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My old friend Giotto


Another masterpiece in the NC Museum of Art's Italian collection is this work by Giotto, The Peruzzi Altarpiece. Painted around 1310-15, it's the only complete altarpiece by Giotto outside of Italy. This work is less "modern" than those incredible frescoes in Padova that I loved so much, but the gentle hand gestures are so clearly Giotto. The work shows Christ Blessing in the center with John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary to the left, and John the Baptist and St. Francis of Assisi on the right.

In 2008, this altarpiece returned on loan to Italy for a year and then came back to NC. Here's an interesting and funny article about the high tech preparations involved in getting the work ready for travel. There's a photoset on Flickr called Giotto Homecoming that shows the museum staff unpacking it when it arrived home. I bet they were so relieved to have it back safe and sound!

And welcome home to blog friend Sandra, who just returned from a month in Italy. She had a cool and very unusual Giotto experience in Assisi (viewing his frescoes up close and personal while wearing a hard hat!) and has just posted some wonderful shrine photos from her trip.

The Virgin Mary, a detail from the altarpiece~


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Comments (7)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, that is a very beautiful alterpiece from Giotto. I learn so much about art from you and Sandra. It was cool that they were able to have it be a part of that special exhibit. But as you said and by looking at the photos it must have been a stressful process for the people in charge at the NC museum. Kudos to them.

Thanks so much for sharing.

How wonderful for you to see the Giotto pieces right at home in NC.

I am going to have to do some research on your blog because I am going to Venice next May!

Thanks Kathy.

Nancy, that is so exciting! Please let me know if you have any questions.


Hi Annie, I'm awe-struck to realize you have a Giotto so close to you. This does look like a lovely work -- maybe not as spectacular as the Arena Chapel, but what is, really?

I find something so soothing about Giotto, maybe it's his focus on faces and less on background. I'm not sure!


How fantastic that you can admire Giotto anytime you want! I love his work.


Do you know the story of Giotto's 'O', Annie? According to the story, somebody, probably a pope, wanted something painted by somebody really good, and he'd heard that Giotto was good. So he sent a messenger to ask Giotto to produce something he could take back to the patron so that he could see if Giotto was as good as they said he was. So Giotto drew an 'O' - a circle - on a piece of paper. 'Take that to your master,'
said Giotto. The thing was, it was a PERFECT circle.

Bert, thanks, that is such a great story. I've heard the one about him drawing sheep in the dirt but not the Perfect Circle.

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