By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Vol 2, Berna to Michelozzo Michelozzi
Author: Vasari, Giorgio, 1511-1574
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Vol 2, Berna to Michelozzo Michelozzi" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



   [Illustration: 1511-1574]

   7 GRAFTON ST. LONDON, W. 1912-14



   BERNA                                                               1

   DUCCIO                                                              7

   ANTONIO VINIZIANO                                                  13

   JACOPO DI CASENTINO                                                21

   SPINELLO ARETINO                                                   27

   GHERARDO STARNINA                                                  41

   LIPPO                                                              47

   DON LORENZO MONACO                                                 53

   TADDEO BARTOLI                                                     59

   LORENZO DI BICCI                                                   65

   THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE SECOND PART                            75

   JACOPO DELLA QUERCIA [JACOPO DELLA FONTE]                          89


   DELLO                                                             105

   NANNI D'ANTONIO DI BANCO                                          111

   LUCA DELLA ROBBIA                                                 117

   PAOLO UCCELLO                                                     129

    DI BARTOLUCCIO GHIBERTI]                                         141

   MASOLINO DA PANICALE                                              163

   PARRI SPINELLI                                                    169

   MASACCIO                                                          181


   DONATO [DONATELLO]                                                237

   MICHELOZZO MICHELOZZI                                             257

   INDEX OF NAMES                                                    273



                                                                FACING PAGE
 BERNA            The Agony in the Garden     San Gimignano              4

 DUCCIO           Central Panel: The Majestas Siena: Opera del Duomo    10

 DUCCIO           The Three Maries at the   Siena: Opera del Duomo      10

 BERNARDO DADDI   Altar-piece: Madonna and  Florence: Accademia, 127    26
                   Child Enthroned

 SPINELLO ARETINO The Death of the Virgin   Siena: Pinacoteca, 125      34

   MONACO         The Annunciation          Florence: Accademia, 143    58

 TADDEO BARTOLI   Central Panel of Altar-   Perugia: Pinacoteca         60
                   piece: Madonna, Child,
                   and Angels

 DOMENICO BARTOLI Madonna Orans             Siena: Chapel of the
                                             Refugio                    64

 LORENZO DI BICCI Madonna and Child, with   Empoli: Gallery             70
                   a Donor

 PAOLO UCCELLO    The Battle of San Egidio  London: N. G., 583         134

   PANICALE       Madonna and Child         Empoli: S. Stefano         166

 MASACCIO         The Adoration of the Magi Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich
                                            Museum, 58A                184

 MASACCIO         Madonna Enthroned, with   Brant Broughton: Rev. A.
                  Angel Musicians            F. Sutton's Collection    190


 BERNA                 Madonna and Child      Asciano: S. Francesco     2

 LUCA DI TOMÈ          The Assumption of the  Newhaven, U.S.A.: Jarvis
                                    Virgin     Collection               6

 DUCCIO                The Madonna Enthroned  Siena: Opera del Duomo    8

 DUCCIO                Triptych               London: N. G., 566       12

 ANTONIO VINIZIANO     The Return of S.
                       Ranieri                Pisa: Campo Santo        16
  CASENTINO            Tabernacle             Florence: Arte della     24
 SPINELLO ARETINO      The Annunciation       Arezzo: SS. Annunziata   32

  MONACO              The Coronation of the
                      Virgin                  Florence: Uffizi, 1309   56

 TADDEO BARTOLI       Polyptych               Perugia: Gallery, 9      62

 DONATO (DONATELLO)   David                   Florence: Bargello       86

 JACOPO DELLA         Detail from the Tomb:   Lucca: S. Martino        90
  QUERCIA              Head of Ilaria del

  QUERCIA              Madonna and Child      Bologna: S. Petronio     94

 MATTEO CIVITALI      Tomb of S. Romano       Lucca: S. Romano         96

 MATTEO CIVITALI      Madonna and Child       Lucca: Museo             98

 NICCOLÒ ARETINO       S. Mark   Florence:    Duomo                   102

  DI BANCO             Madonna Della Cintola  Florence: Duomo         114

 LUCA DELLA ROBBIA     Cantoria              Florence: Opera del      118

 LUCA DELLA ROBBIA     Tomb of Bishop
                       Federighi              Florence: S. Trinita    120

 LUCA DELLA ROBBIA     The Madonna of
                        the Roses             Florence: Bargello      122

 ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA   Altar-piece            Arezzo: S. Maria in
                                               Grado                  126

 ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA   The Annunciation       La Verna                126

 GIOVANNI DELLA        The Visitation         Pistoia: S. Giovanni
     ROBBIA                                    Fuorcivitas            128

 PAOLO UCCELLO         The Deluge             Florence: S. Maria      136
 PAOLO UCCELLO         Portraits              Paris: Louvre, 1272     138

 LORENZO GHIBERTI      S. John before Herod   Siena: Baptistery       150

 LORENZO GHIBERTI      Detail: The Fall of
                        Jericho               Florence: Paradise Gate,
                                               the Baptistery         156

 LORENZO GHIBERTI      Detail: The Creation   Florence: Paradise Gate,
 _See also at p. 200    of Eve                 the Baptistery         156

  PANICALE             S. John the Baptist   Castiglione d'Olona:
                                              Baptistery              164
  PANICALE             Madonna and Child     Bremen: Kunsthalle       168

 MASACCIO              The Trinity           Florence: S. Maria       186

 MASACCIO              The Tribute Money     Florence: S. Maria       192
                                              del Carmine

 FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI  The Crucifixion       Florence: S. Maria       198
 LORENZO GHIBERTI      The Sacrifice of      Florence: Bargello       200

 FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI  The Sacrifice of      Florence: Bargello       200
 FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI  The Dome of the       Florence                 216

 FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI  The Old Sacristy of   Florence                 226
                        S. Lorenzo

 DONATO (DONATELLO)    Poggio Bracciolini    Florence: Duomo          240

 DONATO (DONATELLO)    Judith                Florence: Loggia         242
                                              dei Lanzi

 DONATO (DONATELLO)    General Gattamelata   Padua: Piazza di         246
                                              S. Antonio

 DONATO (DONATELLO)    Madonna and Child     Padua: S. Antonio        248

 DONATO (DONATELLO)    Altar Relief: The     Padua: S. Antonio        250
  _See also at p. 86 above_

 MICHELOZZO MICHELOZZI Palazzo Riccardi      Florence                 264


[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After the painting by_ Berna Sanese [da Siena]. _Asciano: Church of S.




If those who labour to become excellent in some art did not very often
have the thread of life cut by death in their best years, I have no
doubt that many intellects would arrive at that rank which is most
desired both by them and by the world. But the short life of men and the
bitterness of various accidents, which threaten them from all sides,
snatch them from us sometimes prematurely, as could be seen in poor
young Berna of Siena, who, although he died young, nevertheless left so
many works that he appears to have lived very long; and those that he
left were made in such a way, that it may well be believed from this
showing that he would have become excellent and rare if he had not died
so soon. In two chapels of S. Agostino in Siena there are seen some
little pictures with figures in fresco, by his hand; and in the church,
on a wall now pulled down in order to make chapels there, was a scene of
a youth led to execution, as well made as it could possibly be imagined,
there being seen expressed in it the pallor and fear of death, in so
lifelike a manner that he deserved therefore the highest praise. Beside
the said youth was a friar painted in a very fine attitude, and, in
short, everything in that work is so vividly wrought that it appears,
indeed, that in this work Berna imagined this event as most horrible, as
it must be, and full of most bitter and cruel terror, seeing that he
portrayed it so well with the brush that the same scene appearing in
reality would not stir greater emotion.

In the city of Cortona, also, besides many other works scattered in many
places in that city, he painted the greater part of the vaulting and of
the walls of the Church of S. Margherita, where to-day is the seat of
the Frati Zoccolanti. From Cortona he went to Arezzo in the year 1369,
exactly when the Tarlati, formerly Lords of Pietramala, had caused
Moccio, a sculptor and architect of Siena, to finish the Convent and the
body of the Church of S. Agostino in that city, in the lesser aisles of
which many citizens had caused chapels and tombs to be made for their
families; and there, in the Chapel of S. Jacopo, Berna painted in fresco
some little scenes of the life of that Saint, and especially vivid is
the story of Marino the swindler, who, having by reason of greed of gold
given his soul to the Devil and made thereunto a written contract in his
own hand, is making supplication to the Saint to free him from this
promise, while a Devil, showing him the contract, is pressing him with
the greatest insistence in the world. In all these figures Berna
expressed the emotions of the mind with much vivacity, and particularly
in the face of Marino, which shows on one side fear, and on the other
the faith and trust that make him hope for his liberation from S. James,
although opposite there is seen the Devil, hideous to a marvel, who is
warmly speaking and declaring his rights to the Saint, who, after having
instilled into Marino extreme penitence for his sin and for the promise
made, is liberating him and leading him back to God. This same story,
says Lorenzo Ghiberti, by the hand of the same man, was in a chapel of
the Capponi, dedicated to S. Nicholas, in S. Spirito at Florence, before
that church was burnt down. After this work, then, Berna painted a great
Crucifix in a chapel of the Vescovado of Arezzo for Messer Guccio di
Vanni Tarlati da Pietramala, and at the foot of the Cross a Madonna, S.
John the Evangelist, and S. Francis, in most sorrowful attitudes,
together with a S. Michelagnolo, with so much diligence that it merits
no small praise, and above all by reason of having been so well
preserved that it appears made only yesterday. Below, moreover, is the
portrait of the said Guccio, kneeling in armour at the foot of the
Cross. In the Pieve of the same city, in the Chapel of the Paganelli, he
painted many stories of Our Lady, and portrayed there after the life the
Blessed Rinieri, a holy man and prophet of that house, who is giving
alms to many beggars who are round him. In S. Bartolommeo, also, he
painted some stories of the Old Testament and the story of the Magi; and
in the Church of Spirito Santo he painted some stories of S. John the
Evangelist, and in certain figures the portrait of himself and of many
of his friends, nobles of that city.


(_San Gimignano. Fresco_)]

Returning after these works to his own country, he made on wood many
pictures both small and great; but he made no long stay there, because,
being summoned to Florence, he painted in S. Spirito the Chapel of S.
Niccolò, which we have mentioned above, and which was much extolled, and
other works that were consumed in the miserable burning of that church.
In the Pieve of San Gimignano in Valdelsa he wrought in fresco some
stories of the New Testament, which he had already very nearly brought
to completion, when, falling by a strange accident from his scaffolding
to the ground, he bruised himself internally in such a manner, and
injured himself so grievously, that in the space of two days, with
greater loss to art than to himself, who went to a better place, he
passed from this life. And the people of San Gimignano, honouring him
much in the way of obsequies, gave to his body honourable burial in the
aforesaid Pieve, holding him after death in the same repute wherein they
had held him in life, and not ceasing for many months to attach round
his tomb epitaphs both Latin and Italian, by reason of the men of that
country being naturally given to fine letters. So, then, they conferred
a suitable reward on the honest labours of Berna, celebrating with their
pens him who had honoured them with his pictures.

Giovanni da Asciano, who was a pupil of Berna, brought to completion the
remainder of that work; and he painted some pictures in the Hospital of
the Scala at Siena, and also some others in the old houses of the Medici
at Florence, which gave him considerable fame. The works of Berna of
Siena date about 1381. And because, besides what has been said, Berna
was passing dexterous in draughtsmanship and was the first who began to
portray animals well, as bears witness a drawing by his hand that is in
our book, all full of wild beasts of diverse sorts, he deserves to be
consummately praised and to have his name held in honour by craftsmen.
His disciple, too, was Luca di Tomè of Siena, who painted many works in
Siena and throughout all Tuscany, and in particular the panel and the
chapel that are in S. Domenico at Arezzo, belonging to the family of the
Dragomanni; which chapel, German in architecture, was very well adorned,
by means of the said panel and of the work that is therein in fresco, by
the hand and by the judgment and genius of Luca of Siena.


(_After the painting by_ Luca di Tomé. _Newhaven, U.S.A.: Jarvis



(_After the panel by Duccio. Siena: Opera del Duomo_)




Without doubt those who are inventors of anything notable receive the
greatest attention from the pens of the writers of history, and this
comes to pass because the first inventions are more observed and held in
greater marvel, by reason of the delight that the novelty of the thing
brings with it, than all the improvements made afterwards by any man
whatsoever when works are brought to the height of perfection, for the
reason that if a beginning were never given to anything, there would be
no advance and improvement in the middle stages, and the end would not
become excellent and of a marvellous beauty. Duccio, then, painter of
Siena and much esteemed, deserved to carry off the palm from those who
came many years after him, since in the pavement of the Duomo of Siena
he made a beginning in marble for the inlaid work of the figures in
chiaroscuro, wherein to-day modern craftsmen have made the marvels that
are seen in them. He applied himself to the imitation of the old manner,
and with very sane judgment gave dignified forms to his figures, which
he fashioned very excellently in spite of the difficulties of such an
art. With his own hand, imitating the pictures in chiaroscuro, he
arranged and designed the beginnings of the said pavement, and he made
in the Duomo a panel that was then placed on the high-altar, and
afterwards removed thence in order to place there the Tabernacle of the
Body of Christ, which is seen there at the present day. In this panel,
according to the description of Lorenzo di Bartolo Ghiberti, there was a
Coronation of Our Lady, wrought, as it were, in the Greek manner, but
blended considerably with the modern. And as it was painted both on the
back part and on the front, the said high-altar being isolated right
round, on the said back part there had been made by Duccio with much
diligence all the principal stories of the New Testament, with very
beautiful little figures. I have sought to learn where this panel is to
be found to-day, but, for all the diligence that I have thereunto used,
I have never been able to discover it, or to learn what Francesco di
Giorgio, the sculptor, did with it when he remade the said tabernacle in
bronze, as well as the marble ornaments that are therein.

He made, likewise, many panels on grounds of gold throughout Siena, and
one in Florence, in S. Trinita, wherein there is an Annunciation. He
painted, next, very many works for diverse churches in Pisa, in Lucca,
and in Pistoia, which were all consummately praised and acquired for him
very great fame and profit. Finally, it is not known where this Duccio
died, nor what relatives, disciples, or wealth he left; it is enough
that, for having left art the heir to his invention of making pictures
of marble in chiaroscuro, he deserves infinite commendation and praise
for such a benefit to art, and that he can be assuredly numbered among
the benefactors who confer advancement and adornment on our profession,
considering that those who go on investigating the difficulties of rare
inventions leave their memory behind them, besides all their marvellous


(_Siena: Opera del Duomo. Panel_)]

They say in Siena that Duccio, in the year 1348, gave the design for the
chapel that is in the square, against the wall of the Palazzo
Principale; and it is read that there lived in his times a sculptor and
architect of passing good talent from the same country, named Moccio,
who made many works throughout all Tuscany, and particularly one in the
Church of S. Domenico in Arezzo, namely, a tomb of marble for one of the
Cerchi, which tomb acts as support and ornament for the organ of the
said church; and although it may appear to some that it is not a very
excellent work, yet, if it is considered that he made it while still a
youth, in the year 1356, it cannot but seem passing good. This man
served in the building of S. Maria del Fiore as under-architect and as
sculptor, making certain works in marble for that fabric; and in Arezzo
he rebuilt the Church of S. Agostino, which was small, in the manner
that it is to-day, and the expense was borne by the heirs of Piero
Saccone de' Tarlati, according as he had ordained before he died in
Bibbiena, a place in the Casentino; and because Moccio erected this
church without any vaulting, and laid the weight of the roof on the
arches of the columns, he exposed himself to a great peril and was truly
too bold. The same man made the Church and Convent of S. Antonio, which,
before the siege of Florence, was at the Porta a Faenza, and to-day is
wholly ruined; and he wrought in sculpture the door of S. Agostino in
Ancona, with many figures and ornaments similar to those which are on
the door of S. Francesco in the same city. In this Church of S. Agostino
he also made the tomb of Fra Zenone Vigilanti, Bishop, and General of
the Order of the said S. Augustine; and finally, he built the Loggia de'
Mercatanti of that city, which has since received, now for one reason
and now for another, many improvements in the modern manner, with
ornaments of various sorts. All these works, although they are in these
days much less than passable, were then much extolled, according to the
standard of knowledge of these men. But returning to our Duccio, his
works date about the year of our salvation 1350.


(_Siena: Duomo. Panel_)]

[Illustration: TRIPTYCH

(_After the panel by Duccio. London: N.G. 566_)





Many who would fain stay in the country where they are born, being torn
by the tooth of envy and oppressed by the tyranny of their
fellow-citizens, take themselves off, and choosing for country those
places where they find that their talent is recognized and rewarded,
they make their works therein; and striving to become very excellent in
order to put to shame, in some sort, those by whom they have been
outraged, they become very often great men, whereas, by staying quietly
in their country, they would peradventure have had little more than a
mediocre success in their arts. Antonio Viniziano, who betook himself to
Florence in the wake of Agnolo Gaddi in order to learn painting, grasped
the good method of working so well that he was not only esteemed and
loved by the Florentines, but also greatly cherished by reason of this
talent and of his other good qualities. Whereupon, being seized by a
wish to show himself in his own city in order to enjoy some fruit of the
fatigues endured by him, he returned to Venice, where, having made
himself known by many works wrought in fresco and in distemper, he was
commissioned by the Signoria to paint one of the walls of the Council
Chamber. This he executed so excellently and with so great majesty that,
according to his merit, he would have obtained an honourable reward; but
the emulation, or rather, the envy of the craftsmen, and the favour that
some gentlemen showed to other painters from abroad, caused the affair
to fall out otherwise. Wherefore the poor Antonio, finding himself thus
crushed and overborne, took the wiser part and returned to Florence,
with the intention never again to consent to return to Venice, and
determined once and for all that his country should be Florence.
Establishing himself, then, in that city, he painted in the cloister of
S. Spirito, in a little arch, a Christ who is calling Peter and Andrew
from their nets, and Zebedee and his sons; and below the three little
arches of Stefano he painted the story of the miracle of Christ with the
loaves and fishes, wherein he showed infinite diligence and lovingness,
as it is clearly seen in the figure of Christ Himself, who, in the air
of His countenance and in His aspect, is showing the compassion that He
has for the multitude, and the ardour of the love wherewith He is
causing the bread to be dispensed. Great affection, likewise, is seen in
the very beautiful action of an Apostle, who is exerting himself greatly
in dispensing the bread from a basket. From this work all who belong to
art learn ever to paint their figures in a manner that they may appear
to be speaking, for otherwise they are not prized. Antonio demonstrated
the same thing on the outer frontal in a little scene of the Manna,
wrought with so great diligence, and finished with so fine grace, that
it can be truly called excellent. Afterwards, in S. Stefano al Ponte
Vecchio, on the predella of the high-altar, he made some stories of S.
Stephen, with so great lovingness that it is not possible to see either
more gracious or more beautiful figures, even if they were done in
miniature. In S. Antonio al Ponte alla Carraja, moreover, he painted the
arch over the door, which, with the whole church, was thrown to the
ground in our own day by Monsignor Ricasoli, Bishop of Pistoia, because
it took away the view from his houses; although, even if he had not done
this, we should to-day, in any case, be deprived of that work, the late
flood of 1557, as it has been said before, having carried away on that
side two arches and the abutment of the bridge on which was built the
said little Church of S. Antonio.


(_After the fresco by_ Antonio Viniziano. _Pisa: Campo Santo_)


Antonio, being summoned after these works to Pisa by the Warden of Works
of the Campo Santo, continued therein the painting of the stories of the
Blessed Ranieri, a holy man of that city, formerly begun by Simone
Sanese, following his arrangement. In the first part of the work painted
by Antonio there is seen, in company with the said Ranieri when he is
embarking in order to return to Pisa, a good number of figures wrought
with diligence, among which is the portrait of Count Gaddo, who died ten
years before, and that of Neri, his uncle, once Lord of Pisa. Among the
said figures, also, that of a maniac is very notable, for, with the
features of madness, with the person writhing in distorted gestures, the
eyes blazing, and the mouth gnashing and showing the teeth, it resembles
a real maniac so greatly that it is not possible to imagine either a
more lifelike picture or one more true to nature. In the next part,
which is beside that named above, three figures (who are marvelling to
see the Blessed Ranieri showing the Devil, in the form of a cat on a
barrel, to a fat host, who has the air of a gay companion, and who, all
fearful, is commending himself to the Saint) can be said to be truly
very beautiful, being very well executed in the attitudes, the manner of
the draperies, the variety of the heads, and all the other parts. Not
far away are the host's womenfolk, and they, too, could not be wrought
with more grace, Antonio having made them with certain tucked-up
garments and with certain ways so peculiar to women who serve in
hostelries, that nothing better can be imagined. Nor could that scene
likewise be more pleasing than it is, wherein the Canons of the Duomo of
Pisa, in very beautiful vestments of those times, no little different
from those that are used to-day and very graceful, are receiving S.
Ranieri at table, all the figures being made with much consideration.
Next, in the painting of the death of the said Saint, he expressed very
well not only the effect of weeping, but also the movement of certain
angels who are bearing his soul to Heaven, surrounded by a light most
resplendent and made with beautiful invention. And truly one cannot but
marvel as one sees, in the bearing of the body of that Saint by the
clergy to the Duomo, certain priests who are singing, for in their
gestures, in the actions of their persons, and in all their movements,
as they chant diverse parts, they bear a marvellous resemblance to a
choir of singers; and in that scene, so it is said, is the portrait of
the Bavarian.[1] In like manner, the miracles that Ranieri wrought as
he was borne to his tomb, and those that he wrought in another place
when already laid to rest therein in the Duomo, were painted with very
great diligence by Antonio, who made there blind men receiving their
sight, paralytics regaining the use of their members, men possessed by
the Devil being delivered, and other miracles, all represented very
vividly. But among all the other figures, that of a dropsical man
deserves to be considered with marvel, for the reason that, with the
face withered, with the lips shrivelled, and with the body swollen, he
is such that a living man could not show more than does this picture the
very great thirst of the dropsical and the other effects of that malady.
A wonderful thing, too, in those times, was a ship that he made in this
work, which, being in travail in a tempest, was saved by that Saint; for
he made therein with great vivacity all the actions of the mariners, and
everything which is wont to befall in such accidents and travailings.
Some are casting into the insatiable sea, without a thought, the
precious merchandize won by so much sweat and labour, others are running
to see to their vessel, which is breaking up, and others, finally, to
other mariners' duties, whereof it would take too long to relate the
whole; it is enough to say that all are made with so great vividness and
beautiful method that it is a marvel. In the same place, below the lives
of the Holy Fathers painted by Pietro Laurati of Siena, Antonio made the
body of the Blessed Oliverio (together with the Abbot Panuzio, and many
events of their lives), in a sarcophagus painted to look like marble;
which figure is very well painted. In short, all these works that
Antonio made in the Campo Santo are such that they have been universally
held, and with great reason, the best of all those that have been
wrought by many excellent masters at various times in that place, for
the reason that, besides the particulars mentioned, the fact that he
painted everything in fresco, never retouching any part on the dry,
brought it about that up to our day they have remained so vivid in the
colouring that they can teach the followers of that art and make them
understand how greatly the retouching of works in fresco with other
colours, after they are dry, causes injury to their pictures and
labours, as it has been said in the treatise on Theory; for it is a
very certain fact that they are aged, and not allowed to be purified by
time, by being covered with colours that have a different body, being
tempered with gums, with tragacanths, with eggs, with size, or some
other similar substance, which tarnishes what is below, and does not
allow the course of time and the air to purify that which has been truly
wrought in fresco on the soft plaster, as they would have done if other
colours had not been superimposed on the dry.

[Footnote 1: _I.e._, Emperor.]

Having finished this work, which, being truly worthy of all praise,
brought him honourable payment from the Pisans, who loved him greatly
ever afterwards, Antonio returned to Florence, where, at Nuovoli without
the Porta a Prato, he painted in a shrine, for Giovanni degli Agli, a
Dead Christ, the story of the Magi with many figures, and a very
beautiful Day of Judgment. Summoned, next, to the Certosa, he painted
for the Acciaiuoli, who built that place, the panel of the high-altar,
which was consumed by fire in our day by reason of the inadvertence of a
sacristan of that monastery, who left the thurible full of fire hanging
from the altar, wherefore the panel was burnt, and afterwards the altar
was made by those monks, as it stands to-day, entirely of marble. In
that same place, also, the same master made in fresco, over a wardrobe
that is in the said chapel, a Transfiguration of Christ which is very
beautiful. And because he studied the science of herbs in Dioscorides,
being much inclined thereunto by nature, and delighting to understand
the property and virtue of each one of them, at last he abandoned
painting and gave himself to the distilling of simples and to seeking
them out with all diligence. Changing thus from painter to physician,
for a long time he followed this art. Finally, falling sick from disease
of the stomach, or, as others say, from plague caught while acting as
physician, he finished the course of his life at the age of
seventy-four, in the year 1384, when there was a very great plague in
Florence, having been no less expert as physician than he was diligent
as painter; wherefore, having made infinite experiments in medicine by
means of those who had availed themselves of him in their necessities,
he left to the world a very good name for himself in both one and the
other of these arts. Antonio drew very graciously with the pen, and so
well in chiaroscuro, that some drawings by him which are in our book,
wherein he made the little arch of S. Spirito, are the best of those
times. A disciple of Antonio was Gherardo Starnina, the Florentine, who
imitated him greatly; and Paolo Uccello, who was likewise his disciple,
did him no small honour.

The portrait of Antonio Viniziano, by his own hand, is in the Campo
Santo in Pisa.




Now that the fame and the renown of the pictures of Giotto and his
disciples had been heard for many years, many, desirous of acquiring
fame and riches by means of the art of painting, and animated by zealous
aspirations and by the inclination of nature, began to advance towards
the improvement of the art, with a firm belief that, exercising
themselves therein, they would surpass in excellence both Giotto and
Taddeo and the other painters. Among these was one Jacopo di Casentino,
who, being born, as it is read, of the family of Messer Cristoforo
Landino of Pratovecchio, was apprenticed by a friar of the Casentino,
then Prior at the Sasso della Vernia, to Taddeo Gaddi, while Taddeo was
working in that convent, to the end that he might learn drawing and
colouring in the art, wherein in a few years he succeeded so well that,
betaking himself to Florence and executing many works in company with
Giovanni da Milano in the service of Taddeo their master, he was made to
paint the shrine of the Madonna of the Mercato Vecchio, with the panel
in distemper, and likewise the one at the corner of the Piazza di S.
Niccolò and the Via del Cocomero, which were restored a few years ago,
both one and the other, by a worse master than was Jacopo; and for the
Dyers he painted that which is in S. Nofri, at the corner of the wall of
their garden, opposite to S. Giuseppe. In the meanwhile, the vaults of
Orsanmichele over the twelve piers having been brought to a finish, a
low rustic roof was placed upon them, in order to pursue as soon as
might be possible the building of that palace, which was to be the
granary of the Commune; and it was given to Jacopo di Casentino, as a
person then much practised, to paint these vaults, with instructions
that he should make there, as he did, together with the patriarchs, some
prophets and the chiefs of the tribes, which were in all sixteen figures
on a ground of ultramarine, to-day half spoilt, not to mention the other
ornaments. Next, on the walls below and on the piers, he made many
miracles of the Madonna, and other works that are recognized by the

This work finished, Jacopo returned to the Casentino, and after he had
made many works in Pratovecchio, in Poppi, and other places in that
valley, he betook himself to Arezzo, which then governed itself with the
counsel of sixty of its richest and most honoured citizens, to whose
care was committed the whole administration. There, in the principal
chapel of the Vescovado, he painted a story of S. Martin, and in the
Duomo Vecchio, now in ruins, a number of pictures, among which was the
portrait of Pope Innocent VI, in the principal chapel. Next, in the
Church of S. Bartolommeo, for the Chapter of the Canons of the Pieve, he
painted the wall where the high-altar is, and the Chapel of S. Maria
della Neve; and in the old Company of S. Giovanni de' Peducci he made
many stories of that Saint, which to-day are covered with whitewash. In
the Church of S. Domenico, likewise, he painted the Chapel of S.
Cristofano, portraying there from nature the Blessed Masuolo, who is
liberating from prison a merchant of the Fei family, who caused that
chapel to be built; which Blessed Masuolo, as prophet, predicted many
misadventures to the Aretines in his lifetime. In the Church of S.
Agostino, in the chapel and on the altar of the Nardi, he painted in
fresco some stories of S. Laurence, with marvellous manner and

[Illustration: TABERNACLE

(_After_ Jacopo di Casentino. _Florence: Arte della Lana_)


And because he exercised himself also in the things of architecture, by
order of the sixty aforesaid citizens he reconducted under the walls of
Arezzo the water that comes from the foot of the hill of Pori, three
hundred braccia distant from the city. This water, in the time of the
Romans, had been brought first to the theatre, whereof the remains are
still there, and from that theatre, which was on the hill where to-day
there is the fortress, to the amphitheatre of the same city, on the
plain; but these edifices and conduits were wholly ruined and spoilt by
the Goths. Jacopo, then, as it has been said, having brought this
water below the walls, made the fountain which was then called the Fonte
Guizianelli, and which is now named, by the corruption of the word, the
Fonte Viniziana; this work endured from that time, which was the year
1354, up to the year 1527, and no more, for the reason that the plague
of that year, the war that came afterwards, the fact that many
intercepted the water at their own convenience for the use of their
gardens, and still more the fact that Jacopo did not sink it, brought it
about that to-day it is not, as it should be, standing.

The while that the aqueduct was going on being built, Jacopo, not
leaving aside his painting, wrought many scenes from the acts of Bishop
Guido and Piero Sacconi in the palace that was in the old citadel, now
in ruins; for these men, both in peace and in war, had done great and
honourable deeds for that city. In the Pieve, likewise, below the organ,
he wrought the story of S. Matthew and many other works. And so, making
works with his own hand throughout the whole city, he showed to Spinello
Aretino the principles of that art which was taught to him by Agnolo,
and which Spinello taught afterwards to Bernardo Daddi, who, working in
his own city, honoured it with many beautiful works of painting, which,
together with his other most noble qualities, brought it about that he
was much honoured by his fellow-citizens, who employed him much in
magistracies and in other public affairs. The paintings of Bernardo were
many and in much esteem, and above all the Chapel of S. Lorenzo and of
S. Stefano, belonging to the Pulci and Berardi, in S. Croce, and many
other paintings in diverse places in the said church. Finally, having
made some pictures over the gates of the city of Florence on the inner
side, he died, laden with years, and was given honourable burial in S.
Felicita, in the year 1380.

But returning to Jacopo; besides what has been told, in his time, in the
year 1350, there was founded the Company and Confraternity of Painters;
for the masters who were then living, both those of the old Greek manner
and those of the new manner of Cimabue, being a great number, and
reflecting that the arts of design had had their new birth in
Tuscany--nay rather, in Florence itself--created the said Company under
the name and protection of S. Luke the Evangelist, both in order to
render praise and thanks to God in its oratory, and also to come
together sometimes and to give succour, in spiritual matters as well as
in temporal, to anyone who on occasion might have need of it; which
custom is also in use among many Guilds in Florence, but was much more
so in ancient times. Their first oratory was the principal chapel of the
Hospital of S. Maria Nuova, which was conceded to them by the family of
the Portinari. And those who were the first governors of the said
Company, with the title of captains, were six, besides two counsellors
and two treasurers, as it may be seen in the old book of the said
Company, begun at that time, whereof the first chapter begins thus:
"These articles and ordinances were drawn up and made by good and
discreet men of the Guild of Painters in Florence, and at the time of
Lapo Gucci, painter; Vanni Cinuzzi, painter; Corsino Buonaiuti, painter;
Pasquino Cenni, painter; Segna d'Antignano, painter. The counsellors
were Bernardo Daddi and Jacopo di Casentino, painters; and the
treasurers, Consiglio Gherardi and Domenico Pucci, painters."

The said Company being created in this way, at the request of the
captains and of the others Jacopo di Casentino painted the panel of
their chapel, making therein a S. Luke who is portraying Our Lady in a
picture, and on one side of the predella the men of the Company, and on
the other all the women, kneeling. From this beginning, sometimes
assembling and sometimes not, this Company has continued up to its
arrival at the condition wherein it stands to-day, as it is narrated in
its new articles, approved by the most Illustrious Lord Duke Cosimo,
most benign protector of these arts of design.

Finally, being heavy with years and much fatigued, Jacopo returned to
the Casentino, and died in Pratovecchio at the age of eighty, and was
buried by his relatives and friends in S. Agnolo, the Abbey of the Order
of Camaldoli, without Pratovecchio. His portrait, by the hand of
Spinello, was in the Duomo Vecchio, in a story of the Magi; and of the
manner of his drawing there is an example in our book.


(_Florence: Accademia, 127. Panel_)]




Luca Spinelli having gone to dwell in Arezzo on one of the several
occasions when the Ghibellines were driven out of Florence, there was
born to him in that city a son, to whom he gave the name of Spinello, so
much inclined by nature to be a painter, that almost without a master,
while still a boy, he knew what many exercised under the discipline of
the best masters do not know; and what is more, having had friendship
with Jacopo di Casentino while he worked in Arezzo, and having learnt
something from him, before he was twenty years of age he was by a long
way a much better master, young as he was, than was Jacopo himself,
already an old painter. Spinello, then, began to be reputed a good
painter, and Messer Dardano Acciaiuoli, having caused the Church of S.
Niccolò to be built near the Sala del Papa, behind S. Maria Novella, in
the Via della Scala, and having given burial therein to one his brother,
a Bishop, caused him to paint the whole of that church in fresco with
stories of S. Nicholas, Bishop of Bari; and he delivered it completely
finished in the year 1334, having been at work on it two years without
ceasing. In this work Spinello acquitted himself so well, both in the
colouring and in the design, that up to our own day the colours had
remained very well preserved and the excellence of the figures was
clearly visible, when, a few years since, they were in great part spoilt
by a fire that burst out unexpectedly in that church, which had been
unwisely filled with straw by some foolish men who made use of it as a
barn or storehouse for straw. Attracted by the fame of this work, Messer
Barone Capelli, citizen of Florence, caused Spinello to paint in fresco,
in the principal chapel of S. Maria Maggiore, many stories of the
Madonna and some of S. Anthony the Abbot, and near these the
consecration of that very ancient church, consecrated by Pope Paschal,
second of that name; and all this Spinello wrought so well that it
appears made all in one day, and not in many months, as it was. Beside
the said Pope is the portrait of Messer Barone himself from the life, in
the dress of those times, made very well and with very good judgment.
This chapel finished, Spinello painted in fresco, in the Church of the
Carmine, the Chapel of S. James and S. John, the Apostles, wherein,
among other things, there is wrought with much diligence the scene when
the wife of Zebedee, mother of James, is demanding of Jesus Christ that
He should cause one of her sons to sit on the right hand of the Father
in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the other on the left; and a little beyond
are seen Zebedee, James, and John abandoning their nets and following
Christ, with liveliness and admirable manner. In another chapel of the
same church, which is beside the principal chapel, Spinello made, also
in fresco, some stories of the Madonna, and the Apostles appearing to
her miraculously before her death, and likewise the moment when she dies
and is then borne to Heaven by the Angels. And because the scene was
large and the diminutive chapel, which was not longer than ten braccia
and not higher than five, would not contain the whole, and above all the
Assumption of Our Lady herself, Spinello, with beautiful judgment,
caused it to curve round within the length of the picture, on to a part
where Christ and the Angels are receiving her. In a chapel in S. Trinita
he made in fresco a very beautiful Annunciation; and in the Church of S.
Apostolo, on the panel of the high-altar, he made in distemper the Holy
Spirit being sent down on the Apostles in tongues of fire. In S. Lucia
de' Bardi, likewise, he painted a little panel, and another in S. Croce,
larger, for the Chapel of S. Giovanni Battista, which was painted by

After these works, being recalled to Arezzo by the sixty citizens who
governed that place, by reason of the great name that he had acquired
while working in Florence, he was made by the Commune to paint the story
of the Magi in the Church of the Duomo Vecchio, without the city, and,
in the Chapel of S. Gismondo, a S. Donatus who is slaying a serpent
with his benediction. In like manner, he made diverse figures on many
pilasters in that Duomo, and, on a wall, the Magdalene anointing the
feet of Christ in the house of Simon; with other pictures, whereof there
is no need to make mention, since that church, which was full of tombs,
of bones of saints, and of other memorable things, is to-day wholly
ruined. I will say, indeed, to the end that there may at least remain
this memory of it, that it was erected by the Aretines more than
thirteen hundred years since, at the time when first they came into the
faith of Jesus Christ, converted by S. Donatus, who was afterwards
Bishop of that city; and that it was dedicated to his name, and richly
adorned, both within and without, with very ancient spoils. The
ground-plan of this edifice, whereof we have discoursed at length in
another place, was divided without into sixteen sides, and within into
eight, and all were full of the spoils of those temples which before had
been dedicated to the idols; and it was, in short, as beautiful as a
temple thus made and very ancient can be, when it was destroyed.

After the many pictures made in the Duomo, Spinello painted in S.
Francesco, in the Chapel of the Marsuppini, Pope Honorius confirming and
approving the Order of that Saint, and made there from nature the
portrait of Innocent IV, from whatsoever source he had it. He painted
also in the same church, in the Chapel of S. Michelagnolo, many stories
of him, in the place where the bells are rung; and a little below, in
the Chapel of Messer Giuliano Baccio, an Annunciation, with other
figures, which are much praised; all which works made in this church
were wrought in fresco, with very resolute handling, from 1334 up to
1338. Next, in the Pieve of the same city, he painted the Chapel of S.
Pietro e S. Paolo, and below it, that of S. Michelagnolo; and, for the
Confraternity of S. Maria della Misericordia, he painted in fresco, on
the same side of the church, the Chapel of S. Jacopo e S. Filippo; and
over the principal door of the Confraternity, which opens on to the
square--namely, on the arch--he painted a Pietà, with a S. John, at the
request of the Rectors of that Confraternity, which had its origin in
the following way. A certain number of good and honourable citizens had
begun to go about collecting alms for the poor who were ashamed to beg,
and to succour them in all their needs: and in the year of the plague of
1348, by reason of the great name acquired by these good men for the
Confraternity in assisting the poor and the sick, in burying the dead,
and in doing other similar works of charity, so many were the legacies,
the donations, and the inheritances that were left to it, that it
inherited the third of the riches of Arezzo; and the same came to pass
in the year 1383, when there was likewise a great plague. Spinello,
then, belonging to this Company, it was often his turn to visit the
sick, to bury the dead, and to do other similar pious exercises, such as
the best citizens of that city have ever done and still do to-day; and
in order to make some memorial of this in his pictures, he painted for
that Company, on the façade of the Church of S. Laurentino e S.
Pergentino, a Madonna who, having her mantle open in front, has under it
the people of Arezzo, among whom are portrayed from life many of the
chief men of the Confraternity, with their wallets on their shoulders
and with wooden hammers in their hands, like to those that they use for
knocking at the doors when they go seeking alms. In like manner, for the
Company of the Annunciation he painted the great shrine that is without
the church, and part of a portico that is opposite to it, and the panel
of that Company, wherein there is likewise an Annunciation in distemper.
A work of Spinello's, likewise, is the panel which is now in the Church
of the Nuns of S. Giusto, wherein a little Christ, who is in the arms of
His mother, is marrying S. Catherine, together with six little scenes,
with small figures, of her acts; and it is much praised.


(_After the fresco by_ Spinello Aretino. _Arezzo: SS. Annunziata_)


Being next summoned to the famous Abbey of Camaldoli in the Casentino,
in the year 1361, he made for the hermits of that place the panel of the
high-altar, which was removed in the year 1539, when, that church having
been just rebuilt completely anew, Giorgio Vasari made a new panel, and
painted in fresco the whole of the principal chapel of that abbey, and
the tramezzo[2] of the church, also in fresco, and two other panels.
Summoned thence to Florence by Don Jacopo d'Arezzo, Abbot of S. Miniato
sul Monte, of the Order of Monte Oliveto, Spinello painted on the
vaulting and on the four walls of the sacristy of that monastery,
besides the panel in distemper for the altar, many scenes in fresco of
the life of S. Benedict, with great mastery and with much vivacity of
colouring, learnt by him by means of long practice and of labouring
continually with zeal and diligence, even as in truth all must do who
wish to acquire any art perfectly.

[Footnote 2: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

After these works, the said Abbot departed from Florence, having been
made Governor of the Monastery of S. Bernardo, of the same Order, in his
own country, precisely when the building was almost wholly finished on
the site conceded by the Aretines to those monks, just where there was
the Colosseum; and he caused Spinello to paint in fresco two chapels
that are beside the principal chapel, and two others that are one on
either side of the door that leads into the choir, in the tramezzo[3] of
the church. In one of these, which is beside the principal chapel, is an
Annunciation in fresco, made with very great diligence, and on a wall
beside it is the Madonna ascending the steps of the Temple, accompanied
by Joachim and Anna. In the other chapel is a Christ Crucified, with the
Madonna and S. John, who are bewailing Him, and a S. Bernard kneeling,
who is adoring Him. He made, also, on that inner wall of the church
where there is the altar of Our Lady, the Virgin herself with her Son in
her arms, which was held a very beautiful figure; together with many
others that he made for that church, over the choir of which he painted
Our Lady, S. Mary Magdalene, and S. Bernard, very vividly. In the Pieve
of Arezzo, likewise, in the Chapel of S. Bartolommeo, he made many
scenes of the life of that Saint; and opposite to it, in the other
aisle, in the Chapel of S. Matteo (which is below the organ, and was
painted by Jacopo di Casentino, his master), he made in certain
medallions on the vaulting--besides many stories of that Saint, which
are passing good--the four Evangelists in a bizarre manner, seeing that,
making the busts and members human, he gave to S. John the head of an
eagle, to Mark the head of a lion, to Luke that of an ox, and to Matthew
alone the face of a man, or rather, of an angel.

[Footnote 3: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

Without Arezzo, also, in the Church of S. Stefano, erected by the
Aretines on many columns of granite and of marble in order to honour
and to preserve the memory of many martyrs who were put to death by
Julian the Apostate on that spot, he painted many figures and scenes,
with infinite diligence, and with such a manner of colouring that they
had remained very fresh up to our own day, when, not many years since,
they were ruined. But what was marvellous in that place, besides the
stories of S. Stephen made with figures larger than life, was to see
Joseph, in a story of the Magi, beside himself with joy at the coming of
those Kings, on whom he was gazing with most beautiful manner, while
they were opening their vessels full of treasures and were offering them
to him. A Madonna in that same church, who is handing a rose to the
Infant Christ, was and still is held in so great veneration among the
Aretines, as being a very beautiful and devout figure, that without
regard for any difficulty or expense, when the Church of S. Stefano was
thrown to the ground, they cut the wall away round her, and, binding it
together ingeniously, they bore her into the city and placed her in a
little church, in order to honour her, as they do, with the same
devotion that they showed to her before. Nor should this appear anything
wonderful, because, it having been something peculiar and natural to
Spinello to give to his figures a certain simple grace, which has much
of the modest and the saintly, it appears that the figures that he made
of saints, and above all of the Virgin, breathe out a certain quality of
the saintly and the divine, which moves men to hold them in supreme
reverence; as it may be seen, apart from the said figure, in the Madonna
that is on the Canto degli Albergotti, and in that which is on an outer
wall of the Pieve in the Seteria, and in one of the same sort, likewise,
that is on the Canto del Canale.


(_Siena: Pinacoteca, 125. Panel_)]

By the hand of Spinello, also, on a wall of the Hospital of Spirito
Santo, is a scene of the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, which is
very beautiful; and so, too, are the two scenes below, wherein S. Cosimo
and S. Damiano are cutting off a sound leg from a dead Moor, in order to
attach it to a sick man, from whom they had cut off one that was
mortified; and likewise the very beautiful "Noli me tangere," which is
between those two works. In the Company of the Puraccioli, on the Piazza
di S. Agostino, in a chapel, he made an Annunciation very well
coloured, and in the cloister of that convent he wrought in fresco a
Madonna, a S. James, and a S. Anthony; and he portrayed there a soldier
in armour on his knees, with these words: HOC OPUS FECIT FIERI CLEMENS
DIE 15 MENSIS MAII. Likewise, with regard to the chapel that is in that
church, with paintings of S. Anthony and other Saints, it is known by
the manner that they are by the hand of Spinello, who, shortly
afterwards, working in the Hospital of S. Marco (which is to-day the
Monastery of the Nuns of S. Croce, by reason of their monastery, which
was without the city, having been thrown to the ground), painted a whole
portico with many figures, and portrayed there Pope Gregory IX from
nature, to represent S. Gregory the Pope, who is standing beside a

The Chapel of S. Jacopo e S. Filippo, which is in S. Domenico in the
same city, just as one enters the church, was wrought in fresco by
Spinello with beautiful and resolute handling, as was also the
half-length of S. Anthony painted on the façade of his church, so
beautiful that he appears alive, in the midst of four scenes of his
life; which same scenes, with many more also of the life of S. Anthony,
likewise by the hand of Spinello, are in the Church of S. Giustino, in
the Chapel of S. Antonio. In the Church of S. Lorenzo, on one side, he
made some stories of the Madonna, and without the church he painted her
seated, showing great grace in this work in fresco. In a little hospital
opposite to the Nunnery of S. Spirito, near the gate that leads to Rome,
he painted a portico entirely by his own hand, showing, in a Christ
lying dead in the lap of the Maries, so great genius and judgment in
painting, that he is recognized to have proved himself the peer of
Giotto in design, and to have surpassed him by a long way in colouring.
In the same place, also, he represented Christ seated, with a
theological significance very ingeniously contrived, having placed the
Trinity within a sun in such wise that from each of the three figures
there are seen issuing the same rays and the same splendour. But to this
work, to the great loss, truly, of the lovers of this art, there has
befallen the same thing as to many others, for it was thrown to the
ground in fortifying the city. Without the Church of the Company of the
Trinità there is seen a shrine wrought very well in fresco by Spinello,
containing the Trinity, S. Peter, and S. Cosimo and S. Damiano clothed
in such garments as physicians used to wear in those times.

The while that these works were in progress, Don Jacopo d'Arezzo was
made General of the Congregation of Monte Oliveto, nineteen years after
he had caused many works to be wrought in Florence and in Arezzo, as it
has been said above, by our Spinello; and living, according to the
custom of these dignitaries, at Monte Oliveto Maggiore di Chiusuri in
the district of Siena, as the most honoured seat of that Order, he
conceived a desire to have a very beautiful panel made in that place.
Sending therefore for Spinello, by whom he had found himself very well
served at another time, he caused him to paint in distemper the panel of
the principal chapel, wherein Spinello made an infinite number of
figures both great and small on a ground of gold, with much judgment;
and an ornament being made for it afterwards, carved in half-relief, by
Simone Cini, the Florentine, he made for it in certain parts, with gesso
mixed with size and rather thick, or truly gelatinous, another ornament
which turned out very beautiful, and which was afterwards all overlaid
with gold by Gabriello Saracini, who wrote at the foot of the said panel
these three names:

                          IN THE YEAR 1385.

