International Gothic Art in Italy (Part 8)

Art

In late fourteenth-century Tuscany, there is scarcely a sign of the kind of vigorous activity which led to the development of International Gothic in the Po valley. The tradition established by Orcagna in Florence was now reduced to no more than an ill-digested imitation of Giotto by artists like Lorenzo di Bicci, Niccolb Gerini orMariotto diNardo. To find an occasional vague suggestion of originality, we must turn to the increasingly calligraphic manner and ornamental refinement of Agnolo Gaddi, or better still perhaps, to the work of his best pupils. Some signs of a new empirical understanding of the real world, and a certain popular vigour can also be found in the art of Giovanni del Biondo, but not in the cruder and more anecdotal art of his fellows. And in the best parts of Spinello Aretino’s work—the Battle of St. Ephesus and St. Potitus in the Camposanto at Pisa, for example—Giotto’s sense of space is made to disintegrate by the artist’s more visionary kind of imagination, which produces an abstract violence of clashes and combinations.

In Ins well-known Florentine Painting and its Social Background, Antal stresses  the existence of these popularizing elements and relates them to the upsurge of democratic feeling which erupted in the Ciompi rising of 1578, only to be quickly suppressed by the ruling oligarchy. Later, more complex developments in Floren­tine art are related, he argues, to the uncertain balance between the different strata of society and to the increasing power of the progressive and educated upper middle class which made possible the advent of a new current in art. His thesis is brilliant and based on thorough research, but in the end it does not explain satisfactorily the complexity of a situation in art which is unique both in Italy and elsewhere. As Antal himself points out, when middle-class patrons and big guilds commissioned important works of art in the early fifteenth century, they approached late Gothic artists and avant-garde” artists with equal confidence. Palla Strozzi, for example, was not only the force behind Florentine humanist studies, he was also the man who commissioned Gentile da Fabriano to paint the Adoration of the Magi. The Medici commissioned works from both Ghiberti and Donatello; and Donatello also received commissions from the Guelph aristocracy. And when a decree of the Signoria in 1404 obliged the guilds to place a statue of their patron saints in each niche of Orsanmichele, commissions were given by the guilds to Ghiberti and Nanni di Banco as well as to Donatello.

A simple explanation for this phenomenon lies in the fact that the upper middle class contained not only progressive and conservative wings, but also powerful ele­ments of the old aristocracy. Moreover, a characteristic reversal of social classes and customs took place, with the result that the upper middle class began to acquire estates and castles, and arranged for the creation of new coats-of-arms, genealogies and titles of chivalry.

In the first quarter of the fifteenth century, then, as at other times of far- reaching change, the most important cultural innovations in Florence were brought about by a few individuals, and for a long time went hand in hand with the old tradi­tions. The important innovations in art brought about by Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio in the early years of the century derived not merely from a literary and humanist movement, but also from new aesthetic ideas and a fresh mentality. Their work thus constituted a largely isolated “avant-garde” movement within the general context of contemporary late Gothic culture. What few innovations proved acceptable were absorbed superficially and out of curiosity or a sense of duty, as in the case of Ghiberti and Masolino.

The first artist to lead early fifteenth-century Florentine painting in the direction of a genuine International Gothic style was Lorenzo Monaco. It is unnecessary to postulate Sienese sources for his art, as used to be the practice, for his real point of departure was the collection of miniatures in the Camaldolese convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli from which he derived a new refinement of line. Antal is again responsible for establishing certain sociological facts about the Camaldolese convent which are important to an understanding of Lorenzo Monaco’s art. He points out that it contained an aristocratic element, ns the cultural refinement of the humanist abbot Traversali would lead one to suppose, and an element of vigorous unsophisti­cated religious devotion, which preferred the popular religious subjects of the time, such as the Madonna of Humility or the Passion of Christ. There is undoubtedly some truth in this rather schematic interpretation of the facts, but the art of Lorenzo Monaco is more than just the product of a marriage of fourteenth-century piety and late Gothic elegance. In his very early Madonna of Humility of 1404 at Empoli, for example, and, a little later, in that of San Romolo atSettimo (fig. 82), he has a developed elegance of line whose intensity and refinement are not found in any other artist working in Florence at that time. What were the sources of this impor­tant development in his style? There can be no complete answer to this question, because the work concerned precedes the possible influence of Stamina, who re­turned from Spain in 1409. Of greater significance is the artistic activity going on around him: the workshop of the Baptisteiy when the first of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s doors was created. In fact Ghiberti, rather than the hypothetical French and Flemish sources which historians have often had recourse to, may well have been the chief source of the northern tones in Lorenzo Monaco s art. The earliest panels in the Baptistery door reveal such a compelling linear flow in the draperies and such pliant human figures that they surpass Lorenzo Monaco in elegance. The decorative border of fruit and flowers has such an exact truth to nature that it reminds us of illuminat­ed manuscripts, and the flow of fight, intensified by the deliberate contrast between the gilding and the natural bronze, is so intensely pictorial that we are bound to remember that Ghiberti began his career as a painter. Even closer parallels can be drawn between the many bearded and hooded prophets in Ghiberti’s door and those which Lorenzo Monaco painted about 1410—12 in Codex H. 74 in the Bargello.

