Giovanni Cimabue (jōvän´nē chēmäbōō´ā), d. c.1302, Florentine painter, whose real name was Cenni di Pepo or Peppi. The works with which his name is associated constitute a transition in painting from the strictly formalized Byzantine style, hitherto prevalent in Italy, to the freer expression of the 14th cent. Cimabue retained most of the old conventions but introduced greater naturalism in his treatment of figures. He was master of mosaics at the cathedral in Pisa, where a St. John is attributed to him. Other attributions include a fresco, Madonna with Saints and Angels (lower church of St. Francis in Assisi); frescoes representing the four evangelists, scenes from the lives of the Virgin and St. Peter, scenes from the Apocalypse, and the Crucifixion (all in the upper church of St. Francis in Assisi); and Madonna Enthroned (Uffizi). A major work credited to him, a Crucifixion (Santa Croce), was badly damaged in the flood that ravaged Florence in 1966. Cimabue is said to have been the teacher of Giotto.
See M. Chiellini, Cimabue (1988).
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