This work finished, Spinello returned to Arezzo, having received from
that General and from the other monks, besides payment, many kindnesses;
but making no long stay there, because Arezzo was harassed by the Guelph
and Ghibelline parties, and was sacked in those days, he betook himself
with his family and his son Parri, who was studying painting, to
Florence, where he had friends and relatives enough. There, without the
Porta a S. Piero Gattolini, on the Strada Romana, where one turns to go
to Pazzolatico, he painted an Annunciation, as it were to pass the time,
in a shrine that to-day is half-ruined, and other pictures in another
shrine near the hostelry of Galluzzo.

He was then summoned to Pisa in order to finish, below the stories of S.
Ranieri in the Campo Santo, certain stories that were lacking in a space
that had remained not painted; and in order to connect them together
with those that had been made by Giotto, Simone Sanese, and Antonio
Viniziano, he made in that place, in fresco, six stories of S. Petito
and S. Epiro. In the first is S. Epiro, as a youth, being presented by
his mother to the Emperor Diocletian, and being made General of the
armies that were to march against the Christians; and also Christ
appearing to him as he is riding, showing him a white Cross and
commanding the Saint not to persecute Him. In another story there is
seen the Angel of the Lord giving to that Saint, who is riding, the
banner of the Faith with the white Cross on a field of red, which has
been ever since the ensign of the Pisans, by reason of S. Epiro having
prayed to God that He should give him a standard to bear against His
enemies. Beside this story there is seen another, wherein, a fierce
battle being contested between the Saint and the pagans, many angels in
armour are combating to the end that he may be victorious. Here Spinello
wrought many things worthy of consideration for those times, when the
art had as yet neither strength nor any good method of expressing
vividly with colour the conceptions of the mind; and such, among the
many other things that are there, were two soldiers, who, having gripped
each other by the beard with one hand, are seeking with their naked
swords, which they have in the other hand, to rob each other of life,
showing in their faces and in all the movements of their members the
desire that each has to come out victorious, and how fearless and fiery
of soul they are, and how courageous beyond all belief. And so, too,
among those who are combating on horseback, that knight is very well
painted who is pinning to the ground with his lance the head of his
enemy, whom he has hurled backwards from his horse, all dismayed.
Another story shows the same Saint when he is presented to the Emperor
Diocletian, who examines him with regard to the Faith, and afterwards
causes him to be put to the torture, and to be placed in a furnace,
wherein he remains unscathed, while the ministers of torture, who are
showing great readiness there on every side, are burnt in his stead. And
in short, all the other actions of that Saint are there, up to his
beheading, after which his soul is borne to Heaven; and, for the last,
we see the bones and relics of S. Petito being borne from Alexandria to
Pisa. This whole work, both in colouring and in invention, is the most
beautiful, the most finished, and the best executed that Spinello made,
a circumstance which can be recognized from this, that it is so well
preserved as to make everyone who sees it to-day marvel at its

Having finished this work in the Campo Santo, he painted many stories of
S. Bartholomew, S. Andrew, S. James, and S. John, the Apostles, in a
chapel in S. Francesco, which is the second from the principal chapel,
and perchance he would have remained longer at work in Pisa, since in
that city his works were known and rewarded; but seeing the city all in
confusion and uproar by reason of Messer Pietro Gambacorti having been
slain by the Lanfranchi, citizens of Pisa, he returned once again with
all his family, being now old, to Florence, where, in the one year and
no more that he stayed there, he made many stories of the lives and
deaths of S. Philip and S. James in the Chapel of the Macchiavelli in S.
Croce, dedicated to those Saints; and as for the panel for the said
chapel, being desirous to return to Arezzo, his native city, or, to
speak more exactly, held by him as his native city, he wrought it in
Arezzo, and from there sent it finished in the year 1400.

Having returned there, then, at the age of seventy-seven or more, he was
received lovingly by his relatives and friends, and was ever afterward
cherished and honoured up to the end of his life, which was at the age
of ninety-two. And although he was very old when he returned to Arezzo,
and, having ample means, could have done without working, yet, as one
who was ever used to working, he knew not how to take repose, and
undertook to make for the Company of S. Agnolo in that city certain
stories of S. Michael, which he sketched in red on the intonaco of the
wall, in that rough fashion wherein the old craftsmen used generally to
do it; and in one corner, for a pattern, he wrought and coloured
completely a single story, which gave satisfaction enough. Then, having
agreed on the price with those who had charge thereof, he finished the
whole wall of the high-altar, wherein he represented Lucifer fixing his
seat in the North; and he made there the Fall of the Angels, who are
being transformed into devils and raining down to earth; while in the
air is seen a S. Michael, who is doing combat with the ancient serpent
of seven heads and ten horns; and below, in the centre, there is a
Lucifer, already transformed into a most hideous beast. And Spinello
took so much pleasure in making him horrible and deformed, that it is
said (so great, sometimes, is the power of imagination) that the said
figure painted by him appeared to him in a dream, asking Spinello where
he had seen him so hideous, and why he had offered him such an affront
with his brushes; and that he, awaking from his sleep, being unable to
cry out by reason of his fear, shook with a mighty trembling, insomuch
that his wife, awaking, came to his rescue. But he was none the less
thereby in peril--his heart being much strained--of dying on the spot by
reason of such an accident; and although he lived a little afterwards,
he was half mad, with staring eyes, and he slipped into the grave,
leaving great sorrow to his friends, and to the world two sons, of whom
one was Forzore, the goldsmith, who worked admirably at Florence in
niello, and the other was Parri, who, imitating his father, laboured
continually at painting, and surpassed him by a long way in design. This
sinister misfortune, for all that Spinello was old, was a great grief to
the Aretines, who were robbed of the so great talent and excellence that
were his. He died at the age of ninety-two, and was given burial at
Arezzo in S. Agostino, where there is still seen to-day a tombstone with
a coat of arms made according to his fancy, containing a hedgehog.
Spinello knew much better how to draw than how to execute a painting, as
it may be seen in our book of the drawings of diverse ancient painters,
in two Evangelists in chiaroscuro and a S. Louis, drawn by his hand and
very beautiful. And the portrait of the same man, which is seen above,
was copied by me from one that was in the Duomo Vecchio before it was
pulled down. His pictures date from 1380 up to 1400.




Verily he who journeys far from his own country, dwelling in those of
other men, gains very often a disposition and character of a fine
temper, for, in seeing abroad diverse honourable customs, even though he
might be perverse in nature, he learns to be tractable, amiable, and
patient, with much greater ease than he would have done by remaining in
his own country. And in truth, he who desires to refine men in the life
of the world need seek no other fire and no better touchstone than this,
seeing that those who are rough by nature are made gentle, and the
gentle become more gracious. Gherardo di Jacopo Starnina, painter of
Florence, being nobler in blood than in nature, and very harsh and rough
in his manners, brought more harm thereby on himself than on his
friends; and more harm still would this have brought on him if he had
not dwelt a long time in Spain, where he learnt gentleness and courtesy,
seeing that in those parts he became in such wise contrary to that first
nature of his, that on his returning to Florence an infinite number of
those who bore him deadly hatred before his departure, received him on
his return with very great lovingness, and ever after loved him very
straitly, so thoroughly had he become gentle and courteous.

Gherardo was born in Florence in the year 1354, and growing up, as one
who had an intellect inclined by nature to design, he was placed with
Antonio Viniziano in order to learn to draw and to paint; and having in
the course of many years not only learnt drawing and the practice of
colouring, but also given proof of himself in certain works wrought with
beautiful manner, he took his leave of Antonio, and beginning to work
by himself he made in S. Croce, in the Chapel of the Castellani (which
was given him to paint by Michele di Vanni, an honoured citizen of that
family), many stories in fresco of S. Anthony the Abbot, and also some
of S. Nicholas the Bishop, with so great diligence and with so beautiful
a manner that they caused him to become known to certain Spaniards, who
were then staying in Florence on some business of their own, as an
excellent painter, and what is more, caused them to take him into Spain
to their King, who saw him and received him very willingly, and above
all because there was then a dearth of good painters in that land. Nor
was it a great labour to persuade him to leave his country, for the
reason that, having had rough words with certain people in Florence
after the affair of the Ciompi and after Michele di Lando had been made
Gonfalonier, he was rather in peril of his life than otherwise. Going,
then, to Spain, and executing many works for that King, he became, by
reason of the great rewards that he gained for his labours, as rich and
highly honoured as any man of his own rank; wherefore, being desirous to
make himself seen and known by his friends and relatives in that better
state, he returned to his country, and was there much cherished and
received lovingly by all the citizens.

Nor was it long before he was commissioned to paint the Chapel of S.
Girolamo in the Carmine, where, making many stories of that Saint, he
painted, in the story of Paola and Eustachio and Jerome, certain
costumes that the Spaniards wore at that time, with very characteristic
invention, and with an abundance of manners and conceptions in the
attitudes of the figures. Among other things, painting a scene of S.
Jerome learning his first letters, he made a master who has caused a boy
to climb on the back of another and is beating him with his rod, in a
manner that the poor lad, kicking out with his legs by reason of the
great pain, appears to be howling and trying to bite the ear of the one
who is holding him; and all this Gherardo expressed gracefully and very
charmingly, as one who was going on investigating on every side the
things of nature. Likewise, in the scene where S. Jerome, at the point
of death, is making his testament, he counterfeited some friars with
beautiful and very ready manner; for while some are writing and others
earnestly listening and gazing on him, they are all hanging with great
affection on the words of their master.

This work having acquired for Starnina rank and fame among the
craftsmen, and his ways of life, with the sweetness of his manners,
bringing him very great reputation, the name of Gherardo was famous
throughout all Tuscany--nay, throughout all Italy--when, being called to
Pisa in order to paint in that city the Chapter-house of S. Niccola, he
sent thither in his stead Antonio Vite of Pistoia, in order not to leave
Florence. This Antonio, having learnt the manner of Starnina under his
teaching, wrought in that chapter-house the Passion of Jesus Christ, and
delivered it finished in that fashion wherein it is seen to-day, in the
year 1403, to the great satisfaction of the Pisans. Starnina having then
finished, as it has been said, the Chapel of the Pugliesi, and the
Florentines being greatly pleased with the stories of S. Jerome that he
made there, by reason of his having represented vividly many expressions
and attitudes that had never been depicted up to that time by the
painters who had lived before him, the Commune of Florence--in the year
when Gabriel Maria, Lord of Pisa, sold that city to the Florentines at
the price of 200,000 crowns, after Giovanni Gambacorti had sustained a
siege of thirteen months, and had at last agreed to the sale--caused him
to paint in memory of this, on the façade of the Palace of the Guelph
party, a picture of S. Dionysius the Bishop, with two angels, and below
him the city of Pisa, portrayed from nature; in which work he used so
great diligence in everything, and particularly in colouring it in
fresco, that in spite of the air, the rains, and its being turned to the
north, it has always remained and still remains at the present day a
picture worthy of much praise, by reason of its having been preserved as
fresh and beautiful as though it had only just been painted. Gherardo,
then, having come by reason of this and of his other works into very
great repute and fame, both in his own country and abroad, envious
death, ever the enemy of noble actions, cut short in the finest period
of his labour the infinite expectation of much greater works, for which
the world was looking from him; for at the age of forty-nine he came
unexpectedly to his end, and was buried with most honourable obsequies
in the Church of S. Jacopo Sopra Arno.

Disciples of Gherardo were Masolino da Panicale, who was first an
excellent goldsmith and afterwards a painter, and certain others, of
whom, seeing that they were not very able men, there is no need to
speak. The portrait of Gherardo is in the aforesaid story of S. Jerome,
in one of the figures that are round that Saint when he is dying, in
profile, with a cap wound round the head and wearing a buckled mantle.
In our book are certain drawings by Gherardo, made with the pen on
parchment, which are not otherwise than passing good.




Invention has ever been held, and ever will be, the true mother of
architecture, of painting, and of poetry--nay, of all the finer arts
also, and of all the marvellous works that are made by men, for the
reason that it pleases the craftsmen much, and displays their fantasies
and the caprices of fanciful brains that seek out variety in all things;
and these discoveries ever exalt with marvellous praise all those who,
employing themselves in honourable ways, give a form marvellous in
beauty, under the covering and shadow of a veil, to the works that they
make, now praising others dexterously, and now blaming them without
being openly understood. Lippo, then, a painter of Florence, who was as
rare and as varied in invention as he was truly unfortunate in his works
and in his life--for it lasted but a little time--was born in Florence,
about the year of our salvation 1354; and although he applied himself to
the art of painting very late, when already grown up, nevertheless, he
was so well assisted by nature, which inclined him to this, and by his
intelligence, which was very beautiful, that soon he produced therein
marvellous fruits. Wherefore, beginning his labours in Florence, he made
in S. Benedetto (a very large and beautiful monastery of the Order of
Camaldoli, without the Porta a Pinti, and now in ruins) many figures
that were held very beautiful, and in particular a chapel painted
entirely with his own hand, which showed how soon diligent study can
produce great works in one who labours honourably through desire of

Being summoned from Florence to Arezzo, he made in fresco, for the
Chapel of the Magi in the Church of S. Antonio, a large scene wherein
the Magi are adoring Christ; and in the Vescovado he painted the Chapel
of S. Jacopo e S. Cristofano for the family of the Ubertini. All these
works were very beautiful, Lippo showing invention in the composition of
the scenes and in the colouring, and above all because he was the first
who began to sport, so to speak, with the figures, and to awaken the
minds of those who came after him; a thing which had not even been
suggested, much less put into use, before his time.

Having afterwards wrought many works in Bologna, and a panel in Pistoia
which was passing good, he returned to Florence, where, in the year
1383, he painted the stories of S. John the Evangelist in the Chapel of
the Beccuti, in S. Maria Maggiore. On the wall of the church beside this
chapel, which is on the left hand of the principal chapel, there follow
six stories of the same Saint by the same man's hand, very well composed
and ingeniously ordered, wherein, among other things, there is very
vividly depicted a S. John who is causing his own garment to be placed
by S. Dionysius the Areopagite over some corpses, which are returning to
life in the name of Jesus Christ, to the great marvel of some who, being
present at this deed, can scarce believe their own eyes. In the figures
of the dead, likewise, there is seen very great mastery in some
foreshortenings, whereby it is clearly demonstrated that Lippo knew, and
in part grappled with, certain difficulties of the art of painting. It
was Lippo, likewise, who painted the folding leaves in the Church of S.
Giovanni--namely, those of the shrine wherein are the angels and the S.
John in relief by the hand of Andrea; and on them he wrought very
diligently in distemper stories of S. John the Baptist. And because he
also delighted in working in mosaic, in the said S. Giovanni, over the
door that leads to the Misericordia, between the windows, he made a
beginning, which was held very beautiful and the best work in mosaic
which had been made in that place up to that time; and he also restored
some works in that church, likewise in mosaic, which were spoilt.
Without Florence, too, in S. Giovanni fra l'Arcora without the Porta a
Faenza, a church which was destroyed in the siege of the said city, he
painted in fresco, beside a Passion of Christ wrought by Buffalmacco,
many figures which were held very beautiful by all who saw them. In
like manner, in certain little hospitals at the Porta a Faenza, and in
S. Antonio within the said gate, near the hospital, he painted certain
beggars in fresco, in diverse beautiful manners and attitudes; and
within the cloisters, with beautiful and new invention, he painted a
vision wherein he represented S. Anthony gazing on the snares of the
world, and beside these the will and the desires of men, who are drawn
by both the first and the second to the diverse things of this world;
and all this he painted with much thought and judgment. Lippo also
wrought works in mosaic in many parts of Italy, and in the Palace of the
Guelph party in Florence he made a figure with the head glazed; and in
Pisa, also, there are many of his works. But none the less it can be
said that he was truly unfortunate, not only because the greater part of
his labours are now thrown down, having gone to ruin in the havoc of the
siege of Florence, but also because he ended the course of his life very
unhappily; for Lippo being a litigious person and fonder of discord than
of peace, and having one morning used very ugly words towards an
adversary at the tribunal of the Mercanzia,[4] he was waylaid by this
man one evening when he was returning to his house, and stabbed in the
breast with a knife so grievously, that a few days afterwards he died
miserably. His pictures date about 1410.

[Footnote 4: The Tribunal of commerce.]

About the same time as Lippo there was in Bologna another painter,
Dalmasi, also called Lippo, who was an able man, and who painted, among
other works, in the year 1407 (as it may be seen in S. Petronio in
Bologna), a Madonna which is held in great veneration; and in fresco,
the arch over the door of S. Procolo; and in the Church of S. Francesco,
in the tribune of the high-altar, he made a large Christ between S.
Peter and S. Paul, with good grace and manner, and below this work there
is seen his own name written in large letters. He drew passing well, as
it may be seen in our book; and he taught the art to M. Galante da
Bologna, who afterwards drew much better than he, as it may be seen in
the said book, in a portrait from the life, a figure in a short coat
with puffed sleeves.




For a good and religious person, I believe, there must be great
contentment in having ready to his hand some honourable exercise,
whether that of letters, or of music, or of painting, or of any other
liberal or mechanical arts, such as are not blameworthy, but rather
useful and helpful to other men; for the reason that after the divine
offices the time passes honourably with the delight that is taken in the
sweet labours of these pleasant exercises. And to this it may be added
that not only is he esteemed and held in price by others the while that
he lives, provided that they be not envious and malign, but that he is
also honoured after death by all men, by reason of his works and of the
good name that he leaves to those who survive him. And in truth one who
spends his time in this manner, lives in quiet contemplation and without
being molested by those ambitious desires which are almost always seen,
to their shame and loss, in the idle and unoccupied, who are for the
most part ignorant. And even if it comes about that our virtuous man is
sometimes smitten by the malign, so powerful is the force of virtue that
time covers up and buries the malice of the wicked, and the virtuous
man, throughout the ages that follow, remains ever famous and

Don Lorenzo, then, a painter of Florence, was a monk of the Order of
Camaldoli in the Monastery of the Angeli, which monastery was founded in
the year 1294 by Fra Guittone d'Arezzo, of the Militant Order of the
Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ, or rather, as the monks of that Order
were vulgarly called, of the Joyous Friars; and he applied himself in
his earliest years to design and to painting with so great zeal, that he
was afterwards deservedly numbered among the best of the age in that
exercise. The first works of this painter-monk, who held to the manner
of Taddeo Gaddi and his disciples, were in his Monastery of the Angeli,
where, among many other things, he painted the panel of the high-altar,
which is still seen to-day in their church, and which was completely
finished, as it may be seen from letters written below on the ornament,
in the year 1413, when it was set in place. On a panel, likewise, which
was in the Monastery of S. Benedetto, of the same Order of Camaldoli,
which was outside the Porta a Pinti and was destroyed in 1529, in the
siege of Florence, Don Lorenzo painted a Coronation of Our Lady, even as
he had also done in the panel for his own Church of the Angeli; and this
panel, painted for S. Benedetto, is to-day in the first cloister of the
said Monastery of the Angeli, in the Chapel of the Alberti, on the right
hand. About the same time, or perchance before, in S. Trinita at
Florence, he painted in fresco the Chapel of the Ardinghelli, with its
panel, which was much praised at that time; and there he made from
nature the portraits of Dante and of Petrarca. In S. Piero Maggiore he
painted the Chapel of the Fioravanti, and the panel in a chapel in S.
Piero Scheraggio; and in the said Church of S. Trinita he painted the
Chapel of the Bartolini. In S. Jacopo Sopra Arno, also, there is seen a
panel by his hand, very well wrought and executed with infinite
diligence according to the manner of those times. In the Certosa without
Florence, likewise, he painted some pictures with good mastery; and in
S. Michele in Pisa, a monastery of his Order, he painted some panels
that are passing good. And in Florence, in the Church of the Romiti[5]
(also belonging to the Order of Camaldoli), which, being in ruins
together with the monastery, has to-day left no memory but the name to
that quarter on the other side of the Arno, which is called Camaldoli
from the name of that holy place, among other works, he painted a
Crucifix on panel, with a S. John, which were held very beautiful.
Finally, falling sick of a cruel imposthume, which kept him suffering
for many months, he died at the age of fifty-five, and was honourably
buried by his fellow-monks, as his virtues deserved, in the
chapter-house of their monastery.

[Footnote 5: Church of the Hermits.]

And because it often happens, as experience shows, that from one
single germ, with time and by means of the study and intelligence of
men, there spring up many, in the said Monastery of the Angeli, where in
former times the monks ever applied themselves to painting and to
design, not only was the said Don Lorenzo excellent among them, but many
men excellent in the matters of design also flourished there for a long
space of time, both before and after him. Wherefore it appears to me by
no means right to pass over in silence one Don Jacopo, a Florentine, who
lived long before the said Don Lorenzo, for the reason that, even as he
was a very good and very worthy monk, so was he a better writer of large
letters than any who lived either before or after him, not only in
Tuscany, but in all Europe, as it is clearly proved not only by the
twenty very large volumes of choral books that he left in his monastery,
which are the most beautiful, as regards the writing, as well as the
largest that there are perchance in Italy, but also by an infinity of
others which are to be found in Rome, in Venice, and in many other
places, and above all in S. Michele and in S. Mattia di Murano, a
monastery of his Order of Camaldoli; for which works this good father
well deserved, very many years after he had passed to a better life, not
only that Don Paolo Orlandini, a very learned monk of the same
monastery, should celebrate him with many Latin verses, but that his
right hand, wherewith he wrote the said books, should be preserved with
much veneration in a shrine, as it still is, together with that of
another monk called Don Silvestro, who, according to the standard of
those times, illuminated the said books no less excellently than Don
Jacopo had written them. And I, who have seen them many times, remain in
a marvel that they were executed with so much design and with so much
diligence in those times, when the arts of design were little less than
lost; for the works of these monks date about the year of our salvation
1350, more or less, as it may be seen in each of the said books. It is
said, and some old men still remember it, that when Pope Leo X came to
Florence he wished to see the said books and examine them carefully,
remembering that he had heard them much praised to Lorenzo de' Medici
the Magnificent, his father; and that after he had looked at them with
attention and admiration, as they all lay open on the desks of the
choir, he said, "If they were according to the Roman Church, and not,
as they are, according to the monastic use and ordering of Camaldoli, we
would be pleased to take some volumes of them for S. Pietro in Rome,
giving just recompense to the monks"; in which church there were
formerly, and perhaps there still are, two others of them by the hand of
the same monks, both very beautiful. In the same Monastery of the Angeli
there are many ancient embroideries, wrought with very beautiful manner
and with much design by the ancient fathers of that place, while they
were living in perpetual enclosure under the name not of monks but of
hermits, without ever issuing from the monastery, in such wise as do the
sisters and nuns of our own day; which enclosure lasted until the year


(_After the polyptych by_ Don Lorenzo Monaco. _Florence: Uffizi, 1309_)


But to return to Don Lorenzo; he taught Francesco Fiorentino, who, after
his death, painted the shrine that is on the Canto di S. Maria Novella,
at the head of the Via della Scala, on the way to the Sala del Papa; and
he taught another disciple, a Pisan, who painted a Madonna, S. Peter, S.
John the Baptist, S. Francis, and S. Ranieri, and three scenes with
little figures on the predella of the altar, in the Church of S.
Francesco at Pisa, in the Chapel of Rutilio di Ser Baccio Maggiolini;
and this work, painted in 1315, was held passing good for something
wrought in distemper. In my book of drawings I have, by the hand of Don
Lorenzo, the Theological Virtues done in chiaroscuro with good design
and beautiful and graceful manner, insomuch that they are peradventure
better than the drawings of any other master whatsoever of those times.
A passing good painter in the time of Don Lorenzo was Antonio Vite of
Pistoia, who, besides many other works--as it has been said in the Life
of Starnina--painted, in the Palace of the Ceppo at Prato, the life of
Francesco di Marco, founder of that holy place.


(_Florence: Accademia, 143. Panel_)]



(_Perugia: Pinacoteca. Panel_)]



It is the due of those craftsmen who, in order to acquire a name, put
themselves to much fatigue in painting, that their works should be
placed, not in a dark and dishonourable position, wherefore they may be
blamed by those who have no more understanding than this, but in some
spot where, through the nobility of the place, through the lights, and
through the air, they can be rightly seen and studied by all, as was and
still is the public work of the chapel that Taddeo Bartoli, painter of
Siena, wrought in the Palazzo della Signoria in Siena.

Taddeo, then, was the son of Bartolo di Maestro Fredi, who was a
mediocre painter in his day and painted the whole wall (on the left hand
as one enters) of the Pieve of San Gimignano with stories of the Old
Testament; in which work, which in truth was not very good, there may
still be read in the middle this epitaph:


At this time Bartolo must have been young, because in a panel containing
the Circumcision of Our Lord, together with some saints, wrought
likewise by him in the year 1388 in S. Agostino, in the same territory,
on the left hand as one enters the church through the principal door, it
is seen that he had a much better manner both in drawing and in
colouring, seeing that some heads therein are beautiful enough, although
the feet of those figures are in the ancient manner. In short, there are
seen many other works by the hand of Bartolo in those parts.

But to return to Taddeo: the painting of the Chapel of the Palazzo della
Signoria in his native city being entrusted to him, as it has been said,
as the best master of those times, it was wrought by him with so great
diligence, and so greatly honoured with regard to its situation, and
paid for by the Signoria in such a manner, that Taddeo largely increased
his glory and fame thereby; wherefore not only did he afterwards paint
many panels in his own country, to his great honour and infinite profit,
but he was invited with great favour and sought for from the Signoria of
Siena by Francesco da Carrara, Lord of Padua, to the end that he might
go, as he did, to paint certain works in that most noble city; where,
particularly in the Arena and in the Santo, he wrought some panels and
other works with much diligence, to his own great honour and to the
satisfaction of that Lord and of the whole city. Returning afterwards to
Tuscany, he wrought a panel in distemper, which inclines to the manner
of Ugolino Sanese, in San Gimignano; and this panel is to-day behind the
high-altar of the Pieve, and faces the choir of the priests. Going next
to Siena, he did not stay there long before he was invited by one of the
Lanfranchi, the Warden of Works of the Duomo, to Pisa; and betaking
himself thither, he made in fresco, in the Chapel of the Nunziata, the
scene when the Madonna ascends the steps of the Temple, at the head of
which the priest is awaiting her in full canonicals--a highly-finished
work. In the face of this priest he portrayed the said Warden of Works,
and beside him his own self. This work finished, the same Warden of
Works made him paint over the chapel in the Campo Santo a Madonna being
crowned by Jesus Christ, with many angels in very beautiful attitudes
and very well coloured. In like manner, for the Chapel of the Sacristy
of S. Francesco in Pisa Taddeo made a Madonna and some saints on a panel
painted in distemper, placing thereon his name and the year when it was
painted, which was the year 1394. And about this same time he wrought
certain panels in distemper at Volterra, and a panel at Monte Oliveto,
with a Hell in fresco on a wall, wherein he followed the invention of
Dante in so far as relates to the division of the sins and to the form
of the punishments, but in the place itself he either could not or would
not imitate him, or knew not how. He also sent to Arezzo a panel that
is in S. Agostino, wherein he portrayed Pope Gregory XI--namely, the
Pope who brought the Court back to Italy after it had been so many
decades of years in France.

[Illustration: POLYPTYCH

(_After the panel by_ Taddeo Bartoli. _Perugia: Gallery 9_)


Returning after these works to Siena, he made no very long stay there,
because he was called to work at Perugia in the Church of S. Domenico,
where, in the Chapel of S. Caterina, he painted in fresco all the life
of that Saint; and in S. Francesco, beside the door of the sacristy, he
made some figures which, although to-day little can be discerned of
them, are known to be by the hand of Taddeo, who held ever to one
unchanging manner. A little time afterwards there befell the death of
Biroldo, Lord of Perugia, who was murdered in the year 1398; whereupon
Taddeo returned to Siena, where, labouring continually, he applied
himself so zealously to the studies of his art, in order to become an
able painter, that it can be affirmed, if perchance he did not realize
his intention, that this was certainly not by reason of any defect or
negligence that he showed in his work, but rather through indisposition
caused by an internal obstruction, which afflicted him in a manner that
he could not attain to the fulness of his desire. Having taught the art
to one his nephew, called Domenico, Taddeo died at the age of
fifty-nine; and his pictures date about the year of our salvation 1410.

He left, then, as it has been said, Domenico Bartoli, his nephew and
disciple, who, following the art of painting, painted with greater and
better mastery, and in the scenes that he wrought he showed much more
fertility, varying them in diverse ways, than his uncle had done. In the
pilgrim's hall of the great hospital at Siena there are two large
scenes, wrought in fresco by Domenico, wherein are seen perspectives and
other adornments very ingeniously composed. Domenico is said to have
been modest and gentle, and a man of singular amiability and most
liberal courtesy; and this is said to have done no less honour to his
name than the art of painting itself. His works date about the year of
our Lord 1436, and the last were a panel containing an Annunciation in
S. Trinita in Florence, and the panel of the high-altar in the Church of
the Carmine.

There lived at the same time and painted in almost the same manner,
although he made the colouring more brilliant and the figures lower, one
Alvaro di Piero, a Portuguese, who made many panels in Volterra, and one
in S. Antonio in Pisa, and others in other places, whereof, seeing that
they are of no great excellence, there is no need to make further
record. In our book there is a drawing made with great mastery by
Taddeo, wherein are Christ and two angels.


(_Siena: Refugio. Panel_)]




When men who are excellent in any honourable exercise whatsoever
accompany their ability in working with gentle ways and good habits, and
particularly with courtesy, serving readily and willingly all who have
need of their assistance, they secure without fail, together with much
praise and profit for themselves, everything that in a certain sense is
desirable in this world; as did Lorenzo di Bicci, painter of Florence,
who, being born in Florence in 1400, precisely when Italy was beginning
to be harassed by the wars which shortly afterwards brought her to an
evil pass, was in very good credit almost from his childhood, for the
reason that, having learnt good ways under the discipline of his father
and the art of painting from the painter Spinello, he had ever the name
not only of an excellent painter, but of a most courteous and honourable
and able man. Lorenzo, then, young as he was, having made some works in
fresco both within and without Florence for the sake of practice,
Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, seeing his good manner, caused him to
paint in the hall of the old house of the Medici--which afterwards came
into the possession of Lorenzo, brother of Cosimo the Elder, when the
great palace was built--all those famous men that are still seen there
to-day, very well preserved. This work finished, seeing that Lorenzo di
Bicci wished to exercise himself in his study of painting in places
where work was not so minutely examined, as the doctors still do, who
make experiments in their art on the hides of needy countrymen, for some
time he accepted all the work that came to his hand, and therefore
painted a shrine on the bridge of Scandicci, without the Porta a S.
Friano, in the manner wherein it is still seen to-day, and at Cerbaia,
on a wall below a portico, he painted many saints very creditably,
together with a Madonna. Next, being commissioned by the family of the
Martini to paint a chapel in S. Marco in Florence, he wrought in fresco
on the walls many stories of the Madonna, and on the panel the Virgin
herself in the midst of many saints; and in the same church, over the
Chapel of S. Giovanni Evangelista, belonging to the family of the Landi,
he painted in fresco an Angel Raphael with Tobias. And afterwards, in
the year 1418, for Ricciardo di Messer Niccolò Spinelli, on the façade
of the Convent of S. Croce facing the square, he painted a large scene
in fresco of S. Thomas looking for the wound in the side of Jesus
Christ, and beside him and round him all the other Apostles, who,
kneeling reverently, are watching this event. And beside the said scene
he made, likewise in fresco, a S. Christopher twelve braccia and a half
high, which is something rare, because up to then, excepting the S.
Christopher of Buffalmacco, there had not been seen a greater figure,
nor, for something so large, any image more creditable or better
proportioned in all its parts than that one, although it is not in a
good manner; not to mention that these pictures, both the one and the
other, were wrought with so much mastery, that, although they have been
exposed to the air for many years and buffeted by the rains and
tempests, being turned to the North, yet they have never lost their
vividness of colouring, nor have they been injured in any part. Within
the door, moreover, which is between these figures, called the Martello
door, the same Lorenzo, at the request of the said Ricciardo and of the
Prior of the convent, made a Crucifixion with many figures, and, on the
walls around, the confirmation of the Rule of S. Francis by Pope
Honorius, and beside it the martyrdom of certain friars of that Order,
who went to preach the Faith among the Saracens. On the arches and on
the vaulting he made certain Kings of France, friars and devout
followers of S. Francis, and he portrayed them from nature; and likewise
many learned men of that Order, and men distinguished for dignity of
rank, such as Bishops, Cardinals, and Popes, among whom are portraits
from nature, in two medallions on the vaulting, of Pope Nicholas IV and
Pope Alexander V. In all these figures, although Lorenzo made their
garments grey, he varied them, nevertheless, by reason of the good
practice that he had in working, in a manner that they are all different
one from the other; some incline to reddish, others to bluish, while
some are dark and others lighter, and in short, all are varied and
worthy of consideration; and what is more, it is said that he wrought
this work with so great facility and readiness, that being called once
by the Prior, who was bearing his expenses, to his dinner, at the very
moment when he had made the intonaco for a figure and had begun it, he
answered: "Pour out the soup. Let me finish this figure, and I'm with
you." Wherefore it is with good reason that men say that Lorenzo had so
great rapidity of hand, so great practice in colouring, and so great
resolution, that no other man ever had more.

By his hand are the shrine in fresco which is on the corner of the
Convent of the Nuns of Foligno, and the Madonna and some saints that are
over the door of the church of that convent, among whom is a S. Francis
who is espousing Poverty. In the Church of the Order of Camaldoli in
Florence, also, he painted for the Company of the Martyrs some scenes of
the martyrdom of some saints, and two chapels in the church, one on
either side of the principal chapel. And because these pictures gave
universal pleasure to the whole city, after he had finished them he was
commissioned by the family of the Salvestrini--which to-day is almost
extinct, there being to my knowledge none left save a friar of the
Angeli in Florence, called Fra Nemesio, a good and worthy churchman--to
paint a wall of the Church of the Carmine, whereon he made the scene
when the martyrs, being condemned to death, are stripped naked and made
to walk barefoot over spikes strewn by ministers of the tyrants, while
they were going to be placed on the cross; and higher up they are seen
placed thereon, in various extravagant attitudes. In this work, which
was the largest that had ever been made up to that time, everything is
seen to have been done, according to the knowledge of those times, with
much mastery and design, for it is all full of those various emotions
that nature arouses in those who are made to die a violent death;
wherefore I do not marvel that many able men have contrived to avail
themselves of certain things that are seen in this picture. After these
he made many other figures in the same church, and particularly in two
chapels in the tramezzo.[6] And about the same time he painted the
shrine of the Canto alla Cuculia, and that which is on the house-front
in the Via de' Martelli; and, over the Martello door in S. Spirito, a S.
Augustine in fresco presenting the Rule to his friars. In S. Trinita, in
the Chapel of Neri Compagni, he painted in fresco the life of S.
Giovanni Gualberto; and, in the principal chapel of S. Lucia in the Via
de' Bardi, some scenes in fresco of the life of that Saint, for Niccolò
da Uzzano, who was portrayed by him there from the life, together with
some other citizens.

[Footnote 6: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

This Niccolò, with the direction and model of Lorenzo, built a palace
for himself near the said church, and a magnificent beginning for a
university, or rather, a school, between the Convent of the Servi and
that of S. Marco--namely, where there are now the Lions. This work,
truly most praiseworthy and rather that of a magnanimous prince than of
a private citizen, was never finished, for the very large sums of money
that Niccolò left at the Monte[7] in Florence for the building and
maintenance of this school, were spent by the Florentines in certain
wars or for other necessities of the city. And although Fortune will
never be able to obscure the memory and the greatness of soul of Niccolò
da Uzzano, it is none the less true that the public interest suffered
very great harm from the fact that this work was not finished.
Wherefore, if a man desires to benefit the world in similar ways, and to
leave an honourable memorial of himself, let him do it by himself while
he has life, and let him not put his trust in the good faith of
posterity and of his heirs, since anything that has been left to be done
by successors is rarely seen brought to perfect completion.

[Footnote 7: Treasury of public funds.]

But returning to Lorenzo: he painted, besides what has been said, a
Madonna and certain saints in fresco, passing good, in a shrine on the
Ponte Rubaconte. And no long time after, Ser Michele di Fruosino, being
Director of the Hospital of S. Maria Nuova in Florence--which hospital
was founded by Folco Portinari, citizen of Florence--determined that,
even as the wealth of the hospital had increased, so its church,
which was then without Florence and very small, dedicated to S. Egidio,
should be enlarged. Whereupon, having taken counsel thereon with Lorenzo
di Bicci, who was very much his friend, on September 5, in the year
1418, he began the new church, which was finished in a year in the
manner wherein it stands to-day, and was then solemnly consecrated by
Pope Martin V at the request of the said Ser Michele, who was the eighth
Director of the Hospital, and of the men of the family of Portinari.
This consecration Lorenzo afterwards painted, according to the wish of
Ser Michele, on the façade of that church, portraying there from life
that Pope and some Cardinals; and this work, as something new and
beautiful, was then much praised. Wherefore he obtained the honour of
being the first to paint in the principal church of his city--that is,
in S. Maria del Fiore, where, beneath the windows of each chapel, he
painted that Saint to whom it is dedicated, and then, on the pilasters
and throughout the church, the twelve Apostles with the crosses of
consecration; for that church had been most solemnly consecrated in that
same year by Pope Eugenius IV, the Venetian. In the same church the
Wardens of Works, by order of the State, caused him to paint in fresco,
on one wall, a tomb in imitation of marble, in memory of Cardinal
Corsini, who is portrayed there from nature on the sarcophagus; and
above that he made a similar one in memory of Maestro Luigi Marsili, a
very famous theologian, who went as ambassador, with Messer Luigi
Guicciardini and Messer Guccio di Gino, most honourable cavaliers, to
the Duke of Anjou.


(_Empoli: Gallery. Panel_)]

Lorenzo was then summoned to Arezzo by Don Laurentino, Abbot of S.
Bernardo, a monastery of the Order of Monte Oliveto, in the principal
chapel of which he painted in fresco, for Messer Carlo Marsuppini,
stories of the life of S. Bernard. But while planning to paint the life
of S. Benedict in the cloister of the convent (I mean, after having
painted for the elder Francesco de' Bacci the principal chapel of the
Church of S. Francesco, where he wrought by himself the vaulting and
half of the arch) he fell sick of a pleurisy; wherefore, having himself
carried to Florence, he left directions that Marco da Montepulciano, his
disciple, should paint the scenes of the life of S. Benedict in the said
cloister, from the design that he had made and left with Don
Laurentino; and this Marco did as best he knew, delivering the whole
work finished in chiaroscuro on April 24, in the year 1448, as it may be
seen written by his hand in verses and words that are no less rude than
the pictures. Having returned to his country and being restored to
health, Lorenzo painted, on the same wall of the Convent of S. Croce
whereon he had made the S. Christopher, the Assumption into Heaven of
Our Lady, surrounded by a choir of angels, and below her a S. Thomas,
who is receiving the Girdle. In the execution of this work, being
indisposed, Lorenzo caused Donatello, then a youth, to help him;
wherefore, with assistance so able, it was finished in the year 1450, in
such wise that I believe that it is the best work, both in design and in
colouring, that was ever made by Lorenzo, who, no long time after, being
old and worn out, died at the age of about sixty, leaving two sons who
applied themselves to painting; one of whom, named Bicci, gave him
assistance in making many works, while the other, who was called Neri,
portrayed his father and himself in the Chapel of the Lenzi in
Ognissanti, in two medallions with letters round them, which give the
name of both one and the other. In this chapel the same man, in painting
some stories of the Madonna, strove to counterfeit many costumes of
those times, both of men and of women; and he made the panel in
distemper for the chapel. In like manner, he made some panels for the
Abbey of S. Felice in Piazza at Florence, belonging to the Order of
Camaldoli, and one for the high-altar of S. Michele in Arezzo, a church
of the same Order. And at S. Maria delle Grazie without Arezzo, in the
Church of S. Bernardino, he made a Madonna that has under her mantle the
people of Arezzo, and on one side that S. Bernardino kneeling with a
wooden cross in his hand, such as he was wont to carry when he went
preaching through Arezzo, and on the other side and about her S.
Nicholas and S. Michelagnolo; and on the predella are painted stories of
the acts of the said S. Bernardino, and of the miracles that he wrought,
particularly in that place. The same Neri made the panel of the
high-altar of S. Romolo in Florence; and in S. Trinita, in the Chapel of
the Spini, he painted in fresco the life of S. Giovanni Gualberto, and
in distemper the panel that is over the altar. From these works it is
recognized that if Neri had lived, and had not died at the age of
thirty-six, he would have made more numerous and better works than did
Lorenzo, his father, whose Life, seeing that he was the last of the
masters of the old manner of Giotto, will also be the last of this First
Part, which with the aid of the blessed God we have brought to



When first I undertook to write these Lives, it was not my intention to
make a list of the craftsmen, and an inventory, so to speak, of their
works, nor did I ever judge it a worthy end for these my labours--I will
not call them beautiful, but certainly long and fatiguing--to discover
their numbers, their names, and their countries, and to tell in what
cities, and in what places exactly in those cities, their pictures, or
sculptures, or buildings were now to be found; for this I could have
done with a simple table, without interposing my own judgment in any
part. But seeing that the writers of history--those of them who, by
common consent, are reputed to have written with the best judgment--have
not only refused to content themselves with the simple narration of the
succession of events, but, with all diligence and with the greatest
power of research at their disposal, have set about investigating the
methods, the means, and the ways that men of mark have used in the
management of their enterprises; and seeing that they have striven to
touch on their errors, and at the same time on their fine achievements
and on the expedients and resolutions sometimes wisely adopted in their
government of affairs, and on everything, in short, that these men have
effected therein, sagaciously or negligently, or with prudence, or
piety, or magnanimity; which these writers have done as men who knew
history to be truly the mirror of human life, not in order to make a
succinct narration of the events that befell a Prince or a Republic, but
in order to observe the judgments, the counsels, the resolutions, and
the intrigues of men, leading subsequently to fortunate and unfortunate
actions; for this is the true soul of history, and is that which truly
teaches men to live and makes them wise, and which, besides the pleasure
that comes from seeing past events as present, is the true end of that
art; for this reason, having undertaken to write the history of the most
noble craftsmen, in order to assist the arts in so far as my powers
permit, and besides that to honour them, I have held to the best of my
ability, in imitation of men so able, to the same method, and I have
striven not only to say what these craftsmen have done, but also, in
treating of them, to distinguish the better from the good and the best
from the better, and to note with no small diligence the methods, the
feeling, the manners, the characteristics, and the fantasies of the
painters and sculptors; seeking with the greatest diligence in my power
to make known, to those who do not know this for themselves, the causes
and origins of the various manners and of that amelioration and that
deterioration of the arts which have come to pass at diverse times and
through diverse persons. And because at the beginning of these Lives I
spoke of the nobility and antiquity of these arts, in so far as it was
then necessary for our subject, leaving on one side many things from
Pliny and other authors whereof I could have availed myself, had I not
wished--contrary, perhaps, to the judgment of many--to leave each man
free to see the fantasies of others in their proper sources; it appears
to me expedient to do at present that which, in avoidance of tedium and
prolixity (mortal enemies of attention), it was not permitted me to do
then--namely, to declare more diligently my mind and intention, and to
demonstrate to what end I have divided this book of the Lives into Three

Now it is true that greatness in the arts springs in one man from
diligence, in another from study, in this man from imitation, in that
man from knowledge of the sciences, which all render assistance to the
arts, and in some from all the aforesaid sources together, or from the
greater part of them; yet I, none the less, having discoursed
sufficiently, in the Lives of the individuals, of their methods of art,
their manners, and the causes of their good, better, and best work, will
discourse of this matter in general terms, and rather of the
characteristics of times than of persons; having made a distinction and
division, in order not to make too minute a research, into Three Parts,
or we would rather call them ages, from the second birth of these arts
up to the century wherein we live, by reason of that very manifest
difference that is seen between one and another of them. In the first
and most ancient age these three arts are seen to have been very distant
from their perfection, and, although they had something of the good, to
have been accompanied by so great imperfection that they certainly do
not merit too great praise; although, seeing that they gave a beginning
and showed the path and method to the better work that followed later,
if for no other reason, we cannot but speak well of them and give them a
little more glory than the works themselves have merited, were we to
judge them by the perfect standard of art.

Next, in the second, it is manifestly seen that matters were much
improved, both in the inventions and in the use of more design, better
manner, and greater diligence, in their execution; and likewise that the
rust of age and the rudeness and disproportion, wherewith the grossness
of that time had clothed them, were swept away. But who will be bold
enough to say that there was to be found at that time one who was in
every way perfect, and who brought his work, whether in invention, or
design, or colouring, to the standard of to-day, and contrived the sweet
gradation of his figures with the deep shades of colour, in a manner
that the lights remained only on the parts in relief, and likewise
contrived those perforations and certain extraordinary refinements in
marble statuary that are seen in the statues of to-day? The credit of
this is certainly due to the third age, wherein it appears to me that I
can say surely that art has done everything that it is possible for her,
as an imitator of nature, to do, and that she has climbed so high that
she has rather to fear a fall to a lower height than to ever hope for
more advancement.

Having pondered over these things intently in my own mind, I judge that
it is the peculiar and particular nature of these arts to go on
improving little by little from a humble beginning, and finally to
arrive at the height of perfection; and of this I am persuaded by seeing
that almost the same thing came to pass in other faculties, which is no
small argument in favour of its truth, seeing that there is a certain
degree of kinship between all the liberal arts. Now this must have
happened to painting and sculpture in former times in such similar
fashion, that, if the names were changed round, their histories would be
exactly the same. For if we can put faith in those who lived near those
times and could see and judge the labours of the ancients, it is seen
that the statues of Canachus were very stiff and without any vivacity or
movement, and therefore very distant from the truth; and the same is
said of those of Calamis, although they were somewhat softer than those
aforesaid. Then came Myron, who was no very close imitator of the truth
of nature, but gave so much proportion and grace to his works that they
could be reasonably called beautiful. There followed in the third degree
Polycletus and the other so famous masters, who, as it is said and must
be believed, made them entirely perfect. The same progress must have
also come about in painting, because it is said, and it is reasonable to
suppose that it was so, that in the works of those who painted with only
one colour, and were therefore called Monochromatists, there was no
great perfection. Next, in the works of Zeuxis, Polygnotus, Timanthes,
and the others who used only four colours, there is nothing but praise
for their lineaments, outlines, and forms; yet, without doubt, they must
have left something to be desired. But in Erion, Nicomachus, Protogenes,
and Apelles, everything is perfect and most beautiful, and nothing
better can be imagined, seeing that they painted most excellently not
only the forms and actions of bodies, but also the emotions and passions
of the soul.

