Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cimabue ( Cenni di Peppi )

Cimabue ( Cenni di Peppi )
c. 1242, c.1302

The panels of The Virgin and Child Enthroned, which the biographer Giorgio Vasari believed were the work of Cimabue (although we now identify one panel, still in Florence, with a later commission to Duccio, his Sienese counterpart), were the foundation of a new kind of painting, one that was always to bear the stamp of highly individual personalities. Western painting is the art of individuals. Three hundred years later, when Cimabue was dealt with in Vasari's Lives of the Artists, which chronicled the whole age, the memory of his personality was still vivid.
Vasari told how Cimabue would rather destroy one of his pictures than brook any criticism of it, even his own. He had a reputation for obstinacy that earned him the nickname Oxhead. One recognizes in Cimabue's authority a quality of pride and impatience - by turns tragic, as in the now ruinedCrucifix of Santa Croce, and gracious, as in the LouvreVirgin and Child Enthroned. The Louvre picture is the largest of the series and the one in which the sharp line of the Greek style was most fully resolved into the fluency that was to be the perennial spirit of Tuscan art.

- From "Paintings in the Louvre", by Lawrence Gowing.

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