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enthroned Madonna in the RuceUai chapel of S. Maria Novella at Florence, ascribed by Vasari to Cimabue, is now assigned by many to Duccio of Siena, and presents similar attractive qualities. Cimabue, a Florentine contemporary of CavaUini and Duccio, is famed in story as the chief representative of the painting of this period, but we possess no certain works from his hand except his mosaic at Pisa. His style would probably correspond to that of the painters just mentioned. His chief importance for our purpose resides in the fact that he was the teacher of the Florentine Giotto.
If the artists just referred to represent a revived classicism rather than a fresh and independent study of nature, Giotto is essentially a creation of the Gothic movement and his close association with the Franciscan cycle of ideas brings this fact into clearer relief. Giotto is in no way dependent on the study of the antique, but relies on his own steady and penetrating outlook upon man and upon nature. He is Gothic in his humanity, his sympathy, his love of truth, and he incorporates in his own person many of the most pleasing qualities of Gothic art as it had already manifested itself in France, while by the force of his own individual genius he raises these qualities to a higher level of artistic expression.
In the work of Giotto painting begins to enter on its modem era. The demonstrative element permanently takes the preeminence over the more decorative element we have called pattern-making. Though the pattern is always present, the elements of it become of increasing value in themselves as representations of nature, and the tendency henceforward for a couple of centuries is to exaggerate their importance so that the general decorative effect becomes subordinate. Giotto's greatness depends on the gift he possessed for holding the balance even among opposed artistic qualities. If he was interesting and convincing as a narrator, he had a fine eye at the same time for composition and balanced his masses with unerring tact. Neither he nor any of the Florentine frescoists had much sense of colour, and at this stage of the development of painting compositions of light and shade were not thought of, but in line and mass he pleases the eye as much as he satisfies the mind by his clear statement of the meaning and intention of his figures and groups.
In putting these together he is careful above all things to make them tell their story, and primitive as he is in technique he is as accomplished in this art as Raphael himself. Moreover, he holds the balance between the tendency, always so strong among his countrymen as among the Germans, to over-emphasis of action and expression, and the grace and self-restraint which are among the most precious of artistic qualities. He never sacrifices beauty to force, nor on the other hand does he allow his sense of grace of line to weaken the telling effect of action or grouping. A good example of his style, and one interesting also from the comparative standpoint, is his fresco of "Herod's Birthday Feast" in S. Crocc at Florence (fig. 13, Plate IV.). We contrast it with the earlier wall-painting of the same subject in the cathedral at Brunswick (fig. 11, Plate 111.). Giotto has reduced the number of actors to the minimum necessary for an effective presentation of the scene, but has charged each figure with meaning and presented the ensemble with a due regard for space as well as merely for form. The flatness of the older work has already been exchanged for an effective, if not yet fully correct, rendering of planes. The justice of the actions and expressions will at once strike the observer.
The Florentine school as a whole looks to Giotto as its head, because he embodies all the characteristics that made it great; but at the same time the artists that came after him in most cases failed by over-emphasis of the demonstrative element, and sacrificed beauty and sentiment to vigour and realism. The school as a whole is markedly intellectual, and as a result is at times prosaic, from which fault Giotto himself was saved by his Gothic tenderness and romance. His personality was so outstanding that it dominated the school for nearly a century. The "Giotteschi" is a name given to a number of Florentine painters whose labours cover the rest of the i4th century
among whom only one, Andrea di Cionc, called Orcagna, lifted himself to any real eminence.
