Compared with the gracefulness of Byzantine forms, Giotto's figures are monumental, even bulky. As he creates figures that are solemn and slow-moving, Giotto builds up a mounting rhythm into a supremely forceful drama. His figures are imbued with a new compassion for the human being, probably inspired by the tenets of the Franciscan order. In his era, Giotto achieved a remarkably convincing representation of space, harmoniously allying figures and background. These effects were not obtained from a system of perspective, but through his own inherent clarity of conception and his ability to give strength and simplicity to his forms. His reforms in painting were carried throughout Italy by his many pupils and followers. Giotto's popularity as a great Florentine and artist is attested in literature by Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Sacchetti, and Villani.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.