But, passing these men by, since for knowledge of them we must refer to
others, who very often do not agree in their judgments on them, or even,
what is worse, as to the dates, although in this I have followed the
best authorities; let us come to our own times, wherein we have the help
of the eye, a much better guide and judge than the ear. Is it not
clearly seen how great improvement was acquired by architecture--to
begin with one starting-point--from the time of the Greek Buschetto to
that of the German Arnolfo and of Giotto? See the buildings of those
times, and the pilasters, the columns, the bases, the capitals, and all
the cornices, with their ill-formed members, such as there are in
Florence, in S. Maria del Fiore, in the external incrustations of S.
Giovanni, and in S. Miniato sul Monte; in the Vescovado of Fiesole, in
the Duomo of Milan, in S. Vitale at Ravenna, in S. Maria Maggiore at
Rome, and in the Duomo Vecchio without Arezzo; wherein, excepting that
little of the good which survived in the ancient fragments, there is
nothing that has good order or form. But these men certainly improved it
not a little, and under their guidance it made no small progress, seeing
that they reduced it to better proportion, and made their buildings not
only stable and stout, but also in some measure ornate, although it is
true that their ornamentation was confused and very imperfect, and, so
to speak, not greatly ornamental. For they did not observe that measure
and proportion in the columns that the art required, or distinguish one
Order from another, whether Doric, Corinthian, Ionic, or Tuscan, but
mixed them all together with a rule of their own that was no rule,
making them very thick or very slender, as suited them best; and all
their inventions came partly from their own brains, and partly from the
relics of the antiquities that they saw; and they made their plans
partly by copying the good, and partly by adding thereunto their own
fancies, which, when the walls were raised, had a very different
appearance. Nevertheless, whosoever compares their works with those
before them will see in them an improvement in every respect, although
he will also see some things that give no little displeasure to our own
times; as, for example, some little temples of brick, wrought over with
stucco, at S. Giovanni Laterano in Rome.

The same do I say of sculpture, which, in that first age of its new
birth, had no little of the good; for after the extinction of the rude
Greek manner, which was so uncouth that it was more akin to the art of
quarrying than to the genius of the craftsmen--their statues being
entirely without folds, or attitudes, or movement of any kind, and truly
worthy to be called stone images--when design was afterwards improved by
Giotto, many men also improved the figures in marble and stone, as did
Andrea Pisano and his son Nino and his other disciples, who were much
better than the early sculptors and gave their statues more movement and
much better attitudes; as also did those two Sienese masters, Agostino
and Agnolo, who made the tomb of Guido, Bishop of Arezzo, as it has been
said, and those Germans who made the façade at Orvieto. It is seen,
then, that during this time sculpture made a little progress, and that
there was given a somewhat better form to the figures, with a more
beautiful flow of folds in the draperies, and sometimes a better air in
the heads and certain attitudes not so stiff; and finally, that it had
begun to seek the good, but was nevertheless lacking in innumerable
respects, seeing that design was in no great perfection at that time and
there was little good work seen that could be imitated. Wherefore those
masters who lived at that time, and were put by me in the First Part of
the book, deserve to be thus praised and to be held in that credit which
the works made by them merit, if only one considers--as is also true of
the works of the architects and painters of those times--that they had
no help from the times before them, and had to find the way by
themselves; and a beginning, however small, is ever worthy of no small

Nor did painting encounter much better fortune in those times, save
that, being then more in vogue by reason of the devotion of the people,
it had more craftsmen and therefore made more evident progress than the
other two. Thus it is seen that the Greek manner, first through the
beginning made by Cimabue, and then with the aid of Giotto, was wholly
extinguished; and there arose a new one, which I would fain call the
manner of Giotto, seeing that it was discovered by him and by his
disciples, and then universally revered and imitated by all. By this
manner, as we see, there were swept away the outlines that wholly
enclosed the figures, and those staring eyes, and the feet stretched on
tip-toe, and the pointed hands, with the absence of shadow and the other
monstrous qualities of those Greeks; and good grace was given to the
heads, and softness to the colouring. And Giotto, in particular, gave
better attitudes to his figures, and revealed the first effort to give a
certain liveliness to the heads and folds to his draperies, which drew
more towards nature than those of the men before him; and he discovered,
in part, something of the gradation and foreshortening of figures.
Besides this, he made a beginning with the expression of emotions, so
that fear, hope, rage, and love could in some sort be recognized; and he
reduced his manner, which at first was harsh and rough, to a certain
degree of softness; and although he did not make the eyes with that
beautiful roundness that makes them lifelike, and with the tear-channels
that complete them, and the hair soft, and the beards feathery, and the
hands with their due joints and muscles, and the nudes true to life, let
him find excuse in the difficulty of the art and in the fact that he saw
no better painters than himself; and let all remember, amid the poverty
of art in those times, the excellence of judgment in his stories, the
observation of feeling, and the subordination of a very ready natural
gift, seeing that his figures were subordinate to the part that they had
to play. And thereby it is shown that he had a very good, if not a
perfect judgment; and the same is seen in the others after him, as in
the colouring of Taddeo Gaddi, who is both sweeter and stronger, giving
better tints to the flesh and better colour to the draperies, and more
boldness to the movements of his figures. In Simone Sanese there is seen
dignity in the composition of stories; and Stefano the Ape[8] and his
son Tommaso brought about great improvement and perfection in design,
invention in perspective, and harmony and unity in colouring, ever
maintaining the manner of Giotto. The same was done for mastery and
dexterity of handling by Spinello Aretino and his son Parri, Jacopo di
Casentino, Antonio Viniziano, Lippo, Gherardo Starnina, and the other
painters who laboured after Giotto, following his feeling, lineaments,
colouring, and manner, and even improving them somewhat, but not so much
as to make it appear that they were aiming at another goal. Whosoever
considers this my discourse, therefore, will see that these three arts
were up to this time, so to speak, only sketched out, and lacking in
much of that perfection that was their due; and in truth, without
further progress, this improvement was of little use and not to be held
in too great account. Nor would I have anyone believe that I am so dull
and so poor in judgment that I do not know that the works of Giotto, of
Andrea Pisano, of Nino, and of all the others, whom I have put together
in the First Part by reason of their similarity of manner, if compared
with those of the men who laboured after them, do not deserve
extraordinary or even mediocre praise; or that I did not see this when I
praised them. But whosoever considers the character of those times, the
dearth of craftsmen, and the difficulty of finding good assistance, will
hold them not merely beautiful, as I have called them, but miraculous,
and will take infinite pleasure in seeing the first beginnings and those
sparks of excellence that began to be rekindled in painting and
sculpture. The victory of Lucius Marcius in Spain was certainly not so
great that the Romans did not have many much greater; but in
consideration of the time, the place, the circumstances, the men, and
the numbers, it was held stupendous, and even to-day it is held worthy
of the infinite and most abundant praises that are given to it by
writers. To me, likewise, by reason of all the aforesaid considerations,
it has appeared that these masters deserve to be not only described by
me with all diligence, but praised with that love and confidence
wherewith I have done it. Nor do I think that it can have been wearisome
to my brother-craftsmen to read these their Lives, and to consider their
manners and methods, and from this, perchance, they will derive no
little profit; which will be right pleasing to me, and I will esteem it
a good reward for my labours, wherein I have sought to do nought else
but give them profit and delight to the best of my power.

[Footnote 8: The Ape of Nature.]

And now that we have weaned these three arts, to use such a fashion of
speaking, and brought them through their childhood, there comes their
second age, wherein there will be seen infinite improvement in
everything; invention more abundant in figures, and richer in ornament;
more depth and more lifelike reality in design; some finality, moreover,
in the works, which are executed thoughtfully and with diligence,
although with too little mastery of handling; with more grace in manner
and more loveliness in colouring, so that little is wanting for the
reduction of everything to perfection and for the exact imitation of the
truth of nature. Wherefore, with the study and the diligence of the
great Filippo Brunelleschi, architecture first recovered the measures
and proportions of the ancients, both in the round columns and in the
square pilasters, and in the corner-stones both rough and smooth; and
then one Order was distinguished from another, and it was shown what
differences there were between them. It was ordained that all works
should proceed by rule, should be pursued with better ordering, and
should be distributed with due measure. Design grew in strength and
depth; good grace was given to buildings; the excellence of that art
made itself known; and the beauty and variety of capitals and cornices
were recovered in such a manner, that the ground-plans of his churches
and of his other edifices are seen to have been very well conceived, and
the buildings themselves ornate, magnificent, and beautifully
proportioned, as it may be seen in the stupendous mass of the cupola of
S. Maria del Fiore in Florence, and in the beauty and grace of its
lantern; in the ornate, varied, and graceful Church of S. Spirito, and
in the no less beautiful edifice of S. Lorenzo; in the most bizarre
invention of the octagonal Temple of the Angeli; in the most fanciful
Church and Convent of the Abbey of Fiesole, and in the magnificent and
vast beginning of the Pitti Palace; besides the great and commodious
edifice that Francesco di Giorgio made in the Palace and Church of the
Duomo at Urbino, and the very strong and rich Castle of Naples, and the
impregnable Castle of Milan, not to mention many other notable buildings
of that time. And although there were not therein that delicacy and a
certain exquisite grace and finish in the mouldings, and certain
refinements and beauties in the carving of the leafage and in making
certain extremities in the foliage, and other points of perfection,
which all came later, as it will be seen in the Third Part, wherein
there will follow those who will attain to all that perfection, whether
in grace, or refinement, or abundance, or dexterity, to which the old
architects did not attain; none the less, they can be safely called
beautiful and good. I do not call them yet perfect, because later there
was seen something better in that art, and it appears to me that I can
reasonably affirm that there was something wanting in them. And although
there are in them some parts so miraculous that nothing better has yet
been done in our own times, nor will be, peradventure, in times to come,
such as, for example, the lantern of the cupola of S. Maria del Fiore,
and, in point of grandeur, the cupola itself, wherein Filippo was
emboldened not only to equal the ancients in the extent of their
structures, but also to excel them in the height of the walls; yet we
are speaking generically and universally, and we must not deduce the
excellence of the whole from the goodness and perfection of one thing

This I can also say of painting and sculpture, wherein very rare works
of the masters of that second age may still be seen to-day, such as
those in the Carmine by Masaccio, who made a naked man shivering with
cold, and lively and spirited figures in other pictures; but in general
they did not attain to the perfection of the third, whereof we will
speak at the proper time, it being necessary now to discourse of the
second, whose craftsmen, to speak first of the sculptors, advanced so
far beyond the manner of the first and improved it so greatly, that they
left little to be done by the third. They had a manner of their own, so
much more graceful and more natural, and so much richer in order, in
design, and in proportion, that their statues began to appear almost
like living people, and no longer figures of stones, like those of the
first age; and to this those works bear witness that were wrought in
that new manner, as it will be seen in this Second Part, among which the
figures of Jacopo della Quercia have more movement, more grace, more
design, and more diligence; those of Filippo, a more beautiful knowledge
of muscles, better proportion, and more judgment; and so, too, those of
their disciples. But the greatest advance came from Lorenzo Ghiberti in
the work of the gates of S. Giovanni, wherein he showed such invention,
order, manner, and design, that his figures appear to move and to have
souls. But as for Donato,[9] although he lived in their time, I am not
wholly sure whether I ought not to place him in the third age, seeing
that his works challenge comparison with the good works of the ancients;
but this I will say, that he can be called the pattern of the others in
this second age, having united in his own self all the qualities that
were divided singly among many, for he brought his figures to actual
motion, giving them such vivacity and liveliness that they can stand
beside the works of to-day, and, as I have said, beside the ancient as

[Footnote 9: _I.e._, Donatello.]

The same advance was made at this time by painting, from which that most
excellent Masaccio swept away completely the manner of Giotto in the
heads, the draperies, the buildings, the nudes, the colouring, and the
foreshortenings, all of which he made new, bringing to light that modern
manner which was followed in those times and has been followed up to
our own day by all our craftsmen, and enriched and embellished from time
to time with better grace, invention, and ornament; as it will be seen
more particularly in the Life of each master, wherein there will appear
a new manner of colouring, of foreshortenings, and of natural attitudes,
with much better expression for the emotions of the soul and the
gestures of the body, and an attempt to approach closer to the truth of
nature in draughtsmanship, and an effort to give to the expressions of
the faces so complete a resemblance to the living men, that it might be
known for whom they were intended. Thus they sought to imitate that
which they saw in nature, and no more, and thus their works came to be
better planned and better conceived; and this emboldened them to give
rules to their perspectives and to foreshorten them in a natural and
proper form, just as they did in relief; and thus, too, they were ever
observing lights and shades, the projection of shadows, and all the
other difficulties, and the composition of stories with more
characteristic resemblance, and attempted to give more reality to
landscapes, trees, herbs, flowers, skies, clouds, and other objects of
nature, insomuch that we may boldly say that these arts were not only
reared but actually carried to the flower of their youth, giving hope of
that fruit which afterwards appeared, and that, in short, they were
about to arrive at their most perfect age.

[Illustration: DAVID

(_After the bronze by_ Donatello. _Florence: Bargello_)


With the help of God, then, we will begin the Life of Jacopo della
Quercia of Siena, and afterwards those of the other architects and
sculptors, until we come to Masaccio, who, having been the first to
improve design in the art of painting, will show how great an obligation
is owed to him for the new birth that he gave to her. Having chosen the
aforesaid Jacopo for the honour of beginning this Second Part, I will
follow the order of the various manners, and proceed to lay open,
together with the Lives themselves, the difficulties of arts so
beautiful, so difficult, and so highly honoured.



(_After_ Jacopo della Quercia. _Lucca: S. Martino_)





The sculptor Jacopo, son of Maestro Piero di Filippo of La Quercia, a
place in the district of Siena, was the first--after Andrea Pisano,
Orcagna, and the others mentioned above--who, labouring in sculpture
with greater zeal and diligence, began to show that it was possible to
make an approach to nature, and the first who encouraged the others to
hope to be able in a certain measure to equal her. His first works
worthy of account were made by him in Siena at the age of nineteen, with
the following occasion. The people of Siena having their army in the
field against the Florentines under the captainship of Gian Tedesco,
nephew of Saccone da Pietramala, and of Giovanni d'Azzo Ubaldini, this
Giovanni d'Azzo fell sick in camp and was carried to Siena, where he
died; wherefore, being grieved at his death, the people of Siena caused
to be made for his obsequies, which were most honourable, a catafalque
of wood in the shape of a pyramid, and on this they placed the statue of
Giovanni himself on horseback, larger than life, made by the hand of
Jacopo with much judgment and invention. For he, in order to execute
this work, discovered a method of making the skeletons of the horse and
of the figure which had never been used up to that time--namely, with
pieces of wood and planking fastened together, and then swathed round
with hay, tow, and ropes, the whole being bound firmly together; and
over all there was spread clay mixed with paste, glue, and shearings of
woollen cloth. This method, truly, was and still is better than any
other for such things, for, although the works that are made in this
fashion have the appearance of weight, none the less after they are
finished and dried they turn out light, and, being covered with white,
look like marble and are very lovely to the eye, as was the said work
of Jacopo. To this it may be added that statues made in this fashion and
with the said mixtures do not crack, as they would do if they were made
simply of pure clay. And in this manner are made to-day the models for
sculpture, with very great convenience for the craftsmen, who, by means
of these, have ever before them the patterns and the true measurements
of the sculptures that they make; and for this method no small
obligation is owed to Jacopo, who is said to have been its inventor.

After this work, Jacopo made in Siena two panels of lime-wood, carving
the figures in them, with their beards and hair, with so great patience
that it was a marvel to see. And after these panels, which were placed
in the Duomo, he made some prophets in marble, of no great size, which
are in the façade of the said Duomo; and he would have continued to
labour at the works of this building, if plague, famine, and the
discords of the citizens of Siena had not brought that city to an evil
pass; for, after having many times risen in tumult, they drove out
Orlando Malevolti, by whose favour Jacopo had enjoyed creditable
employment in his native city. Departing then from Siena, he betook
himself by the agency of certain friends to Lucca, and there, in the
Church of S. Martino, he made a tomb for the wife, who had died a short
time before, of Paolo Guinigi, who was Lord of that city; on the base of
which tomb he carved some boys in marble that are supporting a garland,
so highly finished that they appeared to be of flesh; and on the
sarcophagus laid on the said base he made, with infinite diligence, the
image of the wife of Paolo Guinigi herself, who was buried within it,
and at her feet, from the same block, he made a dog in full relief,
signifying the fidelity shown by her to her husband. After Paolo had
departed, or rather, had been driven out of Lucca in the year 1429, when
the city became free, this sarcophagus was removed from that place and
was almost wholly destroyed, by reason of the hatred that the people of
Lucca bore to the memory of Guinigi; but the reverence that they bore to
the beauty of the figure and of the so many ornaments restrained them,
and brought it about that a little time afterwards the sarcophagus and
the figure were placed with diligence near the door of the sacristy,
where they are at present, while the Chapel of Guinigi was taken over
by the Commune.

Meanwhile Jacopo had heard that the Guild of the Merchants of Calimara
in Florence wished to have a bronze door made for the Church of S.
Giovanni, where, as it has been said, Andrea Pisano had wrought the
first; and he had come to Florence in order to make himself known, above
all because this work was to be allotted to the man who, in making one
of those scenes in bronze, should give the best proof of himself and of
his talent. Having therefore come to Florence, he not only made the
model, but delivered one very well executed scene, completely finished
and polished, which gave so great satisfaction, that, if he had not had
as rivals those most excellent masters, Donatello and Filippo
Brunelleschi, who in truth surpassed him in their specimens, it would
have fallen to him to make this work of so great importance. But the
business having concluded otherwise, he went to Bologna, where, by the
favour of Giovanni Bentivogli, he was commissioned by the Wardens of
Works of S. Petronio to make in marble the principal door of that
church, which he continued in the German manner, in order not to alter
the style wherein it had already been begun, filling up what was lacking
in the design of the pilasters that support the cornice and the arch,
with scenes wrought with infinite love within the space of the twelve
years that he was engaged in this work, wherein he made with his own
hand all the foliage and ornamentation of the said door, with the
greatest diligence and care that he could command. On each of the
pilasters that support the architrave, the cornice, and the arch, there
are five scenes, and five on the architrave, making fifteen in all; and
in them all he carved in low-relief stories from the Old
Testament--namely, from the Creation of man by God up to the Deluge and
Noah's Ark, thus conferring very great benefit on sculpture, since from
the ancients up to that time there had been no one who had wrought
anything in low-relief, wherefore that method of working was rather out
of mind than out of fashion. In the arch of this door he made three
figures in marble, as large as life and all in the round--namely, a very
beautiful Madonna with the Child in her arms, S. Petronius, and another
Saint, all very well grouped and in beautiful attitudes; wherefore the
people of Bologna, who did not think that there could be made a work in
marble, I do not say surpassing, but even equalling that one which
Agostino and Agnolo of Siena had made in the ancient manner on the
high-altar of S. Francesco in their city, were amazed to see that this
one was by a great measure more beautiful.

After this, being requested to return to Lucca, Jacopo went there very
willingly, and made on a marble panel in S. Friano, for Federigo di
Maestro Trenta del Veglia, a Virgin with her Son in her arms, and S.
Sebastian, S. Lucia, S. Jerome, and S. Gismondo, with good manner,
grace, and design; and in the predella below he made in half-relief,
under each Saint, some scene from the life of each, which was something
very lovely and pleasing, seeing that Jacopo gave gradation to his
figures from plane to plane with beautiful art, making them lower as
they receded. In like manner, he gave much encouragement to others to
acquire grace and beauty for their works with new methods, when he
portrayed from the life the patron of the work, Federigo, and his wife,
on two great slabs wrought in low-relief for two tombs; on which slabs
are these words:


Afterwards, on Jacopo coming to Florence, the Wardens of Works of S.
Maria del Fiore, by reason of the good report that they had heard of
him, commissioned him to make in marble the frontal that is over that
door of the church which leads to the Nunziata, wherein, in a mandorla,
he made the Madonna being borne to Heaven by a choir of angels sounding
instruments and singing, with the most beautiful movements and the most
beautiful attitudes--seeing that they have vivacity and motion in their
flight--that had ever been made up to that time. In like manner, the
Madonna is draped with so great grace and dignity that nothing better
can be imagined, the flow of the folds being very beautiful and soft,
while the borders of the draperies are seen following closely the nude
form of the figure, which, with its very covering, reveals every curve
of the limbs; and below this Madonna there is a S. Thomas, who is
receiving the Girdle. In short, this work was executed by Jacopo in
four years with all the possible perfection that he could give to it,
for the reason that, besides the natural desire that he had to do well,
the rivalry of Donato, of Filippo, and of Lorenzo di Bartolo, from whose
hands there had already issued some works that were highly praised,
incited him even more in the doing of what he did; and that was so much
that this work is studied even to-day by modern craftsmen, as something
very rare. On the other side of the Madonna, opposite to S. Thomas,
Jacopo made a bear that is climbing a pear-tree; and with regard to this
caprice, even as many things were said then, so also there could be
others said by me, but I will forbear, wishing to let everyone believe
and think in his own fashion in the matter of this invention.

[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After_ Jacopo della Quercia. _Bologna: S. Petronio_)


After this, desiring to revisit his own country, Jacopo returned to
Siena, where, on his arrival, there came to him, according to his
desire, an occasion to leave therein some honourable memorial of
himself. For the Signoria of Siena, having resolved to make a very rich
adornment in marble for the waters that Agostino and Agnolo of Siena had
brought into the square in the year 1343, allotted that work to Jacopo,
at the price of 2,200 crowns of gold; wherefore he, having made the
model and collected the marbles, put his hand to the work and finally
completed it so greatly to the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens, that
he was ever afterwards called, not Jacopo della Quercia, but Jacopo
della Fonte. In the middle of this work, then, he carved the Glorious
Virgin Mary, the particular Patroness of that city, a little larger than
the other figures, and in a manner both gracious and singular. Round
her, next, he made the seven Theological Virtues, the heads of which are
delicate, pleasing, beautiful in expression, and wrought with certain
methods which show that he began to discover the good and the secrets of
the arts, and to give grace to the marble, sweeping away that ancient
manner which had been used up to that time by the sculptors, who made
their figures rigid and without the least grace in the world; whereas
Jacopo made them as soft as flesh, giving finish to his marble with
patience and delicacy. Besides this, he made there some stories from the
Old Testament--namely, the Creation of our first parents, and the eating
of the forbidden fruit, wherein, in the figure of the woman, there is
seen an expression of countenance so beautiful, with a grace and an
attitude so deferential towards Adam as she offers him the apple, that
it appears impossible for him to refuse it; to say nothing of the
remainder of the work, which is all full of most beautiful ideas, and
adorned with most beautiful children and other ornaments in the shape of
lions and she-wolves, emblems of the city, all executed by Jacopo with
love, mastery, and judgment in the space of twelve years. By his hand,
likewise, are three very beautiful scenes in half-relief from the life
of S. John the Baptist, wrought in bronze, which are round the baptismal
font of S. Giovanni, below the Duomo; and also some figures in the
round, likewise in bronze, one braccio in height, which are between each
of the said scenes, and are truly beautiful and worthy of praise.
Wherefore, by reason of these works, which showed his excellence, and of
the goodness and uprightness of his life, Jacopo was deservedly made
chevalier by the Signoria of Siena, and, shortly afterwards, Warden of
Works of the Duomo; which office he filled so well that neither before
nor since were these Works better directed, for, although he did not
live more than three years after undertaking this charge, he made many
useful and honourable improvements in that Duomo. And although Jacopo
was only a sculptor, nevertheless he drew passing well, as is
demonstrated by some drawings made by him, to be found in our book,
which appear to be rather by the hand of an illuminator than of a
sculptor. And his portrait, similar to the one that is seen above, I had
from Maestro Domenico Beccafumi, painter of Siena, who has related to me
many things about the excellence, goodness, and gentleness of Jacopo,
who finally died, exhausted by fatigues and by continuous labour, at the
age of sixty-four, and was lamented and honourably buried in Siena, the
place of his birth, by his friends and relatives--nay, by the the whole
city. And truly it was no small good-fortune for him to have his so
great excellence recognized in his own country, seeing that it rarely
comes to pass that men of excellence are universally loved and honoured
in their own country.

[Illustration: TOMB OF S. ROMANO

(_After_ Matteo Civitali. _Lucca: S. Romano_)


A disciple of Jacopo was Matteo, a sculptor of Lucca, who made the
little octagonal temple of marble--in the Church of S. Martino in his
own city, in the year 1444, for Domenico Galigano of Lucca--wherein
there is the image of the Holy Cross, a piece of sculpture miraculously
wrought, so it is said, by Nicodemus, one of the seventy-two disciples
of the Saviour; which temple is truly nothing if not very beautiful and
well-proportioned. The same man carved in marble a figure of S.
Sebastian wholly in the round, three braccia high, and very beautiful by
reason of its having been made with good design and in a beautiful
attitude and wrought with a high finish. By his hand, also, is a panel
wherein there are three very beautiful figures in three niches, in the
church where the body of S. Regulus is said to be; and likewise the
panel that is in S. Michele, wherein are three figures in marble; and in
like manner the statue that is on the corner of the said church, on the
outer side--namely, a Madonna, which shows that Matteo was ever striving
to equal his master Jacopo.

Niccolò Bolognese was also a disciple of Jacopo, and he, among other
works, brought to completion divinely well--having found it
unfinished--the marble sarcophagus full of scenes and figures wherein
lies the body of S. Dominic, a work made long ago by Niccola Pisano in
Bologna; and he gained thereby, besides profit, that name of honour,
Maestro Niccolò dell'Arca, which he bore ever after. He finished this
work in the year 1460, and afterwards, for the façade of the palace
where the Legate of Bologna now lives, he made a Madonna in bronze, four
braccia high, and placed it in position in the year 1478. In a word, he
was an able master and a worthy disciple of Jacopo della Quercia of

[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After_ Matteo Civitali. _Lucca: Museo_)






About the same time, engaged in the same pursuit of sculpture, and
almost of the same excellence in the art, lived Niccolò di Piero, a
citizen of Arezzo, to whom Nature was as liberal with her gifts of
intellect and vivacity of mind as Fortune was niggardly with her
benefits. He, then, being a needy fellow, and having received some
affront from his nearest of kin in his own country, departed, in order
to come to Florence, from Arezzo, where--under the discipline of Maestro
Moccio, sculptor of Siena, who, as it has been said in another place,
wrought some works in Arezzo--he had applied himself to sculpture with
no little fruit, although the said Maestro Moccio was not very
excellent. And so, having arrived in Florence, Niccolò at first for many
months wrought whatsoever work came to his hand, both because poverty
and want were pressing him hard, and also out of rivalry with certain
young men, who, competing together honourably with much study and
labour, were occupying themselves with sculpture. Finally, after many
labours, Niccolò became a creditable sculptor, and was commissioned by
the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore to make two statues for the
Campanile; these statues, having been placed therein on the side facing
the Canon's house, stand one on either side of those that Donato
afterwards made; and since nothing better in full-relief had been seen,
they were held passing good.

Next, departing from Florence by reason of the plague of 1383, he went
to his own country. There he found that by reason of the said plague the
men of the Confraternity of S. Maria della Misericordia, whereof we have
spoken above, had acquired great wealth by means of bequests made by
diverse persons in the city through the devotion that they felt for
that holy place and for its brethren, who attend to the sick and bury
the dead in every pestilence, without fear of any peril; and that
therefore they wished to make a façade for that place, but in
grey-stone, for lack of a supply of marble. This work, which had been
begun before in the German style, he undertook to do; and assisted by
many stonecutters from Settignano, he brought it to perfect completion,
making with his own hand, in the lunette of the façade, a Madonna with
the Child in her arms, and certain angels who are holding open her
mantle, under which the people of that city appear to be taking shelter,
while S. Laurentino and S. Pergentino, kneeling below, are interceding
for them. Next, in two niches at the sides, he made two statues, each
three braccia high--namely, one of S. Gregory the Pope, and one of S.
Donatus the Bishop, Protector of that city, with good grace and passing
good manner. It appears that in his youth, before making these works, he
had formerly made three large figures of terra-cotta which were placed
over the door of the Vescovado, and which are now in great part eaten
away by frost, as is also a S. Luke of grey-stone, made by the same man
while he was a youth and placed in the façade of the said Vescovado. In
the Pieve, likewise, in the Chapel of S. Biagio, he made a very
beautiful figure of the said Saint in terra-cotta; and one of that Saint
in the Church of S. Antonio, also in terra-cotta and in relief; and
another Saint, seated, over the door of the hospital of the said city.

[Illustration: S. MARK

(_After_ Niccolò Aretino. _Florence: Duomo_)


While he was making these and some other similar works, the walls of
Borgo a San Sepolcro were ruined by an earthquake, and Niccolò was sent
for to the end that he might make--as he did with good judgment--a
design for a new wall, which turned out much better and stronger than
the first. And so, continuing to work now in Arezzo, and now in the
neighbouring places, Niccolò was living very quietly and at his ease in
his own country, when war, the capital enemy of the arts, compelled him
to leave it, for, after the sons of Piero Saccone had been driven out of
Pietramala and the castle had been destroyed down to its foundations,
the city and the district of Arezzo were all in confusion. Wherefore,
departing from that territory, Niccolò betook himself to Florence,
where he had worked at other times, and for the Wardens of Works of
S. Maria del Fiore he made a statue of marble, four braccia high, which
was afterwards placed on the left hand of the principal door of that
church. In this statue, which is an Evangelist seated, Niccolò showed
that he was truly an able sculptor, and he was therefore much praised,
since up to then there had not been seen, as there was afterwards, any
better work in wholly round relief. Being then summoned to Rome by order
of Pope Boniface IX, as the best of all the architects of his time, he
fortified and gave better form to the Castle of S. Angelo. On returning
to Florence, he made two little figures in marble for the Masters of the
Mint, on that corner of Orsanmichele that faces the Guild of Wool, in
the pilaster, above the niche wherein there is now the S. Matthew, which
was made afterwards; and these figures were so well made and so well
placed on the summit of that shrine that they were then much extolled,
as they have been ever afterwards, and in them Niccolò appears to have
surpassed himself, for he never did anything better. In short, they are
such that they can stand beside any other work of that kind; wherefore
he acquired so great credit that he was thought worthy to be in the
number of those who were under consideration for the making of the
bronze doors of S. Giovanni, although, when the proof was made, he was
left behind, and they were allotted, as it will be said in the proper
place, to another. After these labours Niccolò went to Milan, where he
was made Overseer of the Works of the Duomo in that city; and there he
wrought some things in marble which gave great satisfaction.

Finally, being called back to his own country by the Aretines to the end
that he might make a tabernacle for the Sacrament, while returning he
was forced to stay in Bologna and to make the tomb of Pope Alexander V,
who had finished the course of his years in that city, for the Convent
of the Friars Minor. And although he was very unwilling to accept this
work, he could not, however, but comply with the prayers of Messer
Leonardo Bruni, the Aretine, who had been a highly-favoured Secretary of
that Pontiff. Niccolò, then, made the said tomb and portrayed that Pope
thereon from nature; although it is true that from lack of marble and
other stone the tomb and its ornaments were made of stucco and
brick-work, and likewise the statue of the Pope on the sarcophagus,
which is placed behind the choir of the said church. This work finished,
Niccolò fell grievously sick and died shortly afterwards at the age of
sixty-seven, and was buried in the same church, in the year 1417. His
portrait was made by Galasso of Ferrara, very much his friend, who was
painting at that time in Bologna in competition with Jacopo and Simone,
painters of Bologna, and one Cristofano--I know not whether of Ferrara,
or, as others say, of Modena--who all painted many works in fresco in a
church called the Casa di Mezzo, without the Porta di S. Mammolo.
Cristofano painted scenes on one side, from the Creation of Adam by God
up to the death of Moses, Simone and Jacopo painted thirty scenes, from
the Birth of Christ up to the Last Supper that He held with the
Apostles, and Galasso then painted the Passion, as it is seen from the
name of each man, written below. These pictures were made in the year
1404, and afterwards the rest of the church was painted by other masters
with stories of David, wrought with a high finish. And in truth it is
not without reason that these pictures are held in much esteem by the
Bolognese, both because, for old things, they are passing good, and also
because the work, having been preserved fresh and vivacious, deserves
much praise. Some say that the said Galasso, when very old, painted also
in oil, but neither in Ferrara nor in any other place have I found any
works of his save in fresco. A disciple of Galasso was Cosmè, who
painted a chapel in S. Domenico at Ferrara, and the folding doors that
close the organ of the Duomo, and many other works, which are better
than the pictures of Galasso, his master.

Niccolò was a good draughtsman, as it may be seen in our book, wherein
there are an Evangelist and three heads of horses by his hand, very well




Although Dello the Florentine, while he lived, had only the name of
painter, which he has had ever since, he applied himself none the less
also to sculpture--nay, his first works were in sculpture, seeing that,
long before he began to paint, he made in terra-cotta a Coronation of
Our Lady in the arch that is over the door of the Church of S. Maria
Nuova, and, within the church, the twelve Apostles; and, in the Church
of the Servi, a Dead Christ in the lap of the Virgin, with many other
works throughout the whole city. But, being capricious, and also
perceiving that he was gaining little by working in terra-cotta and that
his poverty had need of some greater succour, he resolved, being a good
draughtsman, to give his attention to painting; and in this he succeeded
with ease, for the reason that he soon acquired a good mastery in
colouring, as many pictures demonstrate that he made in his own city,
and above all those with little figures, wherein he showed better grace
than in the large. And this ability served him in good stead, because
the citizens of those times used to have in their apartments great
wooden chests in the form of a sarcophagus, with the covers shaped in
various fashions, and there were none that did not have the said chests
painted; and besides the stories that were wrought on the front and on
the ends, they used to have the arms, or rather, insignia of their
houses painted on the corners, and sometimes elsewhere. And the stories
that were wrought on the front were for the most part fables taken from
Ovid and from other poets, or rather, stories related by the Greek and
Latin historians, and likewise chases, jousts, tales of love, and other
similar subjects, according to each man's particular pleasure. Then the
inside was lined with cloth or with silk, according to the rank and
means of those who had them made, for the better preservation of silk
garments and other precious things. And what is more, it was not only
the chests that were painted in such a manner, but also the couches, the
chair-backs, the mouldings that went right round, and other similar
magnificent ornaments for apartments which were used in those times,
whereof an infinite number may be seen throughout the whole city. And
for many years this fashion was so much in use that even the most
excellent painters exercised themselves in such labours, without being
ashamed, as many would be to-day, to paint and gild such things. And
that this is true has been seen up to our own day from some chests,
chair-backs, and mouldings, besides many other things, in the apartments
of the Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici, the Elder, whereon there were
painted--by the hand, not of common painters, but of excellent masters,
and with judgment, invention, and marvellous art--all the jousts,
tournaments, chases, festivals, and other spectacles that took place in
his times. Of such things relics are still seen, not only in the palace
and the old houses of the Medici, but in all the most noble houses in
Florence; and there are men who, out of attachment to these ancient
usages, truly magnificent and most honourable, have not displaced these
things in favour of modern ornaments and usages. Dello, then, being a
very good and practised painter, and above all, as it has been said, in
making little pictures with much grace, applied himself for many years,
to his great profit and honour, to nothing else save adorning and
painting chests, chair-backs, couches, and other ornaments in the manner
described above, insomuch that it can be said to have been his principal
and peculiar profession. But since nothing in this world has permanence
or can endure any long time, however good and praiseworthy it may be, it
was not long before the refinement of men's intellects led them from
that first method of working to the making of richer ornaments and of
carvings in walnut-wood overlaid with gold, which make a very rich
adornment, and to the painting and colouring in oil of very beautiful
stories on similar pieces of household furniture, which have made known,
as they still do, both the magnificence of the citizens who use them and
the excellence of the painters.

But to come to the works of Dello, who was the first who occupied
himself with diligence and good mastery in such labours; for Giovanni
de' Medici, in particular, he painted the whole furniture of an
apartment, which was held something truly rare and very beautiful of its
kind, as some relics demonstrate that are still left. And Donatello,
then quite young, is said to have assisted him, making there by his own
hand, with stucco, gesso, glue, and pounded brick, some stories and
ornaments in low-relief, which, being afterwards overlaid with gold,
made a beautiful accompaniment for the painted stories. Of this work and
many others like it Drea Cennini makes mention in a long discourse in
his work, whereof there has been enough said above; and since it is a
good thing to maintain some memory of these old things, I have had some
of them, by the hand of Dello himself, preserved in the Palace of the
Lord Duke Cosimo, where they are, and they will be ever worthy of being
studied, if only for the various costumes of those times, both of men
and women, that are seen in them. Dello also wrought the story of Isaac
giving his benediction to Esau, in fresco and with terra-verde, in a
corner of the cloister of S. Maria Novella.

A little after this work, being summoned to Spain to enter the service
of the King, he came into so great credit that no craftsman could have
desired much more; and although it is not known precisely what works he
made in those parts, it may be judged, seeing that he returned thence
very rich and highly honoured, that they were numerous and beautiful and
good. After a few years, having been royally rewarded for his labours,
Dello conceived the wish to return to Florence, in order to show his
friends how he had climbed from extreme poverty to great riches.
Wherefore, having gone for permission to that King, not only did he
obtain it readily (although the former would have willingly retained
him, if Dello had been so minded), but he was also made chevalier by
that most liberal King, as a greater sign of gratitude. Whereupon he
returned to Florence in order to obtain the banners and the confirmation
of his privileges, but they were denied him by the agency of Filippo
Spano degli Scolari, who had just come back from his victories over the
Turks as Grand Seneschal of the King of Hungary. But Dello having
written immediately to the King of Spain to complain of this affront,
the King wrote so warmly on his behalf to the Signoria that the due and
desired honour was conceded to him without opposition. It is said that
Dello, while returning to his house on horseback, with his banners,
having been honoured by the Signoria and robed in brocade, was mocked
at, in passing through Vacchereccia, where there were then many
goldsmiths' shops, by certain old friends, who, having known him in
youth, did this either in scorn or in jest; and that he, turning in the
direction whence he had heard the voice, made a gesture of contempt with
both his hands and went on his way without saying a word, so that
scarcely anyone noticed it save those who had derided him. By reason of
this and other signs, which gave him to know that envy was no less
active against him in his own country than malice had been formerly when
he was very poor, he determined to return to Spain; and so, having
written, and having received an answer from the King, he returned to
those parts, where he was welcomed with great favour and ever afterwards
regarded with affection, and there he devoted himself to work, living
like a nobleman, and ever painting from that day onwards in an apron of
brocade. Thus, then, he gave way before envy, and lived in honour at the
Court of that King; and he died at the age of forty-nine, and was given
honourable burial by the same man, with this epitaph:

              H. S. E.
             S. T. T. L.

Dello was no very good draughtsman, but was well among the first who
began to show judgment in revealing the muscles in nude bodies, as it is
seen from some drawings in our book, made by him in chiaroscuro. He was
portrayed in chiaroscuro by Paolo Uccello in S. Maria Novella, in the
story wherein Noah is made drunk by his son Ham.




Nanni d'Antonio di Banco was not only rich enough by patrimony, but also
by no means humble in origin, yet, delighting in sculpture, he was not
only not ashamed to learn and practise it, but took no small pride
therein, and made so much advance that his fame will ever endure; and it
will be all the more celebrated in proportion as men know that he
applied himself to this noble art not through necessity, but through a
true love of the art itself. This man, who was one of the disciples of
Donato, although I have placed him before his master because he died
long before him, was a somewhat sluggish person, but modest, humble, and
kindly in his dealings. There is by his hand, in Florence, the S. Philip
of marble which is on a pilaster on the outside of the Oratory of
Orsanmichele. This work was at first allotted to Donato by the Guild of
Shoemakers, and then, since they could not agree with him about the
price, it was transferred, as though in despite of Donato, to Nanni, who
promised that he would take whatsoever payment they might give him, and
would ask no other. But the business fell out otherwise, for, when the
statue was finished and set in its place, he asked a much greater price
for his work than Donato had done at the beginning; wherefore the
valuation of it was referred by both parties to Donato, the Consuls of
that Guild believing firmly that he, out of envy at not having made it,
would value it at much less than if it were his own work; but they were
disappointed in their belief, for Donato judged that much more should be
paid to Nanni for his statue than he had demanded. Being in no way
willing to abide by this judgment, the Consuls made an outcry and said
to Donato: "Why dost thou, after undertaking to make this work at a
smaller price, value it higher when made by the hand of another, and
constrain us to give him more for it than he himself demands? For thou
knowest, even as we do also, that from thy hands it would have come out
much better." Donato answered, laughing: "This good man is not my equal
in the art, and endures much more fatigue than I do in working;
wherefore, if you wish to give him satisfaction, like the just men that
I take you for, you are bound to pay him for the time that he has
spent." And thus the award of Donato was carried into effect, both
parties having agreed to abide by it.

This work stands well enough, and has good grace and liveliness in the
head; the draperies are not hard, and are in no wise badly arranged
about the figure. In another niche below this one there are four saints
in marble, which the same Nanni was commissioned to make by the Guild of
Smiths, Carpenters, and Masons; and it is said that, having finished
them all in the round and detached one from another, and having prepared
the niche, it was with great difficulty that he could get even three of
them into it, for he had made some of them in attitudes with the arms
outstretched; and that he besought Donato, in grief and despair, to
consent with his counsel to repair his own misfortune and lack of
foresight. And Donato, laughing over the mischance, answered: "If thou
wilt promise to pay for a supper for me and all my apprentices, I will
undertake to get the saints into the niche without any trouble." This
Nanni promised to do right willingly, and Donato sent him to Prato, to
take certain measurements and to do some other business that would take
him some days. Whereupon, Nanni having departed, Donato, with all his
disciples and apprentices, set to work and cut some of the statues down
in the shoulders and some in the arms, in such wise that he contrived to
group them close together, each making place for the other, while he
made a hand appear over the shoulders of one of them. And thus the
judgment of Donato, having joined them harmoniously together, concealed
the error of Nanni so well that they still show, in that place where
they were fixed, most manifest signs of concord and brotherhood; and
anyone who does not know the circumstance sees nothing of the error.
Nanni, finding on his return that Donato had corrected everything and
put all his disorder to rights, rendered him infinite thanks, and with
great goodwill paid for the supper for him and his pupils. Under the
feet of these four saints, in the ornament of the shrine, there is a
scene in marble and in half-relief, wherein a sculptor is carving a boy
with great animation, and a master is building, with two men assisting
him; and all these little figures are seen to be very well grouped and
intent on what they are doing.


(_After_ Nanni d'Antonio di Banco. _Florence: Duomo_)


In the façade of S. Maria del Fiore, on the left side as one enters the
church by the central door, there is an Evangelist by the hand of the
same man, which is a passing good figure for those times. It is also
reputed that the S. Lo which is without the said Oratory of
Orsanmichele, and which was made for the Guild of Farriers, is by the
hand of the same Nanni, and likewise the marble shrine, in the base of
which, at the foot, there is a scene wherein S. Lo, the Farrier, is
shoeing a frenzied horse, so well made that Nanni deserved much praise
for it; and he would have deserved and obtained much greater praise with
other works, if he had not died, as he did, while still young. None the
less, by reason of these few works Nanni was held a passing good
sculptor; and being a citizen, he obtained many offices in his native
city of Florence, and because he bore himself like a just and reasonable
man both in these and in all his other affairs, he was greatly beloved.
He died of colic in the year 1430, at the age of forty-seven.


[Illustration: CANTORIA

(_After_ Luca della Robbia. _Florence: Opera del Duomo_)




Luca Della Robbia, sculptor of Florence, was born in the year 1388 in
the house of his ancestors, which is in Florence, below the Church of S.
Barnaba; and therein he was honestly brought up until he had learnt not
only to read and write but also to cast accounts, in so far as it was
likely to be needful, after the custom of most Florentines. And
afterwards he was placed by his father to learn the art of the goldsmith
with Leonardo di Ser Giovanni, who was then held the best master of that
art in Florence. Now, having learnt under this man to make designs and
to work in wax, Luca grew in courage and applied himself to making
certain things in marble and in bronze, which, seeing that he succeeded
in them well enough, brought it about that he completely abandoned his
business of goldsmith and applied himself to sculpture, insomuch that he
did nothing but ply his chisel all day and draw all night; and this he
did with so great zeal, that, feeling his feet very often freezing at
night, he took to keeping them in a basket full of shavings, such as
carpenters strip from planks when they shape them with the plane, in
order to warm them without giving up his drawing. Nor do I marvel in any
way at this, seeing that no one ever became excellent in any exercise
whatsoever without beginning from his childhood to endure heat, cold,
hunger, thirst, and other discomforts; wherefore those men are entirely
deceived who think to be able, at their ease and with all the comforts
of the world, to attain to honourable rank. It is not by sleeping but by
waking and studying continually that progress is made.

