Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bernardo Daddi

The Annunciation
43 x 70 cm
Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Bernardo Daddi (c.1280-c.1348) was an early Italian Renaissance painter and apprentice of Giotto di Bondone. Giotto had a revolutionary idea that a painting should look like physical reality. As the leading Florentine painter of his generation, Daddi helped to ensure that this idea, which heralded the Renaissance and came to be taken for granted until the modern age, was kept alive.
For hundreds of years, Italian painting had been based on the abstractions of Byzantine art, which stressed patterning, flatness, and ethereal-looking people. His figures, like Giotto's, have bulk and physicality. As in everyday experience, their form is modeled by light that is earthly and real. Still, throughout his career, he retained some elements of Byzantium's legacy of abstraction, choosing its almond-shaped eyes, ornamental patterning, and gold backgrounds.

Daddi's birth date remains unknown. He focused on religious motifs and altarpieces. He rarely painted frescoes. A triptych he painted in 1328 is in the Uffizi, and there are several panels in National Gallery of Art and the Walters Art Museum. His last work dates from 1347, and it is believed he died the next year.