Giotto formed the foundation upon which other painters of the Renaissance built and is generally regarded as the founder of modern painting. To better understand why so many artists said that Giotto was their true ancestor, you have to learn a bit about the social surroundings at those times.
that comes prior to the Renaissance
The style of painting was dramatically changing at that time. What events led up to the changes in these styles can be traced back to a man who lived before Giotto di Bondone's time, dying a half century before his birth. Just at that time the world was awakening from the dark and oppressive era of Gothic "feudalism".
Several major influences were responsible for this awakening,
Profitable trade required innovation, and innovation relies upon
education (such as advanced mathematics, astronomy for more accurate map-making or
fundamental chemistry). This growing created a large and wealthy
merchant class which distracted the attention of the people away from the
"mysteries" of orthodoxy towards consumerism. Kindled by this, there were other branches growing equally:
At the same time the Church was known for its decadence and corruption,
arrogance and pretense and its never
ending internal intrigue. But the real great challenge for the Church's authority and its doctrinal
policies came when a well educated son of Barbarossa,
Frederick the Second, became Emperor in 1220.
He was a very modern orientated man,
founded the University of Naples and a zoological garden,
enlarged the medical school at Salerno and made the first successful issuance of "paper"
money (stamped parchment) imprinted with his promise to pay in gold.
So Frederick the Second had initiated the "time of questioning" the Church's authority, power and property. Also at that time another event created a sensation and a large following to be noticed by the Church: Franz of Assisi's deliberate changing of his life from wealth to poverty which was unheard before. He taught that the Divine nature lives within all people and that humanity itself was sacred and of a divine nature. This opened up a whole can of worms for the Church. But now that it was open, everyone was getting exposed to this new philosophy and there was no turning back. Church's imagery were that of an icon type all centuries before but now that changed. The mystical figures that only were an abstraction of a human form were transforming into realistic figures with human expressions.
Giotto was born probably in a town near Florence, where his father worked as a farmer. There are several stories how he came into contact with art. One telling that he was drawing scetches from his father's sheep on a flat stone and Cimabue (a great painter of that time) came by, recognized his talent and took him as his pupil.
Giotto di Bondone
Presentation of the Virgin
Treasure the moments when you feel the touch of the universe, in watching an everyday scene in your life.
Because you are blessed with a fortune greater than money:
with happiness and harmony
(That is what comes to my mind, when I think about the innnovations Giotto made.)