Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Giotto and Dante

Giotto by Paolo Ucelli
Dante by Giotto
Once Cimabue thought to hold the field as painter; 
Giotto now is all the rage, 
dimming the lustre of the other's fame.

That quote is from Canto XI of Purgatorio. The translation is by Mark Musa. 

This portrait of Dante is from an altarpiece which Giotto painted for the Podestà Palace; however, the original chapel burned down, and so this is believed to be a copy from the original.

Dante and Giotto were good friends and Julia Cartwright in The Painters of Florence relates this story.
When Dante visited Padua, in 1306, he found his friend Giotto living there with his wife, Madonna Ciutà, and his young family, and was honorably entertained by the painter in his own house. The poet often watched Giotto at work, with his children, who were "as ill-favored as himself," playing around, and wondered how it was that the creations of his brain were so much fairer than his own offspring.
I'm not finished with the Scrovegni Chapel yet. There will be a bit more soon about Enrico Scrovegni, the patron of the chapel and why we're talking about Dante, and then another series on more of the pictures--the virtues and vices.


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