HISTORY OF PAINTING
JOHN C. VAN DYKE, L.H.D.
PROFESSOR OF THE HISTORY OF ART IN RUTGERS COLLEGE AND AUTHOR OF "ART FOR ART'S SAKE," "THE MEANING OF PICTURES," ETC.
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 91 AND 93 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK LONDON, BOMBAY, AND CALCUTTA 1909
COPYRIGHT, 1894, BY LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
* * * * *
The object of this series of text-books is to provide concise teachable histories of art for class-room use in schools and colleges. The limited time given to the study of art in the average educational institution has not only dictated the condensed style of the volumes, but has limited their scope of matter to the general features of art history. Archaeological discussions on special subjects and aesthetic theories have been avoided. The main facts of history as settled by the best authorities are given. If the reader choose to enter into particulars the bibliography cited at the head of each chapter will be found helpful. Illustrations have been introduced as sight-help to the text, and, to avoid repetition, abbreviations have been used wherever practicable. The enumeration of the principal extant works of an artist, school, or period, and where they may be found, which follows each chapter, may be serviceable not only as a summary of individual or school achievement, but for reference by travelling students in Europe.
This volume on painting, the first of the series, omits mention of such work in Arabic, Indian, Chinese, and Persian art as may come properly under the head of Ornament—a subject proposed for separate treatment hereafter. In treating of individual painters it has been thought best to give a short critical estimate of the man and his rank among the painters of his time rather than the detailed facts of his life. Students who wish accounts of the lives of the painters should use Vasari, Larousse, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica in connection with this text-book.
Acknowledgments are made to the respective publishers of Woltmann and Woermann's History of Painting, and the fine series of art histories by Perrot and Chipiez, for permission to reproduce some few illustrations from these publications.
JOHN C. VAN DYKE.
* * * * *
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
CHALDAEO-ASSYRIAN, PERSIAN, PHOENICIAN, CYPRIOTE, AND ASIA MINOR PAINTING
GREEK, ETRUSCAN, AND ROMAN PAINTING
ITALIAN PAINTING—EARLY CHRISTIAN AND MEDIAEVAL PERIOD, 200-1250
ITALIAN PAINTING—GOTHIC PERIOD, 1250-1400
ITALIAN PAINTING—EARLY RENAISSANCE, 1400-1500
ITALIAN PAINTING—EARLY RENAISSANCE, 1400-1500, Continued
ITALIAN PAINTING—HIGH RENAISSANCE, 1500-1600
ITALIAN PAINTING—HIGH RENAISSANCE, 1500-1600, Continued
ITALIAN PAINTING—HIGH RENAISSANCE, 1500-1600, Continued
ITALIAN PAINTING—THE DECADENCE AND MODERN WORK, 1600-1894
FRENCH PAINTING—SIXTEENTH, SEVENTEENTH, AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES
FRENCH PAINTING—NINETEENTH CENTURY
FRENCH PAINTING—NINETEENTH CENTURY, Continued
* * * * *
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Velasquez, Head of AEsop, Madrid Frontispiece
1 Hunting in the Marshes, Tomb of Ti, Saccarah
2 Portrait of Queen Taia
3 Offerings to the Dead. Wall painting
4 Vignette on Papyrus
5 Enamelled Brick, Nimroud
6 " " Khorsabad
7 Wild Ass. Bas-relief
8 Lions Frieze, Susa
9 Painted Head from Edessa
10 Cypriote Vase Decoration
11 Attic Grave Painting
12 Muse of Cortona
13 Odyssey Landscape
14 Amphore, Lower Italy
15 Ritual Scene, Palatine Wall painting
16 Portrait, Fayoum, Graf Collection
17 Chamber in Catacombs, with wall decorations
18 Catacomb Fresco, S. Cecilia
19 Christ as Good Shepherd, Ravenna mosaic
20 Christ and Saints, fresco, S. Generosa
21 Ezekiel before the Lord. MS. illumination
22 Giotto, Flight into Egypt, Arena Chap.
23 Orcagna, Paradise (detail), S. M. Novella
24 Lorenzetti, Peace (detail), Sienna
25 Fra Angelico, Angel, Uffizi
26 Fra Filippo, Madonna, Uffizi
27 Botticelli, Coronation of Madonna, Uffizi
28 Ghirlandajo, Visitation, Louvre
29 Francesca, Duke of Urbino, Uffizi
30 Signorelli, The Curse (detail), Orvieto
31 Perugino, Madonna, Saints, and Angels, Louvre
32 School of Francia, Madonna, Louvre
33 Mantegna, Gonzaga Family Group, Mantua
34 B. Vivarini, Madonna and Child, Turin
35 Giovanni Bellini, Madonna, Venice Acad.
36 Carpaccio, Presentation (detail), Venice Acad.
37 Antonello da Messina, Unknown Man, Louvre
38 Fra Bartolommeo, Descent from Cross, Pitti
39 Andrea del Sarto, Madonna of St. Francis, Uffizi
40 Michael Angelo, Athlete, Sistine Chap., Rome
41 Raphael, La Belle Jardiniere, Louvre
42 Giulio Romano, Apollo and Muses, Pitti
43 Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, Louvre
44 Luini, Daughter of Herodias, Uffizi
45 Sodoma, Ecstasy of St. Catherine, Sienna
46 Correggio, Marriage of St. Catherine, Louvre
47 Giorgione, Ordeal of Moses, Uffizi
48 Titian, Venus Equipping Cupid, Borghese, Rome
49 Tintoretto, Mercury and Graces, Ducal Pal., Venice
50 Veronese, Venice Enthroned, Ducal Pal., Venice
51 Lotto, Three Ages, Pitti
52 Bronzino, Christ in Limbo, Uffizi
53 Baroccio, Annunciation
54 Annibale Caracci, Entombment of Christ, Louvre
55 Caravaggio, The Card Players, Dresden
56 Poussin, Et in Arcadia Ego, Louvre
57 Claude Lorrain, Flight into Egypt, Dresden
58 Watteau, Gilles, Louvre
59 Boucher, Pastoral, Louvre
60 David, The Sabines, Louvre
61 Ingres, Oedipus and Sphinx, Louvre
62 Delacroix, Massacre of Scio, Louvre
63 Gerome, Pollice Verso
64 Corot, Landscape
65 Rousseau, Charcoal Burner's Hut, Fuller Collection
66 Millet, The Gleaners, Louvre
67 Cabanel, Phaedra
68 Meissonier, Napoleon in 1814
69 Sanchez-Coello, Daughter of Philip II., Madrid
70 Murillo, St. Anthony of Padua, Dresden
71 Ribera, St. Agnes, Dresden
72 Fortuny, Spanish Marriage
73 Madrazo, Unmasked
74 Van Eycks, St. Bavon Altar-piece, Berlin
75 Memling (?), St. Lawrence, Nat. Gal., Lon.
76 Massys, Head of Virgin, Antwerp
77 Rubens, Portrait of Young Woman
78 Van Dyck, Portrait of Cornelius van der Geest
79 Teniers the Younger, Prodigal Son, Louvre
80 Alfred Stevens, On the Beach
81 Hals, Portrait of a Lady
82 Rembrandt, Head of a Woman, Nat. Gal., Lon.
83 Ruisdael, Landscape
84 Hobbema, The Water Wheel, Amsterdam Mus.
85 Israels, Alone in the World
86 Mauve, Sheep
87 Lochner, Sts. John, Catharine, Matthew, London
88 Wolgemut, Crucifixion, Munich
89 Duerer, Praying Virgin, Augsburg
90 Holbein, Portrait, Hague Mus.
91 Piloty, Wise and Foolish Virgins
92 Leibl, In Church
93 Menzel, A Reader
94 Hogarth, Shortly after Marriage, Nat. Gal., Lon.
95 Reynolds, Countess Spencer and Lord Althorp
96 Gainsborough, Blue Boy
97 Constable, Corn Field, Nat. Gal., Lon.
98 Turner, Fighting Temeraire, Nat. Gal., Lon.
99 Burne-Jones, Flamma Vestalis
100 Leighton, Helen of Troy
101 Watts, Love and Death
102 West, Peter Denying Christ, Hampton Court
103 Gilbert Stuart, Washington, Boston Mus.
104 Hunt, Lute Player
105 Eastman Johnson, Churning
106 Inness, Landscape
107 Winslow Homer, Undertow
108 Whistler, The White Girl
109 Sargent, "Carnation Lily, Lily Rose"
110 Chase, Alice, Art Institute, Chicago
* * * * *
(This includes the leading accessible works that treat of painting in general. For works on special periods or schools, see the bibliographical references at the head of each chapter. For bibliography of individual painters consult, under proper names, Champlin and Perkins's Cyclopedia, as given below.)
Champlin and Perkins, Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, New York.
Adeline, Lexique des Termes d'Art.
Gazette des Beaux Arts, Paris.
Larousse, Grand Dictionnaire Universel, Paris.
L'Art, Revue hebdomadaire illustree, Paris.
Bryan, Dictionary of Painters. New edition.
Meyer, Allgemeines Kuenstler-Lexikon, Berlin.
Muther, History of Modern Painting.
Agincourt, History of Art by its Monuments.
Bayet, Precis d'Histoire de l'Art.
Blanc, Histoire des Peintres de toutes les Ecoles.
Eastlake, Materials for a History of Oil Painting.
Luebke, History of Art, trans. by Clarence Cook.
Reber, History of Ancient Art.
Reber, History of Mediaeval Art.
Schnasse, Geschichte der Bildenden Kuenste.
Girard, La Peinture Antique.
Viardot, History of the Painters of all Schools.
Williamson (Ed.), Handbooks of Great Masters.
Woltmann and Woermann, History of Painting.
* * * * *
HISTORY OF PAINTING.
