Peruzzi Altarpiece (detail), about 1309–15, Giotto di Bondone. Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 41 5/8 x 98 1/2 x 6 in. (105.7 x 250.2 x 15.2 cm). North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, GL.60.17.7
In the early 1300s, creativity was flourishing in Florence at a time of unprecedented prosperity, urban expansion, and intellectual innovation. The Renaissance was awakening. In this dynamic climate, master painter Giotto di Bondone revolutionized painting with a new, more naturalistic approach to the human form. He—along with the iconic literary figure Dante Alighieri and accomplished panel painters and illuminators—formed a thriving artistic community that responded to the great demand for art and literature in the growing city, both for the decoration of sacred and secular buildings and for the illumination of luxurious manuscripts.
This major international loan exhibition presents seven breathtaking paintings by Giotto, the largest number ever assembled in North America, as well as extraordinary works by his Florentine contemporaries, including painters Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi and painter-illuminators Pacino di Bonaguida, the Master of the Dominican Effigies, and the Master of the Codex of Saint George. Among the highlights are the earliest illuminated copies of Dante's masterpiece the Divine Comedy, and nearly all the surviving leaves from the most important illuminated manuscript commission of the early 1300s, the Laudario of Sant'Agnese.
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