But, whereas Ghiberti’s calligraphic style tends towards balanced and composed rhythms whose basis is substantially classical (in a medieval sense), Lorenzo Monaco uses fine to obtain a more intensely emotional effect in which the taut rhythms are never allowed to slacken. Hence his tendency to abstraction and his strictly two- dimensional treatment of space. In the Accademia Annunciation (fig. 85), for exam­ple, he makes his linear rhythms flow across an ideal picture plane which is parallel to the actual surface of the painting. The panels of the Three Marys at the Sepulchre and the Garden of Gethscmane in the Louvre also show that by the first decade of the fifteenth century there were few remaining echoes of Orcagna in his use of heavy patches of fight and shade. Lorenzo Monaco now uses light more imagina­tively, in a way which leads much later to the intensely visionary treatment of the Scenes from the Life of St. Onuphrius and the intimate nocturnal atmosphere of the Altenburg Flight into Fgy’pt (fig. 84). The absence of colour in his very fine drawing of the Journey of the Magi in Berlin shows to even better advantage his use of rest­less light, and his free-roaming imagination. He can thus boldly reverse the per­spective of the gigantic mountain peaks, precipitous crags, and high towers against which the cavalcade violently hurls itself. Sometimes, on the other hand, his colours reveal the limitations of the mystical and visionary rendering of emotion, for they can become frozen into sheets of iridescent fight and so risk stifling the artist’s force of expression. Lorenzo Monaco is thus not concerned with the pleasurable and surace qualities of International Gothic art, even when his subject matter is most suited to such treatment, as in the Adoration of the Magi in the Uffizi (fig. 85). The figures are here flexed in taut and concentrated poses while luxury is reduced to a minimum. In later works his religious fervour becomes calmer and more controlled, as one can see in his Annunciation of 1423 in the Bartolini Chapel. Not that this painting shows any sign of embodying new Renaissance ideas. On the contrary, it returns to a more archaic tradition. Nor does his work show any of the numerous kinds of cautious compromise between the old and the new such as occur amongst a group of painters working in Florence in the 1420s. And yet their style derives initially from him.

Nearly all the minor artists of Lorenzo Monaco’s generation were influenced b\ his work, and even those of the highly complex generation of the 1440s took his w 01 k as a starting point before adapting the Renaissance ideas of Masaccio or Fia Angelico to their own Gothic attitudes. The Master of the Sherman predella, the Master of the Griggs Crucifixion, Francesco d’Antonio and Paolo Schiavo—all exemplify this phenomenon.

We thus have to recognise in Lorenzo Monaco a strong formative influence on the late Gothic painters of Florence. After him, the best International Gothic works produced in Florence were not by Florentines but by Gentile da Fabriano and Miguel Alcaniz, otherwise known as the Maestro del Bambino Vispo.

Important studies by Post, Pudelko and Longhi provisionally referred to the “Gil Master’’ and the “Maestro del Bambino Vispo’’, but it now seems that we can safely identify him as the Spanish artist Miguel Alcaniz, who is known from various documents to have been working in Valencia and Majorca between 1421 and 1454. He was active as early as 1408 and is closely related to that vigorous circle of follow­ers of Agnolo Gaddi, who were further inspired by Stamina and produced works of high quality such as the polyptych for Bonifacio Ferrer. And when Mar$al de Sax arrived in 1593, there was a rapid increase in their use of an intensely expressionistic manner, typical of Westphalia, so that they formed one of the most representative centres of International Gothic art.