At Siena the Gothic movement made itself felt in the next artistic generation after that of Duccio. Its chief representative was Simone Martini. With him Sienese art takes upon itself a character contrasting markedly with the Florentine. It is on the demonstrative side less intellectual, less vigorous, less secular; and a dreamy melancholy, a tenderness that is a little sentimental, take the place of the alertness and force with which the personages in Florentine frescoes are endued. On the other hand, in decorative feeling, especially in regard to colour, Sicncse painting surpasses that of the Florentines. Simone was followed by a number of artists who answered to the Florentine "Giotteschi" and carry on the style through the century, but as Florence produces an Orcagna, so at Siena about the middtq of the I4th century there appear in the brothers Lorenzctti twq artists of exceptional vigour, who carry art into new fields. Ambrogio Lorcnzetti, the younger of the brothers, is specially, represented by some frescoes in the Public Palace at Siena of a symbolical and didactic kind, representing Good and Bad Government, from which is selected a figure representing Peace (fig. 14, Plate V.). Sicncse sentiment is here very apparent. Simone Martini's masterpiece had been a great religious fresco of an edifying kind on the wall of the chapel, and now in the rooms devoted to the secular business of the city Lorenzctti covers the walls with four large compositions on the Subject named.
The painters of the Sicnesc school were on the whole faithful to the style indicated, and later on in the century they extend the boundaries of their school by spreading its influence into the hill country of Umbria. In the cities of this region Taddco di Bartoli, one of the best of the followers of Simone, worked about the end of the century, and early Umbrian art in consequence exhibits the same devotional character, the same dreaminess, the same grace and decorative charm, that arc at home in Siena.
Elsewhere in Italy the art of the uth century represents a general advance beyond the old medieval standard, but no outstanding personality made its appearance and there was nothing that can be strictly termed a revival. At Rome, where on the foundation of the noble design of Cavallini there might have been reared a promising artistic structure, the removal early in the i.;;ii century of the papal court to Avignon in France led to a cessation of all effort.
§ 15. The Fifteenth Century, and its Influence on the Development of Painting at Florence,—We come now to what was indicated in § 4 as the third of the main periods into which the history of painting may be divided. It is that in which, by the aid of the new agency of perspective, truth of form was for the first time perfectly mastered, and an advance was made in the rendering of the truth of space.
The opening of the 15th century in Italy is the most important epoch in the whole history of painting, for it was the real beginning of the modern era. Here Florence, the first home of Renaissance culture, unmistakably assumes the lead, and the new era is again opened by the agency of an individual of genius. The father of modern painting is the Florentine Masaccio. He not only advanced the art in those qualities in which Giotto had already made it great, but pointed the way towards the representation of the third dimension of objects and of space asa whole which had for so long been almost ignored. His short life course, for he died before he was thirty, only allowed him to execute one work of the first importance, the frescoes in the Brancacci chapel of the Carmine at Florence. There in the " Tribute Money" he told the story with all Giotto's force and directness, but with an added power in the creation of exalted types of human character, and in the presentation of solid shapes that seem to live before us. In the " Expulsion from Eden " he rose to greater heights. In the whole range of demonstrative art no more convincing, more moving, figures have ever been created than those of our first parents, Adam veiling his face in his hands, Eve throwing back her head and wailing aloud in agony, while in the foreshortened form of the angel that hovers above we discern the whole future development of the art for a century to come (see fig. 15, Plate V.). Above all qualities in Masaccio's work we arc impressed with the simplicity and the ease of the work. The youthful artist possessed a reserve of power that, had he lived, would have carried him at one bound to heights that it took his actual successors in the school well nigh a century to climb.
The i sth century at Florence presents to us the picture of a progressive advance on the technical side of art, in the course of which various problems were attacked and one by one vanquished, till the form of painting in the style recognized in the school was finally perfected, and was then handed on to the great masters of expression, such as Raphael and Michelangelo, who used it as the obedient instrument of their wills. The efforts of the artists were inspired by a new intellectual and social movement of which this century was the scene. If the Gothic movement in the nil' century had inspired Giotto and Simone Martini, now it was the revived study of the antique, the true Renaissance, that was behind all the technical struggles of the artists. Painting was not, however, directly and immediately affected by the study of antique models. This was only one symptom of a general stir of intellectual life that is called by the apt term " humanism." In the early Gothic epoch the movement had been also iu the direction of humanity, that is to say, of softness in manners and of the amenities and graces of life, but it was also a strictly religious movement. Now, in the i ',1 ii century, the inspiration of thought was rather pagan than Christian, and men were going back to the ideas and institutions of the antique world as a substitute for those which the Church had provided for thirty generations. The direct influence of these studies on art was chiefly felt in the case of architecture, which they practically transformed. Sculpture was influenced to a lesser degree, and painting least of all. It was not till the century was pretty far advanced that classical subjects of a mythological kind were adopted by artists like Botticelli and Piero di Cosimo, the first figures borrowed from the antique world being those of republican worthies displayed for purposes of public edification.
