Giotto di Bondone

by Nick Corkery


  • Giotto di Bondone was born in 1266 in Vespignano, Italy
  • Most of his life was spent in various locations throughout Italy, especially Florence
  • Not much is known about his early life, but a story tells us that he was a common shepard, who spent his free time drawing. One day, Cimabue, one of the most renowned artists of the century, came along and saw his drawings. Immediately recognizing great potential, Cimabue took Giotto under his wing and trained him to be an artist.
  • Giotto di Bondone was a mysterious genius, and was said to "light the art of the past".
  • He was radical in the way that he contributed greatly to the change between the way that artists painted between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
  • Giotto di Bondone was a painter.
  • Some of Giotto di Bondone's works include the Arena Chapel Frescoes, the Lives of Saint Francis and Saint Stephen, and The Frescoes of the Chapel of Mary
  • Giotto di Bondone's patrons included many churches throughout Italy

The Arena Chapel Frescoes

  • The Arena Chapel Frescoes were painted around 1305
  • These religious scenes were painted in the Arena chapel in Padua, Italy
  • These frescoes are known as di Bondone's greatest works, and use Scientific Naturalism to a great success. These were some of the first paintings of the Renaissance that used this technique. Giotto was praised as a genius by some and a radical by others.
  • I find this piece interesting because it tells the story of the Bible, and it is the New Testament's painted counterpart. Also, the pictures appeal to the viewer because of the repetition of a single character: Jesus. This repetition gives us an insight into how he feels and lets us peer into his thoughts and reactions to occurrences in the pictures. This also helps the viewer sympathize with the viewer on a psychological state.
  • In these frescoes, Giotto di Bondone continually uses scientific naturalism to show distance and space. This is important because he was one of the first to use this technique. Giotto also incorporates geometry into many of his paintings. Below, the first two paintings consist mainly of geometric shapes to make up structures.


Di Bondone, Giotto. The Epiphany. 1320. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, New York. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. ARTstor. Web. 18 Nov. 2013 <>.

"Giotto Di Bondone." World Eras. Ed. Jeremiah Hackett. Vol. 4: Medieval Europe, 814-1350. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

De Wald, E. T. "Giotto." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

"Giotto (di Bondone)." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990.Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Di Bondone, Giotto. Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Evangelist: Ascension of Saint John the Evangelist. 1313. Peruzzi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence, Italy. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. ARTstor. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <>.