1902 Encyclopedia > Schools of Painting > Byzantine Influence on Italian School of Painting. Schools of Luca and Pisa.

Schools of Painting
(Part 2)

Byzantine Influence on Italian School of Painting

In Italy, as in other parts of Europe, the Byzantine school of painting was for many centuries universally prevalent, (Footnote 433-3) and it was not until the end of the 13th century that one man of extraordinary talent - Giotto -- broke through the long-established traditions and inaugurated the true Renaissance of this art. According to Vasari, it was Cimabue who first ceased to work in the Byzantine manner; but the truth is that his pictures, though certainly superior to those of his predecessors, are thoroughly characteristic specimens of the Byzantine style. Ghilberti, in his Commentary ( a century earlier than Vasari’s work), with greater accuracy remarks that both Duccio of Siena and Cimabue worked in the Byzantine manner, and that Giotto was the first who learnt to paint with naturalistic truth.

School of Lucca and Pisa

In the 12th and the early part of the 13th century Pisa and Lucca were the chief seats of what rude painting then existed in Italy. A numbers of works of this date still exist, chiefly painted Crucifixions treated in the most conventional Byzantine manner. Giunta Pisano, who was painting in the first half of the 13th century, was a little superior to the otherwise dead level of hieratic conventionalism. He is said to have been Cimabue’s master. In the 14th century painting in Pisa was either Florentine or Sienese in style.


(433-3) See MURAL DECORATION, vol. xvii, p. 43 sq.

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