The Easel

Giovanni da Rimini: A 14th-Century Masterpiece Unveiled

We take perspective for granted but it only appeared in painting around 1400. Before that Byzantine iconography was the dominant style – no sense of depth, figures without a sense of volume or genuine emotion. Around 1300 Giotto broke with this tradition by painting from real life and Giovanni followed suit. But, progressive and talented though Florence was, it took another century before realism was fully mastered.