Cenni di Pepo, called Cimabue (c.1240 - after 1302), born in Florence, was the most famous Italian painter of his generation. He is mainly known as the teacher of Giotto, whom, according to the legend, Cimabue found when the latter was working as a shepherd, drawing a lamb on a flat stone, and took him to his workshop in Florence. Cimabue was the first artist to move away from the stylized and rigid conventions of Byzantine art. In doing this he actually paved the way for his pupil’s naturalism, which in turn forms the basis of the Italian art. Cimabue is mentioned by Dante as having his reputation eclipsed by Giotto. Early critics attribute the famous Rucellai Madonna to him but this is now generally believed to be by Duccio. Cimabue is known to have been in Rome in 1272 and is documented as having been working on the mosaic figure of Saint John in the apse of the Pisa Cathedral in 1302. He also executed several important works in the Lower church of San Francesco at Assisi.
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