Agnolo Bronzino

Agnolo Gaddi

Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Andreadi di Bonaiuto

Andrea del Castagno

Andrea del Sarto

Andrea di Bartolo

Andrea Mantegna

Antonello da Messina

Antonio del Pollaiuolo

Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Benozzo Gozzoli

Benvenuto di Giovanni

Bernard Berenson

Bernardo Daddi

Bianca Cappello

Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonaventura Berlinghieri

Buonamico Buffalmacco

Byzantine art



Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

Domenico di Bartolo

Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano


Duccio di Buoninsegna

Eleonora da Toledo

Federico Zuccari

Filippino Lippi

Filippo Lippi

Fra Angelico

Fra Carnevale

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Francesco Pesellino

Francesco Rosselli

Francia Bigio

Gentile da Fabriano


Domenico Ghirlandaio


Giorgio Vasari

Giotto di bondone

Giovanni da Modena

Giovanni da San Giovanni

Giovanni di Francesco

Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni Toscani

Girolamo di Benvenuto

Guidoccio Cozzarelli

Guido da Siena

Il Sodoma

Jacopo del Sellaio

Jacopo Pontormo

Lippo Memmi

Lippo Vanni

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Monaco

Lo Scheggia

Lo Spagna

Luca Signorelli


masolino da panicale

master of monteoliveto

master of sain tfrancis

master of the osservanza

matteo di giovanni

memmo di filippuccio

neroccio di bartolomeo

niccolo di segna

paolo di giovanni fei

paolo ucello


piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti



sandro botticelli

sano di pietro


simone martini

spinello aretino

taddeo di bartolo

taddeo gaddi

ugolino di nerio




Giorgio Vasari, Giotto, north-east wall, , Sala Grande, Casa Vasari, Firenze [1]

Travel guide for Tuscany

Giorgio Vasari | Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects

Giotto | Painter of Florence

GIOTTO (1267-1337)


NOW IN THE YEAR 1276, in the country of Florence, about fourteen miles from the city, in the village of Vespignano, there was born to a simple peasant named Bondone a son, to whom he gave the name of Giotto, and whom he brought up according to his station. And when he had reached the age of ten years, showing in all his ways though still childish an extraordinary vivacity and quickness of mind, which made him beloved not only by his father but by all who knew him, Bondone gave him the care of some sheep. And he leading them for pasture, now to one spot and now to another,was constantly driven by his natural inclination to draw on the stones or the ground some object in nature, or something that came into his mind. One day Cimabue, going on business from Florence to Vespignano, found Giotto, while his sheep were feeding, drawing a sheep from nature upon a smooth and solid rock with a pointed stone, having never learnt from any one but nature. Cimabue, marvelling at him, stopped and asked him if he would go and be with him. And the boy answered that if his father were content he would gladly go. Then Cimabue asked Bondone for him, and he gave him up to him, and was content that he should take him to Florence.

There in a little time, by the aid of nature and the teaching of Cimabue, the boy not only equalled his master, but freed himself from the rude manner ofthe Greeks, and brought back to life the true art of painting, introducing the drawing from nature of living persons, which had not been practised for two hundred years; or at least if some had tried it, they had not succeeded very happily. Giotto painted among others, as may be seen to this day in the chapel of the Podestà's Palace at Florence, Dante Alighieri, his contemporary and great friend, and no less famous a poet than Giotto was a painter.

After this he was called to Assisi by Fra Giovanni di Muro, at that time general of the order of S. Francis, and painted in fresco in the upper church thirty-two stories from the life and deeds of S. Francis, which brought him great fame. It is no wonder therefore that Pope Benedict sent one of his courtiers into Tuscany to see what sort of a man he was and what his works were like, for the Pope was planning to have some paintings made in S. Peter's. This courtier, on his way to see Giotto and to find out what other masters of painting and mosaic there were in Florence, spoke with many masters in Sienna, and then, having received some drawings from them, he came to Florence. And one morning going into the workshop of Giotto, who was nat his labours, he showed him the mind of the Pope, and at last asked him to give him a little drawing to send to his Holiness. Giotto, who was a man of courteous manners,immediately took a sheet of paper, and with a pen dipped in red, fixing his arm firmly against his side to make a compass of it, with a turn of his hand he made a circle so perfect that it was a marvel to see it Having done it, he turned smiling to the courtier and said, "Here is the drawing.". But he, thinking he was being laughed at, asked, "Am I to have no other drawing than this?" "This is enough and too much," replied Giotto, "send it with the others and see if it will be understood." The messenger, seeing that he could get nothing else, departed ill pleased, not doubting that he had been made a fool of. However, sending the other drawings to the Pope with the names of those who had made them, he sent also Giotto's, relating how he had made the circle without moving his arm and without compasses, which when the Pope and many of his courtiers understood, they saw that Giotto must surpass greatly all the other painters of his time. This thing being told, there arose from it a proverb which is still used about men of coarse clay, "You are rounder than the O of Giotto," which proverb is not only good because of the occasion from which it sprang, but also still more for its significance, which consists in its ambiguity, tondo, "round," meaning in Tuscany not only a perfect circle, but also slowness and heaviness of mind.

