is best known for his poetically conceived, graceful, contemplative Madonnas. His holy figures are seemingly detached from the world in silent contemplation. The painter was Intent on mesmerizing and enlightening the viewer with the ethereal beauty of his work. Eminent art historian and author, John C. Van Dyke explains "Cimabue seems the most notable instance in early times of a Byzantine-educated painter who improved upon the traditions. He has been called the father of Italian painting, but Italian painting had no father. Cimabue was simply a man of more originality and ability than his contemporaries, and departed further from the art teachings of the time without decidedly opposing them. He retained the Byzantine pattern, but loosened the lines of drapery somewhat, turned the head to one side, infused the figure with a little appearance of life. His contemporaries elsewhere in Italy were doing the same thing, and none of them was any more than a link in the progressive chain."
Not until the thirteenth century, in the works of Florentine master Cimabue, is a change in religious painting perceptible. The Christ-child becomes more childish and tender; and a soft inclination of the head of the Madonna shows that she hears the prayers of men and can bring help and gracious forgiveness. The hard, sullen features are animated by softness and charm, by human sentiment; and it is in this sense that Vasari wrote that through Cimabue more love had come into art.
According to art historian
Clara Erskine Clement "The Cimabui were a noble family, and
Giovanni was allowed to follow his own taste, and became a painter; he
was also skilled in mosaic work, and during the last years of his life
held the office of master of the mosaic workers in the Cathedral of
Pisa, where some of his own mosaics still remain.
Cimabue was a gloomy genius. He painted with passion and naturalism, thus building the groundwork for the Renaissance. He aspired to reawaken the divine spirit of holy figures rather than depict their physical qualities. He was influenced by Coppo di Marcovaldo yet forged his own unique style within the tradition of religious Byzantine painting. The mysticism in his work is apparent as he conveys a profound awareness of his fellow man.
He maintained an industrious
studio and mentored many your artists including
He was known for his generosity with the local vagabonds and stray
cats. Often allowing lepers and beggars to stay in his stables and
adjacent out buildings. At one time he is said to have cared for 33
cats. Cimabue died in the year of 1302.
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