Frederic Leighton, Cimabue's Madonna Carried in Procession through the Streets in Florence

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Leighton’s imaginative recreation of this event in thirteenth-century Florence is based on a misattribution by the painter and art historian Giorgio Vasari. But the fact that the painting shown here was actually executed by Duccio does not detract from the noble narrative of Leighton’s own painting. This early work displays, in loving detail, the homage that Leighton felt was due to all great artists and their work. His own life fulfilled this vision: financially successful, praised by critics  (most of them), and finally rewarded a peerage — the first ever awarded to an artist in England — Leighton’s legacy lives today in the Leighton House Museum in London.

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The King of Naples and Dante

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A number of famous artists and writers from Cimabue’s time can be seen in the picture: the painters Gaddi, Memmi, and even Giotto; the sculptor Nicola Pisano; and leaning against a building, Dante, with his hands clasped behind his back, dispassionately contemplates the procession.

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Musicians

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Among the musicians, we see a tambourine player whose attention is drawn by something or someone on his left; a vielle player tunes his instrument while his partner, plucking a psaltery, gives him the notes for tuning; and the young lady singer seems more interested in his partner than in the musical score they hold together.

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