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Bernhard Berenson

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.

An artistic personality between Botticelli and Filippino Lippi.

1406-1469. Pupil of Lorenzo Monaco and follower of Masaccio; influenced by Fra Angelico.

Of Orcagna it is difficult to speak, as only a single fairly intact painting of his remains, the altar-piece in S. Maria Novella. Here he reveals himself as a man of considerable endowment: as in Giotto, we have tactile values, material significance; the figures artistically exist. But while this painting betrays no peculiar feeling for beauty of face and expression, the frescoes in the same chapel, the one in particular representing Paradise, have faces full of charm and grace. I am tempted to believe that we have here a happy improvement made by the recent restorer.

1439-1507. Pupil of Neri di Bicci; influenced by Benozzo Gozzoli and Alesso Baldovinetti.

In fact, the mere subject, and even representation in general, was so indifferent to Botticelli, that he appears almost as if haunted by the idea of communicating the unembodied values of touch and movement. Now there is a way of rendering even tactile values with almost no body, and that is by translating them as faithfully as may be into values of movement.

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