Unique Exhibition Celebrates Giotto, the Father of Modern Italian Art

| Mon, 09/07/2015 - 03:00
Stefaneschi polyptych, detail

His painting technique revolutionized Italian art: Giotto di Bondone, born in Florence in 1266 near Florence, is celebrated in an exhibition at Milan’s Palazzo Reale, Giotto, l’Italia. Da Assisi a Milano (Giotto, Italy. From Assisi to Milan).

The exhibition features 13 masterpieces, on show together for the first time, tracing the route taken by Giotto during 40 years of extraordinary artistic activity all over Italy. The itinerary follows a chronological order, beginning with Giotto’s youth works, when he was living between Florence and Assisi; they include 'Maestà della Vergine da Borgo San Lorenzo' and 'Madonna da San Giorgio alla Costa'. Also on show are important polyptychs, such as the 'Stefaneschi polyptych' painted for the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the panel featuring 'God the Father on the throne' from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. The exhibition analyzes Giotto’s style and the historic context within which the works of art were created.  

As reported by ANSA, Milan culture councilor Filippo Del Corno said that the committee responsible for the exhibition has put together a "story of the history and creative path taken by a great artist who revolutionized the pictorial canons and in a certain sense was the founder of modern artistic expression." The head of the committee Antonio Paolucci said Giotto "gave shape to the Italian figurative language".

Giotto's figures are not stylized or elongated as in the Byzantine models of his contemporaries. They are three-dimensional, with faces and gestures based on close observation, and are clothed in garments that hang naturally and have form and weight, rather than in formalized drapery. He also took bold steps in foreshortening, using perspective and creating the illusion of space. Giotto is considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Renaissance.

The exhibition takes place at Milan’s Palazzo Reale, which includes parts of the palace belonging to lord of Milan Azzone Visconti, where Giotto, in the last years of his life, painted two cycles of murals, which have now been lost. The event is part of Expo 2015, concluding the series of exhibitions taking place at Palazzo Reale.

Giotto, l’Italia is on view until January 10, 2016. For more information, click here