Miguel Alcafiiz’jB Last Judgement (fig. 87) in the Pinakothek at Munich (painted in 1415 according to Pudelko) and other works of the same period, such as the Dormition of the Virgin in the Johnson Collection at Philadelphia (fig. 86) and the other Dor­mition of tlic Virgin in the Art Institute at Chicago, provide clear evidence of this subtle blend. The handling of the landscape and certain facial types are Tuscan, while the pathos, striking colours and strangely luxuriant costumes have a quite Va- lencian tone. His imagination achieves an even more exotic effect—though echoes of Tuscan art are still discernible—in the Scenes from the Legend of St. Michael (fig. 89) in the Museum at Lyons-part of a polyptych which he was commissioned to paint in 1421. It is visible in the furious contortions of the group of demons put to flight by St. Michael and in the thoroughly Valencian souls who are rescued from the gaping jaws of the dragon of Hell. How, then, can we explain the Tuscan elements in these paintings? It is possible that they were derived from Spanish echoes of Agnolo Gaddi’s work, but it is perhaps more likely that Miguel Alcaniz had been to Florence on a previous occasion. Longhi has suggested that he may have followed Stamina to Florence, perhaps before 1410.

It is not until 1422, however, that we have reliable evidence of his being at work in Florence. This was the year in which he was commissioned to paint the important altarpiece in memory of Pietro Orsini for Florence Cathedral, now split between various collections. The side panels in Bonn and Stockholm show him attempting to adhere to the rather severe local art tradition associated with Lorenzo Monaco. He gives his figures an unusually plastic effect, adapting his art to that of Tuscany much as did Alvaro Pirez, a much lesser Valencian artist who settled in Tuscany. But the predella retains an unmistakable Spanish vivacity. The Madonna and Child Enthroned at Christ Church, Oxford (fig. 88), is painted in a freer vein but probably belongs to the same period. At first glance it looks Tuscan in style, except for the Child’s energetic movement and the capricious folds of the scarlet mantle over the narrow crescent moon. There is no doubt that the Florentine painter most akin to Miguel Alcaniz was Lorenzo Monaco, and it is quite likely that the latter heightened the passionate quality of his paintings under the influence of the Spaniard; but the unusually graceful and soft rhythms of the elegant Rothermere Madonna also con­tain reminiscences of Gentile da Fabriano.

Gentile da Fabriano had been summoned to Florence in 1422 by Palla Strozzi to paint the Adoration of the Magi now in the Uffizi, signed and dated 1425. This was the period of his richest and subtlest maturity, and it was about this time that he painted the delightful Madonna in the Museum at Pisa. There is an extremely fine and elegant poetry about the gentle folds of the mantle, along the hem of which can be read the liquid syllables of the solemn declaration from the Koran: “La illalii ila Allah’’ (fig. 75). In the Adoration of the Magi, Gentile da Fabriano lavishes on his vast composition a wealth of elegance which goes beyond that of any other contemporary rendering of the same subject. The procession, which resembles a cavalcade of knights or huntsmen (fig.75), winds its way further and further into the vertical perspective of the liills, until it reaches a turreted castle. The figures in the foreground are in the strictly chivalrous tradition, but in the distance they be­come more lively and individualized and include many attractive plebeian characters, painted with even greater skill than similar figures in Lombard or Franco-Flemish miniatures. His technique also varies from a very precise elegance to flowing brush strokes and a subtle, nearly impressionistic rendering of atmosphere. This again is reminiscent of Lombard art, as is also the delightful variety of flowers which climb the slim engraved pilasters of the borders and form something like a luxuriant pergola.

The many details from real life in the wonderful scenes in the predella gain poetic effect from the reflected light and thick shadows, and convey a quite original kind of intimate feeling. Look at the orchards and ploughed fields in the Flight into Egypt) where, as Longhi put it “the sun is a golden disc … which casts a film of melancholy over the hills of the Marches”. Look at the handmaidens surprised in their sleep in the Nativity. Look at the cripple and the old woman on the temple steps in the Presentation in the Temple. They are a well-observed humble counter­part of the elegant figures on the left who seem to belong to a marriage chest.

