(c. 1266–1337)

Giotto by Ucello


When he first encountered Giotto’s children, Dante was struck by their ugliness. “My friend,” he exclaimed, “you make such handsome figures for others — why do you make such plain ones for yourself?” The unruffled Giotto replied: “I paint for others by day.”

Biographical Note: 

Giotto [Giotto di Bondone] was an Italian painter, architect, and sculptor. Giotto was the greatest and most influential Italian painter before the Renaissance. He decorated chapels in Assisi, Rome, Padua, Florence, and Naples with fresco murals and paintings. His surviving frescoes include a cycle in the upper church of St. Francis at Assisi and scenes of the Holy Family in the Arena Chapel, Padua. In 1334 he became city architect in Florence, designing the campanile for the cathedral. He is sometimes regarded by many as the founder of modern painting and as the first of the Renaissance painters.

More Information: 

Read a short biography of Giotto.
View Giotto’s most significant work, the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

Image Info

The painting above (one of a board of portraits now in the Louvre) is described in several books as a posthumous portrait of Giotto by Paolo Ucello (1397–1475).