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Medieval life and Times

Short Biography about the life of Cimabue
The following biography, short history and interesting facts provide helpful information for history courses and history coursework about the life and history of Cimabue a famous Medieval artist and his contribution to Medieval art:

  • Country of Origin / Nationality: Italian

  • Nickname Cimabue: His nickname means 'Ox-head'

  • Also Known as: Giovanni Cimabue, his real name was Cenni di Pepo or Peppi. He became known as the “Father of Italian Painting.” 

  • Lifetime: 1240 - 1302

  • Born: He was born in Florence in 1240, his exact date of birth is unknown

  • Childhood, early life and education: Quote about Cimanue, "Instead of studying his letters, Cimabue spent all his time covering his paper and his books with pictures showing people, horses, houses, and the various other things he dreamt up."

  • Occupation and Occupation and Career: He made mosaics as well as paintings, which include the frescoes of New Testament scenes in the upper church of St. Francis of Assisi

  • Cimabue was a contemporary of Dante and the teacher of Giotto

  • A verse by Dante preserved the name of Cimabue when he wrote, "Cimabue thought himself the master of painters, Giotto took from him the glory and relegated him to oblivion." 

  • Died: Cimabue died in 1302

  • Accomplishments and Achievements or why Cimabue was famous: He was the last great painter who worked in the Byzantine tradition but also a founder of the movement towards greater realism which culminated in the Renaissance

  • Major works of Cimabue art : A portrait of St John which is part of a larger mosaic in Pisa Cathedral (1302)the Madonna of Santa Trinita in Uffizi, Florence and several frescos in the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi

  • A major work credited to Cimabue, a Crucifixion (Santa Croce), was badly damaged in the flood that swept Florence in 1966

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