Like other late Gothic artists, Gentile da Fabriano was so intent on investigating his own medieval world that he scarcely seemed to notice the important innovations which were going on around him in the Florence of 1415—the year in which he painted the Quaratesi polyptych. We might not suspect that he was in Florence but for echoes of Ghiberti in the elegant reclining prophets in the pinnacles of l\\e Ado­ration of the Magi and possible reminiscences of Masolino in the Quaratesi polyp­tych. The latter painting, however, has an unusual simplification of forms and a new sobriety in ornamentation which recur in the line Madonna with St. Lawrence and St. Julian in a French private collection (first published by Sterling) in which there is also a faint suggestion of plasticity and spatial depth about the very pensive face of St. Lawrence, stretched forward and seen obliquely.

Vasari may have been right when he enthusiastically picked out the predella of the Quaratesi polyptych as Gentile da Fabriano’s best work. The artist is even more successful here with the same kind of clear and sentimental intimacy of manner which first appears in the predella of the Adoration of the Magi, while in the later painting he achieves an intensely poetic effect in the scene of the sick at the tomb of St. Nicholas (fig. 74). Longhi describes it as “a modern genre painting, almost a very refined cx-voto”. There is a troop of poor sick people, a mad woman, a cripple and a paralytic carried in the arms of his companions, and the whole scene takes place within the soft shadows of a little church which gleams faintly with ancient mosaics.

As the year 1430 approaches, almost all artists in Florence are in a state of crisis and confusion. Some look back to old traditions, others make cautions advances; there are reciprocal influences and continual and frequently ill-understood attempts to adopt new ideas. One of those caught up in this situation was Arcangelo di Cola, who came to Florence from the Marches in 1420—before Gentile da Fabriano, that is to say—and remained there long enough to be influenced by Masaccio as well as Masolino. Masolino was also a source of inspiration at this period for many of the artists, who, like the Master of the Griggs Crucifixion or Paolo Schiavo, had been initially stimulated by the painting of Lorenzo Monaco.

These artists scarcely looked at Masaccio’s work. For them the up-to-date trend in art was to be found not in Masaccio’s dramatic portrayal of the real world of human beings, but rather in the idealism of Masolino. And the Masolino they admired was not the unsettled collaborator of Masaccio, but the artist who, on his return from Hungary in 142/, turned with relief and conviction to the world of Gothic art, paying attention above all to Ghiberti’s medieval brand of classicism and the colour-tones of Fra Angelico. Consequently in the triptych containing the Miracle of the Snow perspective is no more than a gay fiction of cloudlets set out against the sky, while the Goldman Annunciation (fig. 90) is rich in Cosmatesque ornamentation and the Contini-Bonacossi Madonna has the elegance of Lorenzo Monaco.

In this way Masolino developed the style which we find in his frescoes at Castiglione Olona. The paintings in the Collegiate Church are even more Gothic than his earlier work, for he leaves it to his young assistants Schiavo and Vecchietta to ex­periment with perspective, while he executes in fresh and light colours the rhyth­mical series of elongated and bowing figures in the ribs of the vaulting (fig. 91). It is easy to understand that this style should appeal to the Lombards, for it involves the kind of delicate nuances with which they had long been acquainted.

The only artist in Florence at this period who remains firmly attached to the ideals of refined worldly elegance is, needless to say, a northerner: the Master of the Judgement of Paris, who can probably be identified as Cecchino da Verona. He stayed in Florence on his way south to Siena (where we find him in 1452 amongst those who praise Sassetta’s Madonna della Neve), and left behind that delightful tondo of the Judgement of Paris in the Bargello (fig. 92). Here, as also in the tondo depicting the Rape of Helen, formerly in the Cook Collection at Richmond, he attempts a reinterpretation of the classical myth, not in humanist terms, but rather as an elegant amusement in which the parts of the mythological characters are played by young noblemen in lavish costumes which are so “international” that they remind us of some of the Limbourg brothers’ miniatures. Even in religious subjects he does not abandon his profane treatment. As Zeri points out, the figure of the saint in his St. Sebastian from the Campana Collection, now in the Museum at Semour, is that of a “prince of fable, in a velvet and ermine cloak, who handles the arrow of his martyrdom as though it were a sceptre”. Figures conveyed with such subtle elegance inrite comparison with those of another painter from the North: Bonifacio Bembo.

