The great Florentine artists, as we have seen, were, with scarcely an exception, bent upon rendering the material significance of visible things. This, little though they may have formulated it, was the conscious aim of most of them; and in proportion as they emancipated themselves from ecclesiastical dominion, and found among their employers men capable of understanding them, their aim became more and more conscious and their striving more energetic. At last appeared the man who was the pupil of nobody, the heir of everybody, who felt profoundly and powerfully what to his precursors had been vague instinct, who saw and expressed the meaning of it all. The seed that produced him had already flowered into a Giotto, and once again into a Masaccio; in him, the last of his race, born in conditions artistically most propitious, all the energies remaining in his stock were concentrated, and in him Florentine art had its logical culmination.