Luca was barely fifteen years of age when he was summoned, together with
other young sculptors, to Rimini, in order to make some figures and
other ornaments in marble for Sigismondo di Pandolfo Malatesti, Lord of
that city, who was then having a chapel made in the Church of S.
Francesco, and a tomb for his wife, who had died. Luca had given an
honourable proof of his knowledge in some low-reliefs in this work,
which are still seen there, when he was recalled by the Wardens of Works
of S. Maria del Fiore to Florence, where, for the campanile of that
church, he made five little scenes in marble, which are on the side that
faces the church, and which were wanting, according to the design of
Giotto, to go with that wherein are the Sciences and Arts, formerly
made, as it has been said, by Andrea Pisano. In the first Luca made
Donato teaching grammar; in the second, Plato and Aristotle, standing
for philosophy; in the third, a figure playing a lute, for music; in the
fourth, a Ptolemy, for astrology; and in the fifth, Euclid, for
geometry. These scenes, in perfection of finish, in grace, and in
design, were far in advance of the two made, as it has been said, by
Giotto, in one of which Apelles, standing for painting, is working with
his brush, while in the other Pheidias, representing sculpture, is
labouring with his chisel. Wherefore the said Wardens of Works--who,
besides the merits of Luca, were persuaded thereunto by Messer Vieri de'
Medici, then a great citizen and a friend of the people, who loved Luca
dearly--commissioned him, in the year 1405, to make the marble ornament
for the organ which the Office of Works was then having made on a very
grand scale, to be set up over the door of the sacristy of the said
church. In certain scenes at the base of this work Luca made the singing
choirs, chanting in various fashions; and he put so much zeal into this
labour and succeeded so well therein, that, although it is sixteen
braccia from the ground, one can see the swelling of the throats of the
singers, the leader of the music beating with his hands on the shoulders
of the smaller ones, and, in short, diverse manners of sounds, chants,
dances, and other pleasing actions that make up the delight of music.
Next, on the great cornice of this ornament Luca placed two figures of
gilded metal--namely, two nude angels, wrought with a high finish, as is
the whole work, which was held to be something very rare, although
Donatello, who afterwards made the ornament of the other organ, which is
opposite to the first, made his with much more judgment and mastery
than Luca had shown, as will be told in the proper place; for Donatello
executed that work almost wholly with bold studies and with no
smoothness of finish, to the end that it might show up much better from
a distance, as it does, than that of Luca, which, although it is wrought
with good design and diligence, is nevertheless so smooth and highly
finished that the eye, by reason of the distance, loses it and does not
grasp it well, as it does that of Donatello, which is, as it were, only


(_After_ Luca della Robbia. _Florence: S. Trinita_)


To this matter craftsmen should pay great attention, for the reason that
experience teaches us that all works which are to be viewed from a
distance, whether they be pictures, or sculptures, or any other similar
thing whatsoever, have more vivacity and greater force if they are made
in the fashion of beautiful sketches than if they are highly finished;
and besides the fact that distance gives this effect, it also appears
that very often in these sketches, born in a moment from the fire of
art, a man's conception is expressed in a few strokes, while, on the
contrary, effort and too great diligence sometimes rob men of their
force and judgment, if they never know when to take their hands off the
work that they are making. And whosoever knows that all the arts of
design, not to speak only of painting, are similar to poetry, knows also
that even as poems thrown off by the poetic fire are the true and good
ones, and better than those made with great effort, so, too, the works
of men excellent in the arts of design are better when they are made at
one sitting by the force of that fire, than when they go about
investigating one thing after another with effort and fatigue. And he
who has from the beginning, as he should have, a clear idea of what he
wishes to do, ever advances resolutely and with great readiness to
perfection. Nevertheless, seeing that all intellects are not of the same
stamp, there are some, in fact, although they are rare, who cannot work
well save at their leisure; and to say nothing of the painters, it is
said that the most reverend and most learned Bembo--among the
poets--sometimes laboured many months, perchance even years, at the
making of a sonnet, if we can believe those who affirm it; wherefore it
is no great marvel that this should happen sometimes to some of the
masters of our arts. But for the most part the rule is to the contrary,
as it has been said above, although the vulgar think more of a certain
external and obvious delicacy that proves to lack the essential
qualities, which are made up for by diligence, than of the good, wrought
with reason and judgment, but not so highly finished and polished on the

But to return to Luca; the said work being finished and giving great
satisfaction, he was entrusted with the bronze door of the said
sacristy, which he divided into ten squares--namely, five on either
side, making the head of a man at every corner of each square, in the
border; and he varied the heads one from another, making young men, old,
and middle-aged, some bearded and some shaven, and, in short, each one
beautiful of its kind in diverse fashions, so that the framework of that
door was beautifully adorned. Next, in the scenes in the squares--to
begin at the upper part--he made the Madonna with the Child in her arms,
with most beautiful grace; and in the one beside it, Jesus Christ
issuing from the Sepulchre. Below these, in each of the first four
squares, is the figure of an Evangelist; and below these, the four
Doctors of the Church, who are writing in different attitudes. And the
whole of this work is so highly finished and polished that it is a
marvel, and gives us to know that it was a great advantage to Luca to
have been a goldsmith.

But since, on reckoning up after these works how much there had come to
his hand and how much time he spent in making them, he recognized that
he had gained very little and that the labour had been very great, he
resolved to abandon marble and bronze and to see whether he could gather
better fruits from another method. Wherefore, reflecting that clay could
be worked easily and with little labour, and that it was only necessary
to find a method whereby works made with it might be preserved for a
long time, he set about investigating to such purpose that he found a
way to defend them from the injuries of time; for, after having made
many experiments, he found that by covering them with a coating of
glaze, made with tin, litharge, antimony, and other minerals and
mixtures fused together in a special furnace, he could produce this
effect very well and make works in clay almost eternal. For this
method of working, as being its inventor, he gained very great praise,
and all the ages to come will therefore owe him an obligation.


(_After_ Luca della Robbia. _Florence: Bargello._)]

Having then succeeded in this as much as he could desire, he resolved
that his first works should be those that are in the arch over the
bronze door which he had made for the sacristy, below the organ of S.
Maria del Fiore; and therein he made a Resurrection of Christ, so
beautiful for that time that it was admired, when placed in position, as
something truly rare. Moved by this, the said Wardens of Works desired
that the arch over the door of the other sacristy, where Donatello had
made the ornament of the other organ, should be filled by Luca in the
same manner with similar figures and works in terra-cotta; wherefore
Luca made therein a very beautiful Jesus Christ ascending into Heaven.

Now, not being yet satisfied with this beautiful invention--so lovely
and so useful, above all for places where there is water, and where,
because of damp or other reasons, there is no scope for paintings--Luca
went on seeking further progress, and, instead of making the said works
in clay simply white, he added the method of giving them colour, with
incredible marvel and pleasure to all. Wherefore the Magnificent Piero
di Cosimo de' Medici, one of the first to commission Luca to fashion
coloured works in clay, caused him to execute the whole of the round
vaulting of a study in the Palace--built, as it will be told, by his
father Cosimo--with various things of fancy, and likewise the pavement,
which was something singular and very useful for the summer. And seeing
that this method was then very difficult, and that many precautions were
necessary in the firing of the clay, it is certainly a marvel that Luca
could execute these works with so great perfection that both the
vaulting and the pavement appear to be made, not of many pieces, but of
one only. The fame of these works spreading not only throughout Italy
but throughout all Europe, there were so many who desired them that the
merchants of Florence, keeping Luca, to his great profit, continually at
this labour, sent them throughout the whole world. And because he could
not supply the whole, he took his brothers, Ottaviano and Agostino, away
from the chisel, and set them to work on these labours, wherein the
three of them together gained much more than they had done up to then
with the chisel, for the reason that, besides those of their works that
were sent to France and Spain, they also wrought many things in Tuscany;
and in particular, for the said Piero de' Medici, in the Church of S.
Miniato al Monte, the vaulting of the marble chapel, which rests on four
columns in the middle of the church, and which they divided most
beautifully into octagons. But the most notable work of this kind that
ever issued from their hands was the vaulting of the Chapel of S.
Jacopo, where the Cardinal of Portugal is buried, in the same church. In
this, although it has no salient angles, they made the four Evangelists
in four medallions at the corners, and the Holy Spirit in a medallion in
the middle of the vaulting, filling the other spaces with scales which
follow the curve of the vaulting and diminish little by little till they
reach the centre, insomuch that there is nothing better of that kind to
be seen, nor anything built and put together with more diligence.

Next, in a little arch over the door of the Church of S. Piero
Buonconsiglio, below the Mercato Vecchio, he made the Madonna with some
angels round her, all very vivacious; and over a door of a little church
near S. Piero Maggiore, in a lunette, he made another Madonna with some
angels, which are held very beautiful. And in the Chapter-house of S.
Croce, likewise, built by the family of the Pazzi under the direction of
Pippo di Ser Brunellesco, he made all the glazed figures that are seen
therein both within and without. And Luca is said to have sent some very
beautiful figures in full-relief to the King of Spain, together with
some works in marble. For Naples, also, he made in Florence the marble
tomb for the infant brother of the Duke of Calabria, with many glazed
ornaments, being assisted by his brother Agostino.

After these works, Luca sought to find a way of painting figures and
scenes on a level surface of terra-cotta, in order to give long life to
pictures, and made an experiment in a medallion which is above the
shrine of the four saints without Orsanmichele, on the level surface of
which, in five parts, he made the instruments and insignia of the Guilds
of the Masters in Wood and Stone, with very beautiful ornaments. And he
made two other medallions in the same place, in relief, in one of which,
for the Guild of Apothecaries, he made a Madonna, and in the other, for
the Mercatanzia, a lily on a bale, which has round it a festoon of
fruits and foliage of various sorts, so well made, that they appear to
be real and not of painted terra-cotta. In the Church of S. Brancazio,
also, he made a tomb of marble for Messer Benozzo Federighi, Bishop of
Fiesole, and Federighi himself lying on it, portrayed from nature, with
three other half-length figures; and in the ornament of the pilasters of
this work, on the level surface, he painted certain festoons with
clusters of fruit and foliage, so lifelike and natural, that nothing
better could be done in oil and on panel with the brush. Of a truth,
this work is marvellous and most rare, seeing that Luca made the lights
and shades in it so well, that it scarcely appears possible for this to
be done by the action of fire. And if this craftsman had lived longer
than he did, even greater works would have been seen to issue from his
hands, since, a little before he died, he had begun to make scenes and
figures painted on a level surface, whereof I once saw some pieces in
his house, which lead me to believe that he would have easily succeeded
in this, if death, which almost always snatches the best men away just
when they are on the point of conferring some benefit on the world, had
not robbed him of life before his time.

Luca was survived by Ottaviano and Agostino, his brothers, and from
Agostino there was born another Luca, who was very learned in his day.
Now Agostino, pursuing the art after the death of Luca, made the façade
of S. Bernardino in Perugia in the year 1461, with three scenes in
low-relief therein and four figures in the round, executed very well and
with a delicate manner; and on this work he put his name in these words,

Of the same family was the nephew of Luca, Andrea, who worked very well
in marble, as it is seen in the Chapel of S. Maria delle Grazie, without
Arezzo, where he made for the Commune, in a great ornament of marble,
many little figures both in the round and in half-relief; which ornament
was made for a Virgin by the hand of Parri di Spinello of Arezzo. The
same man made the panel in terra-cotta for the Chapel of Puccio di
Magio, in the Church of S. Francesco in the same city, and that
representing the Circumcision for the family of the Bacci. In S. Maria
in Grado, likewise, there is a very beautiful panel by his hand with
many figures; and on the high-altar of the Company of the Trinità there
is a panel by his hand containing a God the Father, who is supporting
Christ Crucified in His arms, surrounded by a multitude of angels, while
S. Donatus and S. Bernard are kneeling below. In the church and in other
parts of the Sasso della Vernia, likewise, he made many panels, which
have been well preserved in that desert place, where no painting could
have remained fresh for even a few years. The same Andrea wrought all
the figures in glazed terra-cotta which are in the Loggia of the
Hospital of S. Paolo in Florence, and which are passing good; and
likewise the boys, both swathed and nude, that are in the medallions
between one arch and another in the Loggia of the Hospital of the
Innocenti, which are all truly admirable and prove the great talent and
art of Andrea; not to mention many, nay, innumerable other works that he
made in the course of his life, which lasted eighty-four years. Andrea
died in the year 1528, and I, while still a boy, talked with him and
heard him say--nay, boast--that he had taken part in bearing Donato to
the tomb; and I remember that the good old man showed no little pride as
he spoke of this.

[Illustration: ALTAR-PIECE

(_After_ Andrea della Robbia. _Arezzo: S. Maria in Grado_)


But to return to Luca; he was buried, with the rest of his family, in
their ancestral tomb in S. Piero Maggiore, and in the same tomb there
was afterwards buried Andrea, who left two sons, friars in S. Marco,
where they received the habit from the Reverend Fra Girolamo Savonarola,
to whom that Della Robbia family was ever devoted, portraying him in
that manner which is still seen to-day in the medals. The same man,
besides the said two friars, had three other sons: Giovanni, who devoted
himself to art and had three sons, Marco, Lucantonio, and Simone, who
died of plague in the year 1527, having given great promise; and Luca
and Girolamo, who devoted themselves to sculpture. Of these two, Luca
was very diligent in glazed works, and he made with his own hand,
besides many other things, the pavements of the Papal Loggie which Pope
Leo X caused to be made in Rome under the direction of Raffaello da
Urbino, and also those of many apartments, wherein he put the insignia
of that Pontiff. Girolamo, who was the youngest of all, devoted himself
to working in marble, in clay, and in bronze, and had already
become an able man, by reason of competing with Jacopo Sansovino, Baccio
Bandinelli, and other masters of his time, when he was brought by
certain Florentine merchants to France, where he made many works for
King Francis at Madri, a place not far distant from Paris, and in
particular a palace with many figures and other ornaments, with a kind
of stone like our Volterra gypsum, but of a better quality, for it is
soft when it is worked, and afterwards with time becomes hard. He also
wrought many things in clay at Orleans and made works throughout that
whole kingdom, acquiring fame and very great wealth. After these works,
hearing that he had no relative left in Florence save his brother Luca,
and being himself rich and alone in the service of King Francis, he
summoned his brother to join him in those parts, in order to leave him
in credit and good circumstances, but it fell out otherwise, for in a
short time Luca died there, and Girolamo once more found himself alone
and without any of his kin; wherefore he resolved to return, in order to
enjoy in his own country the riches that his labour and sweat had
brought him, and also to leave therein some memorial of himself, and he
was settling down to live in Florence in the year 1553, when he was
forced to change his mind, as it were, for he saw that Duke Cosimo, by
whom he was hoping to be honourably employed, was occupied with the war
in Siena; whereupon he returned to die in France. And not only did his
house remain closed and his family become extinct, but art was deprived
of the true method of making glazed work, for the reason that, although
there have been some after them who have practised that sort of
sculpture, nevertheless they have all failed by a great measure to
attain to the excellence of the elder Luca, Andrea, and the others of
that family. Wherefore, if I have spoken on this subject at greater
length, perchance, than it appeared to be necessary, let no man blame
me, seeing that the fact that Luca discovered this new form of
sculpture--which, to my knowledge, the ancient Romans did not have--made
it necessary to discourse thereon, as I have done, at some length. And
if, after the Life of the elder Luca, I have given some brief account of
his descendants, who have lived even to our own day, I have done this in
order not to have to return to this subject another time.


(_After_ Andrea della Robbia. _La Verna_)


Luca, then, while passing from one method of work to another, from
marble to bronze, and from bronze to clay, did this not by reason of
laziness or because he was, as many are, capricious, unstable, and
discontented with his art, but because he felt himself drawn by nature
to new things and by necessity to an exercise according to his taste,
both less fatiguing and more profitable. Wherefore the world and the
arts of design became the richer by a new, useful, and most beautiful
art, and he gained immortal and everlasting glory and praise. Luca was
an excellent and graceful draughtsman, as it may be seen from some
drawings in our book with the lights picked out with white lead, in one
of which is his portrait, made by him with much diligence by looking at
himself in a mirror.

[Illustration: THE VISITATION

(_After_ Giovanni della Robbia. _Pistoia: S. Giovanni Fuorcivitas_)





Paolo Uccello would have been the most gracious and fanciful genius that
was ever devoted to the art of painting, from Giotto's day to our own,
if he had laboured as much at figures and animals as he laboured and
lost time over the details of perspective; for although these are
ingenious and beautiful, yet if a man pursues them beyond measure he
does nothing but waste his time, exhausts his powers, fills his mind
with difficulties, and often transforms its fertility and readiness into
sterility and constraint, and renders his manner, by attending more to
these details than to figures, dry and angular, which all comes from a
wish to examine things too minutely; not to mention that very often he
becomes solitary, eccentric, melancholy, and poor, as did Paolo Uccello.
This man, endowed by nature with a penetrating and subtle mind, knew no
other delight than to investigate certain difficult, nay, impossible
problems of perspective, which, although they were fanciful and
beautiful, yet hindered him so greatly in the painting of figures, that
the older he grew the worse he did them. And there is no doubt that if a
man does violence to his nature with too ardent studies, although he may
sharpen one edge of his genius, yet nothing that he does appears done
with that facility and grace which are natural to those who put each
stroke in its proper place temperately and with a calm intelligence full
of judgment, avoiding certain subtleties that rather burden a man's work
with a certain laboured, dry, constrained, and bad manner, which moves
those who see it rather to compassion than to marvel; for the spirit of
genius must be driven into action only when the intellect wishes to set
itself to work and when the fire of inspiration is kindled, since it is
then that excellent and divine qualities and marvellous conceptions are
seen to issue forth.

Now Paolo was for ever investigating, without a moment's intermission,
the most difficult problems of art, insomuch that he reduced to
perfection the method of drawing perspectives from the ground-plans of
houses and from the profiles of buildings, carried right up to the
summits of the cornices and the roofs, by means of intersecting lines,
making them foreshortened and diminishing towards the centre, after
having first fixed the eye-level either high or low, according to his
pleasure. So greatly, in short, did he occupy himself with these
difficulties, that he introduced a way, method, and rule of placing
figures firmly on the planes whereon their feet are planted, and
foreshortening them bit by bit, and making them recede by a
proportionate diminution; which hitherto had always been done by chance.
He discovered, likewise, the method of turning the intersections and
arches of vaulted roofs; the foreshortening of ceilings by means of the
convergence of the beams; and the making of round columns at the salient
angle of the walls of a house in a manner that they curve at the corner,
and, being drawn in perspective, break the angle and cause it to appear
level. For the sake of these investigations he kept himself in seclusion
and almost a hermit, having little intercourse with anyone, and staying
weeks and months in his house without showing himself. And although
these were difficult and beautiful problems, if he had spent that time
in the study of figures, he would have brought them to absolute
perfection; for even so he made them with passing good draughtsmanship.
But, consuming his time in these researches, he remained throughout his
whole life more poor than famous; wherefore the sculptor Donatello, who
was very much his friend, said to him very often--when Paolo showed him
mazzocchi[10] with pointed ornaments, and squares drawn in perspective
from diverse aspects; spheres with seventy-two diamond-shaped facets,
with wood-shavings wound round sticks on each facet; and other
fantastic devices on which he spent and wasted his time--"Ah, Paolo,
this perspective of thine makes thee abandon the substance for the
shadow; these are things that are only useful to men who work at the
inlaying of wood, seeing that they fill their borders with chips and
shavings, with spirals both round and square, and with other similar

[Footnote 10: Mazzocchi are probably coronets placed on the arms of
noble families; also caps of a peculiar shape, such as those worn by
Taddeo Gaddi and others in the portraits placed by Vasari at the
beginning of each Life; and possibly, also, the wooden hoops placed
inside these caps to keep them in shape.]

The first pictures of Paolo were in fresco, in an oblong niche painted
in perspective, at the Hospital of Lelmo--namely, a figure of S. Anthony
the Abbot, with S. Cosimo on one side and S. Damiano on the other. In
the Annalena, a convent of nuns, he made two figures; and within the
Church of S. Trinita, over the left-hand door, he painted stories of S.
Francis in fresco--namely, the receiving of the Stigmata; the supporting
of the Church, which he is upholding with his shoulders; and his
conference with S. Dominic. In S. Maria Maggiore, also, in a chapel near
the side-door which leads to S. Giovanni, where there are the panel and
predella of Masaccio, he wrought an Annunciation in fresco, wherein he
made a building worthy of consideration, which was something new and
difficult in those times, seeing that it was the first possessing any
beauty of manner which was seen by craftsmen, showing them with grace
and proportion how to manage the receding of lines, and how to give so
great an extent to a level space which is small and confined, that it
appears far distant and large; and when to this, with judgment and
grace, men can add shadows and lights by means of colours in their
proper places, there is no doubt that they cause an illusion to the eye,
so that it appears that the painting is real and in relief. And not
being satisfied with this, he wished to demonstrate even greater
difficulties in some columns, which, foreshortened in perspective, curve
round and break the salient angle of the vaulting wherein are the four
Evangelists; which was held something beautiful and difficult, and, in
truth, in that branch of his profession Paolo was ingenious and able.

In a cloister of S. Miniato without Florence, also, he wrought the lives
of the Holy Fathers, chiefly in terra-verde, and partly in colour;
wherein he paid little regard to effecting harmony by painting with one
colour, as should be done in painting stories, for he made the fields
blue, the cities red, and the buildings varied according to his
pleasure; and in this he was at fault, for something which is meant to
represent stone cannot and should not be tinted with another colour. It
is said that while Paolo was labouring at this work, the Abbot who was
then head of that place gave him scarcely anything to eat but cheese.
Wherefore Paolo, having grown weary of this, determined, like the shy
fellow that he was, to go no more to work there; whereupon the Abbot
sent to look for him, and Paolo, when he heard friars asking for him,
would never be at home, and if peradventure he met any couples of that
Order in the streets of Florence, he would start running and flying from
them with all his might. Now two of them, more curious than the rest and
younger than Paolo, caught him up one day and asked him for what reason
he did not return to finish the work that he had begun, and why he fled
at the sight of a friar; and Paolo answered: "You have murdered me in a
manner that I not only fly from you, but cannot show myself near any
carpenter's shop or pass by one, and all because of the thoughtlessness
of your Abbot, who, what with pies and with soups always made of cheese,
has crammed so much cheese into me that I am in terror lest, being
nothing but cheese, they may use me for making glue. And if it were to
go on any longer, I would probably be no more Paolo, but cheese." The
friars, leaving him with peals of laughter, told everything to the
Abbot, who made him return to his work, and ordered him some other fare
than cheese.

After this, he painted the dossal of S. Cosimo and S. Damiano in the
Carmine, in the Chapel of S. Girolamo (of the Pugliesi). In the house of
the Medici he painted some scenes on canvas and in distemper,
representing animals; in these he ever took delight, and in order to
paint them well he gave them very great attention, and, what is more, he
kept ever in his house pictures of birds, cats, dogs, and every sort of
strange animal whereof he could get the likeness, being unable to have
them alive by reason of his poverty; and because he delighted in birds
more than in any other kind, he was given the name of "Paolo of the
Birds" (Paolo Uccelli). In the said house, among other pictures of
animals, he made some lions, which were fighting together with movements
and a ferocity so terrible that they appeared alive. But the rarest
scene among them all was one wherein a serpent, combating with a lion,
was showing its ferocity with violent movements, with the venom spurting
from its mouth and eyes, while a country girl who is present is looking
after an ox made with most beautiful foreshortening. The actual drawing
for this ox, by the hand of Paolo, is in my book of drawings, and
likewise that of the peasant girl, all full of fear, and in the act of
running away from those animals. There are likewise certain very
lifelike shepherds, and a landscape which was held something very
beautiful in his time. In the other canvases he made some studies of
men-at-arms of those times, on horseback, with not a few portraits from
the life.


(_London: National Gallery, 583. Panel_)]

Afterwards he was commissioned to paint some scenes in the cloister of
S. Maria Novella; and the first, which are at the entrance from the
church into the cloister, represent the Creation of the animals, with an
infinite number and variety of kinds belonging to water, earth, and air.
And since he was very fanciful and took great delight, as it has been
said, in painting animals to perfection, he showed in certain lions, who
are seeking to bite each other, the great ferocity that is in them, and
swiftness and fear in some stags and fallow-deer; not to mention that
the birds and fishes, with their feathers and scales, are most lifelike.
He made there the Creation of man and of woman, and their Fall, with a
beautiful manner and with good and careful execution. And in this work
he took delight in making the trees with colours, which the painters of
those times were not wont to do very well; and in the landscapes,
likewise, he was the first among the old painters to make a name for
himself by his work, executing them well and with greater perfection
than the painters before him had done; although afterwards there came
men who made them more perfect, for with all his labour he was never
able to give them that softness and harmony which have been given to
them in our own day by painting them in oil-colours. It was enough for
Paolo to go on, according to the rules of perspective, drawing and
foreshortening them exactly as they are, making in them all that he
saw--namely, ploughed fields, ditches, and other minutenesses of
nature--with that dry and hard manner of his; whereas, if he had picked
out the best from everything and had made use of those parts only that
come out well in painting, they would have been absolutely perfect. This
labour finished, he worked in the same cloister below two stories by the
hand of others; and lower down he painted the Flood, with Noah's Ark,
wherein he put so great pains and so great art and diligence into the
painting of the dead bodies, the tempest, the fury of the winds, the
flashes of the lightning, the shattering of trees, and the terror of
men, that it is beyond all description. And he made, foreshortened in
perspective, a corpse from which a raven is picking out the eyes, and a
drowned boy, whose body, being full of water, is swollen out into the
shape of a very great arch. He also represented various human emotions,
such as the little fear of the water shown by two men who are fighting
on horseback, and the extreme terror of death seen in a woman and a man
who are mounted on a buffalo, which is filling with water from behind,
so that they are losing all hope of being able to save themselves; and
the whole work is so good and so excellent, that it brought him very
great fame. He diminished the figures, moreover, by means of lines in
perspective, and made mazzocchi and other things, truly very beautiful
in such a work. Below this story, likewise, he painted the drunkenness
of Noah, with the contemptuous action of his son Ham--in whom he
portrayed Dello, the Florentine painter and sculptor, his friend--with
Shem and Japhet, his other sons, who are covering him up as he lies
showing his nakedness. Here, likewise, he made in perspective a cask
that curves on every side, which was held something very beautiful, and
also a pergola covered with grapes, the wood-work of which, composed of
squared planks, goes on diminishing to a point; but here he was in
error, since the diminishing of the plane below, on which the figures
are standing, follows the lines of the pergola, and the cask does not
follow these same receding lines; wherefore I marvel greatly that a man
so accurate and diligent could make an error so notable. He made there
also the Sacrifice, with the Ark open and drawn in perspective, with the
rows of perches in the upper part, distributed row by row; these were
the resting-places of the birds, many kinds of which are seen issuing
and flying forth in foreshortening, while in the sky there is seen
God the Father, who is appearing over the sacrifice that Noah and his
sons are making; and this figure, of all those that Paolo made in this
work, is the most difficult, for it is flying, with the head
foreshortened, towards the wall, and has such force and relief that it
seems to be piercing and breaking through it. Besides this, Noah has
round him an infinite number of diverse animals, all most beautiful. In
short, he gave to all this work so great softness and grace, that it is
beyond comparison superior to all his others; wherefore it has been
greatly praised from that time up to our own.

[Illustration: THE DELUGE

(_After the fresco by_ Paolo Uccello. _Florence: S. Maria Novella_)


In S. Maria del Fiore, in memory of Giovanni Acuto, an Englishman,
Captain of the Florentines, who had died in the year 1393, he made in
terra-verde a horse of extraordinary grandeur, which was held very
beautiful, and on it the image of the Captain himself, in chiaroscuro
and coloured with terra-verde, in a picture ten braccia high on the
middle of one wall of the church; where Paolo drew in perspective a
large sarcophagus, supposed to contain the corpse, and over this he
placed the image of him in his Captain's armour, on horseback. This work
was and still is held to be something very beautiful for a painting of
that kind, and if Paolo had not made that horse move its legs on one
side only, which naturally horses do not do, or they would fall--and
this perchance came about because he was not accustomed to ride, nor
used to horses as he was to other animals--this work would be absolutely
perfect, since the proportion of that horse, which is colossal, is very
beautiful; and on the base there are these letters: PAULI UCCELLI OPUS.

At the same time, and in the same church, he painted in colours the
hour-dial above the principal door within the church, with four heads
coloured in fresco at the corners. He wrought in terra-verde, also, the
loggia that faces towards the west above the garden of the Monastery of
the Angeli, painting below each arch a story of the acts of S. Benedict
the Abbot, and of the most notable events of his life, up to his death.
Here, among many most beautiful scenes, there is one wherein a monastery
is destroyed by the agency of the Devil, while a friar is left dead
below the stones and beams. No less notable is the terror of another
monk, whose draperies, as he flies, cling round his nude form and
flutter with most beautiful grace; whereby Paolo awakened the minds of
the craftsmen so greatly, that they have ever afterwards followed that
method. Very beautiful, also, is the figure of S. Benedict, the while
that with dignity and devoutness, in the presence of his monks, he
restores the dead friar to life. Finally, in all these stories there are
features worthy of consideration, and above all in certain places where
the very tiles of the roof, whether flat or round, are drawn in
perspective. And in the death of S. Benedict, while his monks are
performing his obsequies and bewailing him, there are some sick men and
cripples, all most beautiful, who stand gazing on him; and it is
noticeable, also, that among many loving and devout followers of that
Saint there is an old monk with crutches under his arms, in whom there
is seen a marvellous expression, with even a hope of being made whole.
In this work there are no landscapes in colour, nor many buildings, nor
difficult perspectives, but there is truly great design, with no little
of the good.

In many houses of Florence there are many pictures in perspective by the
hand of the same man, for the adornment of couches, beds, and other
little things; and in Gualfonda, in particular, on a terrace in the
garden which once belonged to the Bartolini, there are four
battle-scenes painted on wood by his hand, full of horses and armed men,
with very beautiful costumes of those days; and among the men are
portraits of Paolo Orsino, Ottobuono da Parma, Luca da Canale, and Carlo
Malatesti, Lord of Rimini, all captains-general of those times. And
these pictures, since they were spoilt and had suffered injury, were
restored in our own day by the agency of Giuliano Bugiardini, who did
them more harm than good.

Paolo was summoned to Padua by Donato, when the latter was working
there, and at the entrance of the house of the Vitali he painted some
giants in terra-verde, which, as I have found in a Latin letter written
by Girolamo Campagnola to Messer Leonico Tomeo, the philosopher, are so
beautiful that Andrea Mantegna held them in very great account. Paolo
wrought in fresco the Volta de' Peruzzi, with triangular sections in
perspective, and in the angles of the corners he painted the four
elements, making for each an appropriate animal--for the earth a mole,
for the water a fish, for the fire a salamander, and for the air a
chameleon, which lives on it and assumes any colour. And because he had
never seen a chameleon, he painted a camel, which is opening its mouth
and swallowing air, and therewith filling its belly; and great, indeed,
was his simplicity in making allusion by means of the name of the camel
to an animal that is like a little dry lizard, and in representing it by
a great uncouth beast.

[Illustration: PORTRAITS

(_After the panel by_ Paolo Uccello. _Paris: Louvre, 1272_)


Truly great were the labours of Paolo in painting, for he drew so much
that he left to his relatives, as I have learnt from their own lips,
whole chests full of drawings. But, although it is a good thing to draw,
it is nevertheless better to make complete pictures, seeing that
pictures have longer life than drawings. In our book of drawings there
are many figures, studies in perspective, birds, and animals, beautiful
to a marvel, but the best of all is a mazzocchio drawn only with lines,
so beautiful that nothing save the patience of Paolo could have executed
it. Paolo, although he was an eccentric person, loved talent in his
fellow-craftsmen, and in order that some memory of them might go down to
posterity, he painted five distinguished men with his own hand on a long
panel, which he kept in his house in memory of them. One was Giotto, the
painter, standing for the light and origin of art; the second was
Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, for architecture; Donatello, for sculpture;
himself, for perspective and animals; and, for mathematics, Giovanni
Manetti, his friend, with whom he often conferred and discoursed on the
problems of Euclid.

It is said that having been commissioned to paint, over the door of S.
Tommaso in the Mercato Vecchio, that Saint feeling for the wound in the
side of Christ, Paolo put into that work all the effort that he could,
saying that he wished to show therein the full extent of his worth and
knowledge; and so he caused a screen of planks to be made, to the end
that no one might be able to see his work until it was finished.
Wherefore Donato, meeting him one day all alone, said to him: "And what
sort of work may this be of thine, that thou keepest it screened so
closely?" And Paolo said in answer: "Thou shalt see it. Let that suffice
thee." Donato would not constrain him to say more, thinking to see some
miracle, as usual, when the time came. Afterwards, chancing one morning
to be in the Mercato Vecchio buying fruit, Donato saw Paolo uncovering
his work, whereupon he saluted him courteously, and was asked by Paolo
himself, who was curious and anxious to hear his judgment on it, what he
thought of that picture. Donato, having studied the work long and well,
exclaimed: "Ah, Paolo, thou oughtest to be covering it up, and here thou
art uncovering it!" Whereupon Paolo was much aggrieved, feeling that he
was receiving much more by way of blame than he expected to receive by
way of praise for this last labour of his; and not having courage,
lowered as he was, to go out any more, he shut himself up in his house,
devoting himself to perspective, which kept him ever poor and depressed
up to his death. And so, growing very old, and having but little
contentment in his old age, he died in the eighty-third year of his
life, in 1432, and was buried in S. Maria Novella.

He left a daughter, who had knowledge of drawing, and a wife, who was
wont to say that Paolo would stay in his study all night, seeking to
solve the problems of perspective, and that when she called him to come
to bed, he would say: "Oh, what a sweet thing is this perspective!" And
in truth, if it was sweet to him, it was not otherwise than dear and
useful, thanks to him, to those who exercised themselves therein after
his time.





There is no doubt that in every city those who, by reason of any talent,
come into some fame among men, are a most blessed light and example to
many who are either born after them or live in the same age, not to
mention the infinite praise and the extraordinary rewards that they
themselves gain thereby while living. Nor is there anything that does
more to arouse the minds of men, and to render the discipline of study
less fatiguing to them, than the honour and profit which are afterwards
won by labouring at the arts, for the reason that these make every
difficult undertaking easy to them all, and give a greater stimulus to
the growth of their talents, when they are urged to greater efforts by
the praises of the world. Wherefore infinite numbers of men, who feel
and see this, put themselves to great fatigues, in order to attain to
the honour of winning that which they see to have been won by some
compatriot; and for this reason in ancient times men of talent were
rewarded with riches, or honoured with triumphs and images. But since it
is seldom that talent is not persecuted by envy, men must continue to
the best of their power, by means of the utmost excellence, to assure it
of victory, or at least to make it stout and strong to sustain the
attacks of that enemy; even as Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, otherwise
called Di Bartoluccio, was enabled to do both by his own merits and by
fortune. This man well deserved the honour of being placed before
themselves by the sculptor Donato and by the architect and sculptor
Filippo Brunelleschi, both excellent craftsmen, since they recognized,
in truth, although instinct perchance constrained them to do the
contrary, that Lorenzo was a better master of casting than they were.
This truly brought glory to them, and confusion to many who, presuming
on their worth, set themselves to work and occupy the place due to the
talents of others, and, without producing any fruits themselves, but
labouring a thousand years at the making of one work, impede and oppress
the knowledge of others with malignity and with envy.

Lorenzo, then, was the son of Bartoluccio Ghiberti, and from his
earliest years learnt the art of the goldsmith from his father, who was
an excellent master and taught him that business, which Lorenzo grasped
so well that he became much better therein than his father. But
delighting much more in the arts of sculpture and design, he would
sometimes handle colours, and at other times would cast little figures
in bronze and finish them with much grace. He also delighted in
counterfeiting the dies of ancient medals, and he portrayed many of his
friends from the life in his time.

Now, while he was working with Bartoluccio and seeking to make progress
in his profession, the plague came to Florence in the year 1400, as he
himself relates in a book by his own hand wherein he discourses on the
subject of art, which is now in the possession of the Reverend Maestro
Cosimo Bartoli, a gentleman of Florence. To this plague were added civil
discords and other troubles in the city, and he was forced to depart and
to go in company with another painter to Romagna, where they painted for
Signor Pandolfo Malatesti, in Rimini, an apartment and many other works,
which were finished by them with diligence and to the satisfaction of
that Lord, who, although still young, took great delight in matters of
design. Meanwhile Lorenzo did not cease to study the arts of design, and
to work in relief with wax, stucco, and other similar materials, knowing
very well that these small reliefs are the drawing-exercises of
sculptors, and that without such practice nothing can be brought by them
to perfection. Now, when he had been no long time out of his own
country, the pestilence ceased; wherefore the Signoria of Florence and
the Guild of Merchants--since at that time sculpture had many excellent
craftsmen, both foreign and Florentine--determined that there should be
made, as it had been already discussed many times, the other two doors
of S. Giovanni, a very ancient temple, indeed, the oldest in that city;
and they ordained among themselves that instructions should be sent to
all the masters who were held the best in Italy, to repair to Florence
in order that their powers might be tested by a specimen scene in
bronze, similar to one of those which Andrea Pisano had formerly made
for the first door.

Word of this determination was written to Lorenzo, who was working at
Pesaro, by Bartoluccio, urging him to return to Florence in order to
give a proof of his powers, and saying that this was an occasion to make
himself known and to demonstrate his genius, not to mention that he
might gain such profit that neither the one nor the other of them would
ever again need to labour at making ear-rings.

The words of Bartoluccio stirred the spirit of Lorenzo so greatly, that
although Signor Pandolfo, with all his Court and the other painter, kept
showing him the greatest favour, Lorenzo took leave of that lord and of
the painter, and they, with great unwillingness and displeasure, allowed
him to go, neither promises nor increase of payment availing to detain
him, since to Lorenzo every hour appeared a thousand years until he
could return to Florence. Having departed, therefore, he arrived safely
in his own city. Many foreigners had already assembled and presented
themselves to the Consuls of the Guild, by whom seven masters were
elected out of the whole number, three being Florentines and the others
Tuscans; and it was ordained that they should have an allowance of
money, and that within a year each man should finish a scene in bronze
by way of test, of the same size as those in the first door. And for the
subject they chose the story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac,
wherein they thought that the said masters should be able to show their
powers with regard to the difficulties of their art, seeing that this
story contained landscapes, figures both nude and clothed, and animals,
while the foremost figures could be made in full-relief, the second in
half-relief, and the third in low-relief.

The competitors for this work were Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, Donato,
and Lorenzo di Bartoluccio, all Florentines; Jacopo della Quercia of
Siena, and Niccolò d'Arezzo, his pupil; Francesco di Valdambrina; and
Simone da Colle, called Simone de' Bronzi. All these men promised
before the Consuls that they would deliver their scenes finished within
the said time; and each making a beginning with his own, with all zeal
and diligence they exerted all their strength and knowledge in order to
surpass one another in excellence, keeping their work hidden and most
secret, lest they should copy each other's ideas. Lorenzo alone, who had
Bartoluccio to guide him and to compel him to labour at many models
before they resolved to adopt any one of them--Lorenzo alone was ever
inviting the citizens, and sometimes any passing stranger who had some
knowledge of the art, to see his work, in order to hear what they
thought and these opinions enabled him to execute a model very well
wrought and without one defect. And so, when he had made the moulds and
cast the work in bronze, it came out very well; whereupon, with his
father Bartoluccio, he polished it with such love and patience that
nothing could be executed or finished better. And when the time came for
comparing the various works, his and those of the other masters were
completely finished, and were given to the Guild of Merchants for
judgment; but after all had been seen by the Consuls and by many other
citizens, diverse opinions were expressed about them. Many foreigners
had assembled in Florence, some painters, some sculptors, and others
goldsmiths; and they were invited by the Consuls to give judgment on
these works, together with the other men of that profession who lived in
Florence. They numbered thirty-four in all, each well experienced in his
own art. Now, although there were differences of opinion among them,
some liking the manner of one man and some that of another, nevertheless
they were agreed that Filippo di Ser Brunellesco and Lorenzo di
Bartoluccio had composed and completed their scenes better and with a
richer abundance of figures than Donato had done in his, although in
that one, also, there was grand design. In that of Jacopo della Quercia
the figures were good, but they had no delicacy, although they were made
with design and diligence. The work of Francesco di Valdambrina had good
heads and was well finished, but was confused in the composition. That
of Simone da Colle was a beautiful casting, because the doing of this
was his art, but it had not much design. The specimen of Niccolò
d'Arezzo, which was made with good mastery, had the figures squat and
was badly finished. Only that scene which Lorenzo made as a specimen,
which is still seen in the Audience Chamber of the Guild of Merchants,
was in every part wholly perfect. The whole work had design, and was
very well composed. The figures had so graceful a manner, being made
with grace and with very beautiful attitudes, and the whole was finished
with so great diligence, that it appeared not made by casting and
polished with tools of iron, but blown with the breath. Donato and
Filippo, seeing the diligence that Lorenzo had used in his work, drew
aside, and, conferring together, they resolved that the work should be
given to Lorenzo, it appearing to them that thus both the public and the
private interest would be best served, and that Lorenzo, being a young
man not more than twenty years of age, would be able to produce by this
exercise of his profession those greater fruits that were foreshadowed
by the beautiful scene which he, in their judgment, had executed more
excellently than the others; saying that there would have been more sign
of envy in taking it from him, than there was justice in giving it to

Beginning the work of that door, then, for that entrance which is
opposite to the Office of Works of S. Giovanni, Lorenzo made for one
part of it a large framework of wood, of the exact size that it was to
be, with mouldings, and with the ornaments of the heads at the corners,
round the various spaces wherein the scenes were to be placed, and with
those borders that were to go round them. Having then made and dried the
mould with all diligence, he made a very great furnace (that I remember
seeing) in a room that he had hired opposite to S. Maria Nuova, where
to-day there is the Hospital of the Weavers, on the spot that was called
the Aia, and he cast the said framework in bronze. But, as chance would
have it, it did not come out well; wherefore, having realized the
mischief, without losing heart or giving way to depression, he promptly
made another mould and cast it again, without telling anyone about it,
and it came out very well. Whereupon he went on and continued the whole
work in this manner, casting each scene by itself, and putting it, when
finished, into its place. The arrangement of the scenes was similar to
that which Andrea Pisano had formerly made in the first door, which
Giotto designed for him. He made therein twenty scenes from the New
Testament; and below, in eight spaces similar to these, after the said
scenes, he made the four Evangelists, two on each side of the door, and
likewise the four Doctors of the Church, in the same manner; which
figures are all different in their attitudes and their draperies. One is
writing, another is reading, others are in contemplation, and all, being
varied one from another, appear lifelike and very well executed; not to
mention that in the framework of the border surrounding the scenes in
squares there is a frieze of ivy leaves and other kinds of foliage, with
mouldings between each; and on every corner is the head of a man or a
woman in the round, representing prophets and sibyls, which are very
beautiful, and demonstrate with their variety the excellence of the
genius of Lorenzo. Above the aforesaid Doctors and Evangelists, which
are in the four squares below, there follows, on the side towards S.
Maria del Fiore, the first scene; and here, in the first square, is the
Annunciation of Our Lady, wherein, in the attitude of the Virgin, he
depicted terror and a sudden alarm, as she turns away gracefully by
reason of the coming of the Angel. And next to this he made the Nativity
of Christ, wherein the Madonna, having given birth to Him, is lying down
and taking repose; with Joseph in contemplation, the shepherds, and the
Angels singing. In the scene next to this, on the other half of the
door, on the same level, there follows the story of the coming of the
Magi, and of their adoration of Christ, while they give Him their
tribute; and their Court is following them, with horses and other
equipage, wrought with great genius. And beside this, likewise, there is
His Disputation with the Doctors in the Temple, wherein the admiration
and the attention which the Doctors give to Christ are no less well
expressed than the joy of Mary and Joseph at finding Him again. Above
these--beginning again over the Annunciation--there follows the story of
the Baptism of Christ by John in the Jordan, wherein there are seen in
their gestures the reverence of the one and the faith of the other.
Beside this there follows the Temptation of Christ by the Devil, who,
terrified by the words of Jesus, stands in an attitude of terror,
showing thereby that he knows Him to be the Son of God. Next to this, on
the other side, is the scene where He is driving the traders from the
Temple, overturning their money and the victims, doves, and other
merchandise; wherein the figures, falling over each other, have a very
beautiful and well conceived grace in their headlong flight. Next to
this Lorenzo placed the shipwreck of the Apostles, wherein S. Peter is
issuing from the ship and is sinking into the water, and Christ is
upholding him. This scene shows an abundance of various gestures in the
Apostles, who are toiling to save the ship; and the faith of S. Peter is
recognized in his coming towards Christ. Beginning again above the story
of the Baptism, on the other side, there is His Transfiguration on Mount
Tabor, wherein Lorenzo demonstrated, in the attitudes of the three
Apostles, how celestial visions dazzle the eyes of mortals; even as the
Divinity of Christ is also recognized as He holds His head high and His
arms outstretched, between Elias and Moses. And next to this is the
Resurrection of the dead Lazarus, who, having issued from the sepulchre,
is standing upright with his feet and his hands bound, to the marvel of
the bystanders. Martha is there, with Mary Magdalene, who is kissing the
feet of the Lord with very great humility and reverence. Beside this, on
the other half of the door, there follows the scene when He rides on an
ass into Jerusalem, while the children of the Hebrews, in various
attitudes, are casting their garments on the ground, with the olives and
palms; not to mention the Apostles, who are following the Saviour. And
next to this is the Last Supper, very beautiful and well composed, the
Apostles being placed at a long table, half on the near side and half on
the farther side. Above the scene of the Transfiguration there is the
Prayer in the Garden, wherein the three Apostles are seen asleep in
various attitudes. And beside this there follows the scene when He is
taken and Judas kisses Him, wherein there are many things worthy of
consideration, since we see therein both the Apostles, who are flying,
and the Jews, who, in taking Christ, are making most violent gestures
and efforts. On the other side, next to this, is the scene when He is
bound to the Column, wherein is the figure of Jesus Christ writhing not
a little with the pain of the blows, in a pitiful attitude, while there
are seen, in those gestures that the Jews who are scourging Him are
making, terrible rage and lust of vengeance. Next to this there follows
the leading of Christ before Pilate, who washes his hands and condemns
Him to the Cross. Above the Prayer in the Garden, on the other side and
in the last row of scenes, is Christ bearing His Cross and going to His
death, led by a crowd of soldiers, who appear, with strange attitudes,
to be dragging Him by force; besides the gestures of sorrow and
lamentation that the Maries are making, insomuch that one who was
present could not have seen them better. Beside this he made Christ on
the Cross, and Our Lady and S. John the Evangelist seated on the ground,
with gestures full of sorrow and wrath. Next to this, on the other side,
there follows His Resurrection, wherein the guards, stunned by the
thunder, are lying like dead men, while Christ is ascending on high in
such an attitude that He truly appears glorified, by reason of the
perfection of His beautiful limbs, wrought by the most ingenious
industry of Lorenzo. In the last space is the coming of the Holy Spirit,
wherein are very sweet expressions and attitudes in those who are
receiving it.

This work was brought to that completion and perfection without sparing
any labour or time that could be devoted to a work in bronze, seeing
that the limbs of the nudes are most beautiful in every part; and in the
draperies, although they hold a little to the old manner of Giotto's
time, there is a general feeling that inclines to the manner of the
moderns, and produces, in figures of that size, a certain very lovely
grace. And in truth the composition of each scene is so well ordered and
so finely arranged, that he rightly deserved to obtain that praise which
Filippo had given him at the beginning--nay, even more. And in like
manner he gained most honourable recognition among his fellow-citizens,
and was consummately extolled by them and by the native and foreign
craftsmen. The cost of this work, with the exterior ornaments, which are
also of bronze, wrought with festoons of fruits and with animals, was
22,000 florins, and the bronze door weighed 34,000 libbre.

