The face of Ambrogio Bondone, called Giotto (1266-1336), a famous painter from Tuscany, whose remains were found thirty years ago under a marble flatstone during works in the Santa Maria dei Fiore Church called “il Duomo” in Florence, has been fully reconstituted by an Italian anthropologist, it was learned on September 21st 2000.
Giotto has been one of the most celebrated painter in the history of painting and no one knew were he had been buried until the discovery of his remains under a flatstone bearing no inscription.
The remains tallied with the description made of Giotto during his lifetime as he was known to be short-legged with a huge torso almost looking as a dwarf. According to the coroners who examined the remains, the skeleton was that of a man who had died at about 70. They also found in its bones traces of lead, aluminium, manganese, zinc and iron all elements that were included in the colours Giotto used.
Coins dating from before 1336 were also found among the remains reinforcing the opinion that they were those of Giotto, known to have been quite a wealthy man. This was comforted by a close examination of the teeth, which suggested a rich nutrition.
Still Giotto died before the completion of the “Il Duomo” Church that he had been asked to decorate. Investigators believed he could not have been buried in the church but archaeologists later pinpointed that it had been built over the vestiges of the old Santa Reparata cathedral.
It was finally established that the remains were those of Giotto thanks to professor Francesco mallegini who worked on the skull and manage to reconstitute the exact features of the painter as shown in a self-portrait on a fresco representing the “Universal Judgement” in the Scrovegni chapel in Padua.