Pisano, Giunta (or Giunta Di Giustino of Pisa)

Pisano, Giunta (or Giunta di Giustino of Pisa)

is the earliest known Tuscan painter, and flourished in the first half of the 13th century. A crucifixion painted by him in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli at A'ssisi, about the year 1236, is still preserved; it is admirable in impasto and absolutely great as a work of art, compared with anything we know of this early period in Italy. Giunta was anterior to Cimabue. This shows how little reliance is to be placed on local and partial histories, especially where individuals are made heroes of. This picture, of which a facsimile has been published by the Disseldorf painter Ramboux, in his Outlines from Tracings, illustrating the Old Christian Art in Italy, shows that, so far from Cimabue being the father of Italian painting, he was scarcely equal to Giunta, certainly inferior in style of drawing. If an individual can have the credit of reviving painting in Italy, it must belong to Giunta Pisano, for anything we know, as yet, to the contrary; he is said to have worked with the Greeks about 1210. There was notoriously an influx of Greek artists into Italy after the Venetian capture of Constantinople in 1204, but we know of no Greek works equal to this crucifixion by Giunta. There are several other works of his preserved, and the progress of the art was evidently very slow, even down to the time of Masaccio, notwithstanding the great impulse given to it by the works of Giotto.

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