Cecchino da Verona’s style seems to correspond to a more aristocratic note in Florentine art about 1440, and Antal relates this directly to the power enjoyed by the aristocratic Albizzi family in the 1450s. Yet it is curious that this new style is seen at its best in the relatively humble craft form of household coffers and marriage chests (intended for noble families, no doubt). There are delightful examples of quite profane courtliness or of classical myths reinterpreted as though they were elegant, worldly feasts, and a number of quite considerable artists were involved. Apart from Domenico Veneziano, there was the Master of the Griggs Crucifixion (two works of his are in the Kress Collection and in Berlin), Paolo Schiavo, whose chest at Yale is one of his best works, and the well-known and tireless artist who decorated a marriage chest for the Adimari family (fig. 95). Many of these works, with all their wealth of courtly extravagances, provide early evidence of the influence of Domenico Veneziano, and their treatment of perspective is based more on Alberti than Brunelleschi. In other words, we are closer, as Longhi points out, to the “charming “copious” and “varied” perspective used by Domenico Veneziano in the Berlin tondo, and the results recall the predellas of Boccati in Umbria.

In the provincial atmosphere of Arezzo in the 1450s and 1440s, Spinello Aretino’s &on Parri also adhered to the Gothic tradition. He adopted the old Sienese linear style but strongly accentuated the slimness of his figures. Vasari called them “scarecrows, but considered them “not without charm, though they are always bent over to one side or the other”.

We have already pointed out the affinity between some of Parri’s drawings and those of Stefano da Verona, and it would be interesting to discover whether and to what extent Cecchino da Verona also served as a link between these two art circles. I* or on arrival in Tuscany he had occasion to become involved in the interchange of ideas between Florentine and Sienese art after 1455.

From approximately that year onwards, the styles of Florentine and Sienese painting tend to converge. The earliest evidence of this tendency is not the work of Domenico di Bartolo, as was formerly supposed, but the series of frescoes in the Collegiate Church of Castiglione Olona, on which the Florentine artist Schiavo and the Sienese Vecehietta collaborated.

By this time, Sassetta had already produced of his best in Siena. He had by now absorbed the influence of Giovanni da Milano and Masolino and gone on to produce what Longhi calls a “Limbourg” style in theLanaiuoli predella (1425—26) (fig. 94); and in the Madonna della Neve altarpiece (1429) he had attained a poetic rendering of crystal-clear space, a frank and joyful narrative power and a naive modelling of figures, almost as Domenico Veneziano did in his Berlin tondo a few years later. He rarely succeeded in recapturing this style in the next decade. It recurs perhaps only in the Scenes from the Life of St. Francis, and particularly in the Marriage of St. Francis and Poverty at Chantilly (fig. 95), in which the great dark hollow of the valley between the mountains spreads out beneath the gentle flight of the three delightful girls.

Other Sienese artists of the time, though influenced by Sassetta, are much more archaic in tone. The style of the Maestro dell’Osservanza, for example, is both archaic and eclectic. Graziani has made a study of his work and points out that in the altarpiece at Asciano he “sometimes attempts to produce an empirically exact perspective, and at others uses the fanciful linear patterns of the preceding century, or else the tube-like modelling of Fra Angelico, or very often some elegant idea from Sassetta”. But his Scenes from the Life of St. Anthony (fig. 96), now split between a number of galleries, reveal a much more coherent and personal style. The landscapes have such an intense and untrammelled poetic feeling, such a noble and touching silence and solitude, and such a mysterious and transfigured truth that they are amongst the most memorable in all International Gothic painting.

The winter landscape, for example, in the scene of St. Anthony with the bowl in the Lehmann Collection is quite unforgettable. The pale sunset sky streaked with orange, stands out against the bare lulls and is reflected in the greenish lake across which sails a single vessel.

Pietro di Giovanni Ambrosi is also more archaic in tone than Sassetta, though the two were continually exchanging ideas. The careful calligraphic treatment of his lean and impoverished-looking saints, and the sharp profile of his female figures are icon ©graphically more archaic and more ingenuous than in the case of Sassetta. But if we look more closely, we find that his calm imagination produces subtle linear effects which bring about a restless transformation of form and space. This can be seen in his early Entry into Jerusalem in the Pinacoteca Stuard at Parma. The Processional Banner in the Musee Jacquemart-Andrd is a more advanced work, and each side reveals a different aspect of his style. There is a subtly dramatic and restless quality about the Crucifixion, while in the St. Catherine (fig. 97) the monumental and flat figure of the saint rises in glory amidst the lavender, grey and pink angels. The strong tendency to abstraction in Pietro di Giovanni’s curious style forces us to exclude him from the group of artists who worked together, about 1440, on a series of frescoes in the church at Lecceto near Siena. Though badly damaged, these frescoes are important to an understanding of the strikingly unreal effect of the intensely grotesque late Gothic style in Siena.