The origin of painting is unknown. The first important records of this art are met with in Egypt; but before the Egyptian civilization the men of the early ages probably used color in ornamentation and decoration, and they certainly scratched the outlines of men and animals upon bone and slate. Traces of this rude primitive work still remain to us on the pottery, weapons, and stone implements of the cave-dwellers. But while indicating the awakening of intelligence in early man, they can be reckoned with as art only in a slight archaeological way. They show inclination rather than accomplishment—a wish to ornament or to represent, with only a crude knowledge of how to go about it.
The first aim of this primitive painting was undoubtedly decoration—the using of colored forms for color and form only, as shown in the pottery designs or cross-hatchings on stone knives or spear-heads. The second, and perhaps later aim, was by imitating the shapes and colors of men, animals, and the like, to convey an idea of the proportions and characters of such things. An outline of a cave-bear or a mammoth was perhaps the cave-dweller's way of telling his fellows what monsters he had slain. We may assume that it was pictorial record, primitive picture-written history. This early method of conveying an idea is, in intent, substantially the same as the later hieroglyphic writing and historical painting of the Egyptians. The difference between them is merely one of development. Thus there is an indication in the art of Primitive Man of the two great departments of painting existent to-day.
1. DECORATIVE PAINTING.
2. EXPRESSIVE PAINTING.
Pure Decorative Painting is not usually expressive of ideas other than those of rhythmical line and harmonious color. It is not our subject. This volume treats of Expressive Painting; but in dealing with that it should be borne in mind that Expressive Painting has always a more or less decorative effect accompanying it, and that must be spoken of incidentally. We shall presently see the intermingling of both kinds of painting in the art of ancient Egypt—our first inquiry.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: Brugsch, History of Egypt under the Pharaohs; Budge, Dwellers on the Nile; Duncker, History of Antiquity; Egypt Exploration Fund Memoirs; Ely, Manual of Archaeology; Lepsius, Denkmaler aus Aegypten und Aethiopen; Maspero, Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria; Maspero, Guide du Visiteur au Musee de Boulaq; Maspero, Egyptian Archaeology; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Ancient Egypt; Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians.
LAND AND PEOPLE: Egypt, as Herodotus has said, is "the gift of the Nile," one of the latest of the earth's geological formations, and yet one of the earliest countries to be settled and dominated by man. It consists now, as in the ancient days, of the valley of the Nile, bounded on the east by the Arabian mountains and on the west by the Libyan desert. Well-watered and fertile, it was doubtless at first a pastoral and agricultural country; then, by its riverine traffic, a commercial country, and finally, by conquest, a land enriched with the spoils of warfare.
Its earliest records show a strongly established monarchy. Dynasties of kings called Pharaohs succeeded one another by birth or conquest. The king made the laws, judged the people, declared war, and was monarch supreme. Next to him in rank came the priests, who were not only in the service of religion but in that of the state, as counsellors, secretaries, and the like. The common people, with true Oriental lack of individuality, depending blindly on leaders, were little more than the servants of the upper classes.
The Egyptian religion existing in the earliest days was a worship of the personified elements of nature. Each element had its particular controlling god, worshipped as such. Later on in Egyptian history the number of gods was increased, and each city had its trinity of godlike protectors symbolized by the propylaea of the temples. Future life was a certainty, provided that the Ka, or spirit, did not fall a prey to Typhon, the God of Evil, during the long wait in the tomb for the judgment-day. The belief that the spirit rested in the body until finally transported to the aaln fields (the Islands of the Blest, afterward adopted by the Greeks) was one reason for the careful preservation of the body by mummifying processes. Life itself was not more important than death. Hence the imposing ceremonies of the funeral and burial, the elaborate richness of the tomb and its wall paintings. Perhaps the first Egyptian art arose through religious observance, and certainly the first known to us was sepulchral.
ART MOTIVES: The centre of the Egyptian system was the monarch and his supposed relatives, the gods. They arrogated to themselves the chief thought of life, and the aim of the great bulk of the art was to glorify monarchy or deity. The massive buildings, still standing to-day in ruins, were built as the dwelling-places of kings or the sanctuaries of gods. The towers symbolized deity, the sculptures and paintings recited the functional duties of presiding spirits, or the Pharaoh's looks and acts. Almost everything about the public buildings in painting and sculpture was symbolic illustration, picture-written history—written with a chisel and brush, written large that all might read. There was no other safe way of preserving record. There were no books; the papyrus sheet, used extensively, was frail, and the Egyptians evidently wished their buildings, carvings, and paintings to last into eternity. So they wrought in and upon stone. The same hieroglyphic character of their papyrus writings appeared cut and colored on the palace walls, and above them and beside them the pictures ran as vignettes explanatory of the text. In a less ostentatious way the tombs perpetuated history in a similar manner, reciting the domestic scenes from the life of the individual, as the temples and palaces the religious and monarchical scenes.
In one form or another it was all record of Egyptian life, but this was not the only motive of their painting. The temples and palaces, designed to shut out light and heat, were long squares of heavy stone, gloomy as the cave from which their plan may have originated. Carving and color were used to brighten and enliven the interior. The battles, the judgment scenes, the Pharaoh playing at draughts with his wives, the religious rites and ceremonies, were all given with brilliant arbitrary color, surrounded oftentimes by bordering bands of green, yellow, and blue. Color showed everywhere from floor to ceiling. Even the explanatory hieroglyphic texts ran in colors, lining the walls and winding around the cylinders of stone. The lotus capitals, the frieze and architrave, all glowed with bright hues, and often the roof ceiling was painted in blue and studded with golden stars.
All this shows a decorative motive in Egyptian painting, and how constantly this was kept in view may be seen at times in the arrangement of the different scenes, the large ones being placed in the middle of the wall and the smaller ones going at the top and bottom, to act as a frieze and dado. There were, then, two leading motives for Egyptian painting; (1) History, monarchical, religious, or domestic; and (2) Decoration.
TECHNICAL METHODS: Man in the early stages of civilization comprehends objects more by line than by color or light. The figure is not studied in itself, but in its sun-shadow or silhouette. The Egyptian hieroglyph represented objects by outlines or arbitrary marks and conveyed a simple meaning without circumlocution. The Egyptian painting was substantially an enlargement of the hieroglyph. There was no attempt to place objects in the setting which they hold in nature. Perspective and light-and-shade were disregarded. Objects, of whatever nature, were shown in flat profile. In the human figure the shoulders were square, the hips slight, the legs and arms long, the feet and hands flat. The head, legs, and arms were shown in profile, while the chest and eye were twisted to show the flat front view. There are only one or two full-faced figures among the remains of Egyptian painting. After the outline was drawn the enclosed space was filled in with plain color. In the absence of high light, or composed groups, prominence was given to an important figure, like that of the king, by making it much larger than the other figures. This may be seen in any of the battle-pieces of Rameses II., in which the monarch in his chariot is a giant where his followers are mere pygmies. In the absence of perspective, receding figures of men or of horses were given by multiplied outlines of legs, or heads, placed before, or after, or raised above one another. Flat water was represented by zigzag lines, placed as it were upon a map, one tree symbolized a forest, and one fortification a town.
These outline drawings were not realistic in any exact sense. The face was generally expressionless, the figure, evidently done from memory or pattern, did not reveal anatomical structure, but was nevertheless graceful, and in the representation of animals the sense of motion was often given with much truth. The color was usually an attempt at nature, though at times arbitrary or symbolic, as in the case of certain gods rendered with blue, yellow, or green skins. The backgrounds were always of flat color, arbitrary in hue, and decorative only. The only composition was a balance by numbers, and the processional scenes rose tier upon tier above one another in long panels.
Such work would seem almost ludicrous did we not keep in mind its reason for existence. It was, first, symbolic story-telling art, and secondly, architectural decoration. As a story-teller it was effective because of its simplicity and directness. As decoration, the repeated expressionless face and figure, the arbitrary color, the absence of perspective were not inappropriate then nor are they now. Egyptian painting never was free from the decorative motive. Wall painting was little more than an adjunct of architecture, and probably grew out of sculpture. The early statues were colored, and on the wall the chisel, like the flint of Primitive Man, cut the outline of the figure. At first only this cut was filled with color, producing what has been called the koil-anaglyphic. In the final stage the line was made by drawing with chalk or coal on prepared stucco, and the color, mixed with gum-water (a kind of distemper), was applied to the whole enclosed space. Substantially the same method of painting was used upon other materials, such as wood, mummy cartonnage, papyrus; and in all its thousands of years of existence Egyptian painting never advanced upon or varied to any extent this one method of work.
HISTORIC PERIODS: Egyptian art may be traced back as far as the Third or Fourth Memphitic dynasty of kings. The date is uncertain, but it is somewhere near 3,500 B.C. The seat of empire, at that time, was located at Memphis in Lower Egypt, and it is among the remains of this
Memphitic Period that the earliest and best painting is found. In fact, all Egyptian art, literature, language, civilization, seem at their highest point of perfection in the period farthest removed from us. In that earliest age the finest portrait busts were cut, and the painting, found chiefly in the tombs and on the mummy-cases, was the attempted realistic with not a little of spirited individuality. The figure was rather short and squat, the face a little squarer than the conventional type afterward adopted, the action better, and the positions, attitudes, and gestures more truthful to local characteristics. The domestic scenes—hunting, fishing, tilling, grazing—were all shown in the one flat, planeless, shadowless method of representation, but with better drawing and color and more variety than appeared later on. Still, more or less conventional types were used, even in this early time, and continued to be used all through Egyptian history.
