THE FLORENTINE GIOTTO DI BONDONE (c.1267~1337) was
celebrated in his lifetime for the revolutionary naturalism
of his new style. What so impressed Giotto's contemporaries
was the emotional intensity and dramatic realism of his art.
The famous poet Dante heralded him as the foremost among
painters, while the writer Boccaccio praised him for bringing
the art of painting "back to light" after centuries of darkness.
Giotto was credited with translating what was held to be the
"rude manner" of the Byzantine era into the natural style that
was then associated with ancient Roman art. This is clearly
displayed in the best-preserved of his works, the great cycle
of wall paintings in the Arena Chapel, Padua, which was executed
in the popular medium of fresco Giotto's use of monumental
human forms to tell stories simply and dramatically set an
example for artists from Masaccio to Michelangelo.