The elements which the humanistic movement contributed to Florentine art are the following: (i) The scientific study of perspective in all its branches, linear and aerial, including the science of shadows. (0 Anatomy, the study of the nude form both at rest and in action. (3) Truth of fact in details in animate and inanimate subjects. (4) The technique of oil painting. It must be observed that in this work the Florentines were joined by certain painters of Umbria, who were not satisfied with the Umbro-Sicncse tradition already spoken of, but allied themselves with the leaders of the advance who were fighting under the banner of Masaccio.
Of the studies mentioned above ty far the most important was that of perspective. Anatomy and realism in details only represented an advance along the lines painting had been already following. The new technique of oil painting, though of immense importance in connexion with the art as a whole, affected the Florentines comparatively little. Their favourite form of painting was the mural picture, not the self-contained panel or canvas for which the oil medium was specially designed, and for mural work fresco remained always supreme (see Part III., § 35). In this mural work the introduction of scientific perspective effected something like a transformation. The essence of the work from the decorative point of view had been its flatness. It was primarily pattern-making, and nature had been represented by contours which stood for objects without giving them their full dimensions. When the artist began to introduce varying planes of distance and to gain relief by light and shade, there was at once a change in the relation of the picture to the wall. It no longer agreed in its flatness with the facts of the surface of which it formed the enrichment, but opposed these by its suggestion of depth and distance. Hence while painting as a whole advanced enormously through this effort after the truth of space, yet decorative quality in this particular form of the art proportionately suffered.
The study of perspective owed much to the architect and scholar Brunellcsco, one of the oldest as well as ablest of the men in whom the new movement of the 151!) century was embodied. Bruncllesco taught all he knew to Masaccio, for whose genius he felt strong admiration; but the artist in whom the result of the new study is most obvious is Paolo Uccello, a painter of much power, who was bom as early as 1397. Uccello, as extant works testify, sometimes composed pictures mainly with a view to the perspective effects for which they furnished the opportunity. See fig. 16, Plate V., where in a fresco of a cavalry skirmish he has drawn in foreshortened view the figure of a warrior prone on the ground, as well as various weapons and other objects under the feet of the horses. A fresco of " The Flood " at Florence is even more naive in its parade of the painter's newly won skill in perspective science. The intarsists, or workers in inlaid woods, who were very numerous in Florence, also adopted perspective motives for their designs, and these testify to the fascination of the study during all the last part of the century and the beginning of the next.
The advance in anatomical studies may be illustrated in the person of Antonio Pollaiuolo. Masaccio had been as great in this department of the painter's craft as in any other; and in the Adam and Eve of the " Expulsion," and the famous nudes shown in the fresco of "Peter Baptizing," he had given the truth of action and expression as few have been able to render it; but in the matter of scientific accuracy in detail more anatomical study was needful, and to this men like Pollaiuolo now devoted themselves. Pollaiuolo's "Martyrdom of St Sebastian," in the London National Gallery, is a very notable illustration of the efforts which a conscientious and able Florentine of the period would make to master these problems of the scientific side of art, (See fig. 17, Plate V.)
On the whole, however, of the men of this group it was not a Florentine but the Umbrian Piero dc' Franceschi that represents the greatest achievement on the formal side of art. His theoretical studies were profound. He wrote a treatise on perspective, representing an advance on the previous treatment of the science by Albert!; and to this study of linear perspective Piero united those of aerial perspective and the science of shadows. A fresco of his at Arezzo entitled the " Dream of Constantino" is epoch-making in presenting a night effect into the midst of which a bolt of celestial radiance is burled, the incidence of which on the objects of the various planes of the picture has been carefully observed and accurately reproduced. (See fig. 18, Plate V.)