The Memphitic Period comes down to the eleventh dynasty. In the fifteenth dynasty comes the invasion of the so-called Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings. Little is known of the Hyksos, and, in painting, the next stage is the
Theban Period, which, culminated in Thebes, in Upper Egypt, with Rameses II., of the nineteenth dynasty. Painting had then changed somewhat both in subject and character. The time was one of great temple and palace building, and, though the painting of genre subjects in tombs and sepulchres continued, the general body of art became more monumental and subservient to architecture. Painting was put to work on temple and palace-walls, depicting processional scenes, either religious or monarchical, and vast in extent. The figure, too, changed slightly. It became longer, slighter, with a pronounced nose, thick lips, and long eye. From constant repetition, rather than any set rule or canon, this figure grew conventional, and was reproduced as a type in a mechanical and unvarying manner for hundreds of years. It was, in fact, only a variation from the original Egyptian type seen in the tombs of the earliest dynasties. There was a great quantity of art produced during the Theban Period, and of a graceful, decorative character, but it was rather monotonous by repetition and filled with established mannerisms. The Egyptian really never was a free worker, never an artist expressing himself; but, for his day, a skilled mechanic following time-honored example. In the
Saitic Period the seat of empire was once more in Lower Egypt, and art had visibly declined with the waning power of the country. All spontaneity seemed to have passed out of it, it was repetition of repetition by poor workmen, and the simplicity and purity of the technic were corrupted by foreign influences. With the Alexandrian epoch Egyptian art came in contact with Greek methods, and grew imitative of the new art, to the detriment of its own native character. Eventually it was entirely lost in the art of the Greco-Roman world. It was never other than conventional, produced by a method almost as unvarying as that of the hieroglyphic writing, and in this very respect characteristic and reflective of the unchanging Orientals. Technically it had its shortcomings, but it conveyed the proper information to its beholders and was serviceable and graceful decoration for Egyptian days.
EXTANT PAINTINGS: The temples, palaces, and tombs of Egypt still reveal Egyptian painting in almost as perfect a state as when originally executed; the Ghizeh Museum has many fine examples; and there are numerous examples in the museums at Turin, Paris, Berlin, London, New York, and Boston. An interesting collection belongs to the New York Historical Society, and some of the latest "finds" of the Egypt Exploration Fund are in the Boston Museum.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: Babelon, Manual of Oriental Antiquities; Botta, Monument de Ninive; Budge, Babylonian Life and History; Duncker, History of Antiquity; Layard, Nineveh and its Remains; Layard, Discoveries Among Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon; Lenormant, Manual of the Ancient History of the East; Loftus, Travels in Chaldaea and Susiana; Maspero, Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Chaldaea and Assyria; Place, Ninive et l'Assyrie; Sayce, Assyria: Its Palaces, Priests, and People.
TIGRIS-EUPHRATES CIVILIZATION: In many respects the civilization along the Tigris-Euphrates was like that along the Nile. Both valleys were settled by primitive peoples, who grew rapidly by virtue of favorable climate and soil, and eventually developed into great nations headed by kings absolute in power. The king was the state in Egypt, and in Assyria the monarch was even more dominant and absolute. For the Pharaohs shared architecture, painting, and sculpture with the gods; but the Sargonids seem to have arrogated the most of these things to themselves alone.
Religion was perhaps as real in Assyria as in Egypt, but it was less apparent in art. Certain genii, called gods or demons, appear in the bas-reliefs, but it is not yet settled whether they represent gods or merely legendary heroes or monsters of fable. There was no great demonstration of religion by form and color, as in Egypt. The Assyrians were Semites, and religion with them was more a matter of the spirit than the senses—an image in the mind rather than an image in metal or stone. The temple was not eloquent with the actions and deeds of the gods, and even the tomb, that fruitful source of art in Egypt, was in Chaldaea undecorated and in Assyria unknown. No one knows what the Assyrians did with their dead, unless they carried them back to the fatherland of the race, the Persian Gulf region, as the native tribes of Mesopotamia do to this day.
ART MOTIVES: As in Egypt, there were two motives for art—illustration and decoration. Religion, as we have seen, hardly obtained at all. The king attracted the greatest attention. The countless bas-reliefs, cut on soft stone slabs, were pages from the history of the monarch in peace and war, in council, in the chase, or in processional rites. Beside him and around him his officers came in for a share of the background glory. Occasionally the common people had representations of their lives and their pursuits, but the main subject of all the valley art was the king and his doings. Sculpture and painting were largely illustrations accompanying a history written in the ever-present cuneiform characters.
But, while serving as history, like the picture-writings of the Egyptians, this illustration was likewise decoration, and was designed with that end in view. Rows upon rows of partly colored bas-reliefs were arranged like a dado along the palace-wall, and above them wall-paintings, or glazed tiles in patterns, carried out the color scheme. Almost all of the color has now disappeared, but it must have been brilliant at one time, and was doubtless in harmony with the architecture. Both painting and sculpture were subordinate to and dependent upon architecture. Palace-building was the chief pursuit, and the other arts were called in mainly as adjuncts—ornamental records of the king who built.
THE TYPE, FORM, COLOR: There were only two distinct faces in Assyrian art—one with and one without a beard. Neither of them was a portrait except as attributes or inscriptions designated. The type was unendingly repeated. Women appeared in only one or two isolated cases, and even these are doubtful. The warrior, a strong, coarse-membered, heavily muscled creation, with a heavy, expressionless, Semitic face, appeared everywhere. The figure was placed in profile, with eye and bust twisted to show the front view, and the long feet projected one beyond the other, as in the Nile pictures. This was the Assyrian ideal of strength, dignity, and majesty, established probably in the early ages, and repeated for centuries with few characteristic variations. The figure was usually given in motion, walking, or riding, and had little of that grace seen in Egyptian painting, but in its place a great deal of rude strength. In modelling, the human form was not so knowingly rendered as the animal. The long Eastern clothing probably prevented the close study of the figure. This failure in anatomical exactness was balanced in part by minute details in the dress and accessories, productive of a rich ornamental effect.
Hard stone was not found in the Mesopotamian regions. Temples were built of burnt brick, bas-reliefs were made upon alabaster slabs and heightened by coloring, and painting was largely upon tiles, with mineral paints, afterward glazed by fire. These glazed brick or tiles, with figured designs, were fixed upon the walls, arches, and archivolts by bitumen mortar, and made up the first mosaics of which we have record. There was a further painting upon plaster in distemper, of which some few traces remain. It did not differ in design from the bas-reliefs or the tile mosaics.
The subjects used were the Assyrian type, shown somewhat slighter in painting than in sculpture, animals, birds, and other objects; but they were obviously not attempts at nature. The color was arbitrary, not natural, and there was little perspective, light-and-shade, or relief. Heavy outline bands of color appeared about the object, and the prevailing hues were yellow and blue. There was perhaps less symbolism and more direct representation in Assyria than in Egypt. There was also more feeling for perspective and space, as shown in such objects as water and in the mountain landscapes of the late bas-reliefs; but, in the main, there was no advance upon Egypt. There was a difference which was not necessarily a development. Painting, as we know the art to-day, was not practised in Chaldaea-Assyria. It was never free from a servitude to architecture and sculpture; it was hampered by conventionalities; and the painter was more artisan than artist, having little freedom or individuality.
HISTORIC PERIODS: Chaldaea, of unknown antiquity, with Babylon its capital, is accounted the oldest nation in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, and, so far as is known, it was an original nation producing an original art. Its sculpture (especially in the Tello heads), and presumably its painting, were more realistic and individual than any other in the valley. Assyria coming later, and the heir of Chaldaea, was the
Second Empire: There are two distinct periods of this Second Empire, the first lasting from 1,400 B.C., down to about 900 B.C., and in art showing a great profusion of bas-reliefs. The second closed about 625 B.C., and in art produced much glazed-tile work and a more elaborate sculpture and painting. After this the Chaldaean provinces gained the ascendency again, and Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, became the first city of Asia. But the new Babylon did not last long. It fell before Cyrus and the Persians 536 B.C. Again, as in Egypt, the earliest art appears the purest and the simplest, and the years of Chaldaeo-Assyrian history known to us carry a record of change rather than of progress in art.
ART REMAINS: The most valuable collections of Chaldaeo-Assyrian art are to be found in the Louvre and the British Museum. The other large museums of Europe have collections in this department, but all of them combined are little compared with the treasures that still lie buried in the mounds of the Tigris-Euphrates valley. Excavations have been made at Mugheir, Warka, Khorsabad, Kouyunjik, and elsewhere, but many difficulties have thus far rendered systematic work impossible. The complete history of Chaldaeo-Assyria and its art has yet to be written.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: As before cited, Babelon, Duncker, Lenormant, Ely; Dieulafoy, L'Art Antique de la Perse; Flandin et Coste, Voyage en Perse; Justi, Geschichte des alten Persiens; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Persia.
HISTORY AND ART MOTIVES: The Medes and Persians were the natural inheritors of Assyrian civilization, but they did not improve their birthright. The Medes soon lost their power. Cyrus conquered them, and established the powerful Persian monarchy upheld for two hundred years by Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes. Substantially the same conditions surrounded the Persians as the Assyrians—that is, so far as art production was concerned. Their conceptions of life were similar, and their use of art was for historic illustration of kingly doings and ornamental embellishment of kingly palaces. Both sculpture and painting were accessories of architecture.
Of Median art nothing remains. The Persians left the record, but it was not wholly of their own invention, nor was it very extensive or brilliant. It had little originality about it, and was really only an echo of Assyria. The sculptors and painters copied their Assyrian predecessors, repeating at Persepolis what had been better told at Nineveh.
