2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Little is known about the life of Bencivieni di Pepo, or Benvenuto di Guiseppe, as he is called in modern Italian rendering. He is thought to have been born c. 1240/42 and is first mentioned publicly as a witness to a document in Rome (1272). His pride and demanding temper earned him the nickname Cimabue, which means bull-headed and which has been used as his surname. Attributions of paintings and mosaics are uncertain, and he is said to have destroyed works which displeased him or others. The mosaic of St. John the Baptist in the Duomo of Pisa is considered the only work attributed to him that is also documented to be his.
Educated in the Byzantine tradition, Cimabue introduced naturalistic forms into his works and created a more realistic sense of space. He is thought to have been Giotto's teacher and is considered a painter of the Florentine school. Dante, Cimabue's contemporary, places him among the proud in purgatory and comments that Giotto's fame has overshadowed Cimabue's.
Karen Rae Keck
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