So the Pope made him come to Rome, and he painted for him in S.Peter's, and there never left his hands work better finished; wherefore the Pope, esteeming himself well served, gave him six hundred ducats of gold, besides having shown him so many favours that it was spoken of through all Italy.

After Giotto was returned to Florence, Robert, King of Naples, wrote to his eldest son, Charles, King of Calabria, who was at that time in Florence, that he must by some means or other send him Giotto to Naples. Giotto, hearing himself called by a king so famous and so much praised, went very willingly to serve him, and did many works which pleased the king greatly. And he was so much beloved by him that the king would often visit him, and took pleasure in watching him and listening to his conversation, and Giotto, who had always some jest or some witty answer ready, would converse with him while going on with his painting. So one day the king saying to him that he would make him the first man in Naples, Giotto answered, "And that is why I am lodged at the Porta Reale, that I may be the first man in Naples." And another time the king saying to him, " Giotto, if I were you, now that it is hot, I would give up painting a little." He answered, "And so would I, certainly, if I were you."

So pleasing the king well, he painted him a good number of pictures, and the portraits of many famous men, Giotto himself among them; and one day the king, as a caprice, asked him to paint his kingdom. Giotto, it is said, painted a laden ass with a new load lying at his feet, which while it refused it seemed to desire, and both on the new and old burden was the royal crown and sceptre of power. And when Giotto was asked by the king what the picture signified, he replied, "Such must be the subjects and such the kingdom which every day desired a new lord."

There are many other stories remaining of the witty sayings of Giotto, and besides those that are told by Boccaccio, Franco Sacchetti tells many good ones, some of which I will give in Franco's own words.

How a man of low station gives Giotto the great painter a shield to paint.

"Every one must have heard of Giotto, who was a great painter above any other. A rough workman, hearing of his fame, came to Giotto's workshop followed by one carrying his shield. Arrived there, he found Giotto, and said, 'God save you, master, I want you to paint my arms on this shield.' Giotto, considering the man and his manner of speech, said nothing but, 'When do you want it?' And he told him. Giotto said, 'Leave me to do it;' so he went away. And Giotto, left alone, said to himself, 'What did he mean? Has some sent him for a joke? I never had a shield to paint before. And this man was a simple fellow, and bade me paint his arms as if he were of the royal house of France. Certainly I shall have to make him some new arms.' So considering the matter, he put the shield before him and made a design and bade one of his pupils paint it, and so it was done. There was a helmet, a gorget, a pair of iron gloves, a cuirass, and cuisses, a sword, dagger, and lancc. So the worthy man came again and said, 'Master, is my shield painted?' Giotto answered, 'Certainly, bring it down.' But when it came the would-be gentleman looked at it and said, 'What is this you have been painting ? I won't pay four farthings for it.' Giotto said, 'What did you tell me to paint?' And he answered, 'My arms.' ' Are not they all here?' asked Giotto; 'what is wanting? Nay, you are a great fool, for if any one were to ask you who you are, you would hardly know what to answer; and you come here and say, Paint me my arms. What arms do you bear? Whence are you? Who were your ancestors? I have painted all your armour on the shield, and if there is anything else, tell me and I will add it.' But the other answered, 'You are giving me vile words, and have spoilt my shield.' And he went away and summoned Giotto before the justice. Giotto appeared, and on his side summoned him, demanding two florins for his painting. And when the court had heard the matter, they gave sentence that the man should take his shield so painted, and pay six lire to Giotto."