Leaving on one side the static effect of Sano di Pietro s paintings, we are bound to mention in this context the art of Giovanni di Paolo, or at any rate those works which he produced during the best fifteen years of his career. They range from the Fondi predella of 1456 to the Scenes from the Life of St. John the Baptist of 1452. His painting is a more isolated phenomenon than that of Pietro di Giovanni, partly because he insists on seeking inspiration in old local sources—even the work of the Lorenzetti brothers—and especially because he deliberately creates a quite unreal kind of space, places his figures in unnatural attitudes and distorts human anatomy. His visional*)’ style is best seen in the Scenes from the Life of St. Catherine, part of which is in the Stoclet Collection in Brussels. The rarified atmosphere created by the delicate and diffuse gilding seems to convey the saint’s mystical experience in terms of light, and has nothing of the morbid harshness of his later Scenes from the Life of St. John the Baptist. Certain other works of his have a vaguely hallucina­tory quality. In the Expulsion from Eden (fig. 98) in the Lehmann Collection, for example, the garden is full of what Brandi describes as “animal-like flowers with pointed ears like those of hares and rabbits”. Giovanni di Paolo, on the other hand, is more like Cecchino da Verona, and the strongly northern tones of his Madonna of Humility in Siena and the aristocratic elegance of his Paradise in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, bring him closer to the strictly international style.

We can now see that the position of these three painters is quite different from that of other Sienese artists such as Vecchietta and Domenico di Bartolo, who were concerned to introduce into their work the first suggestions of perspective (as were certain Florentine painters in the 1450s). But they did so unsystematically and within a Gothic context which tends if anything to increase in intensity with the passage of time. Thus, Domenico di Bartolo moves on from early experiments of a Florentine kind in his Madonna of 1455 in the Pinacoteca at Siena to the quite international style of the Figdor tondo in Berlin. Vecchietta, too, abandoned his experiments in bold perspective at Castiglione Olona and reverted in 1441 to the anecdotal arrangement of his Ladder to Heaven in the Pellegrinaio at Siena.

Occasional flashes of originality in the interpretation of light and space in the work of I’lorentine and Sienese artists after 1440 derive largely from the famous Berlin tondo painted almost ten years earlier by Domenico Veneziano. He seems to have taken over from Masolino the rdle of initiator into the mysteries of Renais­sance art for all those minor artists who were unable to make a definite choice be­tween the old and the new. In fact recent research has shown that his influence was more widespread than had previously been supposed, and we have already seen that it stretched into Umbria and the Marches. His work, and indeed the whole climate of Morcntine art, also helped to form the style of that curious painter Andrea Deli- tio. His small altar in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, shows this stage in his development, but his work in the Abruzzi indicates that he went on to enrich his style with elements from the art of the Marches.

A closer follower of Domenico Veneziano was the Master of Pratovecchio, one of the most fascinating minor painters of the fifteenth century, and the subject of a study by Longhi. lie is the only artist whose career moved in the opposite direction to that of other painters, for he showed that it was possible both to understand the new approach to form in which the solidity of the real world is revealed by means of light, and at the same time to preserve an extremely vivid imagination. Conse­quently he does not really belong within the context of late Gothic art, but we feel bound to mention his early Three Archangels in Berlin, a delightful work of about 1440. There is a kind of Gothic fantasy about its colours, robes and ornamentation, and yet its use of light gives it a sense of vitality and reality.

How far and for how long did the painters of the “avant-garde” dally with the late Gothic manner? This important question concerns Fra Angelico for example, when he was under the influence of Gentile da Fabriano in the brief period 1425— 50. It also concerns Lippi and especially Paolo Uccello at the beginning and end of his career, but not during the period 1455—60 when he was working hard at his experiments with perspective.

Such considerations fall outside the scope of this book, but we have said enough, perhaps, to persuade the reader of the truth of our contention at the beginning of this chapter that a careful examination of Florentine painting in the first thirty or forty years of the fifteenth century reveals that it was far more Gothic than certain modern historians are disposed to allow.

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