Piero handed on his scientific accomplishments to m pupil, also an Umbrian of Florentine sympathies, Luca Signorclli of Cortona. He achieved still greater success than Pollaiuolo in the rendering of the nude form in action, but more conspicuously than any others of this group he sacrificed beauty to truth, and the nudes in his great series of frescoes on the Last Things at Orvieto are anatomized like icorckis, and are in colour and texture positively repellent. Luca's work is, however, of historical importance as leading on to that of Michelangelo.
A great power in the Florentine school of the i$tb century was Andrea del Castagno, an artist with much of the vigour, the feeling for the monumental, of Masaccio, but without Masaccio's saving gift of suavity of treatment. He is best represented by some single figures representing Florentine worthies, whom he has painted as if they were statues in niches. They formed part of the decoration of a villa, and are noteworthy as wholly secular in subject. There is a massivencss about the forms which shows how thoroughly the ijth century Florentines were mastering the representation of solid objects in all their three dimensions. Other painters attracted attention at the time for their realistic treatment of details. Vasari singles out Alcssio Baldovinetti.
The importance for art 01 the Florentine school of the t$th century resides in these efforts for the perfecting of painting on the formal side, which its representatives were themselves making and were inspiring in others. The general historian of the art will dwell rather on this aspect of the work of the school than on the numerous attractive features it offers to the superficial observer. The Fra Angelicos, the Filippo Lippis, the Benozzo Gozzolis, the Botticiih , the Filippino Lippis of the century express pleasantly in their work various phases of feeling, devotional, idyllic or pensive, and enjoy a proportionate popularity among the lovers of pictures. Exigencies of space preclude anything more than a mention of their names, but a sentence or two must be given to a painter of the last half of the century who represents better than any other the perfection of the monumental style in fresco painting. This painter is Ghirlandajo, to whom is ascribed a characteristic saying. When disturbed in hours of work about some domestic affair he exclaimed: " Trouble me not about these household matters; now that I begin to comprehend the method of this art I would fain they gave me to paint the whole circuit of the walls of Florence with stories." Ghirlandajo was entering into the heritage of technical knowledge and skill that had been laboriously acquired by his countrymen and their Umbrian comrades since the beginning of the century, and he spread himself upon the plastered walls of Tuscan churches with easy copiousness, in works which give us a better idea than any others of the time of how much can be accomplished in a form of art of the kind by sound tradition and a businesslike system of operation.
The mural painting of Ghirlandajo represents in its perfection one important phase of the art. It was slill decorative in the sense that lime colour-washes were the natural finish of the lime plaster on the wall, and that these washes were arranged in a colour-pattern pleasing to the eye. The demonstrative element, that is, the significance of these patches of colour as representations of nature, was however in the eyes of both painter and public the matter of primary importance, and similitude was now carried as far as knowledge of anatomy and linear perspective rendered possible. Objects were rendered in their three dimensions and were properly set on their planes and surrounded with suitable accessories, while aerial perspective was only drawn on to give a general sense of space without the eye being attracted too far into the distance. As a specimen of the monumental style nothing can be better than Ghirlandajo's fresco of the " Burial of S. Fina " at S. Gimignano in Tuscany (see fig. 19, Plate V.). We note with what architectural feeling the composition is balanced, how simple and monumental is the effect.
S 16. The Fifteenth Century in tke other Italian Schools.—It has been already noticed that the painting of the I4th century in the Umbrian cities was inspired by that of Siena. Through the isth century the Umbrian school developed on the same lines. Its artists were as a whole content to express the placid religious sentiment with which the Sienese had inspired them, and advanced in technical matters almost unconsciously, or at any rate without making the pronounced efforts of the Florentines. While Piero de' Franceschi and Luca Signorelli vied with the most ardent spirits among the Florentines in grappling with the formal problems of the art, their countrymen generally preserved the old flatness of effect, the quiet poses, the devout expressions of the older school. This Umbrc-Sicnese art produced in the latter part of the century the typical Umbrian painter Perugino, whose chief importance in the history of his art is the fact that he was the teacher of Raphael.
