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Bernhard Berenson

Still another exemplification of his sense for the significant is furnished by his treatment of action and movement. The grouping, the gestures never fail to be just such as will most rapidly convey the meaning.

Antonio. 1429-1498. Pupil of Donatello and Andrea del Castagno; strongly influenced by Baldovinetti. Sculptor as well as painter.

Piero. 1443-1496. Pupil of Baldovinetti; worked mainly on his brother’s designs. (Where the execution can be clearly distinguished as of either of the brothers separately, the fact is indicated).

From the brief account just given of the four dominant personalities in Florentine painting from about 1430 to about 1460, it results that the leanings of the school during this interval were not artistic and artistic alone, but that there were other tendencies as well, tendencies on the one side, toward the expression of emotion (scarcely less literary because in form and colour than if in words), and, on the other, toward the naturalistic reproduction of objects.

All that Giotto and Masaccio had attained in the rendering of tactile values, all that Fra Angelico or Filippo had achieved in expression, all that Pollaiuolo had accomplished in movement, or Verrocchio in light and shade, Leonardo, without the faintest trace of that tentativeness, that painfulness of effort which characterised his immediate precursors, equalled or surpassed.

In closing, let us note what results clearly even from this brief account of the Florentine school, namely that, although no Florentine merely took up and continued a predecessor’s work, nevertheless all, from first to last, fought for the same cause. There is no opposition between Giotto and Michelangelo. The best energies of the first, of the last, and of all the intervening great Florentine artists were persistently devoted to the rendering of tactile values, or of movement, or of both.

About 1240-about 1301.

The following works are all by the same hand, probably Cimabue’s.

1452-1519. Pupil of Verrocchio.

  • Assisi.
    • S. Francesco. Altar-frontal embroidered probably from designs by Piero.
  • Florence.
    • Bargello. Bust of Young Warrior (Terra-cotta). Hercules and Antæus (Bronze).
    • Opera del Duomo. Enamels in Pedestal of Silver Crucifix. Finished 1459. Birth of Baptist (Relief in Silver).

This was literally the case with the oldest among the leaders of the new generation, Alessio Baldovinetti, in whose scanty remaining works no trace of purely artistic feeling or interest can be discerned; and it is only less true of Alessio’s somewhat younger, but far more gifted contemporaries, Antonio Pollaiuolo and Andrea Verrocchio.

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