Cimabue was a major artist working in Florence at the end of the 13th century. He was born in Florence in 1240 AD. When Cimabue was learning to paint i n the 1260's, Italian painters were still copying the style of Byzantine a rt which always had gold backgrounds. It generally showed saints and angels, as well as Jesus and Mary in very formal, stiff positions, to show how important these figures were, and that they were not like real people. The figures were flat, and very little effort was made to show 100 Great Painters their muscles, or the shadows that would make them look real.
Cimabue was associated with a style of painting known as gothic art, and he was also an important forerunner of the later international gothic style. He introduced a lifelike treatment of traditional religious subjects, and was also famous for his wall paintings. His most famous work, 'Madonna Enthroned', stood three and half metres high! He is considered by some experts to be the first 'modern painter'.
Source: Manorama Tell Me Why