An Umbrian who united the suavity of style and feeling for beauty of the Peruginesques with a daring and scientific mastery that were Florentine was Piero dc' Franceschi's pupil, Melozzo da Forll. His historical importance largely resides in the fact that he was the first master of the so-called Roman school. As was noticed before in connexion with the early Roman master, Pietro Cav.tllini, the development of a native Roman school was checked by the departure of the papal court to France for the best part of a century. After the return, when affairs had been set in order, the popes began to gather round them artists to carry out various extensive commissions, such as the decoration of the walls of the newly-erected palace chapel of the Vatican, called from its founder the Sistine. These artists were not native Romans but Florentines and Umbrians, tad among them was Melozzo da Forli, who by taking up his
residence permanently at Rome became the founder of the Roman school, that was afterwards adorned by names like those of Raphael and Michelangelo.
In the story of the development of Italian painting Melozzo occupies an important place. He carried further the notion of a perspective treatment of the figure that was started by Masaccio's angel of the " Expulsion," and preceded Correggio in the device of representing a celestial event as it would appear to a spectator who was looking up at it from below.
On the whole, the three Umbrians, Piero de' Franceschi, with his two pupils Luca Signorelli and Melozzo, are the most important figures in the central Italian art of the formative period. There is one other artist in another part of Italy whose personality bulks more largely than even theirs, and who, like them a disciple of the Florentines, excelled the Florentines in science and power, and this is the Paduan Mantegna.
We are introduced now to the painters of north Italy. Their general character differs from that of the Umbro-Siencse school in that then- work is somewhat hard and sombre, and wanting in the naivclt and tenderness of the masters who originally drew their inspiration from Simone Martini. Giotto had spent some time and accomplished some of his best work at Padua in the earliest years of tie 14th century, but his influence had not lasted. Florentine art, In the more advanced form it wore in the first half of the i$th century, was again brought to it by Donatcllo and Paolo Ucccllo, who were at work there shortly before 1450. At that time Andrea Mantegna was receiving his first education from a painter, or rather impresario, named Francesco Squarcione, who directed his attention to antique models. Mantegna learnt from Donatcllo a statuesque feeling for form, and from Uccello a scientific interest in perspective, while, acting on the stimulus of his first teacher, he devoted himself to personal study of the remains of antique sculpture which were common in the Roman cities of north Italy. Manlegna built up his art on a scientific basis, but he knew how to inspire the form with a soul. His own personality was one of the strongest that we meet with in the annals of Italian art, and he stamped this on all he accomplished. No figures stand more firmly than Mantcgna's, none have a more plastic fullness, in none are details of accoutrement or folds of drapery more clearly seen and rendered. The study of antique remains supplied him with a store of classical details that he uses with extraordinary accuracy and effectiveness in. his representations of a Roman triumph, at Hampton Court. Ancient art invested, too, with a certain austere beauty his forms of women or children, and in classical nudes there is a firmness of modelling, a suppleness in movement, that we look for in vain among the Florentines. Fig. 20, Plate VI., which shows a dance of the Muses with Venus and Vulcan, is typical. Mantegna was not only a great personality, but he exercised a powerful and wide-reaching influence upon all the art of north Italy, including that of Venice. His perspective studies led him in the same direction as Melozzo da Forll, and in some decorative paintings in the Camera dcgli Sposi at Mantua he pointed out the way that was afterwards to be followed by Correggio.
Mantcgna's relations with the school of Venice introduce us to the most important and interesting of all the Italian schools save that of Florence. Venetian painting occupies a position by itself that corresponds with the place and history of the city that gave it birth. The connexions of Venice were not with the rest of Italy, but rather with the East and with Germany. Commercially speaking, she was the emporium of trade with both. Into her markets streamed the wealth of the Orient, and from her markets this was transferred across the Alps to cities like Nuremberg. From Germany had come a certain Gothic element into Venetian architecture in the I4th century, and a little later an influence of the same kind began to affect Venetian painting. Up to that time Venice had depended for her painters on the East, and had imported Byzantine Madonna pictures, and called in Byzantine mosaic-workers to adorn the walls and roof of her metropolitan church. The first sign of native activity is to be found at Murano, where,