In his final years Giotto had become friends with Boccaccio and Sacchetti, who featured him in their stories. In The Divine Comedy, Dante acknowledged the greatness of his living contemporary through the words of a painter in Purgatorio (XI, 94–96): "Cimabue believed that he held the field/In painting, and now Giotto has the cry,/ So the fame of the former is obscure."
Di Bondone’s pictorial art space is limited having a flat background. He attempts recession into space placing trees, possibly symbolizing forests, behind a rock formation probably representing mountains. He also creates space placing sheep coming out of an architectural structure, and then places a mountain behind that structure.
During his lifetime Giotto was recognised for the momentous quality of his work and praised lavishly by the likes of Dante and Boceaccio and Cennino Cennini. In 1400, Cennini summed up Giotto's stylistic revolution in the words "Giotto translated the art of painting from Greek to Latin."
Di Bondone was granted the title of Florence's head of public works upon his return. The document establishing di Bondone's new office stated "There is no one in the whole world more qualified in these and many other matters than Giotto di Bondone."
In the late 1320s, he was commissioned by four wealthy Florentine families to decorate four family chapels (Peruzzi, Bardi, Giugni and Tosinghi Spinelli) in Santa Croce. A little later, in 1328, he received an invitation from King Robert of Naples. He accepted and stayed in the royal household for over five years, going back to Florence only when Florentine civic officials begged him to return.
His best-preserved famous paintings are murals in the Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy, painted in 1305-06. The murals are scenes from the life of Christ arranged in a narrative sequence with the last mural being the Last Judgement.
According to Vasari, Giotto's earliest works were for the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella. These include a fresco of the Annunciation and the enormous suspended Crucifix which is about 5 metres high. It has been dated around 1290 and is therefore contemporary with the Assisi frescoes.
Other early works are the Madonna and Child panel now in the Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte, Florence, and the signed panel of the Stigmata of St. Francis, from Pisa and now in the Louvre.
Giotto is regarded as the founder of the central tradition of Western painting because his work broke free from the stylizations of Byzantine art, introducing new ideals of naturalism and creating a convincing sense of pictorial space. His momentous achievement was recognized by his contemporaries. "He converted the art of painting from Greek to Latin and brought in the modern era" - this is Cennino Cennini's synthesis fifty years after Giotto's death, underscoring the revolutionary character of Giotto's painting, and Dante praised him in a famous passage of The Divine Comedy, where he said he had surpassed his master Cimabue.'
Giotto di Bondone was born in poverty, the son of a peasant. As a boy he was a shepherd. He was only 10 when Cimabue (1240-1302) took him to Florence to study art.
Not only did he work in Florence, but also Assisi, Rome, Padua, Milan and Naples. He quickly found fame and fortune; so wealthy in fact that he could afford to marry twice and support 8 children. His signature could be argued to be the first brand-name: as his workshop flourished, he seemed to have signed work his assistants completed.
Born in 1267, Giotto must have been active before the last decade of thirteenth century. The date of Giotto's birth can be taken as either 1266/67 or 1276, and the 10 years' difference is of fundamental importance in assessing his early developmentand is crucial to the problem of the attribution of the frescoes in the Church of San Francesco, in Assisi, which, if indeed by Giotto, are his great early works. It is known that Giotto died on Jan. 8, 1337 (1336, Old Style); this was recorded at the time in the Villani chronicle.