St. Clare Embraces the Body of St. Francis at the Convent of San Damiano, 1297-99 (fresco), Giotto di Bondone (c.1266-1337) / San Francesco, Upper Church, Assisi, Italy / Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library
A masterful Florentine painter, Giotto di Bondone (1266 – 1337) realistically conveyed human emotions, worked as a remarkable decorator and created huge, heroic works. Believed to be artistically gifted since age 12, Giotto dramatically altered Western European painting by digressing from impersonal Byzantine art with naturalism, perspective and three-dimensionality. His brilliant religious works include frescoes, mosaics and statues. Ultimately influencing the Renaissance, Giotto’s art was even studied and copied by Michelangelo.