It is said that in his earliest boyhood Andrea was, like Giotto, put to shepherding or cattle-herding; this is not likely, and can at any rate have lasted only a very short while, as his natural genius for art developed with singular precocity, and excited the attention of Francesco Squarcione, who entered him in the gild of painters before he had completed his eleventh year.
The Gothic portal is fine, and the church contains a mosaic pavement of 1213 with curious representations and some frescoes by Giotto, painted during a visit to Dante between 1317 and 1320.
Close by the Duomo is the no less famous Campanile built by Giotto, begun in 1332, and adorned with exquisite bas-reliefs.
The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, as Giotto, Lippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Squarcione (1394-1474), whence issued the great Mantegna (1431-1506).
He went to Brussels in 1848, where he met Wiertz and Gallait, and painted some pictures, including "Cimabue finding Giotto," and a portrait of himself.