back to the Lives

Florentine painter, c.1240 - c.1302

"Instead of studying his letters, Cimabue spent all his time covering his paper and his books with pictures showing people, horses, houses, and the various other things he dreamt up."

"in this painting Cimabue took great pains to justify the reputation he had already secured, showing original powers of invention and depicting the Madonna, beautifully posed, carrying her son in her arms and surrounded by adoring angels, on a gold ground." (I-50)

Santa Trinita Madonna c.1280-1285 Uffizi
"he painted a large Crucifixion on wood which can still be seen in that church [Santa Croce] today." (I-51)



Crucifix c.1275-1285 Santa Croce
"The Father Superior was so well satisfied that he took Cimabue to the convent of San Francesco in Pisa, where he painted a panel picture of St Francis. The people there considered this a work of rare quality, for they perceived an indefinable excellence, both in the attitude of the head of St Francis and in the fall of the drapery, which had not previously been attempted by anyone." (I-50)
Saint Francis
"for the same church Cimabue then painted a large panel picture of Our Lady holding her son in her arms and surrounded by angels on a gold ground." (I-51)


Madonna and Child   Louvre
"He was asked to the City of Assisi, in Umbria...In the apse over the choir [in the Lower Church] he painted in four sections various scenes from the life of Our Lady." (I-51)

Madonna Enthroned with the Child, St Francis and four Angels  Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi
"[In the Upper Church] he showed the four evangelists, larger than life size and so well done that even today one can see how good they are; and from the freshness of the colours used for their flesh one can see what great strides were made through Cimabue's exertions in the art of fresco. (I-52)

St Matthew  Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi
St Luke
"When he had finished the vaulting Cimabue worked in fresco on all the upper part of the wall of the north side of the church, painting scenes from the Old Testament..He started with the beginning of Genesis and continued with the most famous subsequent events." (I-52)

The Tower of Babel  Upper Church, San Francesco
"Opposite these frescoes, in a further sixteen scenes, he painted incidents from the lives of Our Lady and Jesus Christ." (I-52)


The Taking of Christ
St Peter healing the sick

To next page

Welcome Giorgio Vasari Lives Ologies Thanks Links

Site Map   What's New   Search