Giotto di Bondone was a highly skilled painter and architect and, to a lesser degree also a sculptor. As with all artists from the early 14th century, there is little documentation available on the artist, particularly of his early years. His date of birth is loosely placed at 1266 and he was born in a village called Vespignano, which is relatively near Florence.

According to the earliest biographers to report on Giotto's life, the budding artist was first discovered by Cimabue whilst sketching in the countryside. This has since been brought into question, but no definite decision has been agreed as to whether the two had spent time together or not. It does seem plausible, however, that a young Giotto would take to draughtsmanship in order to perfect his skills at a more afforable price.

The confusion over documentation of the lives of the early Renaissance masters was no different around a century later with the career of Masaccio, again prone to controversy over even the most basic of details and consistent disagreements over attribution of his work. It is only really the star trio of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael whose careers have received so much endless research that their lives are understood down to the very finest of detail.

Giotto's career would take in multiple locations in the Papal States, including decorative work in religious buildings in Assisi, Rome, Padua, Florence, and Naples. At this time frescoes would be produced in tempera before oils would later dominate Italian art after first appearing in Flemish art.