It is said that when Giotto was only a boy with Cimabue, he once painted a fly on the nose of a face that Cimabue had drawn, so naturally that the master returning to his work tried more than once to drive it away with his hand, thinking it was real. And I might tell you of many other jests played by Giotto, but of this enough.




Scenes from the Life of Christ, Resurrection (detail), Cappella degli Scrovegni all'Arena, Padua

Giotto di Bondone, Scenes from the Life of Christ, Resurrection (detail), Cappella degli Scrovegni all'Arena, Padua



Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ), 1304-06, Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua

Giotto, Scenes from the Life of Christ, Lamentation (The Mourning of Christ), 1304-06, Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua



Crucifix (detail), Firenze, Santa Maria Novella

Giotto di Bondone, Crucifix (detail), about 1290-1300, gold and tempera on panel, 578 x 406 cm, Firenze, Santa Maria Novella


Vision of the Ascension of St Francis, c. 1325, fresco, Bardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence

Giotto, Vision of the Ascension of St Francis(detail), c. 1325, fresco, Bardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence



Last Judgment in the Scrovegni chapel in Padua

Giotto, Last Judgment in the Scrovegni chapel in Padua

Giotto, Last Judgment in the Scrovegni chapel in Padua (details), Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua


The Expulsion of the Devils from Arezzo, 1297-99, Saint Francis of Assisi, Assisi

Giotto di Bondone, The Expulsion of the Devils from Arezzo, 1297-99, Saint Francis of Assisi, Assisi


Giotto di Bondone, The Expulsion of the Devils from Arezzo (detail)
Giotto di Bondone, The Expulsion of the Devils from Arezzo (detail), 1297-99, Saint Francis of Assisi, Assisi

Giotto Di Bondone, The Massacre of the Innocents, fresco at Assisi

Art in Tuscany | Giotto do Bondone

Art in Tuscany | Giorgio Vasari | Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects | Giotto

[1] Casa Vasari in Florence, Portraits of the Artists | 'In the second edition of “Lives”, which was published in Florence in 1568, Vasari had not only extensively revised and added to the book, but also preceded the individual lives with a woodcut showing a portrait of the respective artist. These representations were used as templates for the portrait medallions in the upper frieze in the Sala Grande, for which Vasari selected from the total of 159 lives thirteen artists who he held in particularly high admiration: Cimabue und Giotto as forerunners, Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio as the founders of Renaissance art, followed by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and finally Michelangelo, who Vasari admired throughout his life. Further portraits here are of Raphael’s followers Perin del Vaga and Giulio Romano; Andrea del Sarto, one of his teachers, and Rosso Fiorentino, whose art was a powerful influence on Vasari’s early works; and finally, Francesco Salviati, who had worked together with Vasari in Rome. With this sequence of pictures, which can be assigned to the tradition of the “uomini illustri”, Vasari succeeded in creating an impressive illustration of the newly earned self-assurance of the artist in the 16th century.'
[Casa Vasari a Firenze, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut)]

Wikisource has some information concerning Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori and Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architettori (1550)/Giotto.

Paolo Uccello, detail of Five Masters of the Florentine Renaissance (or Fathers of Perspective), a portrait of Giotto),
c. 1450, Tempera on wood, 43 x 210 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris [1]

Podere Santa Pia is a very nice holiday home situated in the green hills of the Maremma near the tiny medieval town of Cinigiano, close to Montalcino and the Abbey of Sant'Antimo.
Podere Santa Pia offers an upbeat atmosphere. Here you can sample all the dishes of the typical cuisine of the Maremma with such specialities as acquacotta, la torta con acciughe, la fricassea di agnello, l’oca alla maremmana.
And the wine... The Montecucco DOC area in Upper Maremma, which is ideal for the growing of Sangiovese grapevines, and is situated between the DOCG area of Brunello di Montalcino and DOCG Morellino di Scansano. The best time to find out is during the Festa dell'Uva, the wine harvest festival, which takes place every year on the first October weekend. 

Holiday accomodation in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia | Artist and writer's residency


Podere Santa Pia, with a stunning view over the Maremma and Monte Christo


Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, garden view, April
View from Podere Santa Pia
on the coast and Corsica
San Gimignano  

The towers of San Gimignano
Florence, Duomo


Monte Christo. Situated in panoramic position, overlooking vineyards and olive trees, Santa Pia features incredible sunsets...


