Petrarch on Giotto — a young radical

Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-31-_-_Kiss_of_Judas In a video that I show in class every year, Bill Viola points out that Giotto, and other “old masters” were actually the “young Turks” of their time.

Giotto painted the Scrovegni Chapel (aka Arena Chapel) in Padua (detail above) when he was in his late 30s.

I just finished reading the Measure of Reality, Quantification and Western Society 1250-1600, by Alfred W. Crosby.

Book cover CROP blog

In the book, Crosby notes that Petrarch owned a painting by Giotto, and of it Petrarch said, “The ignorant do not understand the beauty of this panel but the masters of art are stunned by it.”

And Petrarch also stated, “[Giotto] brought back to light an art which had been buried beneath the blunders of those who, in their paintings, aimed to bring visual delight to the ignorant rather than intellectual satisfaction to the wise.”

Radical art of the 1300s, like radical art today.