TYPES AND TECHNIC: The same subjects, types, and technical methods in bas-relief, tile, and painting on plaster were followed under Darius as under Shalmanezer. But the imitation was not so good as the original. The warrior, the winged monsters, the animals all lost something of their air of brutal defiance and their strength of modelling. Heroes still walked in procession along the bas-reliefs and glazed tiles, but the figure was smaller, more effeminate, the hair and beard were not so long, the drapery fell in slightly indicated folds at times, and there was a profusion of ornamental detail. Some of this detail and some modifications in the figure showed the influence of foreign nations other than the Greek; but, in the main, Persian art followed in the footsteps of Assyrian art. It was the last reflection of Mesopotamian splendor. For with the conquest of Persia by Alexander the book of expressive art in that valley was closed, and, under Islam, it remains closed to this day.
ART REMAINS: Persian painting is something about which little is known because little remains. The Louvre contains some reconstructed friezes made in mosaics of stamped brick and square tile, showing figures of lions and a number of archers. The coloring is particularly rich, and may give some idea of Persian pigments. Aside from the chief museums of Europe the bulk of Persian art is still seen half-buried in the ruins of Persepolis and elsewhere.
PHOENICIAN, CYPRIOTE, AND ASIA MINOR PAINTING.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: As before cited, Babelon, Duncker, Ely, Girard, Lenormant; Cesnola, Cyprus; Cesnola, Cypriote Antiquities in Metropolitan Museum of Art; Kenrick, Phoenicia; Movers, Die Phonizier; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Phoenicia and Cyprus; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Sardinia, Judea, Syria and Asia Minor; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Phrygia, Lydia, etc.; Renan, Mission de Phenicie.
THE TRADING NATIONS: The coast-lying nations of the Eastern Mediterranean were hardly original or creative nations in a large sense. They were at different times the conquered dependencies of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and their lands were but bridges over which armies passed from east to west or from west to east. Located on the Mediterranean between the great civilizations of antiquity they naturally adapted themselves to circumstances, and became the middlemen, the brokers, traders, and carriers of the ancient world. Their lands were not favorable to agriculture, but their sea-coasts rendered commerce easy and lucrative. They made a kingdom of the sea, and their means of livelihood were gathered from it. There is no record that the Egyptians ever traversed the Mediterranean, the Assyrians were not sailors, the Greeks had not yet arisen, and so probably Phoenicia and her neighbors had matters their own way. Colonies and trading stations were established at Cyprus, Carthage, Sardinia, the Greek islands, and the Greek mainland, and not only Eastern goods but Eastern ideas were thus carried to the West.
Politically, socially, and religiously these small middle nations were inconsequential. They simply adapted their politics or faith to the nation that for the time had them under its heel. What semi-original religion they possessed was an amalgamation of the religions of other nations, and their gods of bronze, terra-cotta, and enamel were irreverently sold in the market like any other produce.
ART MOTIVES AND METHODS: Building, carving, and painting were practised among the coastwise nations, but upon no such extensive scale as in either Egypt or Assyria. The mere fact that they were people of the sea rather than of the land precluded extensive or concentrated development. Politically Phoenicia was divided among five cities, and her artistic strength was distributed in a similar manner. Such art as was produced showed the religious and decorative motives, and in its spiritless materialistic make-up, the commercial motive. It was at the best a hybrid, mongrel art, borrowed from many sources and distributed to many points of the compass. At one time it had a strong Assyrian cast, at another an Egyptian cast, and after Greece arose it accepted a retroactive influence from there.
It is impossible to characterize the Phoenician type, and even the Cypriote type, though more pronounced, varies so with the different influences that it has no very striking individuality. Technically both the Phoenician and Cypriote were fair workmen in bronze and stone, and doubtless taught many technical methods to the early Greeks, besides making known to them those deities afterward adopted under the names of Aphrodite, Adonis, and Heracles, and familiarizing them with the art forms of Egypt and Assyria.
As for painting, there was undoubtedly figured decoration upon walls of stone and plaster, but there is not enough left to us from all the small nations like Phoenicia, Judea, Cyprus, and the kingdoms of Asia Minor, put together, to patch up a disjointed history. The first lands to meet the spoiler, their very ruins have perished. All that there is of painting comes to us in broken potteries and color traces on statuary. The remains of sculpture and architecture are of course better preserved. None of this intermediate art holds much rank by virtue of its inherent worth. It is its influence upon the West—the ideas, subjects, and methods it imparted to the Greeks—that gives it importance in art history.
ART REMAINS: In painting chiefly the vases in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Louvre, British and Berlin Museums. These give a poor and incomplete idea of the painting in Asia Minor, Phoenicia and her colonies. The terra-cottas, figurines in bronze, and sculptures can be studied to more advantage. The best collection of Cypriote antiquities is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. A new collection of Judaic art has been recently opened in the Louvre.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: Baumeister, Denkmaeler des klassischen Altertums—article "Malerei;" Birch, History of Ancient Pottery; Brunn, Geschichte der griechischen Kuenstler; Collignon, Mythologie figuree de la Grece; Collignon, Manuel d'Archaeologie Grecque; Cros et Henry, L'Encaustique et les autres procedes de Peinture chez les Anciens; Girard, La Peinture Antique; Murray, Handbook of Greek Archaeology; Overbeck, Antiken Schriftquellen zur geschichte der bildenen Kunste bie den Griechen; Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Greece; Woerman, Die Landschaft in der Kunst der antiken Volker; see also books on Etruscan and Roman painting.
GREECE AND THE GREEKS: The origin of the Greek race is not positively known. It is reasonably supposed that the early settlers in Greece came from the region of Asia Minor, either across the Hellespont or the sea, and populated the Greek islands and the mainland. When this was done has been matter of much conjecture. The early history is lost, but art remains show that in the period before Homer the Greeks were an established race with habits and customs distinctly individual. Egyptian and Asiatic influences are apparent in their art at this early time, but there is, nevertheless, the mark of a race peculiarly apart from all the races of the older world.
The development of the Greek people was probably helped by favorable climate and soil, by commerce and conquest, by republican institutions and political faith, by freedom of mind and of body; but all these together are not sufficient to account for the keenness of intellect, the purity of taste, and the skill in accomplishment which showed in every branch of Greek life. The cause lies deeper in the fundamental make-up of the Greek mind, and its eternal aspiration toward mental, moral, and physical ideals. Perfect mind, perfect body, perfect conduct in this world were sought-for ideals. The Greeks aspired to completeness. The course of education and race development trained them physically as athletes and warriors, mentally as philosophers, law-makers, poets, artists, morally as heroes whose lives and actions emulated those of the gods, and were almost perfect for this world.
ART MOTIVES: Neither the monarchy nor the priesthood commanded the services of the artist in Greece, as in Assyria and Egypt. There was no monarch in an oriental sense, and the chosen leaders of the Greeks never, until the late days, arrogated art to themselves. It was something for all the people.
In religion there was a pantheon of gods established and worshipped from the earliest ages, but these gods were more like epitomes of Greek ideals than spiritual beings. They were the personified virtues of the Greeks, exemplars of perfect living; and in worshipping them the Greek was really worshipping order, conduct, repose, dignity, perfect life. The gods and heroes, as types of moral and physical qualities, were continually represented in an allegorical or legendary manner. Athene represented noble warfare, Zeus was majestic dignity and power, Aphrodite love, Phoebus song, Nike triumph, and all the lesser gods, nymphs, and fauns stood for beauties of nature or of life. The great bulk of Greek architecture, sculpture, and painting was put forth to honor these gods or heroes, and by so doing the artist repeated the national ideals and honored himself. The first motive of Greek art, then, was to praise Hellas and the Hellenic view of life. In part it was a religious motive, but with little of that spiritual significance and belief which ruled in Egypt, and later on in Italy.
A second and ever-present motive in Greek painting was decoration. This appears in the tomb pottery of the earliest ages, and was carried on down to the latest times. Vase painting, wall painting, tablet and sculpture painting were all done with a decorative motive in view. Even the easel or panel pictures had some decorative effect about them, though they were primarily intended to convey ideas other than those of form and color.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The gods and heroes, their lives and adventures, formed the early subjects of Greek painting. Certain themes taken from the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" were as frequently shown as, afterward, the Annunciations in Italian painting. The traditional subjects, the Centaurs and Lapiths, the Amazon war, Theseus and Ariadne, Perseus and Andromeda, were frequently depicted. Humanity and actual Greek life came in for its share. Single figures, still-life, genre, caricature, all were shown, and as painting neared the Alexandrian age a semi-realistic portraiture came into vogue.
The materials employed by the Greeks and their methods of work are somewhat difficult to ascertain, because there are few Greek pictures, except those on the vases, left to us. From the confusing accounts of the ancient writers, the vases, some Greek slabs in Italy, and the Roman paintings imitative of the Greek, we may gain a general idea. The early Greek work was largely devoted to pottery and tomb decoration, in which much in manner and method was borrowed from Asia, Phoenicia, and Egypt. Later on, painting appeared in flat outline on stone or terra-cotta slabs, sometimes representing processional scenes, as in Egypt, and doubtless done in a hybrid fresco-work similar to the Egyptian method. Wall paintings were done in fresco and distemper, probably upon the walls themselves, and also upon panels afterward let into the wall. Encaustic painting (color mixed with wax upon the panel and fused with a hot spatula) came in with the Sikyonian school. It is possible that the oil medium and canvas were known, but not probable that either was ever used extensively.
There is no doubt about the Greeks being expert draughtsmen, though this does not appear until late in history. They knew the outlines well, and drew them with force and grace. That they modelled in strong relief is more questionable. Light-and-shade was certainly employed in the figure, but not in any modern way. Perspective in both figures and landscape was used; but the landscape was at first symbolic and rarely got beyond a decorative background for the figure. Greek composition we know little about, but may infer that it was largely a series of balances, a symmetrical adjustment of objects to fill a given space with not very much freedom allowed to the artist. In atmosphere, sunlight, color, and those peculiarly sensuous charms that belong to painting, there is no reason to believe that the Greeks approached the moderns. Their interest was chiefly centred in the human figure. Landscape, with its many beauties, was reserved for modern hands to disclose. Color was used in abundance, without doubt, but it was probably limited to the leading hues, with little of that refinement or delicacy known in painting to-day.
