MASTER of the Isaac Stories
(active 1290s)

Biography

Italian painter. His name is derived from the frescoes depicting Isaac Blessing Jacob and Isaac and Esau in the Upper Church of San Francesco, Assisi; the frescoes occupy the middle register of the third bay from the crossing on the north wall of the nave. By assigning these scenes to the young Florentine Giotto, Thode (1885) sparked the controversy over the identity and origin of the Isaac Master. Subsequent attempts to identify him with either the Roman artist Pietro Cavallini or with another Florentine, Gaddo di Zanobi Gaddi, have been unpersuasive. Present consensus is divided between scholars accepting the attribution to Giotto and those advocating that the Isaac Master came from Rome, where he had absorbed the art of Cavallini. Iconographic and stylistic details in the Isaac Master's frescoes attest to his Roman background.