It is said that in his earliest boyhood Andrea was, like Giotto, put to shepherding or cattle-herding; this is not likely, and can at any rate have lasted only a very short while, as his natural genius for art developed with singular precocity, and excited the attention of Francesco Squarcione, who entered him in the gild of painters before he had completed his eleventh year.
The Gothic portal is fine, and the church contains a mosaic pavement of 1213 with curious representations and some frescoes by Giotto, painted during a visit to Dante between 1317 and 1320.
Close by the Duomo is the no less famous Campanile built by Giotto, begun in 1332, and adorned with exquisite bas-reliefs.
The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, as Giotto, Lippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Squarcione (1394-1474), whence issued the great Mantegna (1431-1506).
He went to Brussels in 1848, where he met Wiertz and Gallait, and painted some pictures, including "Cimabue finding Giotto," and a portrait of himself.
Exquisite as he is in his special mode of execution, he undoubtedly falls far short, not only of his great naturalist contemporaries such as 1Vlasaccio and Lippo Lippi, but even of so distant a precursor as Giotto, in all that pertains to bold or life-like invention of a subject or the realization of ordinary appearances, expressions and actions - the facts of nature, as distinguished from the aspirations or contemplations of the spirit.
Giotto and others, the most famous of which are those over the high altar by Giotto, illustrating the vows of the Franciscan order; while the upper church has frescoes representing scenes from the life of St Francis (probably by Giotto and his contemporaries) on the lower portion of the walls of the nave, and scenes from Old and New Testament history by pupils of Cimabue on the upper.
His manner influenced Giotto, who set painting on a forward path.
The walls of its chapel were frescoed by Giotto; but the whole building was ruined by, Ferdinand II.
Santa Chiara (14th century) is interesting for a fresco ascribed to Giotto (at one time there were many more), and monuments to Robert the Wise, his queen Mary of Valois and his daughter Mary, empress of Constantinople.
The Greeks have produced no Giotto, no Fra Angelico, no Raphael.
"My name is Giotto," [Footnote: Giotto (_pro_. jot'to).] he answered.
In the city of Florence [Footnote: Flor'ence.] little Giotto saw some of the finest pictures in the world.
Little Giotto came out from a corner, trembling and ashamed.
This enthusiastic love of poverty is certainly the keynote of St Francis's spirit; and so one of his disciples in an allegorical poem (translated into English as The Lady of Poverty by Montgomery Carmichael, 1901), and Giotto in one of the frescoes at Assisi, celebrated the "holy nuptials of Francis with Lady Poverty."