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Bernhard Berenson

  • 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.

Never pretty, scarcely ever charming or even attractive; rarely correct in drawing, and seldom satisfactory in colour; in types, ill-favoured; in feeling acutely intense and even dolorous—what is it then that makes Sandro Botticelli so irresistible that nowadays we may have no alternative but to worship or abhor him? The secret is this, that in European painting there has never again been an artist so indifferent to representation and so intent upon presentation.

Descriptive name for Florentine painter whose real name appears to have been Bartolommeo di Giovanni. Flourished last two decades of fifteenth century. Assistant of Ghirlandajo; influenced by Amico di Sandro.

1456-1537. Pupil of Verrocchio.

1457-1504. Pupil of Botticelli; influenced by Amico di Sandro, and very slightly by Piero di Cosimo.

For a hundred years after Giotto there appeared in Florence no painter equally endowed with dominion over the significant. His immediate followers so little understood the essence of his power that some thought it resided in his massive types, others in the swiftness of his line, and still others in his light colour, and it never occurred to any of them that the massive form without its material significance, its tactile values, is a shapeless sack, that the line which is not functional is mere calligraphy, and that light colour by itself can at the best spot a surface prettily.

1494-1556. Pupil of Andrea del Sarto; influenced by Michelangelo.

To confine ourselves, however, as closely as we may to painting, and leaving aside for the present the question of colour, which, as I have already said, is, in Florentine art, of entirely subordinate importance, there were three directions in which painting as Pollaiuolo and Verrocchio found it had greatly to advance before it could attain its maximum of effectiveness: landscape, movement, and the nude. Giotto had attempted none of these.

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