Giorgio Vasari | 'Considered the first art historian and often referred to as the “father of art history”, Varsari was the son of Antonio Vasari (d. 1527), a potter, and Maddelena Tacci (d. 1558). He learned Latin and other humanist disciplines in the 1520’s by Antonio da Saccone and Giovanni Pollastra (1465–1540). Throughout his career, Vasari practiced as an artist. He entered the Arezzo studio of Guillaume de Marcillat, whose previous commissions at the Vatican in Rome brought Vasari into conversance with the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Vasari’s own painting led the Cardinal of Cortona, Silvio Passerini (1470–1529), tutor of Alessandro and Ippolito de’ Medici, to take Vasari with him to Florence in 1524. There Vasari and the two Medici received further instruction by Pierio Valeriano (1477–1558). Vasari also trained during this time in the Florentine workshops of Andrea del Sarto and Baccio Bandinelli, under Francesco Salviati. Forced to return to Arezzo when the Medici were expelled in 1527, Vasari entered the service of Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici in January 1532. He studied ancient and modern Roman art and architecture again with Salviati. There he also met Paolo Giovio, an important force for his Vite years later. When Alessandro de’ Medici was murdered in 1537, Vasari was once again devoid of a princely patron. From that point on, he decided to exist on his own. He painted several work for the monks at Camaldoli before journeying to Rome in 1538, accompanied by his assistant Giovanni Battista Cungi. Already he was interested in studying ancient with a view of their effect on contemporary art, the core idea later into his masterwork of writing, the Vite. Vasari went to Venice in 1541.
After about seven years of writing, Vasari published his most famous book, Le vite de più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori in 1550. The printer was the Florentine humanist Lorenzo Torrentino (d. 1563). The two-volume, octavo work was dedicated to Cosimo de’ Medici. After its appearance several other biographies of artists appeared, most notably the life of Michelangelo by Asconio Condivi (q.v.). Vasari corrected and enlarged his text, issuing a second edition in 1568. It is this version that all subsequent editions and translations are based, and for which Vasari owes his fame. The work is divided into a preface (proemio), a discussion of the various media, and then three sections devoted to artist biographies arranged chronologically. When Vasari wrote his lives he was concerned mainly with Florentine artists. The first section covers Cimabue to Lorenzo di Bicci, section two from Jacopo della Quercia to Pietro Perugino, and the final section, from Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo. Michelangelo was the only artist still living when the Vite appeared. Vasari ends with a section to ‘artists and readers’. Several indexes complete the work.

Chronological biographies of artists had previously existed. Vasari’s contribution was to create a critical, i.e., evaluative, history of artistic style, although he was far from unbiased. Core to Vasari was the notion of the rebirth of art, a rinascita. Art had a history and by new birth, it reestablished itself as a noble pursuit worthy of study. Vasari’s division art history into ages took as its paradigm the stages of human development. This, too, was not a novel conception with Vasari, but in his book, it took on a logical sense of order. Art’s early perfection was the antique, but hade then declined under Constantine. This low period of barbaric or Germanic art (“Gothic” Vasari called it) far removed from classical models, was ready for renaissance. Cimabue, Giotto and others formed the naissance of art, inspired by the imitation of nature, a primary stage (primi lumi). A developmental period (augumento) was ultimately succeeded by the age of perfection (perfezione)--coincidentally Vasari’s own time and that of Michelangelo. Vasari’s book created a sensation. Benvenuto Cellini found much fault, but Michelangelo, Gherardi, Salviati and Carlo Fontana praised it. Vasari wrote a second book, somewhat of a supplement to the Lives, entitled Ragionamenti sopra le Invenzioni. Appearing after his death in 1588, the book is a catalog of the allegorical compositions in the Palazzo Vecchio.'

[Sources: Kultermann, Udo. Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte: Der Weg einer Wissenschaft. 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main and Vienna: Ullstein, 1981, p. 438 n. 9; Blunt, Anthony. Artistic Theory in Italy: 1450-1600. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962, pp. 86-102; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, pp. 68-9; Rud, Einar. Vasari’s Life and Lives: The First Art Historian. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand Company, 1963.]



La copertina de "Le Vite"
Abbazia di Sant' Antimo     San Gimignano
Sant'Antimo, between Santa Pia and Montalcino
  Massa Marittima   The towers of San Gimignano