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  Logic Path: Home Page >> The Secrets >> Giotto: un genio che amò

Giotto: un genio che amò

He was terribly ugly and came from a district where deformity and disablement were very common.Heavy work,scarsity of doctors and dentists and continual epidemics had marked a race of slaves of the earth.But even in the city,for similar reasons,beauty was rare.This is why poets sang so much about it. This unpleasent looking little man,called Giotto,had nevertheless a remarkable sense of humor.He was the son of Bondone,a peasent,and came from Vespignano nel Mugello.The date of his birth is an enigma,like the reconstruction of all his life,really. He was probably born in 1267.Legend says he was discovered by Cimabue,and came to Florence in a period of big social transformations.In a few years there was a great transfer of the population from the countryside to the city;the inhabitants rose from 50 thousand to 75 thousand up to 100 thousand in the fourteenth century.A boom that made Florence one of the biggest cities in Italy and Europe. Giotto,a cunning and sharp business-man,but also a great worker,interpreted the needs of the rampant middle-class,and gave a turning point to painting,with a realism that reflected the concreteness of life. 1290 was a crucial year for the artist.He married Ciuta di Lapo del Pela. from whom he had eight children even uglier than him.He then went to Assisi,where he worked in the Basilica Superiore,revealing his skill in the frescos of the "Storie di San Francesco".The critics though don't all agree in attribuiting the whole work to Giotto. Like a spinning-top with a paint-brush in his hand,Giotto moved from one city to another.At the end of the thirteenth century he was in Rome,and from 1302 to 1305 in the chapel of the Arena in Padua.An ancient chronicle reports that the richest man there,Enrico degl Scrovegni,had the chapel built to expiate his father's sins.His father had infact been to jail for usury and earned himself a place amongst the damned in Dante's "Inferno". Once he had finished the masterpiece in Padua,Giotto started travelling again:he went to Assisi a second time,to Florence and in 1328 to Naples,where he worked for Roberto d'Angio'.In 1330 the sovraign nominated him "Member of his family" and two years later assigned him an annual pension.It is very likely that between the title and the pension the painter much perferred the latter.He was famous for his attachment to money.And it is not strange that he rented frames to people too poor to buy them,demanding an incredible rate:120 per cent.It was a common way in Florence to earn money without being accused of usury.In short,something associated the old Scrovegni and the artist who had been chosen to redeem that damned soul with his painting..In 1334 Giotto started the building of the Campanile next to the Cathedral.He was already quite old,but this didn't prevent him from doing other things as well.He even found the time to go to Milan,when Azzone Visconti asked him.When he came back to Florence,he died on the 8th of January 1337 and was buried in Santa Maria del Fiore.As the practical man that he was,he decided to be buried near home


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