ART HISTORY: For the history of Greek painting we have to rely upon the words of Aristotle, Plutarch, Pliny, Quintilian, Lucian, Cicero, Pausanias. Their accounts appear to be partly substantiated by the vase paintings, and such few slabs and Roman frescos as remain to us. There is no consecutive narrative. The story of painting originating from a girl seeing the wall-silhouette of her lover and filling it in with color, and the conjecture of painting having developed from embroidery work, have neither of them a foundation in fact. The earliest settlers of Greece probably learned painting from the Phoenicians, and employed it, after the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Phoenician manner, on pottery, terra-cotta slabs, and rude sculpture. It developed slower than sculpture perhaps; but were there anything of importance left to judge from, we should probably find that it developed in much the same manner as sculpture. Down to 500 B.C. there was little more than outline filled in with flat monochromatic paint and with a decorative effect similar, perhaps, to that of the vase paintings. After that date come the more important names of artists mentioned by the ancient writers. It is difficult to assign these artists to certain periods or schools, owing to the insufficient knowledge we have about them. The following classifications and assignments may, therefore, in some instances, be questioned.
OLDER ATTIC SCHOOL: The first painter of rank was Polygnotus (fl. 475-455 B.C.), sometimes called the founder of Greek painting, because perhaps he was one of the first important painters in Greece proper. He seems to have been a good outline draughtsman, producing figures in profile, with little attempt at relief, perspective, or light-and-shade. His colors were local tones, but probably more like nature and more varied than anything in Egyptian painting. Landscapes, buildings, and the like, were given in a symbolic manner. Portraiture was a generalization, and in figure compositions the names of the principal characters were written near them for purposes of identification. The most important works of Polygnotus were the wall paintings for the Assembly Room of the Knidians at Delphi. The subjects related to the Trojan War and the adventures of Ulysses.
Opposed to this flat, unrelieved style was the work of a follower, Agatharchos of Samos (fl. end of fifth century B.C.). He was a scene-painter, and by the necessities of his craft was led toward nature. Stage effect required a study of perspective, variation of light, and a knowledge of the laws of optics. The slight outline drawing of his predecessor was probably superseded by effective masses to create illusion. This was a distinct advance toward nature. Apollodorus (fl. end of fifth century B.C.) applied the principles of Agatharchos to figures. According to Plutarch, he was the first to discover variation in the shade of colors, and, according to Pliny, the first master to paint objects as they appeared in nature. He had the title of skiagraphos (shadow-painter), and possibly gave a semi-natural background with perspective. This was an improvement, but not a perfection. It is not likely that the backgrounds were other than conventional settings for the figure. Even these were not at once accepted by the painters of the period, but were turned to profit in the hands of the followers.
After the Peloponnesian Wars the art of painting seems to have flourished elsewhere than in Athens, owing to the Athenian loss of supremacy. Other schools sprang up in various districts, and one to call for considerable mention by the ancient writers was the
IONIAN SCHOOL, which in reality had existed from the sixth century. The painters of this school advanced upon the work of Apollodorus as regards realistic effect. Zeuxis, whose fame was at its height during the Peloponnesian Wars, seems to have regarded art as a matter of illusion, if one may judge by the stories told of his work. The tale of his painting a bunch of grapes so like reality that the birds came to peck at them proves either that the painter's motive was deception, or that the narrator of the tale picked out the deceptive part of his picture for admiration. He painted many subjects, like Helen, Penelope, and many genre pieces on panel. Quintilian says he originated light-and-shade, an achievement credited by Plutarch to Apollodorus. It is probable that he advanced light-and-shade.
In illusion he seems to have been outdone by a rival, Parrhasios of Ephesus. Zeuxis deceived the birds with painted grapes, but Parrhasios deceived Zeuxis with a painted curtain. There must have been knowledge of color, modelling, and relief to have produced such an illusion, but the aim was petty and unworthy of the skill. There was evidently an advance technically, but some decline in the true spirit of art. Parrhasios finally suffered defeat at the hands of Timanthes of Kythnos, by a Contest between Ajax and Ulysses for the Arms of Achilles. Timanthes's famous work was the Sacrifice of Iphigenia, of which there is a supposed Pompeian copy.
SIKYONIAN SCHOOL: This school seems to have sprung up after the Peloponnesian Wars, and was perhaps founded by Eupompos, a contemporary of Parrhasios. His pupil Pamphilos brought the school to maturity. He apparently reacted from the deception motive of Zeuxis and Parrhasios, and taught academic methods of drawing, composing, and painting. He was also credited with bringing into use the encaustic method of painting, though it was probably known before his time. His pupil, Pausias, possessed some freedom of creation in genre and still-life subjects. Pliny says he had great technical skill, as shown in the foreshortening of a black ox by variations of the black tones, and he obtained some fame by a figure of Methe (Intoxication) drinking from a glass, the face being seen through the glass. Again the motives seem trifling, but again advancing technical power is shown.
THEBAN-ATTIC SCHOOL: This was the fourth school of Greek painting. Nikomachus (fl. about 360 B.C.), a facile painter, was at its head. His pupil, Aristides, painted pathetic scenes, and was perhaps as remarkable for teaching art to the celebrated Euphranor (fl. 360 B.C.) as for his own productions. Euphranor had great versatility in the arts, and in painting was renowned for his pictures of the Olympian gods at Athens. His successor, Nikias (fl. 340-300 B.C.), was a contemporary of Praxiteles, the sculptor, and was possibly influenced by him in the painting of female figures. He was a technician of ability in composition, light-and-shade, and relief, and was praised for the roundness of his figures. He also did some tinting of sculpture, and is said to have tinted some of the works of Praxiteles.
LATE PAINTERS: Contemporary with and following these last-named artists were some celebrated painters who really belong to the beginning of the Hellenistic Period (323 B.C.). At their head was Apelles, the painter of Philip and Alexander, and the climax of Greek painting. He painted many gods, heroes, and allegories, with much "gracefulness," as Pliny puts it. The Italian Botticelli, seventeen hundred years after him, tried to reproduce his celebrated Calumny, from Lucian's description of it. His chief works were his Aphrodite Anadyomene, carried to Rome by Augustus, and the portrait of Alexander with the Thunder-bolt. He was undoubtedly a superior man technically. Protogenes rivalled him, if we are to believe Petronius, by the foam on a dog's mouth and the wonder in the eye of a startled pheasant. Aetion, the painter of Alexander's Marriage to Roxana, was not able to turn the aim of painting from this deceptive illusion. After Alexander, painting passed still further into the imitative and the theatrical, and when not grandiloquent was infinitely little over cobbler-shops and huckster-stalls. Landscape for purposes of decorative composition, and floor painting, done in mosaic, came in during the time of the Diadochi. There were no great names in the latter days, and such painters as still flourished passed on to Rome, there to produce copies of the works of their predecessors.
It is hard to reconcile the unworthy motive attributed to Greek painting by the ancient writers with the high aim of Greek sculpture. It is easier to think (and it is more probable) that the writers knew very little about art, and that they missed the spirit of Greek painting in admiring its insignificant details. That painting technically was at a high point of perfection as regards the figure, even the imitative Roman works indicate, and it can hardly be doubted that in spirit it was at one time equally strong.
EXTANT REMAINS: There are few wall or panel pictures of Greek times in existence. Four slabs of stone in the Naples Museum, with red outline drawings of Theseus, Silenos, and some figures with masks, are probably Greek work from which the color has scaled. A number of Roman copies of Greek frescos and mosaics are in the Vatican, Capitoline, and Naples Museums. All these pieces show an imitation of late Hellenistic art—not the best period of Greek development.
THE VASES: The history of Greek painting in its remains is traced with some accuracy in the decorative figures upon the vases. The first ware—dating before the seventh century B.C.—seems free from oriental influences in its designs. The vase is reddish, the decoration is in tiers, bands, or zig-zags, usually in black or brown, without the human figure. The second kind of ware dates from about the middle of the seventh century. It shows meander, wave, and other designs, and is called the "geometrical" style. Later on animals, rosettes, and vegetation appear that show Assyrian influence. The decoration is profuse and the rude human figure subordinate to it. The design is in black or dark-brown, on a cream-colored slip. The third kind of ware is the archaic or "strong" style. It dates from 500 B.C. to the Peloponnesian Wars, and is marked by black figures upon a yellow or red ground. White and purple are also used to define flesh, hair, and white objects. The figure is stiff, the action awkward, the composition is freer than before, but still conventional. The subjects are the gods, demi-gods, and heroes in scenes from their lives and adventures. The fourth kind of ware dates down into the Hellenistic age and shows red figures surrounded by a black ground. The figure, the drawing, the composition are better than at any other period and suggest a high excellence in other forms of Greek painting. After Alexander, vase painting seems to have shared the fate of wall and panel painting. There was a striving for effect, with ornateness and extravagance, and finally the art passed out entirely.
There was an establishment founded in Southern Italy which imitated the Greek and produced the Apulian ware, but the Romans gave little encouragement to vase painting, and about 65 B.C. it disappeared. Almost all the museums of the world have collections of Greek vases. The British, Berlin, and Paris collections are perhaps as complete as any.
ETRUSCAN AND ROMAN PAINTING.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: See Bibliography of Greek Painting and also Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria; Graul, Die Portratgemalde aus den Grabstatten des Faiyum; Helbig, Die Wandgemalde Campaniens; Helbig, Untersuchungen uber die Campanische Wandmalerei; Mau, Geschichte der Decorativen Wandmalerei in Pompeii; Martha, L'Archeologie Etrusque et Romaine.