[Illustration: S. JOHN BEFORE HEROD

(_After_ Lorenzo Ghiberti. _Siena: Baptistery_)


This work finished, it appeared to the Consuls of the Guild of Merchants
that they had been very well served, and by reason of the praises given
by all to Lorenzo they determined that he should make a statue of
bronze, four braccia and a half high, in memory of S. John the Baptist,
on a pilaster without Orsanmichele, in one of the niches there--namely,
the one facing the Cloth-dressers. This he began, nor did he ever leave
it until he delivered it finished. It was and still is a work highly
praised, and in it, on the mantle, he made a border of letters, wherein
he wrote his own name. In this work, which was placed in position in the
year 1414, there is seen the beginning of the good modern manner, in the
head, in an arm which appears to be living flesh, in the hands, and in
the whole attitude of the figure. He was thus the first who began to
imitate the works of the ancient Romans, whereof he was an ardent
student, as all must be who desire to do good work. And in the frontal
of that shrine he tried his hand at mosaic, making therein a half-length

The fame of Lorenzo, by reason of his most profound mastery in casting,
had now spread throughout all Italy and abroad, insomuch that Jacopo
della Fonte, Vecchietto of Siena, and Donato having made for the
Signoria of Siena some scenes and figures in bronze that were to adorn
the baptismal font of their Church of S. Giovanni, the people of Siena,
having seen the works of Lorenzo in Florence, came to an agreement with
him and caused him to make two scenes from the life of S. John the
Baptist. In one he made S. John baptizing Christ, accompanying it with
an abundance of figures, both nude and very richly draped; and in the
other he made S. John being taken and led before Herod. In these scenes
he surpassed and excelled the men who had made the others; wherefore he
was consummately praised by the people of Siena, and by all others who
have seen them.

The Masters of the Mint in Florence had a statue to make for one of
those niches that are round Orsanmichele, opposite to the Guild of Wool,
and it was to be a S. Matthew, of the same height as the aforesaid S.
John. Wherefore they allotted it to Lorenzo, who executed it to
perfection; and it was much more praised than the S. John, for he made
it more in the modern manner. This statue brought it about that the
Consuls of the Guild of Wool determined that he should make in the same
place, for the niche next to that, a statue likewise in bronze, which
should be of the same proportions as the other two, representing S.
Stephen, their Patron Saint. And he brought it to completion, giving a
very beautiful varnish to the bronze; and this statue gave no less
satisfaction than the other works already wrought by him.

The General of the Preaching Friars at that time, Maestro Lionardo Dati,
wishing to leave a memorial of himself to his country in S. Maria
Novella, where he had taken his vows, caused Lorenzo to construct a tomb
of bronze, with himself lying dead thereon, portrayed from nature; and
this tomb, which was admired and extolled, led to another being erected
by Lodovico degli Albizzi and Niccolò Valori in S. Croce.

After these things, Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici, wishing to honour the
bodies and relics of the three martyrs, Protus, Hyacinthus, and
Nemesius, had them brought from the Casentino, where they had been held
in little veneration for many years, and caused Lorenzo to make a
sarcophagus of bronze, in the middle of which are two angels in
low-relief who are holding a garland of olive, within which are the
names of those martyrs; and they caused the said relics to be put into
the said sarcophagus, which they placed in the Church of the Monastery
of the Angeli in Florence, with these words below, carved in marble, on
the side of the church of the monks:


And on the outer side, facing the little church in the direction of the
street, below a coat of arms of balls, there are these other words
carved on marble:

              HYACINTHI ET NEMESII, ANN. DOM. 1428.

And by reason of this work, which succeeded very nobly, there came a
wish to the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore to have a sarcophagus
and tomb of bronze made to contain the body of S. Zanobi, Bishop of
Florence. This tomb was three braccia and a half in length, and two in
height; and besides adorning it with diverse varied ornaments, he made
therein on the front of the body of the sarcophagus itself a scene with
S. Zanobi restoring to life a child which had been left in his charge by
the mother, and which had died while she was on a pilgrimage. In a
second scene is another child, who has been killed by a wagon, and also
the Saint restoring to life one of the two servants sent to him by S.
Ambrose, who had been left dead on the Alps; and the other is there,
making lamentation in the presence of S. Zanobi, who, seized with
compassion, said: "Go, he doth but sleep; thou wilt find him alive." And
at the back are six little angels, who are holding a garland of
elm-leaves, within which are carved letters in memory and in praise of
that Saint. This work he executed and finished with the utmost ingenuity
and art, insomuch that it received extraordinary praise as something

The while that the works of Lorenzo were every day adding lustre to his
name, by reason of his labouring and serving innumerable persons,
working in bronze as well as in silver and gold, it chanced that there
fell into the hands of Giovanni, son of Cosimo de' Medici, a very large
cornelian containing the flaying of Marsyas by command of Apollo,
engraved in intaglio; which cornelian, so it is said, once served the
Emperor Nero for a seal. And it being something rare, by reason both of
the size of the stone, which was very great, and of the marvellous
beauty of the intaglio, Giovanni gave it to Lorenzo, to the end that he
might make a gold ornament in relief round it; and he, after toiling at
it for many months, finished it completely, making round it a work in
relief of a beauty not inferior to the excellence and perfection of the
intaglio on the stone; which work brought it about that he wrought many
other things in gold and silver, which to-day are not to be found. For
Pope Martin, likewise, he made a gold button which he wore in his cope,
with figures in full-relief, and among them jewels of very great
price--a very excellent work; and likewise a most marvellous mitre of
gold leaves in open-work, and among them many little figures in
full-relief, which were held very beautiful. And for this work, besides
the name, he acquired great profit from the liberality of that Pontiff.
In the year 1439, Pope Eugenius came to Florence--where the Council was
held--in order to unite the Greek Church with the Roman; and seeing the
works of Lorenzo, and being no less pleased with his person than with
the works themselves, he caused him to make a mitre of gold, weighing
fifteen libbre, with pearls weighing five libbre and a half, which, with
the jewels set in the mitre, were estimated at 30,000 ducats of gold. It
is said that in this work were six pearls as big as filberts, and it is
impossible to imagine, as was seen later in a drawing of it, anything
more beautiful and bizarre than the settings of the jewels and the great
variety of children and other figures, which served for many varied and
graceful ornaments. For this work he received infinite favours from that
Pontiff, both for himself and his friends, besides the original payment.

Florence had received so much praise by reason of the excellent works of
this most ingenious craftsman, that the Consuls of the Guild of
Merchants determined to commission him to make the third door of S.
Giovanni, likewise in bronze. Now, in the door that he had made before,
he had followed their directions and had made it with that ornament
which goes round the figures, and which encircles the framework of both
parts of the door, as in the one of Andrea Pisano; but on seeing how
greatly Lorenzo had surpassed him, the Consuls determined to remove that
of Andrea from its position in the centre, and to place it in the
doorway that is opposite to the Misericordia, and to commission Lorenzo
to make a new door to be placed in the centre, looking to him to put
forth the greatest effort of which he was capable in that art. And they
placed themselves in his hands, saying that they gave him leave to make
it as he pleased, and in whatsoever manner he thought it would turn out
as ornate, as rich, as perfect, and as beautiful as it could be made or
imagined; nor was he to spare time or expense, to the end that, even as
he had surpassed all other sculptors up to his own time, he might
surpass and excel all his own previous works.

Lorenzo began the said work, putting therein all the knowledge that he
could; wherefore he divided the said door into ten squares, five on each
side, so that the spaces enclosing the scenes were one braccio and a
third in extent, and round them, to adorn the framework that surrounds
the scenes, there are niches--upright, in that part of the
door--containing figures in almost full-relief, twenty in number and all
most beautiful, such as a nude Samson, who, embracing a column, with a
jawbone in his hand, displays a perfection as great as can be shown by
anything made in the time of the ancients, in their figures of Hercules,
whether in bronze or in marble; and to this a Joshua bears witness, who,
in the act of speaking, appears to be really addressing his army;
besides many prophets and sibyls, all of which he adorned with various
manners of draperies over their shoulders, and with head-dresses, hair,
and other adornments; not to mention twelve figures which are lying down
in the niches that go horizontally along the ornament of the scenes. At
the intersections of the corners, in certain medallions, he made heads
of women, of youths, and of old men, to the number of thirty-four; among
which, in the middle of the said door, near the place where he engraved
his own name, is the portrait of his father Bartoluccio, who is the
oldest of them, while the youngest is his son Lorenzo himself, the
master of the whole work; besides an infinite quantity of foliage,
mouldings, and other ornaments, made with the greatest mastery. The
scenes that are in the said door are from the Old Testament; and in the
first is the Creation of Adam, and of Eve, his wife, who are executed
most perfectly, it being evident that Lorenzo strove to make their limbs
as beautiful as he was able to do, wishing to show that, even as these
figures by the hand of God were the most beautiful that were ever made,
so these by his own hand should surpass all the others that had been
made by him in his other works--truly a very grand intention. In the
same scene, likewise, he made them eating the apple, and also being
driven out of Paradise; and in these actions the figures express the
effect, first of their sin, recognizing their nakedness and covering it
with their hands, and then of repentance, when they are made by the
Angel to go forth out of Paradise. In the second square are figures of
Adam and Eve, with Cain and Abel as little children, born from them; and
there, also, is Abel making a sacrifice of his firstlings, with Cain
making one not so good, while in the expression of Cain there is shown
envy against his brother, and in Abel love towards God. And what is
singularly beautiful is to see Cain ploughing the earth with a pair of
oxen, which, with their labouring to pull at the yoke of the plough,
appear real and natural; and the same is shown in Abel, who is watching
his flocks, and Cain puts him to death, when he is seen, in a most
impious and cruel attitude, slaughtering his brother with a club, in
such a manner that the very bronze shows the limpness of the dead limbs
in the most beautiful person of Abel; and in the distance, likewise,
there is God asking Cain what he has done with Abel. Each square
contains the representation of four stories. In the third square Lorenzo
made Noah issuing from the Ark, with his wife, his sons and daughters,
and his sons' wives, together with all the animals, both of the air and
of the earth, which, each in its kind, are wrought with the greatest
perfection wherewith art is able to imitate nature; the Ark is seen
open, with the poles in perspective, in very low-relief, insomuch that
their grace cannot be expressed; besides that, the figures of Noah and
of his kindred could not be more lively or more vivacious, while, as he
is offering sacrifice, there is seen the rainbow, a sign of peace
between God and Noah. But much more excellent than all the others are
the scenes where he is planting the vine, and, having been made drunk by
the wine, is showing his nakedness, and his son Ham is deriding him; and
in truth a man sleeping could not be imitated better, the limbs being
seen outstretched in drunken abandonment, while his other two sons, with
consideration and love, are covering him in very beautiful attitudes;
not to mention that there are the cask, the vine-leaves, and the other
features of the vintage, so carefully made and fitted into certain
places, that they do not impede the story, but serve as a most beautiful
adornment. In the fourth scene it pleased Lorenzo to make the apparition
of the three Angels in the valley of Mamre, giving them a close likeness
one to the other, while that most holy patriarch is seen adoring them,
with much appropriateness and vivacity in the position of his hands and
the expression of his countenance; and, in addition, Lorenzo showed very
beautiful feeling in the figures of his servants, who, remaining at the
foot of the mountain with an ass, are awaiting Abraham, who had gone to
sacrifice his son. Isaac is placed naked on the altar, and his
father, with uplifted arm, is about to show his obedience, but he is
hindered by the Angel, who is restraining him with one hand, while with
the other he is pointing to where is the ram for the sacrifice, and
delivering Isaac from death. This scene is truly very beautiful, since,
among other things, there is seen a very great difference between the
delicate limbs of Isaac and those of the servants, which are more
robust; insomuch that there appears to be no touch therein that was not
given with the greatest art. In this work, also, Lorenzo showed that he
surpassed his own self in the difficulties of making buildings; in the
birth-scene of Isaac, Jacob, and Esau; in the scene when Esau is
hunting, at the wish of his father; and in that when Jacob, instructed
by Rebecca, is offering the cooked kid, with its skin wrapped round his
neck, while Isaac is feeling for him and giving him his blessing. In
this scene there are some dogs, very beautiful and lifelike, besides the
figures, which produce the very same effect that Jacob, Isaac, and
Rebecca did by their actions when they were alive.

[Illustration: THE FALL OF JERICHO

(_Detail, after_ Lorenzo Ghiberti, _from the Paradise Gate of the
Baptistery, Florence_)


[Illustration: THE CREATION OF EVE

(_Detail, after_ Lorenzo Ghiberti, _from the Paradise Gate of the
Baptistery, Florence_)


Emboldened by his study of the art, which was making it ever easier to
him, he tried his genius on matters more complicated and difficult;
wherefore, in the sixth square, he made Joseph cast by his brethren into
the well, and the scene when they sell him to the merchants, and where
he is given by them to Pharaoh, to whom he interprets the dream of the
famine; together with the provision against it, and the honours given by
Pharaoh to Joseph. Likewise there is Jacob sending his sons for corn
into Egypt, and Joseph recognizing them and making them return for their
father; in which scene Lorenzo made a round temple, drawn in perspective
with great mastery, wherein are figures in diverse manners which are
loading corn and flour, together with some marvellous asses. Likewise
there is the feast that Joseph gives them, and the hiding of the gold
cup in Benjamin's sack, and its discovery, and how he embraces and
acknowledges his brethren; which scene, by reason of the many effects
and the great variety of incidents, is held the most noble, the most
difficult, and the most beautiful of all his works.

And in truth, having so beautiful a genius and so good a grace in this
manner of statuary, when there came into his mind the compositions of
beautiful scenes, Lorenzo could not but make the figures most beautiful;
as it is apparent in the seventh square, where he represents Mount
Sinai, and on its summit Moses, who is receiving the Laws from God.
Reverently kneeling, half-way up the mountain, is Joshua, who is
awaiting him, and at the foot are all the people, terrified by the
thunder, lightning, and earthquakes, in diverse attitudes wrought with
very great vivacity. After this, he showed diligence and great love in
the eighth square, wherein he made Joshua marching against Jericho and
turning back the Jordan, and placed there the twelve tents of the twelve
Tribes, full of very lifelike figures; but more beautiful are some in
low-relief, in the scene when, as they go with the Ark round the walls
of the aforesaid city, these walls fall down at the sound of trumpets,
and the Hebrews take Jericho; and here the landscape is ever diminished
and made lower with great judgment, from the first figures to the
mountains, from the mountains to the city, and from the city to the
distant part of the landscape, in very low relief, the whole being
executed with great perfection. And since Lorenzo became from day to day
more practised in that art, there is next seen, in the ninth square, the
slaying of the giant Goliath by David, who is cutting off his head in a
proud and boyish attitude; and the host of the Lord is routing that of
the Philistines, wherein Lorenzo made horses, chariots, and other
warlike things. Next, he made David returning with the head of Goliath
in his hand, and the people are meeting him, sounding instruments and
singing; and these effects are all appropriate and vivacious. It now
remained for Lorenzo to do all that he was able in the tenth and last
scene, wherein the Queen of Sheba is visiting Solomon, with a very great
train; in this part he made a very beautiful building drawn in
perspective, with all the other figures similar to the aforesaid scenes;
not to mention the ornaments of the architraves, which go round the said
doors, wherein are fruits and festoons made with his usual excellence.

In this work, both in detail and as a whole, it is seen how much the
ability and the power of a craftsman in statuary can effect by means of
figures, some being almost in the round, some in half-relief, some in
low-relief, and some in the lowest, with invention in the grouping of
the figures, and extravagance of attitude both in the males and in the
females; and by variety in the buildings, by perspectives, and by having
likewise shown a sense of fitness in the gracious expressions of each
sex throughout the whole work, giving to the old gravity, and to the
young elegance and grace. And it may be said, in truth, that this work
is in every way perfect, and that it is the most beautiful work which
has ever been seen in the world, whether ancient or modern. And right
truly does Lorenzo deserve to be praised, seeing that one day
Michelagnolo Buonarroti, having stopped to look at this work, and being
asked what he thought of it, and whether these doors were beautiful,
answered: "They are so beautiful that they would do well for the gates
of Paradise": praise truly appropriate, and given by an able judge. And
well indeed might Lorenzo complete them, seeing that from the age of
twenty, when he began them, he worked at them for forty years, with
labour beyond belief.

Lorenzo was assisted in finishing and polishing this work, after it was
cast, by many men, then youths, who afterwards became excellent
masters--namely, by Filippo Brunelleschi, Masolino da Panicale, and
Niccolò Lamberti, goldsmiths; and by Parri Spinelli, Antonio Filarete,
Paolo Uccello, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, who was then quite young, and
many others, who, growing intimate together over that work, and
conferring one with another, as men do when they work in company, gained
no less advantage for themselves than they gave to Lorenzo. To him,
besides the payment that he had from the Consuls, the Signoria gave a
good farm near the Abbey of Settimo, and no long time elapsed before he
was made one of the Signori, and honoured with the supreme magistracy of
the city; wherefore the Florentines deserve no less to be praised for
their gratitude to him, than they deserve to be blamed for having been
little grateful to other excellent men of their city.

After this most stupendous work, Lorenzo made the ornament in bronze for
that door of the same church which is opposite to the Misericordia, with
that marvellous foliage which he was not able to finish, death coming
unexpectedly upon him when he was preparing--having already almost made
the model--to reconstruct the said door, which Andrea Pisano had
formerly made; which model has now been lost, although I saw it
formerly, when a youth, in Borgo Allegri, before it was allowed to be
lost by the descendants of Lorenzo.

Lorenzo had a son called Bonaccorso, who finished with his own hand the
frieze and that ornament, which had been left incomplete, with very
great diligence; which ornament, I declare, is the rarest and most
marvellous work that there is to be seen in bronze. Bonaccorso, dying
young, did not afterwards make many works, as he would have done, seeing
that he had been left with the secret of making castings in such a way
as to make them come out delicate, and also with the knowledge and the
method of perforating the metal in that manner which is seen in the
works left by Lorenzo. The latter, besides the works by his own hand,
bequeathed to his heirs many antiquities both in marble and in bronze,
such as the bed of Polycletus, which was something very rare; a leg of
bronze as large as life; some heads, both male and female; together with
some vases, all procured by him from Greece at no small cost. He left,
likewise, some torsi of figures, and many other things; and all were
dispersed together with the property of Lorenzo, some being sold to
Messer Giovanni Gaddi, then Clerk of the Chamber to the Pope, and among
these was the said bed of Polycletus, with the rest of the finer things.

Bonaccorso had a son called Vittorio, who survived him. He applied
himself to sculpture, but with little profit, as it is shown by the
heads that he made at Naples for the Palace of the Duke of Gravina,
which are not very good, since he never applied himself to art with love
or with diligence, but rather to scattering the property and the other
things which had been left him by his father and his grandfather.
Finally, going to Ascoli as architect under Pope Paul III, he had his
throat cut one night by one of his servants, who came to rob him. And
thus the family of Lorenzo became extinct, but not so his fame, which
will live to all eternity.

But returning to the said Lorenzo: he applied himself, while he lived,
to many things, and delighted in painting and in working in glass, and
for S. Maria del Fiore he made the round windows that are round the
cupola, excepting one, which is by the hand of Donato--namely, the one
wherein Christ is crowning Our Lady. Lorenzo likewise made the three
that are over the principal door of the same S. Maria del Fiore, and all
those of the chapels and of the tribunes, and also the rose-window in
the façade of S. Croce. In Arezzo he made a window for the principal
chapel of the Pieve, containing the Coronation of Our Lady, with two
other figures, for Lazzaro di Feo di Baccio, a very rich merchant; but
since they were all of Venetian glass, loaded with colour, they make the
places where they were put rather dark than otherwise. Lorenzo was
chosen to assist Brunellesco, when the latter was commissioned to make
the Cupola of S. Maria del Fiore, but he was afterwards relieved of the
task, as it will be told in the Life of Filippo.

The same Lorenzo wrote a book in the vulgar tongue, wherein he treated
of many diverse matters, but in such wise that little profit can be
drawn from it. The only good thing in it, in my judgment, is this, that
after having discoursed of many ancient painters, and particularly of
those cited by Pliny, he makes brief mention of Cimabue, Giotto, and
many others of those times; and this he did, with much more brevity than
was right, for no other reason but to slip with a good grace into a
discourse about himself, and to enumerate minutely, as he did, one by
one, all his own works. Nor will I forbear to say that he feigns that
his book was written by another, whereas afterwards, in the process of
writing--as one who knew better how to draw, to chisel, and to cast in
bronze, than how to weave stories--talking of himself, he speaks in the
first person, "I made," "I said," "I was making," "I was saying."
Finally, having come to the sixty-fourth year of his age, and being
assailed by a grievous and continuous fever, he died, leaving immortal
fame for himself by reason of the works that he made, and through the
pens of writers; and he was honourably buried in S. Croce. His portrait
is on the principal bronze door of the Church of S. Giovanni, on the
border that is in the middle when the door is closed, in the form of a
bald man, and beside him is his father Bartoluccio; and near them may be
The drawings of Lorenzo were most excellent, being made with much
relief, as it is seen in our book of drawings, in an Evangelist by his
hand, and in some others in chiaroscuro, which are very beautiful.

His father Bartoluccio was also a passing good draughtsman, as it is
shown by another Evangelist in the said book, which is by his hand, but
no little inferior to that of Lorenzo. These drawings, with some by
Giotto and by others, I had from Vittorio Ghiberti in the year 1528,
when a youth, and I have ever held and still hold them in veneration,
both because they are beautiful and as memorials of men so great. And
if, when I was living in strait friendship and intimacy with Vittorio, I
had known what I know now, it would have been easy for me to obtain many
other truly beautiful things by the hand of Lorenzo. Among many verses,
both in Latin and in the vulgar tongue, which were written at diverse
times in honour of Lorenzo, it will be enough for me, in order not to
weary my readers overmuch, to put down these that follow

   Dum cernit valvas aurato ex aere nitentes
     In templo Michael Angelus, obstupuit:
   Attonitusque diu, sic alta silentia rupit:
     O divinum opus! O janua digna polo!


[Illustration: S. JOHN THE BAPTIST

(_After the fresco by_ Masolino da Panicale. _Castiglione d'Olona:




Truly great, I believe, must be the contentment of those who are
approaching the highest rank in the science wherein they are labouring;
and those, likewise, who, besides the delight and pleasure that they
feel in working valiantly, enjoy some fruit from their labours, without
doubt live a quiet and very happy life. And if perchance it comes to
pass that one, while advancing towards perfection in any science or art,
is overtaken by death in the happy course of his life, his memory does
not become wholly spent, if only he has laboured worthily in order to
attain to the true end of his art. Wherefore every man should labour the
most that he can in order to attain to perfection, since, although he
may be hindered in the midst of his course, he will gain praise, if not
for the works that he has not been able to finish, at least for the
excellent intention and diligent study which are seen in the little that
he leaves behind.

Masolino da Panicale of Valdelsa, who was a disciple of Lorenzo di
Bartoluccio Ghiberti, was a very good goldsmith in his youth, and the
best finisher that Lorenzo had in the labour of the doors; and he was
very dexterous and able in making the draperies of the figures, and had
very good manner and understanding in the work of finishing. Wherefore
with his chisel he made with all the more dexterity certain soft and
delicate hollows, both in human limbs and in draperies. He devoted
himself to painting at the age of nineteen, and practised it ever
afterwards, learning the art of colouring from Gherardo Starnina. And
having gone to Rome in order to study, the while that he dwelt there he
painted the hall of the old house of the Orsini on Monte Giordano; and
then, having returned to Florence by reason of a pain in the head that
the air was causing him, he made in the Carmine, beside the Chapel of
the Crucifixion, that figure of S. Peter which is still seen there. This
figure, being praised by the craftsmen, brought it about that he was
commissioned to adorn the Chapel of the Brancacci, in the said church,
with the stories of S. Peter; of which chapel, with great diligence, he
brought a part to completion, as on the vaulting, where there are the
four Evangelists, with Christ taking Andrew and Peter from the nets and
then Peter weeping for the sin committed in denying Him, and next to
that his preaching in order to convert the Gentiles. He painted there
the shipwreck of the Apostles in the tempest, and the scene when S.
Peter is delivering his daughter Petronilla from sickness; and in the
same scene he made him going with S. John to the Temple, where, in front
of the portico, there is the lame beggar asking him for alms, and S.
Peter, not being able to give him either gold or silver, is delivering
him with the sign of the Cross. Throughout all that work the figures are
made with very good grace, and they show grandeur in the manner,
softness and harmony in the colouring, and relief and force in the
draughtsmanship; the work was much esteemed by reason of its novelty and
of the methods used in many parts, which were totally different from the
manner of Giotto; but, being overtaken by death, he left these scenes


(_Empoli: S. Stefano. Fresco_)]

Masolino was a person of very good powers, with much harmony and
facility in his pictures, which are seen to have been executed with
diligence and with great love. This zeal and this willingness to labour,
which he never ceased to show, brought about in him a bad habit of body,
which ended his life before his time and snatched him prematurely from
the world. Masolino died young, at the age of thirty-seven, cutting
short the expectations that people had conceived of him. His pictures
date about the year 1440. And Paolo Schiavo--who painted the Madonna and
the figures with their feet foreshortened on the cornice on the Canto
de' Gori in Florence--strove greatly to follow the manner of Masolino,
from whose works, having studied them many times, I find his manner very
different from that of those who were before him, seeing that he added
majesty to the figures, and gave softness and a beautiful flow of
folds to the draperies. The heads of his figures, also, are much better
than those made before his day, for he was a little more successful in
making the roundness of the eyes, and many other beautiful parts of the
body. And since he began to have a good knowledge of light and shade,
seeing that he worked in relief, he made many difficult foreshortenings
very well, as is seen in that beggar who is seeking alms from S. Peter;
for his leg, which is trailing behind him, is so well proportioned in
its outlines, with regard to draughtsmanship, and in its shadows, with
regard to colouring, that it appears to be really piercing the wall.
Masolino began likewise to give more sweetness of expression to the
faces of women, and more loveliness to the garments of young men, than
the old craftsmen had done; and he also drew passing well in
perspective. But that wherein he excelled, more than in anything else,
was colouring in fresco, for this he did so well that his pictures are
blended and harmonized with so great grace, that his painting of flesh
has the greatest softness which one is able to imagine; wherefore, if he
had shown absolute perfection in draughtsmanship, as perchance he might
have done if he had lived longer, he might have been numbered among the
best, since his works are executed with good grace, and with grandeur in
the manner, softness and harmony in the colouring, and much relief and
force in the draughtsmanship, although this is not in all parts

[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After the panel by_ Masolino de Panicale. _Bremen: Kunsthalle_)

_N. P.--G._]




Parri di Spinello Spinelli, painter of Arezzo, having learnt the first
principles of art from his own father, was brought to Florence by the
agency of Messer Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo, and was received by Lorenzo
Ghiberti into his school, where many young men were learning under his
discipline: and since the doors of S. Giovanni were then being given
their finish, he was put to labour on those figures, in company with
many others, as it has been said above. And having, in this work,
contracted a friendship with Masolino da Panicale, and being pleased
with his method of drawing, he set about imitating him in many respects,
as he also imitated in others the manner of Don Lorenzo degli Angeli.

Parri made his figures much longer and more slender than any painter who
had lived before him, and whereas the others make them in the proportion
of ten heads at most, he gave them eleven, and sometimes twelve; nor did
this make them awkward, although they were slender and were ever bent in
an arch either to the right side or to the left, for the reason that
this, as it appeared to him, and as he himself said, gave them more
vigour. The flow of his draperies was very delicate, with abundance of
folds, which fell from the arms of his figures right down to the feet.
He coloured very well in distemper, and perfectly in fresco, and he was
the first who, in working in fresco, ceased to use verdaccio below
flesh-colours, to be afterwards washed over with rosy flesh-tints in
chiaroscuro, in the manner of water-colours, as Giotto and the other old
masters had done. Parri, on the other hand, used body colours in making
his grounds and tints, placing them with much discretion where it
appeared to him that they would look best--that is, the lights on the
highest points, the middle tints towards the sides, and the darks on the
outlines; with which method of painting he showed more facility in his
works and gave longer life to pictures in fresco, seeing that, having
laid the colours in their places, he would blend them together with a
rather thick and soft brush, and would execute his works with so high a
finish that nothing better can be desired; and his colouring has no

Parri, then, having been absent many years from his country, was
recalled by his relatives, after the death of his father, to Arezzo,
where, besides many works which it would take too long to recount, he
made some which do not in any way deserve to be passed over in silence.
In the Duomo Vecchio he made in fresco three different figures of Our
Lady; and within the principal door of that church, on the left hand as
one enters, he painted in fresco a story of the Blessed Tommasuolo, a
sack-cloth hermit and a holy man of that time. And since this man was
wont to carry in his hand a mirror wherein he saw, so he declared, the
Passion of Christ, Parri portrayed him in that story kneeling, with that
mirror in his right hand, which he was holding uplifted towards Heaven.
And painting Jesus Christ above on a throne of clouds, and round him all
the Mysteries of the Passion, with most beautiful art he made them all
reflected in that mirror, in such wise that not only the Blessed
Tommasuolo but all who beheld that picture could see them, which
invention was truly fanciful and difficult, and so beautiful that it
taught those who came after him to counterfeit many things by means of
mirrors. Nor will I forbear to tell, now that I am dealing with this
subject, what this holy man did once in Arezzo; and it is this.
Labouring continually, without ever ceasing, to induce the Aretines to
live at peace with one another, now preaching, and now foretelling many
misadventures, he recognized finally that he was wasting his time.
Whereupon, entering one day into the Palace where the Sixty were wont to
assemble, the said Blessed Tommasuolo--who saw them every day
deliberating, and never coming to any resolution save such as injured
the city--when he saw that the Hall was full, placed a quantity of
burning coals into a great fold in his robe, and, advancing with these
towards the Sixty and all the other magistrates of the city, he threw
them boldly at their feet, saying: "My lords, the fire is among you;
take heed lest ruin come upon you;" and this said, he went his way. Such
was the effect of the simplicity, and, as it pleased God, of the good
counsel of that holy man, that the said action completely accomplished
what his preachings and threatenings had never been able to do, insomuch
that, becoming united among themselves no long time after, they governed
that city for many years afterwards with much peace and quiet for all.

But returning to Parri: after the said work, he painted in fresco in a
chapel of the Church and Hospital of S. Cristofano, beside the Company
of the Nunziata, for Mona Mattea de' Testi, wife of Carcascion
Florinaldi, who left a very good endowment to that little church; and
there he made Christ Crucified, with many angels round Him and above
Him, flying in a certain dark sky and weeping bitterly. At the foot of
the Cross, on one side, are the Magdalene and the other Maries, who are
holding the fainting Madonna in their arms; and on the other side are S.
James and S. Christopher. On the walls he painted S. Catherine, S.
Nicholas, the Annunciation, and Jesus Christ at the Column; and, in an
arch over the door of the said church, a Pietà, S. John, and Our Lady.
But the paintings within (save those of the chapel) have been spoilt,
and the arch was pulled down in the substituting of a modern door of
grey-stone, and in the making of a convent for one hundred nuns with the
revenues of that Company. For this convent Giorgio Vasari made a most
careful model, but it was afterwards altered, nay, reduced to the vilest
form, by those who most unworthily had charge of so great a fabric. For
it comes to pass very often that one stumbles against certain men, said
to be very learned, but for the most part ignorant, who, under pretence
of understanding, set themselves arrogantly many times to try to play
the architect and to superintend; and more often than not they spoil the
arrangements and the models of those who, having spent their lives in
the study and practice of building, can act with judgment in works of
architecture; and this brings harm to posterity, which is thus deprived
of the utility, convenience, beauty, ornament, and grandeur that are
requisite in buildings, and particularly in those that are to be used
for the public service.

In the Church of S. Bernardo, also, a monastery of the Monks of Monte
Oliveto, Parri painted two chapels, one on either side within the
principal door. In that which is on the right hand, dedicated to the
Trinity, he made a God the Father, who is supporting Christ Crucified in
His arms, and above there is the Dove of the Holy Spirit in the midst of
a choir of angels; and on one wall of the same chapel he painted some
saints in fresco, perfectly. In the other, dedicated to Our Lady, is the
Nativity of Christ, with some women who are washing Him in a little
wooden tub, with a womanly grace marvellously well expressed. There are
also some shepherds in the distance, who are guarding their sheep,
clothed in the rustic dress of those times and very lifelike, and
listening attentively to the words of the Angel, who is telling them to
go to Nazareth. On the opposite wall is the Adoration of the Magi, with
baggage, camels, giraffes, and all the Court of those three Kings, who,
reverently offering their treasures, are adoring Christ, who is lying
upon the lap of His mother. Besides this, he painted on the vaulting,
and in the frontals of some arches outside, some very beautiful scenes
in fresco.

It is said that while Parri was executing this work, Fra Bernardino da
Siena, a friar of S. Francis and a man of holy life, was preaching in
Arezzo, and that having brought many of his brother monks into the true
religious life, and having converted many other persons, he caused Parri
to make the model for the Church of Sargiano, which he was building for
them; and that afterwards, having heard that many evil things were going
on in a wood near a fountain, a mile distant from the city, he went
there one morning, followed by the whole people of Arezzo, with a great
wooden cross in his hand, such as he was wont to carry, and after
preaching a solemn sermon he had the fountain destroyed and the wood cut
down; and a little later he caused a beginning to be made with a little
chapel which was built there in honour of Our Lady, with the title of S.
Maria delle Grazie, wherein he afterwards asked Parri to paint with his
own hand, as he did, the Virgin in Glory, who, opening her arms, is
covering under her mantle the whole people of Arezzo. This most holy
Virgin afterwards worked and still continues to work many miracles in
that place. The Commune of Arezzo has since caused a very beautiful
church to be built in this place, accommodating within it the Madonna
made by Parri, for which many ornaments of marble have been made, with
some figures, both round and above the altar, as it has been said in the
Lives of Luca della Robbia and of his nephew Andrea, and as it will be
said in due succession in the Lives of those whose works adorn that holy

No long time after, by reason of the devotion that he bore to that holy
man, Parri portrayed the said S. Bernardino in fresco on a large
pilaster in the Duomo Vecchio; in which place, in a chapel dedicated to
the same Saint, he also painted him glorified in Heaven and surrounded
by a legion of angels, with three half-length figures, one on either
side--Patience and Poverty--and one above--Chastity--with which three
virtues that Saint held company up to his death. Under his feet he had
some Bishops' mitres and Cardinals' hats, in order to show that,
laughing at the world, he had despised such dignities; and below these
pictures was portrayed the city of Arezzo, such as it was in those
times. For the Company of the Nunziata, likewise, in a little chapel, or
rather maestà,[11] without the Duomo, Parri made a Madonna in fresco,
who, receiving the Annunciation from the Angel, is turning away all in
terror; and in the sky on the vaulting, which is groined, he made
angels, two in each angle, who, flying through the air and making music
with various instruments, appear to be playing together, so that one
almost hears a very sweet harmony; and on the walls are four
saints--namely, two on each side. But the pictures wherein he showed
best his power of varying the expression of his conception are seen on
the two pilasters that support the arch in front, where the entrance is,
for the reason that on one there is a very beautiful Charity, who is
affectionately suckling one infant, fondling a second, and holding a
third by the hand, while on the other there is Faith, painted in a new
manner, holding the Chalice and the Cross in one hand, and in the other
a cup of water, which she is pouring over the head of a boy, making him
a Christian. All these figures are without doubt the best that Parri
ever made in all his life, and even in comparison with the modern they
are marvellous.

[Footnote 11: A street-shrine, generally containing a picture of the
Virgin in Glory.]

Within the city, in the Church of S. Agostino, in the choir of the
friars, the same man painted many figures in fresco, which are known by
the manner of the draperies, and by their being long, slender, and bent,
as it has been said above. In the tramezzo[12] of the Church of S.
Giustino he painted in fresco a S. Martin on horseback, who is cutting
off a piece of his garment to give it to a beggar, and two other saints.
In the Vescovado, also, on the face of one wall, he painted an
Annunciation, which to-day is half spoilt through having been exposed
for many years. In the Pieve of the same city he painted the chapel
which is now near the Office of Works; and this has been almost wholly
ruined by damp. Truly unfortunate has this poor painter been with his
works, seeing that almost the greater part of them have been destroyed,
either by damp or by the ruin of the buildings. On a round column in the
said Pieve he painted a S. Vincent in fresco; and in S. Francesco he
made some saints round a Madonna in half-relief, for the family of the
Viviani, with the Apostles on the arch above, receiving the Holy Spirit,
and some other saints in the vaulting, and on one side Christ with the
Cross on His shoulder, pouring blood from His side into the Chalice, and
round Christ some angels very well wrought. Opposite to this, in the
Chapel of the Company of Stone-cutters, Masons, and Carpenters,
dedicated to the four Crowned Saints, he made a Madonna, and the said
Saints with the instruments of those trades in their hands, and below,
also in fresco, two scenes of their acts, and the Saints being beheaded
and thrown into the sea. In this work there are very beautiful attitudes
and efforts in the figures that are raising those bodies, placed in
sacks, on their shoulders, in order to carry them to the sea, for there
are seen in them liveliness and vivacity. In S. Domenico, also, near the
high-altar, on the right-hand wall, he painted in fresco a Madonna, S.
Anthony, and S. Nicholas, for the family of the Alberti da Catenaia, of
which place they were the Lords before its destruction, when they came
to dwell, some in Arezzo and some in Florence. And that they are one and
the same family is shown by the arms of both one and the other, which
are the same; although it is true that to-day those of Arezzo are
called, not "Degli Alberti," but "Da Catenaia," and those of Florence
not "Da Catenaia," but "Degli Alberti." And I remember to have seen, and
also read, that the Abbey of the Sasso--which was in the mountains of
Catenaia, and which has now been pulled down and rebuilt lower down
towards the Arno--was erected by the same Alberti for the Congregation
of Camaldoli; and to-day it belongs to the Monastery of the Angeli in
Florence, which acknowledges it as coming from the said family, which is
among the noblest in Florence.

[Footnote 12: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

In the old Audience Chamber of the Fraternity of S. Maria della
Misericordia, Parri painted a Madonna who has under her mantle the
people of Arezzo, wherein he portrayed from the life those who then
ruled that holy place, clothed according to the use of those times; and
among them one called Braccio, who is now called, when there is talk of
him, Lazzaro Ricco, and who died in the year 1422, leaving all his
riches and means to that place, which dispenses them in the service of
God's poor, performing the holy works of mercy with much charity. On one
side of this Madonna is S. Gregory the Pope, and on the other S.
Donatus, Bishop and Protector of the people of Arezzo. And since those
who then ruled that Fraternity had been very well served in this work by
Parri, they caused him to make on a panel, in distemper, a Madonna with
the Child in her arms, with some angels who are opening her mantle,
beneath which is the said people; with S. Laurentino and S. Pergentino,
the martyrs, below. This panel is brought out every year on the second
day of June, and, after it has been borne in solemn procession by the
men of the said Company as far as the church of the said Saints, there
is placed over it a coffer of silver, wrought by the goldsmith Forzore,
brother of Parri, within which are the bodies of the said SS. Laurentino
and Pergentino; it is brought out, I say, and the said altar is made
under covering of a tent in the Canto alla Croce, where the said church
stands, because, being a small church, it would not hold all the people
who assemble for this festival. The predella whereon the said panel
rests contains the martyrdom of those two Saints, made with little
figures, and so well wrought, that for a small work it is truly a
marvel. In Borgo Piano, under the projection of a house, there is a
shrine by the hand of Parri, within which is an Annunciation in fresco,
which is much extolled; and in S. Agostino, for the Company of the
Puraccioli, he made in fresco a very beautiful picture of S. Catherine,
virgin and martyr. In the Church of Muriello, likewise, for the
Fraternity of the Clerks, he painted a S. Mary Magdalene, three braccia
high; and in S. Domenico, at the entrance of the door, where the
bell-ropes are, he painted in fresco the Chapel of S. Niccolò, making
therein a large Crucifix with four figures, so well wrought that it
seems made only yesterday. In the arch he painted two stories of S.
Nicholas--namely, his throwing the golden balls to the maidens, and his
delivering two from death, while the executioner is seen apparelled and
ready to cut off their heads, and very well wrought.

The while that Parri was making this work, he was set upon with weapons
by some of his relatives, with whom he had a dispute about some dowry;
but, since some other men ran up immediately, he was succoured in a
manner that they did him no harm. But nevertheless, so it is said, the
fright that he experienced brought it about that, besides making his
figures bending over to one side, from that day onward he made them
almost always with an expression of terror. And since he found himself
many times attacked by slanderous tongues and torn by the tooth of envy,
he made in that chapel a scene of tongues burning, with some devils
round them that were heaping them with fire; and in the sky was Christ
cursing them, and on one side these words: "To the false tongue."

Parri was very studious in the matters of art, and drew very well, as it
is shown by many drawings by his hand, which I have seen, and in
particular by a border of twenty scenes from the life of S. Donatus,
made for a sister of his own, who embroidered very well; and this he is
reputed to have done because there was a question of making adornments
for the high-altar of the Vescovado. And in our book there are some
drawings by his hand, done very well with the pen. Parri was portrayed
by Marco da Montepulciano, a disciple of Spinello, in the cloister of S.
Bernardo in Arezzo. He lived fifty-six years, and he shortened his life
by reason of being by nature melancholic, solitary, and too assiduous in
the studies of his art and in his labours. He was buried in S. Agostino,
in the same tomb wherein his father Spinello had been laid, and his
death caused displeasure to all the men of culture who knew him.




It is the custom of nature, when she makes a man very excellent in any
profession, very often not to make him alone, but at the same time, and
in the same neighbourhood, to make another to compete with him, to the
end that they may assist each other by their talent and emulation; which
circumstance, besides the singular advantage enjoyed by the men
themselves, who thus compete with each other, also kindles beyond
measure the minds of those who come after that age, to strive with all
study and all industry to attain to that honour and that glorious
reputation which they hear highly extolled without ceasing in those who
have passed away. And that this is true we see from the fact that
Florence produced in one and the same age Filippo, Donato, Lorenzo,
Paolo Uccello, and Masaccio, each most excellent in his own kind, and
thus not only swept away the rough and rude manners that had prevailed
up to that time, but incited and kindled so greatly, by reason of the
beautiful works of these men, the minds of those who came after, that
the work of those professions has been brought to that grandeur and to
that perfection which are seen in our own times. Wherefore, in truth, we
owe a great obligation to those early craftsmen who showed to us, by
means of their labours, the true way to climb to the greatest height;
and with regard to the good manner of painting, we are indebted above
all to Masaccio, seeing that he, as one desirous of acquiring fame,
perceived that painting is nothing but the counterfeiting of all the
things of nature, vividly and simply, with drawing and with colours,
even as she produced them for us, and that he who attains to this most
perfectly can be called excellent. This truth, I say, being recognized
by Masaccio, brought it about that by means of continuous study he
learnt so much that he can be numbered among the first who cleared away,
in a great measure, the hardness, the imperfections, and the
difficulties of the art, and that he gave a beginning to beautiful
attitudes, movements, liveliness, and vivacity, and to a certain relief
truly characteristic and natural; which no painter up to his time had
ever done. And since he had excellent judgment, he reflected that all
the figures that did not stand firmly with their feet in foreshortening
on the level, but stood on tip-toe, were lacking in all goodness of
manner in the essential points, and that those who make them thus show
that they do not understand foreshortening. And although Paolo Uccello
had tried his hand at this, and had done something, solving this
difficulty to some extent, yet Masaccio, introducing many new methods,
made foreshortenings from every point of view much better than any other
who had lived up to that time. And he painted his works with good unity
and softness, harmonizing the flesh-colours of the heads and of the
nudes with the colours of the draperies, which he delighted to make with
few folds and simple, as they are in life and nature. This has been of
great use to craftsmen, and he deserves therefore to be commended as if
he had been its inventor, for in truth the works made before his day can
be said to be painted, while his are living, real, and natural, in
comparison with those made by the others.


(_Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 58A._ _Panel_)

This man was born at Castello San Giovanni in Valdarno, and they say
that one may still see there some figures made by him in his earliest
childhood. He was a very absent-minded and careless person, as one who,
having fixed his whole mind and will on the matters of art, cared little
about himself, and still less about others. And since he would never
give any manner of thought to the cares and concerns of the world, or
even to clothing himself, and was not wont to recover his money from his
debtors, save only when he was in the greatest straits, his name was
therefore changed from Tommaso to Masaccio,[13] not, indeed, because he
was vicious, for he was goodness itself, but by reason of his so
great carelessness; and with all this, nevertheless, he was so
amiable in doing the service and pleasure of others, that nothing more
could be desired.

[Footnote 13: Careless Tom, or Hulking Tom (not necessarily in

He began painting at the time when Masolino da Panicale was working on
the Chapel of the Brancacci in the Carmine, in Florence, ever following,
in so far as he was able, in the steps of Filippo and Donato, although
their branch of art was different, and seeking continually in his work
to make his figures very lifelike and with a beautiful liveliness in the
likeness of nature. And his lineaments and his painting were so modern
and so different from those of the others, that his works can safely
stand in comparison with any drawing and colouring of our own day. He
was very zealous at his labours, and a marvellous master of the
difficulties of perspective, as it is seen in a story painted by him
with small figures, which is to-day in the house of Ridolfo del
Ghirlandajo. In this story, besides a Christ who is delivering the man
possessed by a devil, there are very beautiful buildings in perspective,
drawn in a manner that they show at one and the same time both the
inside and the outside, by reason of his having chosen the point of
view, not of the front, but over the corners, as being more difficult.
He sought more than any other master to make his figures nude and
foreshortened, which was little done before his day. He had great
facility in handling, and, as it has been said, he is very simple in his

There is a panel by his hand, wrought in distemper, wherein is a Madonna
upon the lap of S. Anne, with the Child in her arms. This panel is
to-day in S. Ambrogio in Florence, in the chapel that is beside the door
that leads to the parlour of the nuns. And in the tramezzo[14] of the
Church of S. Niccolò, on the other side of the Arno, there is a panel by
the hand of Masaccio, painted in distemper, wherein, besides the
Madonna, who is receiving the Annunciation from the Angel, there is a
building with many columns, drawn in perspective and very beautiful,
seeing that, besides the drawing of the lines, which is perfect, he made
it recede by means of the colouring, in a manner that little by little,
almost imperceptibly, it is lost to view; thus showing clearly his
knowledge of perspective. In the Badia of Florence, on a pilaster
opposite to one of those that support the arch of the high-altar, he
painted in fresco S. Ivo of Brittany, representing him within a niche,
in order that the feet might appear foreshortened to the eye below;
which device, not having been used so well by others, acquired for him
no small praise. And below the said Saint, over another cornice, he made
a throng of widows, orphans, and beggars, who receive assistance from
that Saint in their needs. In S. Maria Novella, also, below the
tramezzo[15] of the church, he painted a Trinity in fresco, which is
placed over the altar of S. Ignazio, with Our Lady on one side and S.
John the Evangelist on the other contemplating Christ Crucified. On the
sides are two figures on their knees, which, in so far as it can be
determined, are portraits of the men who had the picture painted; but
little is seen of them, for they have been covered with a gilt ornament.
But the most beautiful thing, apart from the figures, is a barrel-shaped
vaulting, drawn in perspective and divided into squares filled with
rosettes, which are foreshortened and made to diminish so well that the
wall appears to be pierced. In S. Maria Maggiore, also, near the
side-door that leads to S. Giovanni, on the panel of a chapel, he
painted a Madonna, with S. Catherine and S. Julian. On the predella he
made some little figures, connected with the life of S. Catherine, with
S. Julian murdering his father and mother; and in the middle he made the
Nativity of Christ, with that simplicity and vividness which were
characteristic of his work.

