Giotto Display Ends: Artist "Humanized the Sacred"

ROME, JULY 16, 2009 ( After a month-long extension, a Giotto display in Rome is coming to a close in 10 days.

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«Giotto and the 14th Century,» on display behind the Venice Plaza, exhibits 20 of his masterpieces and about 100 paintings and sculptures from his various disciples.

Art historian Claudia d’Alberto spoke with ZENIT about the influence Giotto exerted in his era.

He «was able to gather around him a huge number of collaborators and above all managed to establish working groups according to their styles, which he left in the hands of his most talented followers. In that way, he promoted the diffusion of his art and his very great fame,» she explained.

Giotto was born sometime around 1267 near Florence. He studied painting as a youth and later travelled to Rome where he learned new techniques.

It is believed some of his principal masterpieces are those illustrating the life of St. Francis in the Upper Church of the gothic Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.

Giotto paved the way to perspective as a mathematic discipline so as to achieve greater realism in paintings: «We are speaking of a pseudo-perspective that still doesn’t have exact calculations, as in the 15th century,» d’Alberto explained.

D’Alberto opined that Giotto continues to be admired because he «sought the human element in sacred history.» This, she said, is a lesson for believers and atheists: «His greatest strength is the humanization of the sacred.»

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