ETRUSCAN PAINTING: Painting in Etruria has not a great deal of interest for us just here. It was largely decorative and sepulchral in motive, and was employed in the painting of tombs, and upon vases and other objects placed in the tombs. It had a native way of expressing itself, which at first was neither Greek nor Oriental, and yet a reminder of both. Technically it was not well done. Before 500 B.C. it was almost childish in the drawing. After that date the figures were better, though short and squat. Those on the vases usually show outline drawing filled in with dull browns and yellows. Finally there was a mingling of Etruscan with Greek elements, and an imitation of Greek methods. It was at best a hybrid art, but of some importance from an archaeological point of view.
ROMAN PAINTING: Roman art is an appendix to the art history of Greece. It originated little in painting, and was content to perpetuate the traditions of Greece in an imitative way. What was worse, it copied the degeneracy of Greece by following the degenerate Hellenistic paintings. In motive and method it was substantially the same work as that of the Greeks under the Diadochi. The subjects, again, were often taken from Greek story, though there were Roman historical scenes, genre pieces, and many portraits.
In the beginning of the Empire tablet or panel painting was rather abandoned in favor of mural decoration. That is to say, figures or groups were painted in fresco on the wall and then surrounded by geometrical, floral, or architectural designs to give the effect of a panel let into the wall. Thus painting assumed a more decorative nature. Vitruvius says in effect that in the early days nature was followed in these wall paintings, but later on they became ornate and overdone, showing many unsupported architectural facades and impossible decorative framings. This can be traced in the Roman and Pompeian frescos. There were four kinds of these wall paintings. (1.) Those that covered all the walls of a room and did away with dado, frieze, and the like, such as figures with large landscape backgrounds showing villas and trees. (2.) Small paintings separated or framed by pilasters. (3.) Panel pictures let into the wall or painted with that effect. (4.) Single figures with architectural backgrounds. The single figures were usually the best. They had grace of line and motion and all the truth to nature that decoration required. Some of the backgrounds were flat tints of red or black against which the figure was placed. In the larger pieces the composition was rather rambling and disjointed, and the color harsh. In light-and-shade and relief they probably followed the Greek example.
ROMAN PAINTERS: During the first five centuries Rome was between the influences of Etruria and Greece. The first paintings in Rome of which there is record were done in the Temple of Ceres by the Greek artists of Lower Italy, Gorgasos and Damophilos (fl. 493 B.C.). They were doubtless somewhat like the vase paintings—profile work, without light, shade, or perspective. At the time and after Alexander Greek influence held sway. Fabius Pictor (fl. about 300 B.C.) is one of the celebrated names in historical painting, and later on Pacuvius, Metrodorus, and Serapion are mentioned. In the last century of the Republic, Sopolis, Dionysius, and Antiochus Gabinius excelled in portraiture. Ancient painting really ends for us with the destruction of Pompeii (79 A.D.), though after that there were interesting portraits produced, especially those found in the Fayoum (Egypt).
[Footnote 1: See Scribner's Magazine, vol. v., p. 219, New Series.]
EXTANT REMAINS: The frescos that are left to us to-day are largely the work of mechanical decorators rather than creative artists. They are to be seen in Rome, in the Baths of Titus, the Vatican, Livia's Villa, Farnesina, Rospigliosi, and Barberini Palaces, Baths of Caracalla, Capitoline and Lateran Museums, in the houses of excavated Pompeii, and the Naples Museum. Besides these there are examples of Roman fresco and distemper in the Louvre and other European Museums. Examples of Etruscan painting are to be seen in the Vatican, Cortona, the Louvre, the British Museum and elsewhere.
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND MEDIAEVAL PERIOD. 200-1250.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: Bayet, L'Art Byzantin; Bennett, Christian Archaeology; Bosio, La Roma Sotterranea; Burckhardt, The Cicerone, an Art Guide to Painting in Italy, ed. by Crowe; Crowe and Cavalcaselle, New History of Painting in Italy; De Rossi, La Roma Sotterranea Cristiana; De Rossi, Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana; Didron, Christian Iconography; Eastlake (Kuegler's), Handbook of Painting—The Italian Schools; Garrucci, Storia dell' Arte Cristiana; Gerspach, La Mosaique; Lafenestre, La Peinture Italienne; Lanzi, History of Painting in Italy; Lecoy de la Marche, Les Manuscrits et la Miniature; Lindsay, Sketches of the History of Christian Art; Martigny, Dictionnaire des Antiques Chretiennes; Perate, L'Archeologie Chretienne; Reber, History of Mediaeval Art; Rio, Poetry of Christian Art; Lethaby, Medieval Art; Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities.
RISE OF CHRISTIANITY: Out of the decaying civilization of Rome sprang into life that remarkable growth known as Christianity. It was not welcomed by the Romans. It was scoffed at, scourged, persecuted, and, at one time, nearly exterminated. But its vitality was stronger than that of its persecutor, and when Rome declined, Christianity utilized the things that were Roman, while striving to live for ideas that were Christian.
There was no revolt, no sudden change. The Christian idea made haste slowly, and at the start it was weighed down with many paganisms. The Christians themselves in all save religious faith, were Romans, and inherited Roman tastes, manners, and methods. But the Roman world, with all its classicism and learning, was dying. The decline socially and intellectually was with the Christians as well as the Romans. There was good reason for it. The times were out of joint, and almost everything was disorganized, worn out, decadent. The military life of the Empire had begun to give way to the monastic and feudal life of the Church. Quarrels and wars between the powers kept life at fever heat. In the fifth century came the inpouring of the Goths and Huns, and with them the sacking and plunder of the land. Misery and squalor, with intellectual blackness, succeeded. Art, science, literature, and learning degenerated to mere shadows of their former selves, and a semi-barbarism reigned for five centuries. During all this dark period Christian painting struggled on in a feeble way, seeking to express itself. It started Roman in form, method, and even, at times, in subject; it ended Christian, but not without a long period of gradual transition, during which it was influenced from many sources and underwent many changes.
ART MOTIVES: As in the ancient world, there were two principal motives for painting in early Christian times—religion and decoration. Religion was the chief motive, but Christianity was a very different religion from that of the Greeks and Romans. The Hellenistic faith was a worship of nature, a glorification of humanity, an exaltation of physical and moral perfections. It dealt with the material and the tangible, and Greek art appealed directly to the sensuous and earthly nature of mankind. The Hebraic faith or Christianity was just the opposite of this. It decried the human, the flesh, and the worldly. It would have nothing to do with the beauty of this earth. Its hopes were centred upon the life hereafter. The teaching of Christ was the humility and the abasement of the human in favor of the spiritual and the divine. Where Hellenism appealed to the senses, Hebraism appealed to the spirit. In art the fine athletic figure, or, for that matter, any figure, was an abomination. The early Church fathers opposed it. It was forbidden by the Mosaic decalogue and savored of idolatry.
But what should take its place in art? How could the new Christian ideas be expressed without form? Symbolism came in, but it was insufficient. A party in the Church rose up in favor of more direct representation. Art should be used as an engine of the Church to teach the Bible to those who could not read. This argument held good, and notwithstanding the opposition of the Iconoclastic party painting grew in favor. It lent itself to teaching and came under ecclesiastical domination. As it left the nature of the classic world and loosened its grasp on things tangible it became feeble and decrepit in its form. While it grew in sentiment and religious fervor it lost in bodily vigor and technical ability.
For many centuries the religious motive held strong, and art was the servant of the Church. It taught the Bible truths, but it also embellished and adorned the interiors of the churches. All the frescos, mosaics, and altar-pieces had a decorative motive in their coloring and setting. The church building was a house of refuge for the oppressed, and it was made attractive not only in its lines and proportions but in its ornamentation. Hence the two motives of the early work—religious teaching and decoration.
SUBJECTS AND TECHNICAL METHODS: There was no distinct Judaic or Christian type used in the very early art. The painters took their models directly from the Roman frescos and marbles. It was the classic figure and the classic costume, and those who produced the painting of the early period were the degenerate painters of the classic world. The figure was rather short and squat, coarse in the joints, hands, and feet, and almost expressionless in the face. Christian life at that time was passion-strung, but the faces in art do not show it, for the reason that the Roman frescos were the painter's model, not the people of the Christian community about him. There was nothing like a realistic presentation at this time. The type alone was given.
In the drawing it was not so good as that shown in the Roman and Pompeian frescos. There was a mechanism about its production, a copying by unskilled hands, a negligence or an ignorance of form that showed everywhere. The coloring, again, was a conventional scheme of flat tints in reddish-browns and bluish-greens, with heavy outline bands of brown. There was little perspective or background, and the figures in panels were separated by vines, leaves, or other ornamental division lines. Some relief was given to the figure by the brown outlines. Light-and-shade was not well rendered, and composition was formal. The great part of this early work was done in fresco after the Roman formula, and was executed on the walls of the Catacombs. Other forms of art showed in the gilded glasses, in manuscript illumination, and, later, in the mosaics.
Technically the work begins to decline from the beginning in proportion as painting was removed from the knowledge of the ancient world. About the fifth century the figure grew heavy and stiff. A new type began to show itself. The Roman toga was exchanged for the long liturgical garment which hid the proportions of the body, the lines grew hard and dark, a golden nimbus appeared about the head, and the patriarchal in appearance came into art. The youthful Orphic face of Christ changed to a solemn visage, with large, round eyes, saint-like beard, and melancholy air. The classic qualities were fast disappearing. Eastern types and elements were being introduced through Byzantium. Oriental ornamentation, gold embossing, rich color were doing away with form, perspective, light-and-shade, and background.