[Footnote 14: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

[Footnote 15: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]

In the Church of the Carmine in Pisa, on a panel that is in a chapel in
the tramezzo,[16] there is a Madonna with the Child, by his hand, and at
her feet are certain little angels sounding instruments, one of whom,
playing on a lute, is listening attentively to the harmony of that
sound. On either side of the Madonna are S. Peter, S. John the Baptist,
S. Julian, and S. Nicholas, all very lifelike and vivacious figures. In
the predella below are scenes from the lives of those Saints, with
little figures; and in the centre are the three Magi offering their
treasures to Christ. In this part are some horses portrayed from life,
so beautiful that nothing better can be desired; and the men of the
Court of those three Kings are clothed in various costumes that were
worn in those times. And above, as an ornament for the said panel, there
are, in several squares, many saints round a Crucifix. It is believed
that the figure of a saint, in the robes of a Bishop and painted in
fresco, which is in that church, beside the door that leads into the
convent, is by the hand of Masaccio; but I hold it as certain that it is
by the hand of Fra Filippo, his disciple.

[Footnote 16: See note above.]

[Illustration: THE TRINITY

(_After the fresco by_ Masaccio. _Florence: S. Maria Novella_)


Returning from Pisa to Florence, he wrought there a panel containing a
man and a woman, nude and of the size of life, which is to-day in the
Palla Rucellai Palace. Then, not feeling at ease in Florence, and
stimulated by his affection and love for art, he determined to go to
Rome, in order to learn and to surpass others; and this he did. And
having acquired very great fame there, he painted for Cardinal San
Clemente a chapel in the Church of S. Clemente, wherein he made in
fresco the Passion of Christ, with the Thieves on the Cross, and the
stories of S. Catherine the martyr. He also made many panels in
distemper, which have been all lost or destroyed in the troublous times
of Rome; one being in the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, in a little
chapel near the sacristy, wherein are four saints, so well wrought that
they appear to be in relief, and in the midst of them is S. Maria della
Neve, with the portrait from nature of Pope Martin, who is tracing out
the foundations of that church with a hoe, and beside him the Emperor
Sigismund II. Michelagnolo and I were one day examining this work, when
he praised it much, and then added that these men were alive in
Masaccio's time. To him, while Pisanello and Gentile da Fabriano were
labouring in Rome for Pope Martin on the walls of the Church of S.
Gianni, these masters had allotted a part of the work, when he returned
to Florence, having had news that Cosimo de' Medici, by whom he was much
assisted and favoured, had been recalled from exile; and there he was
commissioned to paint the Chapel of the Brancacci in the Carmine, by
reason of the death of Masolino da Panicale, who had begun it; but
before putting his hand to this, he made, by way of specimen, the S.
Paul that is near the bell-ropes, in order to show the improvement that
he had made in his art. And he demonstrated truly infinite excellence in
this picture, for in the head of that Saint, who is Bartolo di Angiolino
Angiolini portrayed from life, there is seen an expression so awful that
there appears to be nothing lacking in that figure save speech; and he
who has not known S. Paul will see, by looking at this picture, his
honourable Roman culture, together with the unconquerable strength of
that most divine spirit, all intent on the work of the faith. In this
same picture, likewise, he showed a power of foreshortening things
viewed from below upwards which was truly marvellous, as may still be
seen to-day in the feet of the said Apostle, for this was a difficulty
that he solved completely, in contrast with the old rude manner, which,
as I said a little before, used to make all the figures on tip-toe;
which manner lasted up to his day, without any other man correcting it,
and he, by himself and before any other, brought it to the excellence of
our own day.

It came to pass, the while that he was labouring at this work, that the
said Church of the Carmine was consecrated; and Masaccio, in memory of
this, painted the consecration just as it took place, with terra-verde
and in chiaroscuro, over the door that leads into the convent, within
the cloister. And he portrayed therein an infinite number of citizens in
mantles and hoods, who are following the procession, among whom he
painted Filippo di Ser Brunellesco in wooden shoes, Donatello, Masolino
da Panicale, who had been his master, Antonio Brancacci, who caused him
to paint the chapel, Niccolò da Uzzano, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici,
and Bartolommeo Valori, who are all also portrayed by the hand of the
same man in the house of Simon Corsi, a gentleman of Florence. He also
painted there Lorenzo Ridolfi, who was at that time the ambassador of
the Florentine Republic in Venice; and not only did he portray there the
aforesaid gentlemen from the life, but also the door of the convent and
the porter with the keys in his hand. This work, truly, shows great
perfection, for Masaccio was so successful in placing these people, five
or six to a file, on the level of that piazza, and in making them
diminish to the eye with proportion and judgment, that it is indeed a
marvel, and above all because we can recognize there the wisdom that he
showed in making those men, as if they were alive, not all of one size,
but with a certain discretion which distinguishes those who are short
and stout from those who are tall and slender; while they are all
standing with their feet firmly on one level, and so well foreshortened
along the files that they would not be otherwise in nature.

After this, returning to the work of the Chapel of the Brancacci, and
continuing the stories of S. Peter begun by Masolino, he finished a part
of them--namely, the story of the Chair, the healing of the sick, the
raising of the dead, and the restoring of the cripples with his shadow
as he was going to the Temple with S. John. But the most notable among
them all is that one wherein S. Peter, at Christ's command, is taking
the money from the belly of the fish, in order to pay the tribute, since
(besides the fact that we see there in an Apostle, the last of the
group, the portrait of Masaccio himself, made by his own hand with the
help of a mirror, so well that it appears absolutely alive) we can
recognize there the ardour of S. Peter in his questioning and the
attentiveness of the Apostles, who are standing in various attitudes
round Christ, awaiting his determination, with gestures so vivid that
they truly appear alive. Wonderful, above all, is the S. Peter who,
while he is labouring to draw the money from the belly of the fish, has
his head suffused with blood by reason of bending down; and he is even
more wonderful as he pays the tribute, for here we see his expression as
he counts it, and the eagerness of him who is receiving it and looking
at the money in his hand with the greatest pleasure. There, also, he
painted the resurrection of the King's son, wrought by S. Peter and S.
Paul; although by reason of the death of Masaccio the work remained
unfinished, and was afterwards completed by Filippino. In the scene
wherein S. Peter is baptizing, a naked man, who is trembling and
shivering with cold among the others who are being baptized, is greatly
esteemed, having been wrought with very beautiful relief and sweet
manner; which figure has ever been held in reverence and admiration by
all craftsmen, both ancient and modern. For this reason that chapel has
been frequented continually up to our own day by innumerable draughtsmen
and masters; and there still are therein some heads so lifelike and so
beautiful, that it may truly be said that no master of that age
approached so nearly as this man did to the moderns. His labours
therefore deserve infinite praise, and above all because he gave form in
his art to the beautiful manner of our times. And that this is true is
proved by the fact that all the most celebrated sculptors and painters,
who have lived from his day to our own, have become excellent and famous
by exercising themselves and studying in this chapel--namely, Fra
Giovanni da Fiesole, Fra Filippo, Filippino, who finished it, Alesso
Baldovinetti, Andrea dal Castagno, Andrea del Verrocchio, Domenico del
Ghirlandajo, Sandro di Botticello, Leonardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino,
Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco, Mariotto Albertinelli, and the most divine
Michelagnolo Buonarroti; likewise Raffaello da Urbino, who owed to this
chapel the beginning of his beautiful manner, Granaccio, Lorenzo di
Credi, Ridolfo del Ghirlandajo, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso, Franciabigio,
Baccio Bandinelli, Alonso Spagnuolo, Jacopo da Pontormo, Pierino del
Vaga, and Toto del Nunziata; and in short, all those who have sought to
learn that art have ever gone to this chapel to learn and to grasp the
precepts and the rules for good work from the figures of Masaccio. And
if I have not named many foreigners and many Florentines who have gone
to that chapel for the sake of study, let it suffice to say that where
the heads of art go, the members also follow. But although the works of
Masaccio have ever been in so great repute, it is nevertheless the
opinion--nay, the firm belief--of many, that he would have produced even
greater fruits in his art, if death, which tore him from us at the age
of twenty-six, had not snatched him away from us so prematurely. But
either by reason of envy, or because good things rarely have any long
duration, he died in the flower of his youth, and that so suddenly, that
there were not wanting people who put it down to poison rather than to
any other reason.


(_Collection of Rev. A. F. Sutton. Panel_)

It is said that Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, hearing of his death,
exclaimed, "We have suffered a very great loss in Masaccio," and that it
grieved him infinitely, for he had spent much time in demonstrating to
Masaccio many rules of perspective and of architecture. He was buried in
the same Church of the Carmine in the year 1443, and although, since
he had been little esteemed when alive, no memorial was then placed over
his tomb, yet after his death there were not wanting men to honour him
with these epitaphs:

                 BY ANNIBAL CARO.


                 BY FABIO SEGNI.


[Illustration: THE TRIBUTE MONEY

(_After the fresco by_ Masaccio. _Florence: S. Maria del Carmine_)






Many men are created by nature small in person and in features, who have
a mind full of such greatness and a heart of such irresistible
vehemence, that if they do not begin difficult--nay, almost
impossible--undertakings, and bring them to completion to the marvel of
all who behold them, they have never any peace in their lives; and
whatsoever work chance puts into their hands, however lowly and base it
may be, they give it value and nobility. Wherefore no one should turn up
his nose when he encounters people who have not, in their aspect, that
primal grace or beauty which nature should give, on his coming into the
world, to a man who works at any art, seeing that there is no doubt that
beneath the clods of the earth are hidden veins of gold. And very often,
in those who are most insignificant in form, there are born so great
generosity of mind and so great sincerity of heart, that, if nobility be
mingled with these, nothing short of the greatest marvels can be looked
for from them, for the reason that they strive to embellish the ugliness
of the body with the beauty of the intellect; as it is clearly seen in
Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, who was no less insignificant in person than
Messer Forese da Rabatta and Giotto, but so lofty in intellect that it
can be truly said that he was sent to us by Heaven in order to give new
form to architecture, which had been out of mind for hundreds of years;
for the men of those times had spent much treasure to no purpose, making
buildings without order, with bad method, with sorry design, with most
strange inventions, with most ungraceful grace, and with even worse
ornament. And Heaven ordained, since the earth had been for so many
years without any supreme mind or divine spirit, that Filippo should
bequeath to the world the greatest, the most lofty, and the most
beautiful building that was ever made in modern times, or even in those
of the ancients, proving that the talent of the Tuscan craftsmen,
although lost, was not therefore dead. Heaven adorned him, moreover,
with the best virtues, among which was that of kindliness, so that no
man was ever more benign or more amiable than he. In judgment he was
free from passion, and when he saw worth and merit in others he would
sacrifice his own advantage and the interest of his friends. He knew
himself, he shared the benefit of his own talent with many, and he was
ever succouring his neighbour in his necessities. He declared himself a
capital enemy of vice, and a friend of those who practised virtue. He
never spent his time uselessly, but would labour to meet the needs of
others, either by himself or by the agency of other men; and he would
visit his friends on foot and ever succour them.

It is said that there was in Florence a man of very good repute, most
praiseworthy in his way of life and active in his business, whose name
was Ser Brunellesco di Lippo Lapi, who had had a grandfather called
Cambio, who was a learned person and the son of a physician very famous
in those times, named Maestro Ventura Bacherini. Now Ser Brunellesco,
taking to wife a most excellent young woman from the noble family of the
Spini, received, as part payment of her dowry, a house wherein he and
his sons dwelt to the day of their death. This house stands opposite to
one side of S. Michele Berteldi, in a close past the Piazza degli Agli.
The while that he was occupying himself thus and living happily, in the
year 1398 there was born to him a son, to whom he gave the name Filippo,
after his own father, now dead; and he celebrated this birth with the
greatest gladness possible. Thereupon he taught him in his childhood,
with the utmost attention, the first rudiments of letters, wherein the
boy showed himself so ingenious and so lofty in spirit that his brain
was often in doubt, as if he did not care to become very perfect in
them--nay, it appeared that he directed his thoughts on matters of
greater utility--wherefore Ser Brunellesco, who wished him to follow his
own vocation of notary, or that of his great-great-grandfather, was very
much displeased. But seeing him continually investigating ingenious
problems of art and mechanics, he made him learn arithmetic and writing,
and then apprenticed him to the goldsmith's art with one his friend, to
the end that he might learn design. And this gave great satisfaction to
Filippo, who, not many years after beginning to learn and to practise
that art, could set precious stones better than any old craftsman in
that vocation. He occupied himself with niello and with making larger
works, such as some figures in silver, whereof two, half-length
prophets, are placed at the head of the altar of S. Jacopo in Pistoia;
these figures, which are held very beautiful, were wrought by him for
the Wardens of Works in that city; and he made works in low-relief,
wherein he showed that he had so great knowledge in his vocation that
his intellect must needs overstep the bounds of that art. Wherefore,
having made acquaintance with certain studious persons, he began to
penetrate with his fancy into questions of time, of motion, of weights,
and of wheels, and how the latter can be made to revolve, and by what
means they can be set in motion; and thus he made some very good and
very beautiful clocks with his own hand.

Not content with this, there arose in his mind a very great inclination
for sculpture; and this took effect, for Donatello, then a youth, being
held an able sculptor and one of great promise, Filippo began to be ever
in his company, and the two conceived such great love for each other, by
reason of the talents of each, that one appeared unable to live without
the other. Whereupon Filippo, who was most capable in various ways, gave
attention to many professions, nor had he practised these long before he
was held by persons qualified to judge to be a very good architect, as
he showed in many works in connection with the fitting up of houses,
such as the house of Apollonio Lapi, his kinsman, in the Canto de' Ciai,
towards the Mercato Vecchio, wherein he occupied himself greatly while
the other was having it built; and he did the same in the tower and in
the house of Petraia, at Castello without Florence. In the Palace that
was the habitation of the Signoria, he arranged and distributed all
those rooms wherein the officials of the Monte had their office, and he
made doors and windows there in the manner copied from the ancient,
which was then little used, for architecture was very rude in Tuscany.
In Florence, a little later, there was a statue of lime-wood to be made
for the Friars of S. Spirito, representing S. Mary Magdalene in
Penitence, to be placed in a chapel; and Filippo, who had wrought many
little things in sculpture, desiring to show that he was able to succeed
in large works as well, undertook to make the said figure, which, when
put into execution and finished, was held something very beautiful; but
it was destroyed afterwards, together with many other notable works, in
the year 1471, when that church was burnt down.

He gave much attention to perspective, which was then in a very evil
plight by reason of many errors that were made therein; and in this he
spent much time, until he found by himself a method whereby it might
become true and perfect--namely, that of tracing it with the ground-plan
and profile and by means of intersecting lines, which was something
truly most ingenious and useful to the art of design. In this he took so
great delight that he drew with his own hand the Piazza di S. Giovanni,
with all the compartments of black and white marble wherewith that
church was incrusted, which he foreshortened with singular grace; and he
drew, likewise, the building of the Misericordia, with the shops of the
Wafer-Makers and the Volta de' Pecori, and the column of S. Zanobi on
the other side. This work, bringing him praise from craftsmen and from
all who had judgment in that art, encouraged him so greatly that it was
not long before he put his hand to another and drew the Palace, the
Piazza, and the Loggia of the Signori, together with the roof of the
Pisani and all the buildings that are seen round that Piazza; and these
works were the means of arousing the minds of the other craftsmen, who
afterwards devoted themselves to this with great zeal. He taught it, in
particular, to the painter Masaccio, then a youth and much his friend,
who did him credit in this art that Filippo showed him, as it is
apparent from the buildings in his works. Nor did he refrain from
teaching it even to those who worked in tarsia, which is the art of
inlaying coloured woods; and he stimulated them so greatly that he was
the source of a good style and of many useful changes that were made in
that craft, and of many excellent works wrought both then and
afterwards, which have brought fame and profit to Florence for many

[Illustration: THE CRUCIFIXION

(_After_ Filippo Brunelleschi. _Florence: S. Maria Novella_)


Now Messer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, returning from his studies,
and chancing one evening to be at supper in a garden with some of his
friends, invited Filippo, who, hearing him discourse on the mathematical
arts, formed such an intimacy with him that he learnt geometry from
Messer Paolo; and although Filippo had no learning, he reasoned so well
in every matter with his instinct, sharpened by practice and experience,
that he would many times confound him. And so he went on to give
attention to the study of the Christian Scriptures, never failing to be
present at the disputations and preachings of learned persons, from
which he gained so much advantage, by reason of his admirable memory,
that the aforesaid Messer Paolo was wont to extol him and to say that in
hearing Filippo argue he appeared to be hearing a new S. Paul. He also
gave much attention at this time to the works of Dante, which he
understood very well with regard to the places described and their
proportions, and he would avail himself of them in his conversations,
quoting them often in making comparisons. He did naught else with his
thoughts but invent and imagine ingenious and difficult things; nor
could he ever find an intellect more to his satisfaction than that of
Donato, with whom he was ever holding familiar discourse, and they took
pleasure in one another and would confer together over the difficulties
of their vocation.

Now in those days Donato had finished a Crucifix of wood, which was
placed in S. Croce in Florence, below the scene of the child being
restored to life by S. Francis, painted by Taddeo Gaddi, and he wished
to have the opinion of Filippo about this work; but he repented, for
Filippo answered that he had placed a ploughman on the Cross; whence
there arose the saying, "Take wood and make one thyself," as it is
related at length in the Life of Donato. Whereupon Filippo, who would
never get angry, whatever might be said to him, although he might have
reason for anger, stayed in seclusion for many months until he had
finished a Crucifix of wood of the same size, so excellent, and wrought
with so much art, design, and diligence, that Donato--whom he had sent
to his house ahead of himself, as it were to surprise him, for he did
not know that Filippo had made such a work--having an apron full of eggs
and other things for their common dinner, let it fall as he gazed at the
work, beside himself with marvel at the ingenious and masterly manner
that Filippo had shown in the legs, the trunk, and the arms of the said
figure, which was so well composed and united together that Donato,
besides admitting himself beaten, proclaimed it a miracle. This work is
placed to-day in S. Maria Novella, between the Chapel of the Strozzi and
that of the Bardi da Vernia, and it is still very greatly extolled by
the moderns. Wherefore, the talent of these truly excellent masters
being recognized, they received a commission from the Guild of Butchers
and from the Guild of Linen-Manufacturers for two figures in marble, to
be made for their niches, which are on the outside of Orsanmichele.
Having undertaken other work, Filippo left these figures to Donato to
make by himself, and Donato executed them to perfection.


(_After_ Lorenzo Ghiberti. _Florence: Bargello_)


After these things, in the year 1401, now that sculpture had risen to so
great a height, it was determined to reconstruct the two bronze doors of
the Church and Baptistery of S. Giovanni, since, from the death of
Andrea Pisano to that day, they had not had any masters capable of
executing them. This intention being, therefore, communicated to those
sculptors who were then in Tuscany, they were sent for, and each man was
given a provision and the space of a year to make one scene; and among
those called upon were Filippo and Donato, each of them being required
to make one scene by himself, in competition with Lorenzo Ghiberti,
Jacopo[17] della Fonte, Simone da Colle, Francesco di Valdambrina, and
Niccolò d'Arezzo. These scenes, being finished in the same year and
being brought together for comparison, were all most beautiful and
different one from the other; one was well designed and badly wrought,
as was that of Donato; another was very well designed and diligently
wrought, but the composition of the scene, with the gradual diminution
of the figures, was not good, as was the case with that of Jacopo della
Quercia; a third was poor in invention and in the figures, which was the
manner wherein Francesco di Valdambrina had executed his; and the worst
of all were those of Niccolò d'Arezzo and Simone da Colle. The best was
that of Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, which had design, diligence,
invention, art, and the figures very well wrought. Nor was that of
Filippo much inferior, wherein he had represented Abraham
sacrificing Isaac; and in that scene a slave who is drawing a thorn
from his foot, while he is awaiting Abraham and the ass is browsing,
deserves no little praise.

[Footnote 17: _I.e._, Jacopo della Quercia.]


(_After_ Filippo Brunelleschi. _Florence: Bargello_)


The scenes, then, being exhibited, Filippo and Donato were not satisfied
with any save with that of Lorenzo, and they judged him to be better
qualified for that work than themselves and the others who had made the
other scenes. And so with good reasons they persuaded the Consuls to
allot the work to Lorenzo, showing that thus both the public and the
private interest would be best served; and this was indeed the true
goodness of friendship, excellence without envy, and a sound judgment in
the knowledge of their own selves, whereby they deserved more praise
than if they had executed the work to perfection. Happy spirits! who,
while they were assisting one another, took delight in praising the
labours of others. How unhappy are those of our own day, who, not sated
with injuring each other, burst with envy while rending others. The
Consuls besought Filippo to undertake the work in company with Lorenzo,
but he refused, being minded rather to be first in an art of his own
than an equal or a second in that work. Wherefore he presented the scene
that he had wrought in bronze to Cosimo de' Medici, who after a time had
it placed on the dossal of the altar in the old Sacristy of S. Lorenzo,
where it is to be found at present; and that of Donato was placed in the
Guild of the Exchange.

The commission being given to Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo and Donato, who
were together, resolved to depart from Florence in company and to live
for some years in Rome, to the end that Filippo might study architecture
and Donato sculpture; and this Filippo did from his desire to be
superior both to Lorenzo and to Donato, in proportion as architecture is
held to be more necessary for the practical needs of men than sculpture
and painting. After he had sold a little farm that he had at Settignano,
they departed from Florence and went to Rome, where, seeing the grandeur
of the buildings and the perfection of the fabrics of the temples,
Filippo would stand in a maze like a man out of his mind. And so, having
made arrangements for measuring the cornices and taking the ground-plans
of those buildings, he and Donato kept labouring continually, sparing
neither time nor expense. There was no place, either in Rome or in the
Campagna without, that they left unvisited, and nothing of the good that
they did not measure, if only they could find it. And since Filippo was
free from domestic cares, he gave himself over body and soul to his
studies, and took no thought for eating or sleeping, being intent on one
thing only--namely, architecture, which was now dead (I mean the good
ancient Orders, and not the barbarous German, which was much in use in
his time). And he had in his mind two vast conceptions, one being to
restore to light the good manner of architecture, since he believed that
if he could recover it he would leave behind no less a name for himself
than Cimabue and Giotto had done; and the other was to find a method, if
he could, of raising the Cupola of S. Maria del Fiore in Florence, the
difficulties of which were such that after the death of Arnolfo Lapi
there had been no one courageous enough to think of raising it without
vast expenditure for a wooden framework. Yet he did not impart this his
invention to Donato or to any living soul, nor did he rest in Rome till
he had considered all the difficulties connected with the Ritonda,
wondering how the vaulting was raised. He had noted and drawn all the
ancient vaults, and was for ever studying them; and if peradventure they
had found pieces of capitals, columns, cornices, and bases of buildings
buried underground, they would set to work and have them dug out, in
order to examine them thoroughly. Wherefore a rumour spread through
Rome, as they passed through the streets, going about carelessly
dressed, so that they were called the "treasure-seekers," people
believing that they were persons who studied geomancy in order to
discover treasure; and this was because they had one day found an
ancient earthenware vase full of medals. Filippo ran short of money and
contrived to make this good by setting jewels of price for certain
goldsmiths who were his friends; and thus he was left alone in Rome, for
Donato returned to Florence, while he, with greater industry and labour
than before, was for ever investigating the ruins of those buildings.
Nor did he rest until he had drawn every sort of building--round,
square, and octagonal temples, basilicas, aqueducts, baths, arches,
colossea, amphitheatres, and every temple built of bricks, from which
he copied the methods of binding and of clamping with ties, and also of
encircling vaults with them; and he noted the ways of making buildings
secure by binding the stones together, by iron bars, and by
dove-tailing; and, discovering a hole hollowed out under the middle of
each great stone, he found that this was meant to hold the iron
instrument, which is called by us the ulivella,[18] wherewith the stones
are drawn up; and this he reintroduced and brought into use afterwards.
He then distinguished the different Orders one from another--Doric,
Ionic, and Corinthian; and so zealous was his study that his intellect
became very well able to see Rome, in imagination, as she was when she
was not in ruins. In the year 1407 the air of that city gave Filippo a
slight indisposition, wherefore, being advised by his friends to try a
change of air, he returned to Florence. There many buildings had
suffered by reason of his absence; and for these, on his arrival, he
gave many designs and much advice.

[Footnote 18: This was probably something like the modern lewis.]

In the same year a congress of architects and engineers of the country
was summoned by the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore and by the
Consuls of the Guild of Wool, to discuss methods for raising the cupola.
Among these appeared Filippo, giving it as his advice that it was
necessary, not to raise the fabric directly from the roof according to
the design of Arnolfo, but to make a frieze fifteen braccia in height,
with a large round window in the middle of each of its sides, since not
only would this take the weight off the supports of the tribunes, but it
would become easier to raise the cupola; and models were made in this
way, and were put into execution. Filippo, being restored to health
after some months, was standing one morning in the Piazza di S. Maria
del Fiore with Donato and other craftsmen, when they began to talk of
antiquities in connection with sculpture, and Donato related how, when
he was returning from Rome, he had made the journey through Orvieto, in
order to see that marble façade of the Duomo, a work greatly celebrated,
wrought by the hands of diverse masters and held to be something notable
in those times; and how, in passing afterwards by Cortona, he entered
the Pieve and saw a very beautiful ancient sarcophagus, whereon there
was a scene in marble--a rare thing then, when there had not been
unearthed that abundance which has been found in our own day. And as
Donato went on to describe the method that the master of that work had
used in its execution, and the finish that was to be seen therein,
together with the perfection and the excellence of the workmanship,
Filippo became fired with an ardent desire to see it, and went off on
foot just as he was, in his mantle, cap, and wooden shoes, without
saying where he was going, and allowed himself to be carried to Cortona
by the devotion and love that he bore to art. And having seen the
sarcophagus, and being pleased with it, he made a drawing of it with the
pen, and returned with that to Florence, without Donato or any other
person knowing that he had been away, for they thought he must have been
drawing or inventing something.

Having thus returned to Florence, he showed him the drawing of the
sarcophagus, which he had made with great patience, whereat Donato
marvelled not a little, seeing how much love Filippo bore to art. After
this he stayed many months in Florence, where he kept making models and
machines in secret, all for the work of the cupola, exchanging jokes the
while with his fellow-craftsmen--for it was then that he played the jest
of "the Fat Man and Matteo"--and going very often, for recreation, to
assist Lorenzo Ghiberti in polishing some part of his doors. But hearing
that there was some talk of providing engineers for the raising of the
cupola, and being taken one morning with the idea of returning to Rome,
he went there, thinking that he would be in greater repute and would be
more sought for from abroad than he would be if he stayed in Florence.
When he was in Rome, therefore, the work came to be considered, and so,
too, the great acuteness of his intellect, for he had shown in his
discourse such confidence and such courage as had not been found in the
other masters, who, together with the builders, were standing paralyzed
and helpless, thinking that no way of raising the cupola could ever be
found, nor beams to make a bridge strong enough to sustain the framework
and the weight of so great an edifice; and having determined to make an
end of the matter, they wrote to Filippo in Rome, praying him to come to
Florence. He, desiring nothing better, returned with great readiness;
and the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore and the Consuls of the
Guild of Wool, assembling on his arrival, explained to Filippo all the
difficulties, from the greatest to the smallest, which were being raised
by the masters, who were in his presence at the audience together with
them. Whereupon Filippo spoke these words: "My Lords the Wardens, there
is no doubt that great enterprises ever present difficulties in their
execution, and if any ever did so, this of yours presents them, and even
greater than perchance you are aware of, for the reason that I do not
know whether even the ancients ever raised a vault so tremendous as this
will be; and although I have often pondered over the framework necessary
both within and without, and how it may be possible to work at it
securely, I have never been able to come to any resolution, and I am
aghast no less at the breadth than at the height of the edifice, for the
reason that, if it could be made round, we might use the method used by
the Romans in raising the dome over the Pantheon in Rome, that is, the
Ritonda, whereas here we must follow the eight sides, and bind the
stones together with ties and by dove-tailing them, which will be
something very difficult. But remembering that this is a temple
consecrated to God and to the Virgin, I am confident, since this is
being done in memory of her, that she will not fail to infuse knowledge
where it is lacking, and to give strength, wisdom, and genius to him who
is to be the author of such a work. But how can I help you in this
matter, since the task is not mine? I tell you, indeed, that if the work
fell to me, I would have resolution and courage enough to find the
method whereby the vault might be raised without so many difficulties;
but as yet I have given no thought to it, and you would have me tell you
the method! And when at last your Lordships determine to have it raised,
you will be forced not only to make trial of me, for I do not think
myself able to be the sole adviser in so great a matter, but also to
spend money and to ordain that within a year and on a fixed day many
architects shall come to Florence, not merely Tuscans and Italians, but
Germans, French, and of every other nation; and to propose this work to
them, to the end that, after discussing and deciding among so many
masters, it may be begun, being entrusted to him who shall give the most
direct proof of ability or possess the best method and judgment for
such an undertaking. Nor could I give you other counsel or a better plan
than this."

The plan and the counsel of Filippo pleased the Consuls and the Wardens
of Works, but they would have liked him in the meanwhile to have made a
model and to have given thought to the matter. But he showed that he
cared nothing for it; nay, taking leave of them, he said that he had
received letters soliciting him to return to Rome. Whereupon the
Consuls, perceiving that their prayers and those of the Wardens did not
avail to detain him, caused many of his friends to entreat him; but
Filippo would not give way, and one morning (on May 26, 1417) the
Wardens decreed him a present of money, which is found entered to the
credit of Filippo in the books of the Office of Works; and all this was
to conciliate him. But he, steadfast in his resolution, took his
departure none the less from Florence and returned to Rome, where he
studied continuously for that undertaking, making arrangements and
preparing himself for the completion of the work, thinking, as was true,
that no other than himself could carry it out. And as for his counsel
that new architects should be summoned, Filippo had advanced it for no
other reason but that they might serve to prove the greatness of his own
intellect, and not because he thought that they would be able to vault
that tribune or to undertake such a charge, which was too difficult for
them. And thus much time was consumed before those architects arrived
from their countries, whom they had caused to be summoned from afar by
means of orders given to Florentine merchants who dwelt in France, in
Germany, in England, and in Spain, and who were commissioned to spend
any sum of money, if only they could obtain the most experienced and
able intellects that there were in those regions from the Princes of
those countries, and send them to Florence.

By the year 1420, all these ultramontane masters were finally assembled
in Florence, and likewise those of Tuscany and all the ingenious
craftsmen of design in Florence; and so Filippo returned from Rome. They
all assembled, therefore, in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore,
in the presence of the Consuls and of the Wardens, together with a
select body of the most ingenious citizens, to the end that these might
hear the mind of each master on the question and might decide on a
method of vaulting this tribune. Having called them, then, into the
audience, they heard the minds of all, one by one, and the plan that
each architect had devised for that work. And a fine thing it was to
hear their strange and diverse opinions about the matter, for the reason
that some said that piers must be built up from the level of the ground,
which should have the arches turned upon them and should uphold the
wooden bridges for sustaining the weight; others said that it was best
to make the cupola of sponge-stone, to the end that the weight might be
less; and many were agreed that a pier should be built in the centre,
and that the cupola should be raised in the shape of a pavilion, like
that of S. Giovanni in Florence. Nor were there wanting men who said
that it would have been a good thing to fill it with earth mingled with
small coins, to the end that, when it had been raised, anyone who wanted
some of that earth might be given leave to go and fetch it, and thus the
people would carry it away in a moment without any expense. Filippo
alone said that it could be raised without so much wood-work, without
piers, without earth, without so great expenditure on so many arches,
and very easily without any framework.

It appeared to the Consuls, who were expecting to hear of some beautiful
method, and to the Wardens of Works and to all those citizens, that
Filippo had talked like a fool; and deriding him with mocking laughter,
they turned away, bidding him talk of something else, seeing that this
was the plan of a madman, as he was. Whereupon Filippo, feeling himself
affronted, answered: "My Lords, rest assured that it is not possible to
raise the cupola in any other manner than this; and although you laugh
at me, you will recognize, unless you mean to be obstinate, that it
neither must nor can be done in any other way. And it is necessary, if
you wish to erect it in the way that I have thought of, that it should
be turned with the curve of a quarter-acute arch, and made double, one
vault within, and the other without, in such wise that a man may be able
to walk between the one and the other. And over the corners of the
angles of the eight sides the fabric must be bound together through its
thickness by dove-tailing the stones, and its sides, likewise, must be
girt round with oaken ties. And it is necessary to think of the lights,
the staircases, and the conduits whereby the rain-water may be able to
run off; and not one of you has remembered that you must provide for the
raising of scaffoldings within, when the mosaics come to be made,
together with an infinite number of difficulties. But I, who see the
vaulting raised, know that there is no other method and no other way of
raising it than this that I am describing." And growing heated as he
spoke, the more he sought to expound his conception, to the end that
they might understand it and believe in it, the greater grew their
doubts about his proposal, so that they believed in him less and less,
and held him to be an ass and a babbler. Whereupon, having been
dismissed several times and finally refusing to go, he was carried away
bodily from the audience by their servants, being thought to be wholly
mad; and this affront was the reason that Filippo could afterwards say
that he did not dare to pass through any part of the city, for fear lest
someone might say: "There goes that madman."

The Consuls remained in the Audience Chamber all confused, both by the
difficult methods of the original masters and by this last method of
Filippo's, which they thought absurd, for it appeared to them that he
would ruin the work in two ways: first, by making the vaulting double,
which would have made it enormous and unwieldy in weight; and secondly,
by making it without a framework. On the other hand, Filippo, who had
spent so many years in study in order to obtain the commission, knew not
what to do and was often tempted to leave Florence. However, wishing to
prevail, he was forced to arm himself with patience, having insight
enough to know that the brains of the men of that city did not abide
very firmly by any one resolution. Filippo could have shown a little
model that he had in his possession, but he did not wish to show it,
having recognized the small intelligence of the Consuls, the envy of the
craftsmen, and the instability of the citizens, who favoured now one and
now another, according as it pleased each man best; and I do not marvel
at this, since every man in that city professes to know as much in these
matters as the experienced masters know, although those who truly
understand them are but few; and let this be said without offence to
those who have the knowledge. What Filippo, therefore, had not been able
to achieve before the tribunal, he began to effect with individuals,
talking now to a Consul, now to a Warden, and likewise to many citizens;
and showing them part of his design, he induced them to determine to
allot this work either to him or to one of the foreigners. Wherefore the
Consuls, the Wardens of Works, and those citizens, regaining courage,
assembled together, and the architects disputed concerning this matter,
but all were overcome and conquered by Filippo with many arguments; and
here, so it is said, there arose the dispute about the egg, in the
following manner. They would have liked Filippo to speak his mind in
detail, and to show his model, as they had shown theirs; but this he
refused to do, proposing instead to those masters, both the foreign and
the native, that whosoever could make an egg stand upright on a flat
piece of marble should build the cupola, since thus each man's intellect
would be discerned. Taking an egg, therefore, all those masters sought
to make it stand upright, but not one could find the way. Whereupon
Filippo, being told to make it stand, took it graciously, and, giving
one end of it a blow on the flat piece of marble, made it stand upright.
The craftsmen protested that they could have done the same; but Filippo
answered, laughing, that they could also have raised the cupola, if they
had seen the model or the design. And so it was resolved that he should
be commissioned to carry out this work, and he was told that he must
give fuller information about it to the Consuls and the Wardens of

Going to his house, therefore, he wrote down his mind on a sheet of
paper as clearly as he was able, to give to the tribunal, in the
following manner: "Having considered the difficulties of this structure,
Magnificent Lords Wardens, I find that it is in no way possible to raise
the cupola perfectly round, seeing that the surface above, where the
lantern is to go, would be so great that the laying of any weight
thereupon would soon destroy it. Now it appears to me that those
architects who have no regard for the durability of their structures,
have no love of lasting memorials, and do not even know why they are
made. Wherefore I have determined to turn the inner part of this vault
in pointed sections, following the outer sides, and to give to these
the proportion and the curve of the quarter-acute arch, for the reason
that this curve, when turned, ever pushes upwards, so that, when it is
loaded with the lantern, both will unite to make the vaulting durable.
At the base it must be three braccia and three quarters in thickness,
and it must rise pyramidically, narrowing from without, until it closes
at the point where the lantern is to be; and at this junction the
vaulting must be one braccio and a quarter in thickness. Then on the
outer side there must be another vault, which must be two braccia and a
half thick at the base, in order to protect the inner one from the rain.
This one must also diminish pyramidically in due proportion, so that it
may come together at the foot of the lantern, like the other, in such
wise that at the summit it may be two-thirds of a braccio in thickness.
At each angle there must be a buttress, making eight in all: and in the
middle of every side there must be two buttresses, making sixteen in
all: and between the said angles, on every side, both within and
without, there must be two buttresses, each four braccia thick at the
base. The two said vaults, built in the form of a pyramid, must rise
together in equal proportion up to the height of the round window closed
by the lantern. There must then be made twenty-four buttresses with the
said vaults built round them, and six arches of grey-stone blocks, stout
and long, and well braced with irons, which must be covered with tin;
and over the said blocks there must be iron ties, binding the said
vaulting to its buttresses. The first part of the masonry, up to the
height of five braccia and a quarter, must be solid, leaving no vacant
space, and then the buttresses must be continued and the two vaults
separated. The first and second courses at the base must be strengthened
throughout with long blocks of grey-stone laid horizontally across them,
in such wise that both vaults of the cupola may rest on the said blocks.
At the height of every nine braccia in the said vaults there must be
little arches between one buttress and another, with thick ties of oak,
to bind together the said buttresses, which support the inner vault; and
then the said ties of oak must be covered with plates of iron, for the
sake of the staircases. The buttresses must be all built of grey-stone
and hard-stone, and all the sides of the cupola must be likewise of
hard-stone and bound with the buttresses up to the height of
twenty-four braccia; and from there to the top the material must be
brick, or rather, spongestone, according to the decision of the
builder, who must make the work as light as he is able. A passage must
be made on the outside above the windows, forming a gallery below, with
an open parapet two braccia in height, proportionately to those of the
little tribunes below; or rather, two passages, one above the other,
resting on a richly adorned cornice, with the upper passage uncovered.
The rain water must flow from the cupola into a gutter of marble, a
third of a braccio wide, and must run off through outlets made of
hard-stone below the gutter. Eight ribs of marble must be made at the
angles in the outer surface of the cupola, of such thickness as may be
required, rising one braccio above the cupola, with a cornice above by
way of roof, two braccia wide, to serve as gable and eaves to the whole;
and these ribs must rise pyramidically from their base up to the summit.
The two vaults of the cupola must be built in the manner described
above, without framework, up to the height of thirty braccia, and from
that point upwards in the manner recommended by those masters who will
have the building of them, since practice teaches us what course to

Filippo, having finished writing all that is above, went in the morning
to the tribunal and gave them that paper, which they studied from end to
end. And although they could not grasp it all, yet, seeing the readiness
of Filippo's mind, and perceiving that not one of the other architects
had better ground to stand on--for he showed a manifest confidence in
his speech, ever repeating the same thing in such wise that it appeared
certain that he had raised ten cupolas--the Consuls, drawing aside, were
minded to give him the work, saying only that they would have liked to
see something to show how this cupola could be raised without framework,
for they approved of everything else. To this desire fortune was
favourable, for Bartolommeo Barbadori having previously resolved to have
a chapel built in S. Felicita and having spoken of this to Filippo, the
latter had put his hand to the work and had caused that chapel to be
vaulted without framework, at the right hand of the entrance into the
church, where the holy-water basin is, also made by his hand. In those
days, likewise, he caused another to be vaulted beside the Chapel of the
High Altar in S. Jacopo sopra Arno, for Stiatta Ridolfi; and these works
were the means of bringing him more credit than his words. And so the
Consuls and the Wardens of Works, being assured by the writing and by
the work that they had seen, gave him the commission for the cupola,
making him principal superintendent by the vote with the beans. But they
did not contract with him for more than twelve braccia of the whole
height, saying to him that they wished to see how the work succeeded,
and that if it succeeded as well as he promised they would not fail to
commission him to do the rest. It appeared a strange thing to Filippo to
see so great obstinacy and distrust in the Consuls and Wardens, and, if
it had not been that he knew himself to be the only man capable of
executing the work, he would not have put his hand to it. However,
desiring to gain the glory of its construction, he undertook it, and
pledged himself to bring it to perfect completion. His written statement
was copied into a book wherein the provveditore kept the accounts of the
debtors and creditors for wood and marble, together with the aforesaid
pledge; and they undertook to make him the same allowance of money as
they had given up to then to the other superintendents.

The commission given to Filippo becoming known among the craftsmen and
the citizens, some thought well of it and others ill, as it has ever
been the case with the opinions of the populace, of the thoughtless, and
of the envious. The while that the preparations for beginning to build
were being made, a faction was formed among craftsmen and citizens, and
they appeared before the Consuls and the Wardens, saying that there had
been too much haste in the matter, and that such a work as this should
not be carried out by the counsel of one man alone; that they might be
pardoned for this if they had been suffering from a dearth of excellent
masters, whereas they had them in abundance; and that it was not likely
to do credit to the city, because, if some accident were to happen, as
is wont to come to pass sometimes in buildings, they might be blamed, as
persons who had laid too great a charge on one man, without considering
the loss and the shame that might result to the public interest;
wherefore it would be well to give Filippo a companion, in order to
restrain his rashness.

Now Lorenzo Ghiberti had come into great repute, by reason of having
formerly given proof of his genius in the doors of S. Giovanni; and that
he was beloved by certain men who were very powerful in the Government
was proved clearly enough, since, seeing the glory of Filippo waxing so
great, they wrought on the Consuls and the Wardens so strongly, under
the pretext of love and affection towards that building, that he was
united to Filippo as his colleague in the work. How great were the
despair and the bitterness of Filippo, on hearing what the Wardens had
done, may be seen from this, that he was minded to fly from Florence;
and if it had not been for Donato and Luca della Robbia, who comforted
him, he would have lost his reason. Truly impious and cruel is the rage
of those who, blinded by envy, put into peril the honours and the
beautiful works of others in their jealous emulation! It was no fault of
theirs, in truth, that Filippo did not break his models into pieces,
burn his designs, and throw away in less than half an hour all that
labour which had occupied him for so many years. The Wardens at first
made excuses to Filippo and exhorted him to proceed, saying that he
himself and no other was the inventor and the creator of so noble a
building; but at the same time they gave the same salary to Lorenzo as
to Filippo. The work was pursued with little willingness on the part of
Filippo, who saw that he must endure the labours that it entailed, and
must then divide the honour and the fame equally with Lorenzo. Making up
his mind, however, that he would find means to prevent Lorenzo from
continuing very long in the work, he went on pursuing it in company with
him, in the manner suggested by the writing given to the Wardens.
Meanwhile, there arose in the mind of Filippo the idea of making such a
model as had not yet been made; wherefore, having put his hand to this,
he had it wrought by one Bartolommeo, a carpenter, who lived near the
Studio. In this model, which had all the exact proportions measured to
scale, he made all the difficult parts, such as staircases both lighted
and dark, and every sort of window, door, tie, and buttress, together
with a part of the gallery. Lorenzo, hearing of this, wished to see it,
but Filippo refused to let him, whereupon he flew into a rage and
ordered another model to be made for himself, to the end that he might
not appear to be drawing his salary for nothing and to be of no account
in the work. With regard to these models, Filippo was paid fifty lire
and fifteen soldi for his, as we see from an order in the book of
Migliore di Tommaso, dated October 3, 1419, whereas three hundred lire
are entered as paid to Lorenzo Ghiberti for the labour and expense of
his model, more in consequence of the friendship and favour that he
enjoyed than of any profit or need that the building had of it.

This torment lasted before the eyes of Filippo until 1426, the friends
of Lorenzo calling him the inventor equally with Filippo; and this
annoyance disturbed the mind of Filippo so greatly that he was living in
the utmost restlessness. Now, having thought of various new devices, he
determined to rid himself entirely of Lorenzo, recognizing that he was
of little account in the work. Filippo had already raised the cupola
right round, what with the one vault and the other, to the height of
twelve braccia, and he had now to place upon them the ties both of stone
and of wood; and as this was a difficult matter, he wished to discuss it
with Lorenzo, in order to see if he had considered this difficulty. And
he found Lorenzo so far from having thought of such a matter, that he
replied that he referred it to Filippo as the inventor. Lorenzo's answer
pleased Filippo, since it appeared to him that this was the way to get
him removed from the work, and to prove that he did not possess that
intelligence which was claimed for him by his friends, and to expose the
favour that had placed him in that position. Now the masons engaged on
the work were at a standstill, waiting to be told to begin the part
above the twelve braccia, and to make the vaults and bind them with
ties. Having begun the drawing in of the cupola towards the top, it was
necessary for them to make the scaffoldings, to the end that the masons
and their labourers might be able to work without danger, seeing that
the height was such that merely looking down brought fear and terror
into the stoutest heart. The masons and the other master-builders were
standing waiting for directions as to the ties and the scaffoldings;
and since no decision was made either by Lorenzo or by Filippo, there
arose a murmuring among the masons and the other master-builders, who
saw no signs of the solicitude that had been shown before; and because,
being poor people, they lived by the work of their hands, and suspected
that neither one nor the other of the architects had enough courage to
carry the work any further, they went about the building occupying
themselves, to the best of their knowledge and power, with filling up
and finishing all that had as yet been built.

