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Michelangelo and Giotto

Although more than one hundred years separate the death and birth of Michelangelo and Giotto they share many similarities as well as contrasts.  Beginning with their childhood, both men were seen at an early age as being talented.  Both men were given great opportunities in their youth to study with artists to learn a trade that they would become famous for.  Michelangelo and GiottoAlthough this is a similarity it may also be seen as a contrast because these men were brought up in two different time frames.  In the time Giotto was raised the Refined Gothic era ending and the Renaissance was just beginning.  He grew up in a time when people were just beginning to gain their freedom.  The way the two artists were discovered is also different.  Where Michelangelo’s father had the resources and connections to send him to study with the great painters and to the best schools, Giotto’s father did not have those resources. 

Giotto was discovered by a well-known Florentine painter who saw Giotto sketching one of his father’s sheep on a flat rock.  The painter then talked Giotto’s father into letting Giotto become his pupil.  Of course the story of Giotto varies from source to source, but the fact remains true is that Giotto was the beneficiary of Cimabue’s teaching him painting.

The two men may also be seen as similar when one looks at the scope of their talents.  Not only were the men painters, they were architects and sculptures.  Giotto used most of his architectural talents for the city itself as city architect and superintendent of public works.  While holding this position given to him by the citizens of Florence.  On the other hand Michelangelo used his architectural talents on works such as the Laurentian Library, where he strayed from classical architecture of the Greeks and Romans.


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