Cimabu`e, a Florentine painter, and founder of the Florentine
school, which ranked among its members such artists as Michael Angelo,
Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci; was the first to leave the stiff
traditional Byzantine forms of art and copy from nature and the living
model, though it was only with the advent of his great disciple Giotto
that art found beauty in reality, and Florence was made to see the divine
significance of lowly human worth, at sight of which, says Ruskin, "all
Italy threw up its cap"; his "Madonna," in the Church of Santa Maria, has
been long regarded as a marvel of art, and of all the "Mater Dolorosas"
of Christianity, Ruskin does not hesitate to pronounce his at Assisi the
noblest; "he was the first," says Ruskin, "of the Florentines, first of
European men, to see the face of her who was blessed among women, and
with his following hand to make visible the Magnificat of his heart"
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