The color was rich and the mechanical workmanship fair for the time, but the figure had become paralytic. It shrouded itself in a sack-like brocaded gown, had no feet at times, and instead of standing on the ground hung in the air. Facial expression ran to contorted features, holiness became moroseness, and sadness sulkiness. The flesh was brown, the shadows green-tinted, giving an unhealthy look to the faces. Add to this the gold ground (a Persian inheritance), the gilded high lights, the absence of perspective, and the composing of groups so that the figures looked piled one upon another instead of receding, and we have the style of painting that prevailed in Byzantium and Italy from about the ninth to the thirteenth century. Nothing of a technical nature was in its favor except the rich coloring and the mechanical adroitness of the fitting.
EARLY CHRISTIAN PAINTING: The earliest Christian painting appeared on the walls of the Catacombs in Rome. These were decorated with panels and within the panels were representations of trailing vines, leaves, fruits, flowers, with birds and little genii or cupids. It was painting similar to the Roman work, and had no Christian significance though in a Christian place. Not long after, however, the desire to express something of the faith began to show itself in a symbolic way. The cups and the vases became marked with the fish, because the Greek spelling of the word "icthus" gave the initials of the Christian confession of faith. The paintings of the shepherd bearing a sheep symbolized Christ and his flock; the anchor meant the Christian hope; the phoenix immortality; the ship the Church; the cock watchfulness, and so on. And at this time the decorations began to have a double meaning. The vine came to represent the "I am the vine" and the birds grew longer wings and became doves, symbolizing pure Christian souls.
It has been said this form of art came about through fear of persecution, that the Christians hid their ideas in symbols because open representation would be followed by violence and desecration. Such was hardly the case. The emperors persecuted the living, but the dead and their sepulchres were exempt from sacrilege by Roman law. They probably used the symbol because they feared the Roman figure and knew no other form to take its place. But symbolism did not supply the popular need; it was impossible to originate an entirely new figure; so the painters went back and borrowed the old Roman form. Christ appeared as a beardless youth in Phrygian costume, the Virgin Mary was a Roman matron, and the Apostles looked like Roman senators wearing the toga.
Classic story was also borrowed to illustrate Bible truth. Hermes carrying the sheep was the Good Shepherd, Psyche discovering Cupid was the curiosity of Eve, Ulysses closing his ears to the Sirens was the Christian resisting the tempter. The pagan Orpheus charming the animals of the wood was finally adopted as a symbol, or perhaps an ideal likeness of Christ. Then followed more direct representation in classic form and manner, the Old Testament prefiguring and emphasizing the New. Jonah appeared cast into the sea and cast by the whale on dry land again as a symbol of the New Testament resurrection, and also as a representation of the actual occurrence. Moses striking the rock symbolized life eternal, and David slaying Goliath was Christ victorious.
The chronology of the Catacombs painting is very much mixed, but it is quite certain there was degeneracy from the start. The cause was neglect of form, neglect of art as art, mechanical copying instead of nature study, and finally, the predominance of the religious idea over the forms of nature. With Constantine Christianity was recognized as the national religion. Christian art came out of the Catacombs and began to show itself in illuminations, mosaics, and church decorations. Notwithstanding it was now free from restraint it did not improve. Church traditions prevailed, sentiment bordered upon sentimentality, and the technic of painting passed from bad to worse.
The decline continued during the sixth and seventh centuries, owing somewhat perhaps to the influence of Byzantium and the introduction into Italy of Eastern types and elements. In the eighth century the Iconoclastic controversy broke out again in fury with the edict of Leo the Isaurian. This controversy was a renewal of the old quarrel in the Church about the use of pictures and images. Some wished them for instruction in the Word; others decried them as leading to idolatry. It was a long quarrel of over a hundred years' duration, and a deadly one for art. When it ended, the artists were ordered to follow the traditions, not to make any new creations, and not to model any figure in the round. The nature element in art was quite dead at that time, and the order resulted only in diverting the course of painting toward the unrestricted miniatures and manuscripts. The native Italian art was crushed for a time by this new ecclesiastical burden. It did not entirely disappear, but it gave way to the stronger, though equally restricted art that had been encroaching upon it for a long time—the art of Byzantium.
BYZANTINE PAINTING: Constantinople was rebuilt and rechristened by Constantine, a Christian emperor, in the year 328 A.D. It became a stronghold of Christian traditions, manners, customs, art. But it was not quite the same civilization as that of Rome and the West. It was bordered on the south and east by oriental influences, and much of Eastern thought, method, and glamour found its way into the Christian community. The artists fought this influence, stickling a long time for the severer classicism of ancient Greece. For when Rome fell the traditions of the Old World centred around Constantinople. But classic form was ever being encroached upon by oriental richness of material and color. The struggle was a long but hopeless one. As in Italy, form failed century by century. When, in the eighth century, the Iconoclastic controversy cut away the little Greek existing in it, the oriental ornament was about all that remained.
There was no chance for painting to rise under the prevailing conditions. Free artistic creation was denied the artist. An advocate of painting at the Second Nicene Council declared that: "It is not the invention of the painter that creates the picture, but an inviolable law of the Catholic Church. It is not the painter but the holy fathers who have to invent and dictate. To them manifestly belongs the composition, to the painter only the execution." Painting was in a strait-jacket. It had to follow precedent and copy what had gone before in old Byzantine patterns. Both in Italy and in Byzantium the creative artist had passed away in favor of the skilled artisan—the repeater of time-honored forms or colors. The workmanship was good for the time, and the coloring and ornamental borders made a rich setting, but the real life of art had gone. A long period of heavy, morose, almost formless art, eloquent of mediaeval darkness and ignorance, followed.
It is strange that such an art should be adopted by foreign nations, and yet it was. Its bloody crucifixions and morbid madonnas were well fitted to the dark view of life held during the Middle Ages, and its influence was wide-spread and of long duration. It affected French and German art, it ruled at the North, and in the East it lives even to this day. That it strongly affected Italy is a very apparent fact. Just when it first began to show its influence there is matter of dispute. It probably gained a foothold at Ravenna in the sixth century, when that province became a part of the empire of Justinian. Later it permeated Rome, Sicily, and Naples at the south, and Venice at the north. With the decline of the early Christian art of Italy this richer, and in many ways more acceptable, Byzantine art came in, and, with Italian modifications, usurped the field. It did not literally crush out the native Italian art, but practically it superseded it, or held it in check, from the ninth to the twelfth century. After that the corrupted Italian art once more came to the front.
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE REMAINS: The best examples of Early Christian painting are still to be seen in the Catacombs at Rome. Mosaics in the early churches of Rome, Ravenna, Naples, Venice, Constantinople. Sculptures, ivories, and glasses in the Lateran, Ravenna, and Vatican museums. Illuminations in Vatican and Paris libraries. Almost all the museums of Europe, those of the Vatican and Naples particularly, have some examples of Byzantine work. The older altar-pieces of the early Italian churches date back to the mediaeval period and show Byzantine influence. The altar-pieces of the Greek and Russian churches show the same influence even in modern work.
GOTHIC PERIOD. 1250-1400.
BOOKS RECOMMENDED: As before, Burckhardt, Crowe and Cavalcaselle, Eastlake, Lafenestre, Lanzi, Lindsay, Reber; also Burton, Catalogue of Pictures in the National Gallery, London (unabridged edition); Cartier, Vie de Fra Angelico; Foerster, Leben und Werke des Fra Angelico; Habich, Vade Mecum pour la Peinture Italienne des Anciens Maitres; Lacroix, Les Arts au Moyen-Age et a la Epoque de la Renaissance; Mantz, Les Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Peinture Italienne; Morelli, Italian Masters in German Galleries; Morelli, Italian Masters, Critical Studies in their Works; Rumohr, Italienische Forschungen; Selincourt, Giotto; Stillman, Old Italian Masters; Vasari, Lives of the Most Eminent Painters; consult also General Bibliography (p. xv).
SIGNS OF THE AWAKENING: It would seem at first as though nothing but self-destruction could come to that struggling, praying, throat-cutting population that terrorized Italy during the Mediaeval Period. The people were ignorant, the rulers treacherous, the passions strong, and yet out of the Dark Ages came light. In the thirteenth century the light grew brighter, but the internal dissensions did not cease. The Hohenstaufen power was broken, the imperial rule in Italy was crushed. Pope and emperor no longer warred each other, but the cries of "Guelf" and "Ghibelline" had not died out.
Throughout the entire Romanesque and Gothic periods (1000-1400) Italy was torn by political wars, though the free cities, through their leagues of protection and their commerce, were prosperous. A commercial rivalry sprang up among the cities. Trade with the East, manufactures, banking, all flourished; and even the philosophies, with law, science, and literature, began to be studied. The spirit of learning showed itself in the founding of schools and universities. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, reflecting respectively religion, classic learning, and the inclination toward nature, lived and gave indication of the trend of thought. Finally the arts, architecture, sculpture, painting, began to stir and take upon themselves new appearances.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: In painting, though there were some portraits and allegorical scenes produced during the Gothic period, the chief theme was Bible story. The Church was the patron, and art was only the servant, as it had been from the beginning. It was the instructor and consoler of the faithful, a means whereby the Church made converts, and an adornment of wall and altar. It had not entirely escaped from symbolism. It was still the portrayal of things for what they meant, rather than for what they looked. There was no such thing then as art for art's sake. It was art for religion's sake.
The demand for painting increased, and its subjects multiplied with the establishment at this time of the two powerful orders of Dominican and Franciscan monks. The first exacted from the painters more learned and instructive work; the second wished for the crucifixions, the martyrdoms, the dramatic deaths, wherewith to move people by emotional appeal. To offset this the ultra-religious character of painting was encroached upon somewhat by the growth of the painters' guilds, and art production largely passing into the hands of laymen. In consequence painting produced many themes, but, as yet, only after the Byzantine style. The painter was more of a workman than an artist. The Church had more use for his fingers than for his creative ability. It was his business to transcribe what had gone before. This he did, but not without signs here and there of uneasiness and discontent with the pattern. There was an inclination toward something truer to nature, but, as yet, no great realization of it. The study of nature came in very slowly, and painting was not positive in statement until the time of Giotto and Lorenzetti.
