GIOTTO: The founder of modern art

Monday 6 January 2020

In the early 1300s, a new style of painting appeared that revolutionised art in western Europe. 

This new style was initiated by the first Italian master to achieve universal recognition in his own life time. Giotto (1266-1337) was described by Dante and Boccaccio as someone who “brought back to light” the art of painting, and “the instigator of the beautiful new style”. His work is characterised by a sense of drama through body language and facial expression; clarity in terms of storytelling – so much so that his images are still easily readable 700 years on – and with a lively interest in the depiction of three-dimensional space. This lecture demonstrates these traits by looking closely at the frescoes of the Arena Chapel in Padua.