One morning Filippo did not appear at the work, but bound up his head
and went to bed, and caused plates and cloths to be heated with great
solicitude, groaning continually and pretending to be suffering from
colic. The master-builders, who were standing waiting for orders as to
what they were to do, on hearing this, asked Lorenzo what they were to
go on with: but he replied that it was for Filippo to give orders, and
that they must wait for him. There was one who said, "What, dost thou
not know his mind?" "Yes," answered Lorenzo, "but I would do nothing
without him"; and this he said to excuse himself, because, not having
seen the model of Filippo, and having never asked him what method he
intended to follow, he would never commit himself in talking of the
matter, in order not to appear ignorant, and would always make a
double-edged answer, the more so as he knew that he was employed in the
work against the will of Filippo. The illness of the latter having
already lasted for more than two days, the provveditore and many of the
master-masons went to see him and asked him repeatedly to tell them what
they were to do. And he replied, "You have Lorenzo, let him do
something"; nor could they get another word out of him. Whereupon, this
becoming known, there arose discussions and very adverse judgments with
regard to the work: some saying that Filippo had gone to bed in his
vexation at finding that he had not the courage to raise the cupola, and
that he was repenting of having meddled with the matter; while his
friends defended him, saying that his anger, if anger it was, came from
the outrage of having been given Lorenzo as colleague, but that his real
trouble was colic, caused by fatiguing himself overmuch at the work.
Now, while this noise was going on, the building was at a standstill,
and almost all the work of the masons and stone-cutters was suspended;
and they murmured against Lorenzo, saying, "He is good enough at drawing
the salary, but as for directing the work, not a bit of it! If we had
not Filippo, or if he were ill for long, what would the other do? Is it
Filippo's fault that he is ill?" The Wardens of Works, seeing themselves
disgraced by this state of things, determined to go and find Filippo;
and after arriving and sympathizing with him first about his illness,
they told him in how great confusion the building stood and what
troubles his illness had brought upon them. Whereupon Filippo, speaking
with great heat both under the cloak of illness and from love of the
work, replied, "Is not that Lorenzo there? Can he do nothing? And I
marvel at you as well." Then the Wardens answered, "He will do naught
without thee"; and Filippo retorted, "But I could do well without him."
This retort, so acute and double-edged, was enough for them, and they
went their way, convinced that Filippo was ill from nothing but the
desire to work alone. They sent his friends, therefore, to get him out
of bed, with the intention of removing Lorenzo from the work. Wherefore
Filippo returned to the building, but, seeing that Lorenzo was still
strongly favoured and that he would have his salary without any labour
whatsoever, he thought of another method whereby he might disgrace him
and demonstrate conclusively his little knowledge in that profession;
and he made the following discourse to the Wardens in the presence of
Lorenzo: "My Lords the Wardens of Works, if the time that is lent to us
to live were as surely ours as the certainty of dying, there is no doubt
whatsoever that many things which are begun would be completed instead
of remaining unfinished. The accident of this sickness from which I have
suffered might have cut short my life and put a stop to the work;
wherefore I have thought of a plan whereby, if I should ever fall sick
again, or Lorenzo, which God forbid, one or the other may be able to
pursue his part of the work. Even as your Lordships have divided the
salary between us, let the work also be divided, to the end that each of
us, being spurred to show his knowledge, may be confident of acquiring
honour and profit from our Republic. Now there are two most difficult
things which have to be put into execution at the present time: one
is the making of the scaffoldings to enable the masons to do their work,
which have to be used both within and without the building, where they
must support men, stones, and lime, and sustain the crane for lifting
weights, with other instruments of that kind; the other is the chain of
ties which has to be placed above the twelve braccia, surrounding and
binding together the eight sides of the cupola, and clamping the fabric
together, so that it may bind and secure all the weight that is laid
above, in such a manner that the weight may not force it out or stretch
it, and that the whole structure may rest firmly on its own basis. Let
Lorenzo, then, take one of these two works, whichever he may think
himself best able to execute; and I will undertake to accomplish the
other without difficulty, to the end that no more time may be lost."
Hearing this, Lorenzo was forced for the sake of his honour to accept
one of these tasks, and, although he did it very unwillingly, he
resolved to take the chain of ties, as being the easier, relying on the
advice of the masons and on the remembrance that in the vaulting of S.
Giovanni in Florence there was a chain of stone ties, wherefrom he might
take a part of the design, if not the whole. And so one put his hand to
the scaffoldings and the other to the ties, and each carried out his
work. The scaffoldings of Filippo were made with so great ingenuity and
industry, that the very opposite opinion was held in this matter to that
which many had previously conceived, for the builders stood on them,
working and drawing up weights, as securely as if they had been on the
surface of the ground; and the models of the said scaffoldings were
preserved in the Office of Works. Lorenzo had the chain of ties made on
one of the eight sides with the greatest difficulty; and when it was
finished, the Wardens caused Filippo to look at it. To them he said
nothing, but he discoursed thereon with some of his friends, saying that
it was necessary to have some form of fastening different from that one,
and to apply it in a better manner than had been done, and that it was
not strong enough to withstand the weight that was to be laid above, for
it did not bind the masonry together firmly enough; adding that the
supplies given to Lorenzo, as well as the chain that he had caused to be
made, had been simply thrown away. The opinion of Filippo became known,
and he was charged to show what was the best way of making such a
chain. Whereupon, having already made designs and models, he immediately
showed them, and when they had been seen by the Wardens and the other
masters, it was recognized into what great error they had fallen by
favouring Lorenzo; and wishing to atone for this error and to show that
they knew what was good, they made Filippo overseer and superintendent
of the whole fabric for life, saying that nothing should be done in that
work without his command. And as a proof of approbation they gave him
one hundred florins, decreed by the Consuls and Wardens under date of
August 13, 1423, by the hand of Lorenzo Paoli, notary to the Office of
Works, and under the name of Gherardo di Messer Filippo Corsini; and
they voted him an allowance of one hundred florins a year as a provision
for life. Wherefore, giving orders for the building to be pushed on, he
pursued it with such scrupulous care and so great attention, that not a
stone could be put into place without his having wished to see it.
Lorenzo, on the other hand, finding himself vanquished, and, as it were,
put to shame, was favoured and assisted by his friends so powerfully
that he went on drawing his salary, claiming that he could not be
dismissed until three years had passed.


(_After_ Filippo Brunelleschi. _Florence_)


Filippo was for ever making, on the slightest occasion, designs and
models of stages for the builders and of machines for lifting weights.
But this did not prevent certain malicious persons, friends of Lorenzo,
from putting Filippo into despair by spending their whole time in making
models in opposition to his, insomuch that some were made by one Maestro
Antonio da Verzelli and other favoured masters, and were brought into
notice now by one citizen and now by another, demonstrating their
inconstancy, their little knowledge, and their even smaller
understanding, since, having perfection in their grasp, they brought
forward the imperfect and the useless.

The ties were now finished right round the eight sides, and the masons,
being encouraged, were labouring valiantly; but being pressed more than
usual by Filippo, and resenting certain reprimands received with regard
to the building and other things that were happening every day, they had
conceived a grievance against him. Wherefore, moved by this and by
envy, the foremen leagued themselves together into a faction and
declared that the work was laborious and dangerous, and that they would
not build the cupola without great payment--although their pay had been
raised higher than usual--thinking in this way to take vengeance on
Filippo and to gain profit for themselves. This affair displeased the
Wardens and also Filippo, who, having pondered over it, made up his mind
one Saturday evening to dismiss them all. They, seeing themselves
dismissed and not knowing how the matter would end, were very evilly
disposed; but on the following Monday Filippo set ten Lombards to work,
and by standing ever over them and saying, "Do this here," and, "Do that
there," he taught them so much in one day that they worked there for
many weeks. The masons, on the other hand, seeing themselves dismissed,
deprived of their work, and thus disgraced, and having no work as
profitable as this, sent mediators to Filippo, saying that they would
willingly return, and recommending themselves to him as much as they
were able. Filippo kept them for many days in suspense as to his
willingness to take them back; then he reinstated them at lower wages
than they had before; and thus where they thought to gain they lost, and
in taking vengeance on Filippo they brought harm and disgrace on

The murmurings were now silenced, and meanwhile, on seeing that building
being raised so readily, men had come to recognize the genius of
Filippo; and it was already held by those who were not prejudiced that
he had shown such courage as perchance no ancient or modern architect
had shown in his works. This came to pass because he brought out his
model, wherein all could see how much thought he had given to the
planning of the staircases and of the lights both within and without, in
order that no one might be injured in the darkness by reason of fear,
and how many diverse balusters of iron he had placed where the ascent
was steep, for the staircases, arranging them with much consideration.
Besides this, he had even thought of the irons for fixing scaffoldings
within, in case mosaics or paintings had ever to be wrought there; and
in like manner, by placing the different kinds of water-conduits, some
covered and some uncovered, in the least dangerous positions, and by
duly accompanying these with holes and diverse apertures, to the end
that the force of the winds might be broken and that neither exhalations
nor the tremblings of the earth might be able to do any harm, he showed
how great assistance he had received from his studies during the many
years that he stayed in Rome. And in addition, when men considered what
he had done in the way of dove-tailing, joining, fixing, and binding
together the stones, it made them marvel and tremble to think that one
single mind should have been capable of all that the mind of Filippo had
proved itself able to execute. So greatly did his powers continue to
increase that there was nothing, however difficult and formidable, that
he did not render easy and simple; and this he showed in the lifting of
weights by means of counterweights and wheels, so that one ox could
raise what six pairs could scarcely have raised before.

The building had now risen to such a height that it was a very great
inconvenience for anyone who had climbed to the top to descend to the
ground, and the builders lost much time in going to eat and drink, and
suffered great discomfort in the heat of the day. Filippo therefore made
arrangements for eating-houses with kitchens to be opened on the cupola,
and for wine to be sold there, so that no one had to leave his labour
until the evening, which was convenient for the men and very
advantageous for the work. Seeing the work making great progress and
succeeding so happily, Filippo had grown so greatly in courage that he
was continually labouring, going in person to the furnaces where the
bricks were being shaped and demanding to see the clay and to feel its
consistency, and insisting on selecting them with his own hand when
baked, with the greatest diligence. When the stonecutters were working
at the stones, he would look at them to see if they showed flaws and if
they were hard, and he would give the men models in wood or wax, or[19]
made simply out of turnips; and he would also make iron tools for the
smiths. He invented hinges with heads, and hinge-hooks, and he did much
to facilitate architecture, which was certainly brought by him to a
perfection such as it probably had never enjoyed among the Tuscans.

[Footnote 19: To make this passage intelligible, the word "or" has been
added in the later editions.]

In the year 1423 the greatest possible happiness and rejoicing were
prevailing in Florence, when Filippo was chosen as one of the Signori
for the quarter of San Giovanni, for May and June, Lapo Niccolini being
chosen as Gonfalonier of Justice for the quarter of Santa Croce. And if
he is found registered in the Priorista as "Filippo di Ser Brunellesco
Lippi," no one need marvel, seeing that he was called thus after his
grandfather Lippo, and not "de' Lapi," as he should have been; which
method is seen from the said Priorista to have been used in innumerable
other cases, as is well known to all who have seen it or who know the
custom of those times. Filippo exercised that office and also other
magisterial functions that he obtained in his city, wherein he ever bore
himself with most profound judgment.

Seeing that the two vaults were beginning to close in on the round
window where the lantern was to rise, it now remained to Filippo (who
had made many models of clay and of wood for both the one and the other
in Rome and in Florence, without showing them) to make up his mind
finally which of these he would put into execution. Wherefore, having
determined to finish the gallery, he made diverse designs, which
remained after his death in the Office of Works; but they have since
been lost by reason of the negligence of those officials. In our own
day, to the end that the whole might be completed, a part of it was made
on one of the eight sides, but by the advice of Michelagnolo Buonarroti
it was abandoned and not carried further, because it clashed with the
original plan. Filippo also made with his own hand a model for the
lantern; this was octagonal, with proportions in harmony with those of
the cupola, and it turned out very beautiful in invention, variety, and
adornment. He made therein the staircase for ascending to the ball,
which was something divine, but, since Filippo had stopped up the
entrance with a piece of wood let in below, no one save himself knew of
this staircase. And although he was praised and had now overcome the
envy and the arrogance of many, he could not prevent all the other
masters who were in Florence from setting themselves, at the sight of
this model, to make other in various fashions, and finally a lady of the
house of Gaddi had the courage to compete with the one made by Filippo.
But he, meanwhile, kept laughing at their presumption, and when many of
his friends told him that he should not show his model to any
craftsmen, lest they should learn from it, he would answer that there
was but one true model and that the others were of no account. Some of
the other masters had used some of the parts of Filippo's model for
their own, and Filippo, on seeing these, would say, "The next model that
this man makes will be my very own." Filippo's model was infinitely
praised by all; only, not seeing therein the staircase for ascending to
the ball, they complained that it was defective. The Wardens determined,
none the less, to give him the commission for the said work, but on the
condition that he should show them the staircase. Whereupon Filippo,
removing the small piece of wood that there was at the foot of the
model, showed in a pilaster the staircase that is seen at the present
day, in the form of a hollow blow-pipe, having on one side a groove with
rungs of bronze, whereby one ascends to the top, putting one foot after
another. And because he could not live long enough, by reason of his old
age, to see the lantern finished, he left orders in his testament that
it should be built as it stood in the model and as he had directed in
writing; protesting that otherwise the structure would collapse, since
it was turned with the quarter-acute arch, so that it was necessary to
burden it with this weight in order to make it stronger. He was not able
to see this edifice finished before his death, but he raised it to the
height of several braccia, and caused almost all the marbles that were
going into it to be well wrought and prepared; and the people, on seeing
them prepared, were amazed that it should be possible for him to propose
to lay so great a weight on that vaulting. It was the opinion of many
ingenious men that it would not bear the weight, and it appeared to them
great good-fortune that he had carried it so far, and a tempting of
Providence to burden it so heavily. Filippo, ever laughing to himself,
and having prepared all the machines and all the instruments that were
to be used in building it, spent all his time and thought in foreseeing,
anticipating, and providing for every detail, even to the point of
guarding against the chipping of the dressed marbles as they were drawn
up, insomuch that the arches of the tabernacles were built with wooden
protections; while for the rest, as it has been said, there were written
directions and models.

How beautiful is this building it demonstrates by itself. From the level
of the ground to the base of the lantern it is one hundred and
fifty-four braccia in height; the body of the lantern is thirty-six
braccia; the copper ball, four braccia; the cross, eight braccia; and
the whole is two hundred and two braccia. And it can be said with
confidence that the ancients never went so high with their buildings,
and never exposed themselves to so great a risk as to try to challenge
the heavens, even as this structure truly appears to challenge them,
seeing that it rises to such a height that the mountains round Florence
appear no higher. And it seems, in truth, that the heavens are envious
of it, since the lightning keeps on striking it every day. The while
that this work was in progress, Filippo made many other buildings, which
we will enumerate below in their order.

With his own hand he made the model of the Chapter-house of S. Croce in
Florence, a varied and very beautiful work, for the family of the Pazzi;
and the model of the house of the Busini, for the habitation of two
families; and also the model of the house and loggia of the Innocenti,
the vaulting of which was executed without framework, a method that is
still followed by all in our own day. It is said that Filippo was
summoned to Milan in order to make the model of a fortress for Duke
Filippo Maria, and that he left this building of the Innocenti in charge
of Francesco della Luna, who was very much his friend. This Francesco
made an architrave-ornament running downward from above, which is wrong
according to the rules of architecture. Wherefore Filippo, on returning,
reproved him for having done such a thing, and he answered that he
copied it from the Church of S. Giovanni, which is ancient. "There is
one sole error," said Filippo, "in that edifice, and thou hast followed
it." The model of this building, by the hand of Filippo, was for many
years in the hands of the Guild of Por Santa Maria, being held in great
account because a part of the fabric was still unfinished; but it is now
lost. He made the model of the Abbey of the Canons-Regular of Fiesole,
for Cosimo de' Medici, the architecture being ornate, commodious,
fanciful, and, in short, truly magnificent. The church is lofty, with
the vaulting barrel-shaped, and the sacristy, like all the rest of the
monastery, has its proper conveniences. But what is most important and
most worthy of consideration is that, having to place that edifice on
the downward slope of that mountain and yet on the level, he availed
himself of the part below with great judgment, making therein cellars,
wash-houses, bread-ovens, stables, kitchens, rooms for storing firewood,
and so many other conveniences, that it is not possible to see anything
better; and thus he laid the base of the edifice on the level. Wherefore
he was afterwards able to make the loggie, the refectory, the infirmary,
the noviciate, the dormitory, and the library, with the other principal
rooms proper to a monastery, on one plane. All this was carried out by
the Magnificent Cosimo de' Medici at his own expense, partly through the
piety that he showed in all matters in connection with the Christian
faith, and partly through the affection that he bore to Don Timoteo da
Verona, a most excellent preacher of that Order, whose conversation he
was so anxious to enjoy that he also built many rooms for himself in
that monastery and lived there at his own convenience. On this edifice
Cosimo spent one hundred thousand crowns, as may be seen in an
inscription. Filippo also designed the model for the fortress of Vico
Pisano; and he designed the old Citadel of Pisa, and fortified the Ponte
a Mare, and also gave the design for the new Citadel, closing the bridge
with the two towers. In like manner, he made the model for the fortress
of the port of Pesaro. Returning to Milan, he made many designs for the
Duke, and some for the masters of the Duomo of that city.

The Church of S. Lorenzo had been begun in Florence at this time by
order of the people of that quarter, who had made the Prior
superintendent of that building. This person made profession of much
knowledge in architecture, and was ever amusing himself therewith by way
of pastime. And they had already begun the building by making piers of
brick, when Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, who had promised the people of
that quarter and the Prior to have the sacristy and a chapel made at his
own expense, invited Filippo one morning to dine with him, and after
much discourse asked him what he thought of the beginning of S. Lorenzo.
Filippo was constrained by the entreaties of Giovanni to say what he
thought, and being compelled to speak the truth, he criticized it in
many respects, as something designed by a person who had perchance more
learning than experience of buildings of that sort. Whereupon Giovanni
asked Filippo if something better and more beautiful could be made: to
which Filippo replied, "Without a doubt, and I marvel that you, being
the chief in the enterprise, do not devote a few thousand crowns to
building a body of a church with all its parts worthy of the place and
of so many noble owners of tombs, who, seeing it begun, will proceed
with their chapels to the best of their power; above all, because there
remains no memorial of us save walls, which bear testimony for hundreds
and thousands of years to those who built them." Giovanni, encouraged by
the words of Filippo, determined to build the sacristy and the principal
chapel, together with the whole body of the church, although only seven
families were willing to co-operate, since the others had not the means:
these seven were the Rondinelli, Ginori, Dalla Stufa, Neroni, Ciai,
Marignolli, Martelli, and Marco di Luca, and these chapels were to be
made in the cross. The sacristy was the first part to be undertaken, and
afterwards the church, little by little. The other chapels along the
length of the church came to be granted afterwards, one by one, to other
citizens of the quarter. The roofing of the sacristy was not finished
when Giovanni de' Medici passed to the other life, leaving behind him
his son Cosimo, who, having a greater spirit than his father and
delighting in memorials, caused this one to be carried on. It was the
first edifice that he erected, and he took so great delight therein that
from that time onwards up to his death he was for ever building. Cosimo
pressed this work forward with greater ardour, and while one part was
being begun, he would have another finished. Looking on the work as a
pastime, he was almost always there, and it was his solicitude that
caused Filippo to finish the sacristy, and Donato to make the
stucco-work, with the stone ornaments for those little doors and the
doors of bronze. In the middle of the sacristy, where the priests don
their vestments, he had a tomb made for his father Giovanni, under a
great slab of marble supported by four little columns; and in the same
place he made a tomb for his own family, separating that of the women
from that of the men. In one of the two little rooms that are on either
side of the altar in the said sacristy he made a well in one corner,
with a place for a lavatory. In short, everything in this fabric is
seen to have been built with much judgment. Giovanni and the others had
arranged to make the choir in the middle, below the tribune; but Cosimo
changed this at the wish of Filippo, who made the principal
chapel--which had been designed at first as a smaller recess--so much
greater, that he was able to make the choir therein, as it is at
present. This being finished, there remained to be made the central
tribune and the rest of the church; but this tribune, with the rest, was
not vaulted until after the death of Filippo. This church is one hundred
and forty-four braccia in length, and many errors are seen therein, one
being that the columns are placed on the level of the ground instead of
being raised on a dado, which should have been as high as the level of
the bases of the pilasters which stand on the steps, so that, as one
sees the pilasters shorter than the columns, the whole of that work
appears badly proportioned. All this was caused by the counsels of his
successors, who were jealous of his name and had made models in
opposition to his during his lifetime. For these they had been put to
shame with sonnets written by Filippo, and after his death they took
vengeance on him in this manner, not only in this work but in all those
that remained to be carried out by them. He left the model for the
presbytery of the priests of S. Lorenzo, and part of the building
finished, wherein he made the cloister one hundred and forty-four
braccia in length.

The while that this edifice was building, Cosimo de' Medici determined
to have a palace made for himself, and therefore revealed his intention
to Filippo, who, putting aside every other care, made him a great and
very beautiful model for the said palace, which he wished to place
opposite to S. Lorenzo, on the Piazza, entirely isolated on every side.
In this the art of Filippo had achieved so much that Cosimo, thinking it
too sumptuous and great a fabric, refrained from putting it into
execution, more to avoid envy than by reason of the cost. While the
model was making, Filippo used to say that he thanked his fortune for
such an opportunity, seeing that he had such a house to build as he had
desired for many years, and because he had come across a man who had the
wish and the means to have it built. But, on learning afterwards the
determination of Cosimo not to put this project into execution, in
disdain he broke the design into a thousand pieces. Deeply did Cosimo
repent, after he had made that other palace, that he had not adopted the
design of Filippo; and this Cosimo was wont to say that he had never
spoken to a man of greater intelligence and spirit than Filippo. He also
made the model of the most bizarre Temple of the Angeli, for the family
of the Scolari; but it remained unfinished and in the condition wherein
it is now to be seen, because the Florentines spent the money which lay
in the Monte for this purpose on certain requirements of their city, or,
as some say, in the war that they waged formerly against the people of
Lucca, wherein they also spent the money that had been left in like
manner by Niccolò da Uzzano for building the Sapienza, as it has been
related at length in another place. And in truth, if this Temple of the
Angeli had been finished according to the model of Brunellesco, it would
have been one of the rarest things in Italy, for the reason that what is
seen of it cannot be sufficiently extolled. The drawings by the hand of
Filippo for the ground-plan and for the completion of this octagonal
temple are in our book, with other designs by the same man.


(_After_ Filippo Brunelleschi. _Florence_)


Filippo also designed a rich and magnificent palace for Messer Luca
Pitti at a place called Ruciano, without the Porta a San Niccolò in
Florence, but this failed by a great measure to equal the one that he
began in Florence for the same man, carrying it to the second range of
windows, with such grandeur and magnificence that nothing more rare or
more magnificent has yet been seen in the Tuscan manner. The doors of
this palace are double, with the opening sixteen braccia in length and
eight in breadth; the windows both of the first and second range are in
every way similar to these doors, and the vaultings double; and the
whole edifice is so masterly in design, that any more beautiful or more
magnificent architecture cannot be imagined. The builder of this palace
was Luca Fancelli, an architect of Florence, who erected many buildings
for Filippo, and one for Leon Batista Alberti, namely, the principal
chapel of the Nunziata in Florence, by order of Lodovico Gonzaga, who
took him to Mantua, where he made many works and married a wife and
lived and died, leaving heirs who are still called the Luchi from his
name. This palace was bought not many years ago by the most Illustrious
Lady Leonora di Toledo, Duchess of Florence, on the advice of the most
Illustrious Lord Duke Cosimo, her consort; and she increased the grounds
all round it so greatly that she made a very large garden, partly on the
plain, partly on the top of the hill, and partly on the slope, filling
it with all the sorts of trees both of the garden and of the forest,
most beautifully laid out, and making most delightful little groves with
innumerable sorts of evergreens, which flourish in every season; to say
nothing of the waters, the fountains, the conduits, the fishponds, the
fowling-places, the espaliers, and an infinity of other things worthy of
a magnanimous prince, about which I will be silent, because it is not
possible, without seeing them, ever to imagine their grandeur and their
beauty. And in truth Duke Cosimo could have chanced upon nothing more
worthy of the power and greatness of his mind than this palace, which
might truly appear to have been erected by Messer Luca Pitti, from the
design of Brunellesco, for his most Illustrious Excellency. Messer Luca
left it unfinished by reason of his cares in connection with the State,
and his heirs, having no means wherewith to complete it, and being
unwilling to let it go to ruin, were content to make it over to the
Duchess, who was ever spending money on it as long as she lived, but not
so much as to give hope that it would be soon finished. It is true,
indeed, according to what I once heard, that she was minded to spend
40,000 ducats in one year alone, if she lived, in order to see it, if
not finished, at least well on the way to completion. And because the
model of Filippo has not been found, his Excellency has caused
Bartolommeo Ammanati, an excellent sculptor and architect, to make
another, according to which the work is being carried on; and a great
part of the courtyard is already completed in rustic work, similar to
the exterior. And in truth, if one considers the grandeur of this work,
one marvels how the mind of Filippo could conceive so great an edifice,
which is truly magnificent not only in the external façade, but also in
the distribution of all the apartments. I say nothing of the view, which
is most beautiful, and of the kind of theatre formed by the most lovely
hills that rise round the palace in the direction of the walls, because,
as I have said, it would take too long to try to describe them in full,
nor could anyone, without seeing this palace, imagine how greatly
superior it is to any other royal edifice whatsoever.

It is also said that the machinery for the "Paradise" of S. Felice in
Piazza, in the said city, was invented by Filippo in order to hold the
Representation, or rather, the Festival of the Annunciation, in the
manner wherein the Florentines were wont to hold it in that place in
olden times. This was truly something marvellous, demonstrating the
genius and the industry of him who was its inventor, for the reason that
there was seen on high a Heaven full of living figures in motion, with
an infinity of lights appearing and disappearing almost in a flash. Now
I do not wish to grudge the labour of giving an exact description of the
machinery of that engine, seeing that it has all disappeared and that
the men who could speak of it from personal knowledge are dead, so that
there is no hope of its being reconstructed, that place being inhabited
no longer by the Monks of Camaldoli, but by the Nuns of S. Pier Martire;
and above all since the one in the Carmine has been destroyed, because
it was pulling down the rafters that support the roof.

For this purpose, then, Filippo had suspended, between two of the beams
that supported the roof of the church, the half of a globe in the shape
of an empty bowl, or rather, of a barber's basin, with the rim
downwards; this half-globe was made of thin and light planks fastened to
a star of iron which radiated round the curve of the said half-globe,
and these planks narrowed towards the point of equilibrium in the
centre, where there was a great ring of iron round which there radiated
the iron star that secured the planks of the half-globe. The whole mass
was upheld by a stout beam of pine-wood, well shod with iron, which lay
across the timbers of the roof; and to this beam was fastened the ring
that sustained and balanced the half-globe, which from the ground truly
appeared like a Heaven. At the foot of the inner edge it had certain
wooden brackets, large enough for one person to stand on and no more,
and at the height of one braccio there was also an iron fastening,
likewise on the inner edge; on each of these brackets there was placed a
boy about twelve years old, who was girt round with the iron fastening
one braccio and a half high, in such wise that he could not have fallen
down even if he had wanted to. These boys, who were twelve in all, were
placed on the brackets, as it has been said, and dressed like angels,
with gilded wings and hair made of gold thread; and when it was time
they took one another by the hand and waved their arms, so that they
appeared to be dancing, and the rather as the half-globe was ever moving
and turning round. Within it, above the heads of the angels, were three
circles or garlands of lights, contained in certain little lamps that
could not be overturned. From the ground these lights appeared like
stars, and the brackets, being covered with cotton-wool, appeared like
clouds. From the aforesaid ring there issued a very stout bar of iron,
which had at the end another ring, to which there was fastened a thin
rope reaching to the ground, as it will be told later. The said stout
bar of iron had eight arms, spreading out in an arc large enough to fill
the space within the hollow half-globe, and at the end of each arm there
was a stand about the size of a trencher; on each stand was a boy about
nine years old, well secured by an iron soldered on to the upper part of
the arm, but loosely enough to allow him to turn in every direction.
These eight angels, supported by the said iron, were lowered from the
space within the half-globe by means of a small windlass that was
unwound little by little, to a depth of eight braccia below the level of
the square beams that support the roof, in such a manner that they were
seen without concealing the view of the angels who were round the inner
edge of the half-globe. In the midst of this cluster of eight
angels--for so was it rightly called--was a mandorla of copper, hollow
within, wherein were many holes showing certain little lamps fixed on
iron bars in the form of tubes; which lamps, on the touching of a spring
which could be pressed down, were all hidden within the mandorla of
copper, whereas, when the spring was not pressed down, all the lamps
could be seen alight through some holes therein. When the cluster of
angels had reached its place, this mandorla, which was fastened to the
aforesaid little rope, was lowered very gradually by the unwinding of
the rope with another little windlass, and arrived at the platform where
the Representation took place; and on this platform, precisely on the
spot where the mandorla was to rest, there was a raised place in the
shape of a throne with four steps, in the centre of which there was a
hole wherein the iron point of the mandorla stood upright. Below the
said throne was a man who, when the mandorla had reached its place, made
it fast with a bolt without being seen, so that it stood firmly on its
base. Within the mandorla was a youth about fifteen years of age in the
guise of an angel, girt round the middle with an iron, and secured by a
bolt to the foot of the mandorla in a manner that he could not fall; and
to the end that he might be able to kneel, the said iron was divided
into three parts, whereof one part entered readily into another as he
knelt. Thus, when the cluster of angels had descended and the mandorla
was resting on the throne, the man who fixed the mandorla with the bolt
also unbolted the iron that supported the angel; whereupon he issued
forth and walked across the platform, and, having come to where the
Virgin was, saluted her and made the Annunciation. He then returned into
the mandorla, and the lights, which had gone out on his issuing forth,
being rekindled, the iron that supported him was once more bolted by the
man who was concealed below, the bolt that held the mandorla firm was
removed, and it was drawn up again; while the singing of the angels in
the cluster, and of those in the Heaven, who kept circling round, made
it appear truly a Paradise, and the rather because, in addition to the
said choir of angels and to the cluster, there was a God the Father on
the outer edge of the globe, surrounded by angels similar to those named
above and supported by irons, in such wise that the Heaven, the God the
Father, the cluster, and the mandorla, with innumerable lights and very
sweet music, truly represented Paradise. In addition to this, in order
to be able to open and close that Heaven, Filippo had made two great
doors, each five braccia both in length and breadth, which had rollers
of iron, or rather, of copper, in certain grooves running horizontally;
and these grooves were oiled in a manner that when a thin rope, which
was on either side, was pulled by means of a little windlass, any one
could open or close the Heaven at his pleasure, the two parts of the
door coming together or drawing apart horizontally along the grooves.
And these two doors, made thus, served for two purposes: when they were
moved, being heavy, they made a noise like thunder; and when they were
closed, they formed a platform for the apparelling of the angels and
for the making of the other preparations which it was necessary to carry
out within. These engines, made thus, together with many others, were
invented by Filippo, although others maintain that they had been
invented long before. However this may be, it was well to speak of them,
seeing that they have gone completely out of use.

But to return to Filippo himself; his renown and his name had grown so
great that he was sent for from far distant places by all who wished to
erect buildings, in their desire to have designs and models by the hand
of so great a man; and to this end the most powerful means and
friendships were employed. Wherefore the Marquis of Mantua, among
others, desiring to have him, wrote with great insistence to the
Signoria of Florence, by whom he was sent to that city, where he gave
designs for dykes on the Po and certain other works according to the
pleasure of that Prince, who treated him very lovingly, being wont to
say that Florence was as worthy to have Filippo as a citizen as he was
to have so noble and beautiful a city for his birthplace. In Pisa,
likewise, Count Francesco Sforza and Niccolò da Pisa, being surpassed by
him in the making of certain fortifications, commended him in his
presence, saying that if every State possessed a man like Filippo it
would be possible to live in security without arms. In Florence, also,
Filippo gave the design for the house of the Barbadori, near the tower
of the Rossi in the Borgo San Jacopo, but it was not put into execution;
and he also made the design for the house of the Giuntini on the Piazza
d'Ognissanti, on the Arno. Afterwards, the Captains of the Guelph party
in Florence, wishing to build an edifice containing a hall and an
audience-chamber for that body, gave the commission to Francesco della
Luna, who began the work, and he had already raised it to the height of
ten braccia above the ground, making many errors therein, when it was
put into the hands of Filippo, who brought the said palace to that
magnificent form which we see. In this work he had to compete with the
said Francesco, who was favoured by many. Even so did he spend his whole
life, competing now with one man and now with another; for many were
ever making war against him and harassing him, and very often seeking to
gain honour for themselves with his designs, so that he was reduced in
the end to showing nothing and trusting no one. The hall of this palace
is no longer used by the said Captains of the Guelphs, because the flood
of the year 1557 did so great damage to the papers of the Monte, that
the Lord Duke Cosimo, for the greater security of the said papers, which
are of the greatest importance, removed them to the said hall together
with the institution itself. And to the end that the old staircase of
this palace might serve for the said body of Captains--who gave up that
hall in favour of the Monte and retired to another part of that
palace--Giorgio Vasari was commissioned by his Excellency to make the
very commodious staircase that now ascends to the said hall of the
Monte. In like manner, from a design by the same man there was made a
coffer-work ceiling which was placed, after the plans of Filippo, on
certain fluted pillars of grey-stone.

One year the Lenten sermons in S. Spirito had been preached by Maestro
Francesco Zoppo, who was then very dear to the people of Florence, and
he had strongly recommended the claims of that convent, of the school
for youths, and particularly of the church, which had been burnt down
about that time. Whereupon the chief men of that quarter, Lorenzo
Ridolfi, Bartolommeo Corbinelli, Neri di Gino Capponi, and Goro di
Stagio Dati, with very many other citizens, obtained an order from the
Signoria for the rebuilding of the Church of S. Spirito, and made Stoldo
Frescobaldi provveditore. This man, by reason of the interest that he
had in the old church, the principal chapel and the high-altar of which
belonged to his house, took very great pains therewith; nay, at the
beginning, before the money had been collected from the taxes imposed on
the owners of burial-places and chapels, he spent many thousands of
crowns of his own, for which he was repaid.

Now, after the matter had been discussed, Filippo was sent for and asked
to make a model with all the features, both useful and honourable, that
might be possible and suitable to a Christian church. Whereupon he urged
strongly that the ground-plan of that edifice should be turned right
round, because he greatly desired that the square should extend to the
bank of the Arno, to the end that all those who passed that way from
Genoa, from the Riviera, from the Lunigiana, and from the districts of
Pisa and Lucca, might see the magnificence of that building. But since
certain citizens objected, refusing to have their houses pulled down,
the desire of Filippo did not take effect. He made the model of the
church, therefore, with that of the habitation of the monks, in the form
wherein it stands to-day. The length of the church was one hundred and
sixty-one braccia, and the width fifty-four braccia, and it was so well
planned, both in the ordering of the columns and in the rest of the
ornaments, that it would be impossible to make a work richer, more
lovely, or more graceful than that one. And in truth, but for the
malevolence of those who are ever spoiling the beautiful beginnings of
any work in order to appear to have more understanding than others, this
would now be the most perfect church in Christendom; and even as it
stands it is more lovely and better designed than any other, although it
has not been carried out according to the model, as may be seen from
certain parts begun on the outside, wherein the design observed within
has not been followed, as it appears from the model that the doors and
the borders round the windows were meant to do. There are some errors,
attributed to him, about which I will be silent, for it is believed that
if he had completed the building he would not have endured them, seeing
that he had brought all his work to perfection with so much judgment,
discrimination, intellect, and art; and this work likewise established
him as a genius truly divine.

Filippo was very humorous in his discourse and very acute in repartee,
as he showed when he wished to hit at Lorenzo Ghiberti, who had bought a
farm on Monte Morello, called Lepriano, on which he spent twice as much
as he gained by way of income, so that he grew weary of this and sold
it. Some one asked Filippo what was the best thing that Lorenzo had ever
done, thinking perchance, by reason of the enmity between them, that he
would criticize Lorenzo; and he replied, "The selling of Lepriano."
Finally, having now grown very old--he was sixty-nine years of age--he
passed to a better life on April 16, in the year 1446, after having
exhausted himself greatly in making the works that enabled him to win an
honoured name on earth and to obtain a place of repose in Heaven. His
death caused infinite grief to his country, which recognized and
esteemed him much more when dead than it had done when he was alive;
and he was buried with the most honourable obsequies and distinctions in
S. Maria del Fiore, although his burial-place was in S. Marco, under the
pulpit opposite to the door, where there is a coat of arms with two
fig-leaves and certain green waves on a field of gold, because his
family came from the district of Ferrara, that is, from Ficaruolo, a
township on the Po, as it is shown by the leaves, which denote the
place, and by the waves, which signify the river. He was mourned by
innumerable brother-craftsmen, and particularly by the poorer among
them, whom he was ever helping. Thus then, living the life of a
Christian, he left to the world the sweet savour of his goodness and of
his noble talents. It seems to me that it can be said for him that from
the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans to our own there has been no
rarer or more excellent master than Filippo; and he is all the more
worthy of praise because in his times the German manner was held in
veneration throughout all Italy and practised by the old craftsmen, as
it may be seen in innumerable edifices. He recovered the ancient
mouldings and restored the Tuscan, Corinthian, Doric and Ionic Orders to
their original forms. He had a disciple from Borgo a Buggiano, called Il
Buggiano, who made the lavatory of the Sacristy of S. Reparata, with
certain boys who pour out water; and he made a head of his master in
marble, taken from the life, which was placed after the death of Filippo
in S. Maria del Fiore, beside the door on the right hand as one enters
the church, where there is also the following epitaph, placed there by
public decree in order to honour him after his death, even as he had
honoured his country when alive:


                            SEPELIRI JUSSIT.

To do him even greater honour, others have gone so far as to add these
two other inscriptions:

                        CIVI SUO BENE MERENTI.

Giovan Battista Strozzi made the second:


Other disciples of Filippo were Domenico dal Lago di Lugano; Geremia da
Cremona, who worked very well in bronze, together with a Sclavonian who
made many works in Venice; Simone, who died at Vicovaro while executing
a great work for the Count of Tagliacozzo, after having made the Madonna
in Orsanmichele for the Guild of the Apothecaries; Antonio and Niccolò,
both Florentines, who, working in metal at Ferrara, made a horse of
bronze for Duke Borso in the year 1461; and many others, of whom it
would take too long to make particular mention. Filippo was unfortunate
in certain respects, for, besides the fact that he ever had some one to
contend with, some of his buildings were not completed in his time and
are still unfinished. To mention only one, it was a great pity that the
Monks of the Angeli, as it has been said, could not finish the temple
begun by him, since, after they had spent on the portion that is now
seen more than three thousand crowns, drawn partly from the Guild of
Merchants and partly from the Monte, where their money was kept, the
capital was squandered and the building remained, as it still remains,
unfinished. Wherefore, as it was said in the life of Niccolò da Uzzano,
if a man desires to leave such memorials behind him, let him do it for
himself the while that he lives, and let him not put his trust in
anyone; and what has been said of this edifice could be said of
many others designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.





Donato, who was called Donatello by his relatives and wrote his name
thus on some of his works, was born in Florence in the year 1403.
Devoting himself to the arts of design, he was not only a very rare
sculptor and a marvellous statuary, but also a practised worker in
stucco, an able master of perspective, and greatly esteemed as an
architect; and his works showed so great grace, design, and excellence,
that they were held to approach more nearly to the marvellous works of
the ancient Greeks and Romans than those of any other craftsman
whatsoever. Wherefore it is with good reason that he is ranked as the
first who made a good use of the invention of scenes in low-relief,
which he wrought so well that it is recognized from the thought, the
facility, and the mastery that he showed therein, that he had a true
understanding of them, making them with a beauty far beyond the
ordinary; for not only did no craftsman in this period ever surpass him,
but no one even in our own age has equalled him.

Donatello was brought up from his early childhood in the house of
Ruberto Martelli, where, by his good qualities and by his zealous
talent, he won the affection not only of Martelli himself but of all
that noble family. As a youth he wrought many things, which were not
held in great account, by reason of their number; but what made him
known for what he was and gave him a name was an Annunciation in
grey-stone, which was placed close to the altar of the Chapel of the
Cavalcanti, in the Church of S. Croce in Florence. For this he made an
ornament composed in the grotesque manner, with a base of varied
intertwined work and a decoration of quadrantal shape, adding six boys
bearing certain festoons, who appear to be holding one another securely
with their arms in their fear of the height. But the greatest genius
and art that he showed was in the figure of the Virgin, who, alarmed by
the unexpected apparition of the Angel, is making a most becoming
reverence with a sweet and timid movement of her person, turning with
most beautiful grace towards him who is saluting her, in a manner that
there are seen in her countenance that humility and gratitude which are
due to one who presents an unexpected gift, and the more when the gift
is a great one. Besides this, Donato showed a masterly flow of curves
and folds in the draperies of that Madonna and of the Angel,
demonstrating with the suggestion of the nude forms below how he was
seeking to recover the beauty of the ancients, which had lain hidden for
so many years; and he displayed so great facility and art in this work,
that nothing more could be desired, in fact, with regard to design,
judgment, and mastery in handling the chisel.

In the same church, below the tramezzo,[20] and beside the scene painted
by Taddeo Gaddi, he made a Crucifix of wood with extraordinary care; and
when he had finished this, thinking that he had made a very rare work,
he showed it to Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, who was very much his
friend, wishing to have his opinion. Filippo, whom the words of Donato
had led to expect something much better, smiled slightly on seeing it.
Donato, perceiving this, besought him by all the friendship between them
to tell him his opinion; whereupon Filippo, who was most obliging,
replied that it appeared to him that Donato had placed a ploughman on
the Cross, and not a body like that of Jesus Christ, which was most
delicate and in all its parts the most perfect human form that was ever
born. Donato, hearing himself censured, and that more sharply than he
expected, whereas he was hoping to be praised, replied, "If it were as
easy to make this figure as to judge it, my Christ would appear to thee
to be Christ and not a ploughman; take wood, therefore, and try to make
one thyself." Filippo, without another word, returned home and set to
work to make a Crucifix, without letting anyone know; and seeking to
surpass Donato in order not to confound his own judgment, after many
months he brought it to the height of perfection. This done, he
invited Donato one morning to dine with him, and Donato accepted the
invitation. Whereupon, as they were going together to the house of
Filippo, they came to the Mercato Vecchio, where Filippo bought some
things and gave them to Donato, saying, "Do thou go with these things to
the house and wait for me there, I am coming in a moment." Donato,
therefore, entering the house and going into the hall, saw the Crucifix
of Filippo, placed in a good light; and stopping short to study it, he
found it so perfectly finished, that, being overcome and full of
amazement, like one distraught, he spread out his hands, which were
holding up his apron; whereupon the eggs, the cheese, and all the other
things fell to the ground, and everything was broken to pieces. But he
was still marvelling and standing like one possessed, when Filippo came
up and said with a laugh, "What is thy intention, Donato, and what are
we to have for dinner, now that thou hast upset everything?" "For my
part," answered Donato, "I have had my share for this morning: if thou
must have thine, take it. But enough; it is thy work to make Christ and
mine to make ploughmen."

[Footnote 20: See note on p. 57, Vol. I.]


(_After_ Donatello. _Florence: Duomo_)


In the Church of S. Giovanni in the same city Donato made a tomb for
Pope Giovanni Coscia, who had been deposed from the Pontificate by the
Council of Constance. This tomb he was commissioned to make by Cosimo
de' Medici, who was very much the friend of the said Coscia. He wrought
therein with his own hand the figure of the dead man in gilded bronze,
together with the marble statues of Hope and Charity that are there; and
his pupil Michelozzo made the figure of Faith. In the same church,
opposite to this work, there is a wooden figure by the hand of Donato of
S. Mary Magdalene in Penitence, very beautiful and excellently wrought,
showing her wasted away by her fastings and abstinence, insomuch that it
displays in all its parts an admirable perfection of anatomical
knowledge. On a column of granite in the Mercato Vecchio there is a
figure of Abundance in hard grey-stone by the hand of Donato, standing
quite by itself, so well wrought that it is consummately praised by
craftsmen and by all good judges of art. The column on which this statue
is placed was formerly in S. Giovanni, where there are the others of
granite supporting the gallery within; it was removed and its place was
taken by a fluted column, on which, in the middle of that temple, there
once stood the statue of Mars which was taken away when the Florentines
were converted to the faith of Jesus Christ. The same man, while still a
youth, made a figure of the Prophet Daniel in marble for the façade of
S. Maria del Fiore, and afterwards one of S. John the Evangelist seated,
four braccia high, and clothed in a simple garment: which figure is much
extolled. On one corner of the same place, on the side that faces
towards the Via del Cocomero, there is an old man between two columns,
more akin to the ancient manner than any other work that there is to be
seen by the hand of Donato, the head revealing the thoughts that length
of years brings to those who are exhausted by time and labour. Within
the said church, likewise, he made the ornament for the organ, which
stands over the door of the old sacristy, with those figures so boldly
sketched, as it has been said, that they appear to the eye to have
actual life and movement. Wherefore it may be said of this man that he
worked as much with his judgment as with his hands, seeing that many
things are wrought which appear beautiful in the rooms where they are
made, and afterwards, on being taken thence and set in another place, in
a different light or at a greater height, present a different
appearance, and turn out the contrary to what they appeared; whereas
Donato made his figures in such a manner, that in the room where he was
working they did not appear half as good as they turned out to be in the
positions where they were placed. For the new sacristy of the same
church he made the design for those boys who uphold the festoons that go
round the frieze, and likewise the design for the figures that were
wrought in the glass of the round window which is below the cupola,
namely, that one which contains the Coronation of Our Lady; which design
is greatly superior to those of the other round windows, as it is
clearly evident. For S. Michele in Orto in the said city he wrought the
marble statue of S. Peter which is to be seen there, a most masterly and
admirable figure, for the Guild of Butchers; and for the Guild of
Linen-manufacturers he wrought the figure of S. Mark the Evangelist,
which, after being commissioned to make it in company with Filippo
Brunelleschi, he finished by himself with the consent of Filippo.
This figure was wrought by Donato with so great judgment that its
excellence was not recognized, while it stood on the ground, by those
who had no judgment, and the Consuls of that Guild were inclined to
refuse to have it put into place; whereupon Donato besought them to let
him set it on high, saying that he wished to work on it and to show them
a different figure as the result. His request being granted, he covered
it up for a fortnight, and then uncovered it without having otherwise
touched it, filling everyone with wonder.