The best paintings during the Gothic period were executed upon the walls of the churches in fresco. The prepared color was laid on wet plaster, and allowed to soak in. The small altar and panel pictures were painted in distemper, the gold ground and many Byzantine features being retained by most of the painters, though discarded by some few.
CHANGES IN THE TYPE, ETC.: The advance of Italian art in the Gothic age was an advance through the development of the imposed Byzantine pattern. It was not a revolt or a starting out anew on a wholly original path. When people began to stir intellectually the artists found that the old Byzantine model did not look like nature. They began, not by rejecting it, but by improving it, giving it slight movements here and there, turning the head, throwing out a hand, or shifting the folds of drapery. The Eastern type was still seen in the long pathetic face, oblique eyes, green flesh tints, stiff robes, thin fingers, and absence of feet; but the painters now began to modify and enliven it. More realistic Italian faces were introduced, architectural and landscape backgrounds encroached upon the Byzantine gold grounds, even portraiture was taken up.
This looks very much like realism, but we must not lay too much stress upon it. The painters were taking notes of natural appearances. It showed in features like the hands, feet, and drapery; but the anatomy of the body had not yet been studied, and there is no reason to believe their study of the face was more than casual, nor their portraits more than records from memory.
No one painter began this movement. The whole artistic region of Italy was at that time ready for the advance. That all the painters moved at about the same pace, and continued to move at that pace down to the fifteenth century, that they all based themselves upon Byzantine teaching, and that they all had a similar style of working is proved by the great difficulty in attributing their existing pictures to certain masters, or even certain schools. There are plenty of pictures in Italy to-day that might be attributed to either Florence or Sienna, Giotto or Lorenzetti, or some other master; because though each master and each school had slight peculiarities, yet they all had a common origin in the art traditions of the time.
FLORENTINE SCHOOL: Cimabue (1240?-1302?) seems the most notable instance in early times of a Byzantine-educated painter who improved upon the traditions. He has been called the father of Italian painting, but Italian painting had no father. Cimabue was simply a man of more originality and ability than his contemporaries, and departed further from the art teachings of the time without decidedly opposing them. He retained the Byzantine pattern, but loosened the lines of drapery somewhat, turned the head to one side, infused the figure with a little appearance of life. His contemporaries elsewhere in Italy were doing the same thing, and none of them was any more than a link in the progressive chain.
Cimabue's pupil, Giotto (1266?-1337), was a great improver on all his predecessors because he was a man of extraordinary genius. He would have been great in any time, and yet he was not great enough to throw off wholly the Byzantine traditions. He tried to do it. He studied nature in a general way, changed the type of face somewhat by making the jaw squarer, and gave it expression and nobility. To the figure he gave more motion, dramatic gesture, life. The drapery was cast in broader, simpler masses, with some regard for line, and the form and movement of the body were somewhat emphasized through it. In methods Giotto was more knowing, but not essentially different from his contemporaries; his subjects were from the common stock of religious story; but his imaginative force and invention were his own. Bound by the conventionalities of his time he could still create a work of nobility and power. He came too early for the highest achievement. He had genius, feeling, fancy, almost everything except accurate knowledge of the laws of nature and art. His art was the best of its time, but it still lacked, nor did that of his immediate followers go much beyond it technically.
Taddeo Gaddi (1300?-1366?) was Giotto's chief pupil, a painter of much feeling, but lacking in the large elements of construction and in the dramatic force of his master. Agnolo Gaddi (1333?-1396?), Antonio Veneziano (1312?-1388?), Giovanni da Milano (fl. 1366), Andrea da Firenze (fl. 1377), were all followers of the Giotto methods, and were so similar in their styles that their works are often confused and erroneously attributed. Giottino (1324?-1357?) was a supposed imitator of Giotto, of whom little is known. Orcagna (1329?-1376?) still further advanced the Giottesque type and method. He gathered up and united in himself all the art teachings of his time. In working out problems of form and in delicacy and charm of expression he went beyond his predecessors. He was a many-sided genius, knowing not only in a matter of natural appearance, but in color problems, in perspective, shadows, and light. His art was further along toward the Renaissance than that of any other Giottesque. He almost changed the character of painting, and yet did not live near enough to the fifteenth century to accomplish it completely. Spinello Aretino (1332?-1410?) was the last of the great Giotto followers. He carried out the teachings of the school in technical features, such as composition, drawing, and relief by color rather than by light, but he lacked the creative power of Giotto. In fact, none of the Giottesque can be said to have improved upon the master, taking him as a whole. Toward the beginning of the fifteenth century the school rather declined.
SIENNESE SCHOOL: The art teachings and traditions of the past seemed deeper rooted at Sienna than at Florence. Nor was there so much attempt to shake them off as at Florence. Giotto broke the immobility of the Byzantine model by showing the draped figure in action. So also did the Siennese to some extent, but they cared more for the expression of the spiritual than the beauty of the natural. The Florentines were robust, resolute, even a little coarse at times; the Siennese were more refined and sentimental. Their fancy ran to sweetness of face rather than to bodily vigor. Again, their art was more ornate, richer in costume, color, and detail than Florentine art; but it was also more finical and narrow in scope.
There was little advance upon Byzantinism in the work of Guido da Sienna (fl. 1275). Even Duccio (1260?——?), the real founder of the Siennese school, retained Byzantine methods and adopted the school subjects, but he perfected details of form, such as the hands and feet, and while retaining the long Byzantine face, gave it a melancholy tenderness of expression. He possessed no dramatic force, but had a refined workmanship for his time—a workmanship perhaps better, all told, than that of his Florentine contemporary, Cimabue. Simone di Martino (1283?-1344?) changed the type somewhat by rounding the form. His drawing was not always correct, but in color he was good and in detail exact and minute. He probably profited somewhat by the example of Giotto.
The Siennese who came the nearest to Giotto's excellence were the brothers Ambrogio (fl. 1342) and Pietro (fl. 1350) Lorenzetti. There is little known about them except that they worked together in a similar manner. The most of their work has perished, but what remains shows an intellectual grasp equal to any of the age. The Sienna frescos by Ambrogio Lorenzetti are strong in facial character, and some of the figures, like that of the white-robed Peace, are beautiful in their flow of line. Lippo Memmi (?-1356), Bartolo di Fredi (1330-1410), and Taddeo di Bartolo (1362-1422), were other painters of the school. The late men rather carried detail to excess, and the school grew conventional instead of advancing.
TRANSITION PAINTERS: Several painters, Starnina (1354-1413), Gentile da Fabriano (1360?-1440?), Fra Angelico (1387-1455), have been put down in art history as the makers of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance painting. They hardly deserve the title. There was no transition. The development went on, and these painters, coming late in the fourteenth century and living into the fifteenth, simply showed the changing style, the advance in the study of nature and the technic of art. Starnina's work gave strong evidence of the study of form, but it was no such work as Masaccio's. There is always a little of the past in the present, and these painters showed traces of Byzantinism in details of the face and figure, in coloring, and in gold embossing.
Gentile had all that nicety of finish and richness of detail and color characteristic of the Siennese. Being closer to the Renaissance than his predecessors he was more of a nature student. He was the first man to show the effect of sunlight in landscape, the first one to put a gold sun in the sky. He never, however, outgrew Gothic methods and really belongs in the fourteenth century. This is true of Fra Angelico. Though he lived far into the Early Renaissance he did not change his style and manner of work in conformity with the work of others about him. He was the last inheritor of the Giottesque traditions. Religious sentiment was the strong feature of his art. He was behind Giotto and Lorenzetti in power and in imagination, and behind Orcagna as a painter. He knew little of light, shade, perspective, and color, and in characterization was feeble, except in some late work. One face or type answered him for all classes of people—a sweet, fair face, full of divine tenderness. His art had enough nature in it to express his meanings, but little more. He was pre-eminently a devout painter, and really the last of the great religionists in painting.
The other regions of Italy had not at this time developed schools of painting of sufficient consequence to mention.
PRINCIPAL WORKS: FLORENTINES—Cimabue, Madonnas S. M. Novella and Acad. Florence, frescos Upper Church of Assisi (?); Giotto, frescos Upper and Lower churches Assisi, best work Arena chapel Padua, Bardi and Peruzzi chapels S. Croce, injured frescos Bargello Florence; Taddeo Gaddi, frescos entrance wall Baroncelli chapel S. Croce, Spanish chapel S. M. Novella (designed by Gaddi (?)); Agnolo Gaddi frescos in choir S. Croce, S. Jacopo tra Fossi Florence, panel pictures Florence Acad.; Giovanni da Milano, Bewailing of Christ Florence Acad., Virgin enthroned Prato Gal., altar-piece Uffizi Gal., frescos S. Croce Florence; Antonio Veneziano, frescos in ceiling of Spanish chapel, S. M. Novella, Campo Santo Pisa; Orcagna, altar-piece Last Judgment and Paradise Strozzi chapel S. M. Novella, S. Zenobio Duomo, Saints Medici chapel S. Croce, Descent of Holy Spirit Badia Florence, altar-piece Nat. Gal. Lon.; Spinello Aretino, Life of St. Benedict S. Miniato al Monte near Florence, Annunciation Convent degl' Innocenti Arezzo, frescos Campo Santo Pisa, Coronation Florence Acad., Barbarossa frescos Palazzo Publico Sienna; Andrea da Firenze, Church Militant, Calvary, Crucifixion Spanish chapel, Upper series of Life of S. Raniera Campo Santo Pisa.