GIOTTO di Bondone
(b. 1267, Vespignano, d. 1337, Firenze)
Tempera on wood, 84 x 54 cm
Museo Horne, Florence
This wood panel is in good condition. It was originally part of a polyptych which is now scattered among the collections of several museums. The central panel was the Madonna currently in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, other panels are in the in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Chaalis.
St Stephen is one of the works in which Giotto paid close attention to the transparency of the colours. They were applied with extremely delicate brushstrokes which , as in many of his later works, reveals Giotto's own awareness of the increasingly fashionable International Gothic style.
St Stephen is dressed in a sumptuously ornate dalmatic, and carries a richly bound book. Even though the tone is not as esquisitely worldly and courtly as that of a Simone Martini painting, on feels that Giotto intended the panel to challange his young Sienese rival.