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AN HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL ACCOUNT
LIVES AND WRITINGS
MOST EMINENT PERSONS
IN EVERY NATION;
PARTICULARLY THE BRITISH AND IRISH,
FROM THB EARLIEST ACCOUNTS TO THE PRESENT TIME.
A NEW EDITION,
REVISED AND ENLARGED BY
ALEXANDER CHALMERS, F. S. A.
PRINTED FOR J. NICHOLS AND SON; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON ; T. PAYNE ;
OTRIDGE AND SON; G. AND W. NICOL; WILKIE AND ROBINSON ; J. WALKER ;
W. LOWNDES ; WHITE, COCHRANE, AND CO.; T. EGERTON ;
A NEW AND GENERAL
GIOTTO, an eminent painter, sculptor, and architect, was born in 1276, at a village near Florence, of parents who were plain country people. When a boy, he was sent out to keep sheep in the fields; and, having a natural inclination for design, he used to amuse himself with drawing his flock after the life upon sand, in the best manner he could. Cimabue travelling once that way, found him at this work, and thence conceived so good an opinion of his genius for painting, that he prevailed with his father to let him go to Florence, and be brought up under him. He had not applied himself long to designing, before he began to shake off the stiffness of the Grecian masters. He endeavoured to give a finer air to his heads, and more of nature to his colouring, with proper actions to his figures. He attempted likewise to draw after the life, and to express the different passions of the mind; but could not come up to the liveliness of the eyes, the tenderness of the flesh, or the strength of the muscles in naked figures. What he did, however, had not been done in two centuries before, with any skill equal to his. Giotto's reputation was so far extended, that pope Benedict IX. sent a gentleman of his court into Tuscany, to bring him a just report of his talents; and withal to bring him a design from each of the Florentine painters," being desirous to have some notion of their skill. When he came to VOL. XVI.