[Illustration: JUDITH

(_After the bronze by_ Donatello. _Florence: Loggia dei Lanzi_)


For the Guild of Armourers he made a most spirited figure of S. George
in armour, in the head of which there may be seen the beauty of youth,
courage and valour in arms, and a proud and terrible ardour; and there
is a marvellous suggestion of life bursting out of the stone. It is
certain that no modern figure in marble has yet shown such vivacity and
such spirit as nature and art produced in this one by means of the hand
of Donato. In the base that supports the shrine enclosing that figure he
wrought in marble the story of the Saint killing the Dragon, in
low-relief, wherein there is a horse that is much esteemed and greatly
extolled; and in the frontal he made a half-length figure of God the
Father in low-relief. Opposite to the church of the said oratory he
wrought the marble shrine for the Mercatanzia, following the ancient
Order known as Corinthian, and departing entirely from the German
manner; this shrine was meant to contain two statues, but he refused to
make them because he could not come to an agreement about the price.
After his death these figures were made in bronze by Andrea del
Verrocchio, as it will be told. For the main front of the Campanile of
S. Maria del Fiore he wrought four figures in marble, five braccia in
height, of which the two in the middle are portrayed from life, one
being Francesco Soderini as a youth, and the other Giovanni di Barduccio
Cherichini, now called Il Zuccone.[21] The latter was held to be a very
rare work and the most beautiful that Donato ever made, and when he
wished to take an oath that would command belief he was wont to say, "By
the faith that I place in my Zuccone"; and the while that he was working
on it, he would keep gazing at it and saying, "Speak, speak, plague
take thee, speak!" Over the door of the campanile, on the side facing
the Canon's house, he made Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac, with
another Prophet: and these figures were placed between two other

[Footnote 21: _I.e._, Bald-head.]

For the Signoria of that city he made a casting in metal which was
placed under an arch of their Loggia in the Piazza, representing Judith
cutting off the head of Holofernes; a work of great excellence and
mastery, which, if one considers the simplicity of the garments and
aspect of Judith on the surface, reveals very clearly below the surface
the great spirit of that woman and the assistance given to her by God,
even as one sees the effect of wine and sleep in the expression of
Holofernes, and death in his limbs, which have lost all life and are
shown cold and limp. This work was so well executed by Donato that the
casting came out delicate and very beautiful, and it was afterwards
finished so excellently that it is a very great marvel to behold. The
base, likewise, which is a baluster of granite, simple in design,
appears full of grace and presents an aspect pleasing to the eye. He was
so well satisfied with this work that he deigned to place his name on
it, which he had not done on the others; and it is seen in these words,
"Donatelli opus." In the courtyard of the Palace of the said Signori
there is a life-size David, nude and in bronze. Having cut off the head
of Goliath, he is raising one foot and placing it on him, holding a
sword in his right hand. This figure is so natural in its vivacity and
its softness, that it is almost impossible for craftsmen to believe that
it was not moulded on the living form. This statue once stood in the
courtyard of the house of the Medici, but it was transported to the said
place on the exile of Cosimo. In our own day Duke Cosimo, having made a
fountain on the spot occupied by this statue, had it removed, and it is
being kept for a very large courtyard that he intends to make at the
back of the palace, that is, where the lions formerly stood. In the hall
where there is the clock of Lorenzo della Volpaia, on the left, there is
a very beautiful David in marble; between his legs, under his feet, he
has the head of the dead Goliath, and in his hand he holds the sling
wherewith he slew him. In the first courtyard of the house of the Medici
there are eight medallions of marble, wherein there are copies of
ancient cameos and of the reverse sides of medals, with certain scenes,
all made by him and very beautiful, which are built into the frieze
between the windows and the architrave above the arches of the loggie.
In like manner he restored an ancient statue of Marsyas in white marble,
which was placed at the entrance of the garden; and a great number of
ancient heads, which were placed over the doors, were restored and
embellished by him with wings and diamonds (the emblem of Cosimo),
wrought very well in stucco. He made a very lovely vessel of granite,
which poured forth water, and he wrought a similar one, which also pours
forth water, for the garden of the Pazzi in Florence. In the said Palace
of the Medici there are Madonnas of marble and bronze made in
low-relief, besides some scenes in marble with most beautiful figures,
marvellous in their flat-relief. So great was the love that Cosimo bore
to the talent of Donato that he kept him continually at work, and
Donato, on the other hand, bore so great love to Cosimo that he could
divine his patron's every wish from the slightest sign, and obeyed him
in all things.

It is said that a Genoese merchant caused Donato to make a lifesize
head of bronze, which was very beautiful and also very light, because it
had to be carried to a great distance; and that the commission for this
work came to him through the recommendation of Cosimo. Now, when the
head was finished and the merchant came to pay for it, it appeared to
him that Donato was asking too much; wherefore the matter was referred
to Cosimo, who had the head carried to the upper court of the palace and
placed between the battlements that overlook the street, to the end that
it might be seen better. When Cosimo sought to settle the difference, he
found the offer of the merchant very far from the demand of Donato, and
he turned round and said that it was too little. Whereupon the merchant,
thinking it too much, said that Donato had wrought it in a month or
little more, and that this meant a gain of more than half a florin a
day. Donato, thinking this too much of an insult, turned round in anger
and said to the merchant that in the hundredth part of an hour he would
have been able to spoil the value of a year's labour; and giving the
head a push, he sent it flying straightway into the street below, where
it broke into a thousand pieces; saying to him that this showed that he
was more used to bargaining for beans than for statues. Wherefore the
merchant, regretting his meanness, offered to give him double the sum if
he would make another; but neither his promises nor the entreaties of
Cosimo could induce Donato to make it again. In the houses of the
Martelli there are many scenes in marble and in bronze; among others, a
David three braccia high, with many other works presented by him as a
free gift to that family in proof of the devotion and love that he bore
them; above all, a S. John of marble, made by him in the round and three
braccia high, a very rare work, which is to-day in the house of the
heirs of Ruberto Martelli. With regard to this work, a legal agreement
was made to the effect that it should be neither pledged, nor sold, nor
given away, without heavy penalties, as a testimony and token of the
affection shown by them to Donato, and by him to them out of gratitude
that he had learnt his art through the protection and the opportunities
that he received from them.

He also made a tomb of marble for an Archbishop, which was sent to
Naples and is in S. Angelo di Seggio di Nido; in this tomb there are
three figures in the round that support the sarcophagus with their
heads, and on the sarcophagus itself is a scene in low-relief, so
beautiful that it commands infinite praise. In the house of the Count of
Matalone, in the same city, there is the head of a horse by the hand of
Donato, so beautiful that many take it for an antique. In the township
of Prato he wrought the marble pulpit where the Girdle is shown, in
which, in several compartments, he carved a dance of children so
beautiful and so admirable, that he may be said to have demonstrated the
perfection of his art no less in this work than in his others. To
support this pulpit, moreover, he made two capitals of bronze, one of
which is still there, while the other was carried away by the Spaniards
who sacked that district.


(_After the bronze by_ Donatello. _Padua: Piazzo di S. Antonio_)


It came to pass about this time that the Signoria of Venice, hearing of
his fame, sent for him to the end that he might make the monument of
Gattamelata in the city of Padua; wherefore he went there right
willingly and made the bronze horse that is on the Piazza di S.
Antonio, wherein are perceived the panting and neighing of the horse,
with great spirit and pride, most vividly expressed by his art, in the
figure of the rider. And Donato proved himself such a master in the
proportions and excellence of so great a casting, that he can truly bear
comparison with any ancient craftsman in movement, design, art,
proportion, and diligence; wherefore it not only astonished all who saw
it then, but continues to astonish every person who sees it at the
present day. The Paduans, moved by this, did their utmost to make him
their fellow-citizen, and sought to detain him with every sort of
endearment. In order to keep him in their midst, they commissioned him
to make the stories of S. Anthony of Padua on the predella of the
high-altar in the Church of the Friars Minor, which are in low-relief,
wrought with so great judgment, that the most excellent masters of that
art stand marvelling and amazed before them, as they consider their
beautiful and varied compositions, with the great abundance of
extraordinary figures and diminishing perspectives. Very beautiful,
likewise, are the Maries that he made on the altar-dossal, lamenting the
Dead Christ. In the house of one of the Counts Capodilista he wrought
the skeleton of a horse in wood, which is still to be seen to-day
without the neck; wherein the various parts are joined together with so
much method, that, if one considers the manner of this work, one can
judge of the ingenuity of his brain and the greatness of his mind. In a
convent of nuns he made a S. Sebastian in wood at the request of a
chaplain, a Florentine, who was their friend and an intimate of his own.
This man brought him a figure of that Saint that they had, old and
clumsy, beseeching him to make the new one like it. Wherefore Donato
strove to imitate it in order to please the chaplain and the nuns, but,
although he imitated it, clumsy as it was, he could not help showing in
his own the usual excellence of his art. Together with this figure he
made many others in clay and in stucco, and on one end of an old piece
of marble that the said nuns had in their garden he carved a very
beautiful Madonna. Throughout that whole city, likewise, there are
innumerable works by his hand, by reason of which he was held by the
Paduans to be a marvel and was praised by every man of understanding;
but he determined to return to Florence, saying that if he remained any
longer in Padua he would forget everything that he knew, being so
greatly praised there by all, and that he was glad to return to his own
country, where he would gain nothing but censure, since such censure
would urge him to study and would enable him to attain to greater glory.
Having departed from Padua, therefore, he returned by way of Venice,
where, as a mark of his friendliness towards the Florentine people, he
made them a present of a S. John the Baptist, wrought by him in wood
with very great diligence and study, for their chapel in the Church of
the Friars Minor. In the city of Faenza he carved a S. John and a S.
Jerome in wood, which are no less esteemed than his other works.

Afterwards, having returned to Tuscany, he made a marble tomb, with a
very beautiful scene, in the Pieve of Montepulciano, and a lavatory of
marble, on which Andrea Verrocchio also worked, in the Sacristy of S.
Lorenzo in Florence; and in the house of Lorenzo della Stufa he wrought
some heads and figures that are very spirited and vivacious. Then,
departing from Florence, he betook himself to Rome, in order to try to
imitate the antiques to the best of his ability; and during this time,
while studying these, he made a tabernacle of the Sacrament in stone,
which is to be seen in S. Pietro at the present day. Passing through
Siena on his way back to Florence, he undertook to make a door of bronze
for the Baptistery of S. Giovanni; and he had already made the wooden
model, and the wax moulds were almost finished and successfully covered
with the outer mould, ready for the casting, when there arrived, on his
way back from Rome, one Bernardetto di Mona Papera, a Florentine
goldsmith and an intimate friend of Donato, who wrought upon him so
strongly both with words and in other ways, either for some business of
his own or for some other reason, that he brought him back to Florence;
wherefore that work remained unfinished, nay, not begun. There only
remained in the Office of Works of the Duomo in that city a S. John the
Baptist in bronze by his hand, with the right arm missing from the elbow
downwards; and this Donato is said to have done because he had not been
paid in full.

[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After the bronze by_ Donatello. _Padua: S. Antonio_)


Having returned to Florence, therefore, he wrought the Sacristy of S.
Lorenzo in stucco for Cosimo de' Medici, making four medallions on the
pendentives of the vault containing stories of the Evangelists, with
grounds in perspective, partly painted and partly in low-relief. And in
the said place he made two very beautiful little doors of bronze in
low-relief, with the Apostles, Martyrs, and Confessors; and above these
he made some flat niches, one containing a S. Laurence and a S. Stephen,
and the other S. Cosimo and S. Damiano. In the transept of the church he
executed four saints in stucco, each five braccia high, which are
wrought in a masterly manner. He also designed the bronze pulpits that
contain the Passion of Christ, a work displaying design, force,
invention, and an abundance of figures and buildings; but these his old
age prevented him from executing, and his pupil Bertoldo finished them
and brought them to the utmost perfection. For S. Maria del Fiore he
made two colossal figures of brick and stucco, which are placed by way
of ornament without the church, at the corners of the chapels. Over the
door of S. Croce there is still to be seen a S. Louis wrought by him in
bronze, five braccia high; for this someone criticized him, saying that
it was stupid and perhaps the least excellent work that he had ever
made, and he answered that he had made it so of set purpose, seeing that
the Saint had been stupid to give up his throne and become a monk. The
same man made the head of the wife of the said Cosimo de' Medici in
bronze, and this head is preserved in the guardaroba of the Lord Duke
Cosimo, wherein there are many other works in bronze and marble by the
hand of Donato; among others, a Madonna with the Child in her arms, sunk
in the marble in flat-relief, which is the most beautiful work that it
is possible to see, and the rather as it is surrounded by a border of
scenes done in miniature by Fra Bartolommeo,[22] which are admirable, as
it will be told in the proper place. The said Lord Duke has a very
beautiful, nay, miraculous Crucifix in bronze, by the hand of Donato, in
his study, wherein there are innumerable rare antiquities and most
beautiful medals. In the same guardaroba there is a bronze panel
containing the Passion of Our Lord in low-relief, with a great number
of figures; and in another panel, also in metal, there is another
Crucifixion. In like manner, in the house of the heirs of Jacopo
Capponi, who was an excellent citizen and a true gentleman, there is a
marble panel with the Madonna in half-relief, which is held to be a very
rare work. Messer Antonio de' Nobili, who was Treasurer to his
Excellency, had in his house a marble panel by the hand of Donato, in
which there is a half-length Madonna in low-relief, so beautiful that
the said Messer Antonio valued it as much as all his possessions; nor is
it less valued by his son Giulio, a youth of singular goodness and
judgment, a friend to lovers of art and to all men of excellence. In the
house of Giovan Battista d'Agnol Doni, a gentleman of Florence, there is
a Mercury of metal in the round by the hand of Donato, one braccio and a
half in height and clothed in a certain bizarre manner; which work is
truly very beautiful, and no less rare than the others that adorn his
most beautiful house. Bartolommeo Gondi, of whom we have spoken in the
Life of Giotto, has a Madonna in half-relief by the hand of Donato,
wrought with so great love and diligence that it is not possible to see
anything better, or to imagine the fancifulness which he gave to her
headdress and the loveliness that he put into the garments which she is
wearing. In like manner, Messer Lelio Torelli, First Auditor and
Secretary to our Lord the Duke, and no less devoted a lover of all the
honourable sciences, arts, and professions, than he is excellent as a
jurist, has a marble panel of Our Lady by the hand of the same

[Footnote 22: Vasari says Fra Ber.... Fra Bernardo has been suggested,
but nothing is known of him. It is more reasonable to read Fra
Bartolommeo (della Porta).]

But if one were to give a complete account of his life and of the works
that he made, it would be a far longer story than it is our intention to
give in writing the Lives of our craftsmen, seeing that he put his hand
not only to great things, of which there has been enough said, but also
to the smallest things of art, making the arms of families on the
chimneypieces and on the fronts of the houses of citizens, a most
beautiful example of which may be seen in the house of the Sommai, which
is opposite to that of the baker Della Vacca. For the family of the
Martelli, moreover, he made a coffin in the form of a cradle wrought of
wicker-work, to serve for a tomb; but it is beneath the Church of S.
Lorenzo, because no tombs of any kind are to be seen above, save only
the epitaph of the tomb of Cosimo de' Medici, and even that one has
its entrance below, like the others.

[Illustration: THE ENTOMBMENT

(_After the relief by_ Donatello. _Padua: S. Antonio_)


It is said that Simone, the brother of Donato, having wrought the model
for the tomb of Pope Martin V, sent for Donato to the end that he might
see it before it was cast. Going to Rome, therefore, Donato found
himself in that city at the very moment when the Emperor Sigismund was
there to receive the crown from Pope Eugenius IV; wherefore he was
forced, in company with Simone, to occupy himself with making the
magnificent preparations for that festival, whereby he acquired very
great fame and honour.

In the guardaroba of Signor Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino, there is a very
beautiful head of marble by the hand of the same man, and it is believed
that it was given to the ancestors of the said Duke by the Magnificent
Giuliano de' Medici, at the time when he was staying at that Court,
which was full of most cultured gentlemen. In short, the talent of
Donato was such, and he was so admirable in all his actions, that he may
be said to have been one of the first to give light, by his practice,
judgment, and knowledge, to the art of sculpture and of good design
among the moderns; and he deserves all the more commendation, because in
his day, apart from the columns, sarcophagi, and triumphal arches, there
were no antiquities revealed above the earth. And it was through him,
chiefly, that there arose in Cosimo de' Medici the desire to introduce
into Florence the antiquities that were and are in the house of the
Medici; all of which he restored with his own hand. He was most liberal,
gracious, and courteous, and more careful for his friends than for
himself; nor did he give thought to money, but kept his in a basket
suspended by a cord from the ceiling, wherefore all his workmen and
friends could take what they needed without saying a word to him. He
passed his old age most joyously, and, having become decrepit, he had to
be succoured by Cosimo and by others of his friends, being no longer
able to work. It is said that Cosimo, being at the point of death,
recommended him to the care of his son Piero, who, as a most diligent
executor of his father's wishes, gave him a farm at Cafaggiuolo, which
produced enough to enable him to live in comfort. At this Donato made
great rejoicing, thinking that he was thus more than secure from the
danger of dying of hunger; but he had not held it a year before he
returned to Piero and gave it back to him by public contract, declaring
that he refused to lose his peace of mind by having to think of
household cares and listen to the importunity of the peasant, who kept
pestering him every third day--now because the wind had unroofed his
dovecote, now because his cattle had been seized by the Commune for
taxes, and now because a storm had robbed him of his wine and his fruit.
He was so weary and disgusted with all this, that he would rather die of
hunger than have to think of so many things. Piero laughed at the
simplicity of Donato; and in order to deliver him from this torment, he
accepted the farm (for on this Donato insisted), and assigned him an
allowance of the same value or more from his own bank, to be paid in
cash, which was handed over to him every week in the due proportion
owing to him; whereby he was greatly contented. Thus, as a servant and
friend of the house of Medici, he lived happily and free from care for
the rest of his life. When he had reached the age of eighty-three,
however, he was so palsied that he could no longer work in any fashion,
and took to spending all his time in bed in a poor little house that he
had in the Via del Cocomero, near the Nunnery of S. Niccolò; where,
growing worse from day to day and wasting away little by little, he died
on December 13, 1466. He was buried in the Church of S. Lorenzo, near
the tomb of Cosimo, as he had himself directed, to the end that his dead
body might be near him, even as he had been ever near him in spirit when

His death caused great grief to his fellow-citizens, to the craftsmen,
and to all who knew him when living. Wherefore, in order to honour him
more after death than they had done in his life, they gave him most
honourable obsequies in the aforesaid church, and he was accompanied to
the grave by all the painters, architects, sculptors, and goldsmiths,
and by almost all the people of that city, which continued for a long
time to compose in his honour various kinds of verses in diverse
tongues, whereof it must suffice us to cite the few that are to be read

But before I come to the epitaphs, it will not be amiss to relate the
following story of him as well. When he had fallen sick, and only a
little before his death, certain of his relatives went to visit him; and
after they had greeted him, as is customary, and condoled with him, they
said that it was his duty to leave them a farm that he had in the
district of Prato, although it was small and produced a very meagre
income; and they prayed him straitly to do it. Hearing this, Donato, who
showed something of the good in all that he did, said to them, "I cannot
satisfy you, my kinsmen, because I intend to leave it--as it appears to
me reasonable--to the peasant, who has always worked it and endured
great labour thereby, and not to you, who, without having bestowed upon
it anything more profitable than the thought of possessing it, expect me
to leave it to you because of this your visit! Go, and may God bless
you!" Of a truth such relatives, who have no love unconnected with
advantage or with the hope of it, should be ever treated in this
fashion. Sending therefore for a notary, he left the said farm to the
labourer who had always worked it, and who perchance had behaved better
to him in his need than those relatives had done. His art-possessions he
left to his pupils, namely, Bertoldo, a sculptor of Florence, who
imitated him closely enough, as may be seen from a very beautiful battle
between men on horseback, wrought in bronze, which is now in the
guardaroba of the Lord Duke Cosimo; Nanni d'Antonio di Banco, who died
before him; and Rossellino, Desiderio, and Vellano da Padova. In short,
it may be said that every man who has sought to do good work in relief
since the death of Donato, has been his disciple. He was resolute in
draughtsmanship, and he made his drawings with such mastery and boldness
that they have no equals, as may be seen in my book, wherein I have
figures drawn by his hand, both clothed and nude, animals that make all
who see them marvel, and other most beautiful things of that kind. His
portrait was made by Paolo Uccello, as it has been said in his Life. The
epitaphs are as follows:




The world remained so full of his works, that it may be affirmed right
truly that no craftsman ever worked more than he did. For, delighting in
every kind of work, he put his hand to anything, without considering
whether it was of little or of great value. Nevertheless it was
indispensable to sculpture, this vast activity of Donato in making
figures in every kind of relief, full, half, low, and the lowest;
because, whereas in the good times of the ancient Greeks and Romans it
was by means of many that it became perfect, he alone by the multitude
of his works brought it back to marvellous perfection in our own age.
Wherefore craftsmen should trace the greatness of this art rather to him
than to any man born in modern times, seeing that, besides rendering the
difficulties of the art easy, in the multitude of his works he combined
together invention, design, practice, judgment, and every other quality
that ever can or should be looked for in a divine genius. Donato was
very resolute and ready, executing all his works with consummate
facility, and he always accomplished much more than he had promised.

He left all his work to be completed by his pupil Bertoldo, and
particularly the bronze pulpits of S. Lorenzo, which were afterwards
finished in great part by him, and brought to the state in which they
are seen in the said church.

I will not forbear to say that the most learned and very reverend Don
Vincenzo Borghini, of whom mention has been made above with regard to
some other matter, has collected into a large book innumerable drawings
by excellent painters and sculptors, both ancient and modern; and on the
ornamental borders of two leaves opposite to each other, which contain
drawings by the hand of Donato and of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, he has
written, with much judgment, these two Greek epigrams; on Donato's,
"[Greek: ê Dônatos Bonarhrôtizei]," and on Michelagnolo's, "[Greek: ê
Bonarhrôtos Dônatizei]"; which mean in Latin, "Aut Donatus Bonarrotum
exprimit et refert; aut Bonarrotus Donatum," and in our own tongue,
"Either the spirit of Donato works in Buonarroto, or that of Buonarroto
began by working in Donato."




If every man who lives in this world were to realize that he may have to
live when he is no longer able to work, there would not be so many
reduced to begging in their old age for that which they consumed without
any restraint in their youth, when their large and abundant gains,
blinding their true judgment, made them spend more than was necessary
and much more than was expedient. For, seeing how coldly a man is looked
upon who has fallen from wealth to poverty, every man should
strive--honestly, however, and maintaining the proper mean--to avoid
having to beg in his old age. And whosoever will act like
Michelozzo--who did not imitate his master Donato in this respect,
although he did in his virtues--will live honourably all the course of
his life, and will not be forced in his last years to go about miserably
hunting for the wherewithal to live.

Now Michelozzo applied himself in his youth to sculpture under
Donatello, and also to design; and although he realized their
difficulties, nevertheless he went on ever practising so diligently with
clay, with wax, and with marble, that he ever showed ability and great
talent in the works that he made afterwards. There was one art in which
he surpassed many and even his own self, for, after Brunellesco, he was
held to be the most methodical architect of his times, and the one who
was best able to arrange and contrive palaces, convents, and houses for
human habitation, and who designed them with the greatest judgment, as
will be told in the proper place. Of this man Donatello availed himself
for many years, because he was very well practised in working marble and
in the business of casting in bronze; of which we have proof in a tomb
in S. Giovanni at Florence (which was made by Donatello, as it has been
said, for Pope Giovanni Coscia), since the greater part was executed by
Michelozzo; and there we can see a very beautiful marble statue by his
hand, two braccia and a half in height, representing Faith (in company
with one of Hope and one of Charity made by Donatello, of the same
size), which does not suffer by comparison with the others. Moreover,
above the door of the sacristy and the Office of Works, opposite to S.
Giovanni, Michelozzo made a little S. John in full-relief, wrought with
diligence, which was much extolled.

Michelozzo was so intimate with Cosimo de' Medici that the latter,
recognizing his genius, caused him to make the model for the house and
palace at the corner of the Via Larga, beside S. Giovannino; for he
thought that the one made by Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, as it has been
said, was too sumptuous and magnificent, and more likely to stir up envy
among his fellow-citizens than to confer grandeur or adornment on the
city, or bring comfort to himself. Wherefore, being pleased with the
model that Michelozzo had made, he had the building brought to
completion under his direction in the manner that we see at the present
day, with all the beautiful and useful arrangements and graceful
adornments that are seen therein, which have majesty and grandeur in
their simplicity; and Michelozzo deserves all the greater praise in that
this was the first palace which was built in that city on modern lines,
and which was divided up into rooms both useful and most beautiful. The
cellars are excavated to more than half their depth underground, namely,
four braccia below, with three above for the sake of light; and there
are also wine-cellars and store-rooms. On the ground-floor there are two
courtyards with magnificent loggie, on which open saloons, chambers,
antechambers, studies, closets, stove-rooms, kitchens, wells, and
staircases both secret and public, all most convenient. On each floor
there are apartments with accommodation for a whole family, with all the
conveniences that are proper not only to a private citizen, such as
Cosimo then was, but even to the most splendid and most honourable of
Kings; wherefore in our own times Kings, Emperors, Popes, and all the
most illustrious Princes of Europe have been comfortably lodged there,
to the infinite credit both of the magnificence of Cosimo and of the
excellent ability of Michelozzo in architecture.

In the year 1433, when Cosimo was driven into exile, Michelozzo, who
loved him very greatly and was most faithful to him, accompanied him of
his own free will to Venice and insisted on remaining with him all the
time that he stayed there; and in that city, besides many designs and
models that he made for private dwellings and public buildings and
decorations for the friends of Cosimo and for many gentlemen, he built,
at the command and expense of Cosimo, the library of the Monastery of S.
Giorgio Maggiore, a seat of the Black Friars of S. Justina; and this was
not only finished with regard to walls, book-shelves, wood-work, and
other adornments, but was also filled with many books. Such was the
occupation and amusement of Cosimo during that exile, from which he was
recalled to his country in the year 1434; whereupon he returned almost
in triumph, and Michelozzo with him. Now, while Michelozzo was in
Florence, the Palazzo Pubblico della Signoria began to threaten to
collapse, for some columns in the courtyard were giving way, either
because there was too much weight pressing on them, or because their
foundations were weak and awry, or even perchance because they were made
of pieces badly joined and put together. Whatever may have been the
reason, the matter was put into the hands of Michelozzo, who accepted
the undertaking willingly, because he had provided against a similar
peril near S. Barnaba in Venice, in the following manner. A gentleman
had a house that was in danger of falling down, and he entrusted the
matter to Michelozzo; wherefore he--according to what Michelagnolo
Buonarroti once told me--caused a column to be made in secret, and
prepared a number of props; and hiding everything in a boat, into which
he entered together with some builders, in one night he propped up the
house and replaced the column. Michelozzo, therefore, emboldened by this
experience, averted the danger from the palace, doing honour both to
himself and to those by whose favour he had received such a charge; and
he refounded and rebuilt the columns in the manner wherein they stand
to-day. First he made a stout framework of props and thick beams
standing upright to support the centres of the arches, made of
nut-wood, and upholding the vaulting, so that this came to support
equally the weight that was previously borne by the columns; then,
little by little removing those that were made of pieces badly joined
together, he replaced them with others made of pieces and wrought with
diligence, in such a manner that the building did not suffer in any way
and has never moved a hair's breadth. And in order that his columns
might be known from the others, he made some of them at the corners with
eight sides, with capitals that have the foliage carved in the modern
fashion, and some round; and all are very easily distinguished from the
old columns that Arnolfo made formerly. Afterwards, by the advice of
Michelozzo, it was ordained by those who then governed the city that the
arches of those columns should be unburdened and relieved of the weight
of the walls that rested upon them; that the whole courtyard should be
rebuilt from the arches upwards, with a row of windows in modern
fashion, similar to those that he had made for Cosimo in the courtyard
of the Palace of the Medici; and that designs in rustic-work should be
carved on the walls, for the reception of those golden lilies that are
still seen there at the present day. All this Michelozzo did with great
promptitude; and on the second tier, directly above the windows of the
said courtyard, he made some round windows (so as to have them different
from the aforesaid windows), to give light to the rooms on that floor,
which are over those of the first floor, where there is now the Sala de'
Dugento. The third floor, where the Signori and the Gonfalonier lived,
he made more ornate, and on the side towards S. Piero Scheraggio he
arranged a series of apartments for the Signori, who had previously
slept all together in one and the same room. These apartments consisted
of eight for the Signori and a larger one for the Gonfalonier, and they
all opened on a corridor which had windows overlooking the courtyard.
Above this he made another series of commodious rooms for the household
of the Palace, in one of which, used to-day as the Treasury, there is a
portrait by the hand of Giotto of Charles, Duke of Calabria, son of King
Robert, kneeling before a Madonna. There, also, he made apartments for
the bailiffs, ushers, trumpeters, musicians, pipers, mace-bearers,
court-servants, and heralds, with all the other apartments that are
required in such a palace. On the upper part of the gallery, moreover,
he made a stone cornice that went right round the courtyard, and beside
it a water-cistern that was filled by the rains, to make some artificial
fountains play at certain times. Michelozzo also directed the
restoration of the chapel wherein Mass is heard, and beside it many
rooms, with very rich ceilings painted with golden lilies on a ground of
blue. He had other ceilings made both for the upper and the lower rooms
of the Palace, covering up all the old ceilings that had been made
before in the ancient manner. In short, he gave it all the perfection
that was demanded by so great a building; and he contrived to convey the
water from the wells right up to the highest floor, to which it could be
drawn up by means of a wheel more easily than was usual. One thing alone
the genius of Michelozzo could not remedy, namely, the public staircase,
because it was badly conceived from the beginning, badly situated,
awkwardly built, steep, and without lights, while from the first floor
upwards the steps were of wood. He laboured to such purpose, however,
that he made a flight of round steps at the entrance of the courtyard,
and a door with pilasters of hard-stone and most beautiful capitals
carved by his hand, besides a well-designed cornice with a double
architrave, in the frieze of which he placed all the arms of the
Commune. And what is more, he made the whole staircase of hard-stone up
to the floor where the Signori lived, fortifying it at the top and
half-way up with a portcullis at each point, in case of tumults; and at
the head of the staircase he made a door which was called the
"catena,"[23] beside which there was ever standing an usher, who opened
or closed it according as he was commanded by those in authority. He
strengthened the tower of the campanile, which had cracked by reason of
the weight of that part which stands out over space on corbels on the
side towards the Piazza, with very stout bands of iron. Finally, he
improved and restored that Palace so greatly, that he was therefore
commended by the whole city and made, besides other rewards, a member of
the College, which is one of the most honourable magistracies in
Florence. And if it should appear to anyone that I have perchance
spoken at greater length about this building than was needful, I deserve
to be excused, because--after having shown in the Life of Arnolfo, in
connection with its original erection, which was in the year 1298, that
it was built out of the square and wholly wanting in reasonable
proportion, with unequal columns in the courtyard, arches both large and
small, inconvenient stairs, and rooms awry and badly proportioned--it
was necessary for me to show also to what condition it was brought by
the intellect and judgment of Michelozzo; although even he did not
arrange it in such a manner that it could be inhabited comfortably,
without very great inconvenience and discomfort. Finally, when the Lord
Duke Cosimo came to occupy it in the year 1538, his Excellency began to
bring it into better form; but since those architects who served the
Duke for many years in that work were never able to grasp or to carry
out his conception, he determined to see whether he could effect the
restoration without spoiling the old part, in which there was no little
of the good; giving better order, convenience, and proportion, according
to the plan that he had in mind, to the awkward and inconvenient stairs
and apartments.

[Footnote 23: Chain.]

Sending to Rome, therefore, for Giorgio Vasari, painter and architect of
Arezzo, who was working for Pope Julius III, he commissioned him not
only to put in order the rooms that he had caused to be begun in the
upper part of the side opposite to the Corn Market, which were out of
the straight with regard to the ground-plan, but also to consider
whether the interior of the Palace could not, without spoiling the work
already done, be brought to such a form that it might be possible to go
all over it, from one part to another and from one apartment to another,
by means of staircases both secret and public, with an ascent as easy as
possible. Thereupon, while the said rooms, already begun, were being
adorned with gilded ceilings and scenes painted in oil, and with
pictures in fresco on the walls, and others were being wrought in
stucco, Giorgio took a tracing of the ground-plan right round the whole
of the Palace, both the new part and the old; and then, having arranged
with no small labour and study for the execution of all that he intended
to do, he began to bring it little by little into a good form, and to
unite, almost without spoiling any of the work already done, the
disconnected rooms, which previously varied in height even on the same
floor, some being high and others low. But in order that the Duke might
see the design of the whole, in the space of six months he had made a
well-proportioned wooden model of the whole of that pile, which has the
form and extent rather of a fortress than of a palace. According to this
model, which gained the approval of the Duke, the building was united
and many commodious rooms were made, as well as convenient staircases,
both public and secret, which give access to all the floors; and in this
manner a burden was removed from the halls, which were formerly like
public streets, for it had been impossible to ascend to the upper floors
without passing through them. The whole was magnificently adorned with
varied and diverse pictures, and finally the roof of the Great Hall was
raised twelve braccia above its former height; insomuch that if Arnolfo,
Michelozzo, and the others who laboured on the building from its first
foundation onwards, were to return to life, they would not recognize
it--nay, they would believe that it was not theirs but a new erection
and a different edifice.


(_After_ Michelozzo Michelozzi. _Florence_)


But let us now return to Michelozzo; the Church of S. Giorgio had just
been given to the Friars of S. Domenico da Fiesole, but they only
remained there from about the middle of July to the end of January, for
Cosimo de' Medici and his brother Lorenzo obtained for them from Pope
Eugenius the Church and Convent of S. Marco, which was previously the
seat of Silvestrine Monks, to whom the said S. Giorgio was given in
exchange. And Cosimo and Lorenzo, being very devoted to religion and to
divine service and worship, ordained that the said Convent of S. Marco
should be rebuilt entirely anew after the design and model of
Michelozzo, and should be made very vast and magnificent, with all the
conveniences that the said friars could possibly desire. This work was
begun in the year 1437, and the first part to be built was that opening
out above the old refectory, opposite to the ducal stables, which Duke
Lorenzo de' Medici formerly caused to be built. In this place twenty
cells were built, the roof was put on, and the wooden furniture was made
for the refectory, the whole being finished in the manner wherein it
still stands to-day. But for some time the work was carried no further,
for they had to wait to see what would be the end of a law-suit that one
Maestro Stefano, General of the said Silvestrines, had brought against
the Friars of S. Marco with regard to that convent. This suit having
concluded in favour of the said Friars of S. Marco, the building was
once more continued. But since the principal chapel, which had been
built by Ser Pino Bonaccorsi, had afterwards come into the hands of a
lady of the Caponsacchi family, and from her to Mariotto Banchi, some
law-suit was fought out over this, and Mariotto, having upheld his
rights and having taken the said chapel from Agnolo della Casa, to whom
the said Silvestrines had given or sold it, presented it to Cosimo de'
Medici, who gave Mariotto 500 crowns in return for it. Later, after
Cosimo had likewise bought from the Company of the Spirito Santo the
site where the choir now stands, the chapel, the tribune, and the choir
were built under the direction of Michelozzo, and completely furnished
in the year 1439. Afterwards the library was made, eighty braccia in
length and eighteen in breadth, and vaulted both above and below, with
sixty-four shelves of cypress wood filled with most beautiful books.
After this the dormitory was finished, being brought to a square shape;
and finally the cloister was completed, together with all the truly
commodious apartments of that convent, which is believed to be the best
designed, the most beautiful, and the most commodious that there is in
Italy, thanks to the talent and industry of Michelozzo, who delivered it
completely finished in the year 1452. It is said that Cosimo spent
36,000 ducats on this fabric, and that while it was building he gave the
monks 366 ducats every year for their maintenance. Of the construction
and consecration of this holy place we read in an inscription on marble
over the door that leads into the sacristy, in the following words:


In like manner, Cosimo erected from the design of Michelozzo the
noviciate of S. Croce in Florence, with the chapel of the same, and the
entrance that leads from the church to the sacristy, to the said
noviciate, and to the staircase of the dormitory. These works are not
inferior in beauty, convenience, and adornment to any building
whatsoever of all those which the truly magnificent Cosimo de' Medici
caused to be erected, or which Michelozzo carried into execution; and
besides other parts, the door that leads from the church to the said
places, which he made of grey-stone, was much extolled in those times by
reason of its novelty and of its beautifully made frontal, for it was
then very little the custom to imitate the good manner of antique work,
as this door does. Cosimo de' Medici also built, with the advice and
design of Michelozzo, the Palace of Cafaggiuolo in Mugello, giving it
the form of a fortress with ditches round it; and he laid out farms,
roads, gardens, fountains with groves round them, fowling-places, and
other appurtenances of a villa, all very splendid; and at a distance of
two miles from the said palace, in a place called the Bosco a' Frati,
with the advice of Michelozzo, he carried out the building of a convent
for the Frati de' Zoccoli of the Order of S. Francis, which is something
very beautiful. At Trebbio, likewise, he made many other improvements
which are still to be seen; and at a distance of two miles from
Florence, also, he built the palatial Villa of Careggi, which was very
rich and magnificent; and thither Michelozzo brought the water for the
fountain that is seen there at the present day. For Giovanni, son of
Cosimo de' Medici, the same master built another magnificent and noble
palace at Fiesole, sinking the foundations for the lower part in the
brow of the hill, at great expense but not without great advantage, for
in that lower part he made vaults, cellars, stables, vat-stores, and
many other beautiful and commodious offices; and above, besides the
chambers, halls, and other ordinary rooms, he made some for books and
certain others for music. In short, Michelozzo showed in this building
how great was his skill in architecture, for, besides what has been
mentioned, it was constructed in such a manner that, although it stands
on that hill, it has never moved a hair's breadth. This palace finished,
he built above it, almost on the summit of the hill, the Church and
Convent of the Friars of S. Girolamo, at the expense of the same man.
The same Michelozzo made the design and model which Cosimo sent to
Jerusalem for the hospice that he caused to be erected there, for the
pilgrims who visit the Sepulchre of Christ. He also sent the design for
six windows in the façade of S. Pietro in Rome, which were made there
afterwards with the arms of Cosimo de' Medici; but three of them were
removed in our own day and replaced by Pope Paul III with others bearing
the arms of the house of Farnese. After this, hearing that there was a
lack of water at S. Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, to the very great
discomfort of the people who go there every year on August 1 to receive
Absolution, Cosimo sent thither Michelozzo, who brought the water of a
spring, which rose half-way up the brow of the hill, to the fountain,
which he covered with a very rich and lovely loggia resting on some
columns made of separate pieces and bearing the arms of Cosimo. Within
the convent, also at the commission of Cosimo, he made many useful
improvements for the friars; and these the magnificent Lorenzo de'
Medici afterwards renewed with more adornment and at greater expense,
besides presenting to that Madonna the image of her in wax which is
still to be seen there. Cosimo also caused the road that leads from the
said Madonna degli Angeli to the city to be paved with bricks; nor did
Michelozzo take his leave of those parts before he had made the design
for the old Citadel of Perugia. Having finally returned to Florence, he
built a house on the Canto de' Tornaquinci for Giovanni Tornabuoni,
similar in almost every way to the palace that he had made for Cosimo,
save that the façade is not in rustic-work and has no cornices above,
but is quite plain.

After the death of Cosimo, by whom Michelozzo had been loved as much as
a dear friend can be loved, his son Piero caused him to build the marble
Chapel of the Crucifix in S. Miniato sul Monte; and in the half-circle
of the arch at the back of the said chapel Michelozzo carved in
low-relief a Falcon with the Diamond (the emblem of Cosimo, father of
Piero), which was truly a very beautiful work. After these things, the
same Piero de' Medici, intending to build the Chapel of the Nunziata, in
the Church of the Servi, entirely of marble, besought Michelozzo, now an
old man, to give him his advice in the matter, both because he greatly
admired his talents and because he knew how faithful a friend and
servant he had been to his father Cosimo. This Michelozzo did, and the
charge of constructing it was given to Pagno di Lapo Partigiani, a
sculptor of Fiesole, who, as one who wished to include many things in a
small space, showed many ideas in this work. This chapel is supported by
four marble columns about nine braccia high, made with double flutings
in the Corinthian manner, with the bases and capitals variously carved
and with double members. On the columns rest the architrave, frieze, and
cornice, likewise with double members and carvings and wrought with
various things of fancy, and particularly with foliage and the emblems
and arms of the Medici. Between these and other cornices made for
another range of lights, there is a large inscription, very beautifully
carved in marble. Below, between the four columns, forming the ceiling
of the chapel, there is a coffer-work canopy of marble all carved, full
of enamels fired in a furnace and of various fanciful designs in mosaic
wrought with gold colour and precious stones. The surface of the
pavement is full of porphyry, serpentine, variegated marbles, and other
very rare stones, put together and distributed with beautiful design.
The said chapel is enclosed by a grille made of bronze ropes, with
candelabra above fixed into an ornament of marble, which makes a very
beautiful finish to the bronze and to the candelabra; and the door which
closes the chapel in front is likewise of bronze and very well
contrived. Piero left orders that the chapel should be lighted all round
by thirty silver lamps, and this was done. Now, as these were ruined
during the siege, the Lord Duke gave orders many years ago that new ones
should be made, and the greater part of them are already finished, while
the work still goes on; but in spite of this there has never been a
moment when there has not been that full number of lamps burning,
according to the instructions of Piero, although, from the time when
they were destroyed, they have not been of silver. To these adornments
Pagno added a very large lily of copper, issuing from a vase which rests
on the corner of the gilt and painted cornice of wood which holds the
lamps; but this cornice does not support so great a weight by itself,
for the whole is sustained by two branches of the lily, which are of
iron painted green, and are fixed with lead into the corner of the
marble cornice, holding those that are of copper suspended in the air.
This work was truly made with judgment and invention; wherefore it is
worthy of being much extolled as something beautiful and bizarre. Beside
this chapel, he made another on the side towards the cloister, which
serves as a choir for the friars, with windows which take their light
from the court and give it both to the said chapel and also (since they
stand opposite to two similar windows) to the room containing the little
organ, which is by the side of the marble chapel. On the front of this
choir there is a large press, in which the silver vessels of the
Nunziata are kept; and on all these ornaments and throughout the whole
are the arms and emblem of the Medici. Without the Chapel of the
Nunziata and opposite to it, the same man made a large chandelier of
bronze, five braccia in height, as well as the marble holy-water font at
the entrance of the church, and a S. John in the centre, which is a very
beautiful work. Above the counter where the friars sell the candles,
moreover, he made a half-length Madonna of marble with the Child in her
arms, in half-relief, of the size of life and very devout; and a similar
work in the Office of the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore.

Pagno also wrought some figures in S. Miniato al Tedesco in company with
his master Donato, while a youth; and he made a tomb of marble in the
Church of S. Martino in Lucca, opposite to the Chapel of the Sacrament,
for Messer Piero di Nocera, who is portrayed there from nature. Filarete
relates in the twenty-fifth book of his work that Francesco Sforza,
fourth Duke of Milan, presented a very beautiful palace in Milan to the
Magnificent Cosimo de' Medici, and that Cosimo, in order to show the
Duke how pleased he was with such a gift, not only adorned it richly
with marbles and with carved wood-work, but also enlarged it under the
direction of Michelozzo, making it eighty-seven braccia and a half,
whereas it had previously been only eighty-four braccia. Besides this,
he had many pictures painted there, particularly the stories of the life
of the Emperor Trajan in a loggia, wherein, among certain decorations,
he caused Francesco Sforza himself to be portrayed, with the Lady
Bianca, his consort, Duchess of Milan, and also their children, with
many other noblemen and great persons, and likewise the portraits of
eight Emperors; and to these portraits Michelozzo added that of Cosimo,
made by his own hand. Throughout all the apartments he placed the arms
of Cosimo in diverse fashions, with his emblem of the Falcon and
Diamond. The said pictures were all by the hand of Vincenzio di Zoppa, a
painter of no small repute at that time and in that country.

It is recorded that the money that Cosimo spent in the restoration of
this palace was paid by Pigello Portinari, a citizen of Florence, who
then directed the bank and the accounts of Cosimo in Milan and lived in
the said palace. There are some works in marble and bronze by the hand
of Michelozzo in Genoa, and many others in other places, which are all
known by the manner; but what we have already said about him must
suffice. He died at the age of sixty-eight, and he was buried in his own
tomb in S. Marco at Florence. His portrait, by the hand of Fra Giovanni,
is in the Sacristy of S. Trinita, in the figure of an old man with a cap
on his head, representing Nicodemus, who is taking Christ down from the



   Agnolo (of Siena), 81, 94, 95

   Agnolo Gaddi, 15, 25

   Agostino (of Siena), 81, 94, 95

   Agostino della Robbia, 123-125

   Alberti, Leon Batista, 227

   Albertinelli, Mariotto, 190

   Alessandro Filipepi (Sandro Botticelli, or Sandro di Botticello), 190

   Alesso Baldovinetti, 190

   Alonso Spagnuolo, 190

   Alvaro di Piero, 64

   Ammanati, Bartolommeo, 228

   Andrea dal Castagno (called Andrea degli Impiccati), 190

   Andrea del Sarto, 190

   Andrea della Robbia, 125-127, 175

   Andrea di Cione Orcagna, 91

   Andrea Mantegna, 138

   Andrea Pisano, 50, 81, 83, 91, 93, 120, 145, 147, 154, 160, 200

   Andrea Verrocchio, 190, 243, 248

   Angeli, Don Lorenzo degli (Don Lorenzo Monaco), _Life_, 55-58. 171

   Angelico, Fra (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole), 190, 271

   Antignano, Segna d', 26

   Antonio da Verzelli, 218

   Antonio Filarete, 159, 270

   Antonio Fiorentino, 236

   Antonio (or Vittore) Pisanello, 187

   Antonio Pollaiuolo, 159

   Antonio Rossellino, 253

   Antonio Viniziano, _Life_, 15-20. 37, 43, 83

   Antonio Vite, 45, 58

   Apelles, 80, 120, 191

   Arca, Niccolò dell' (Niccolò Bolognese), 97

   Aretino, Niccolò (Niccolò d'Arezzo, Niccolò di Piero Lamberti), _Life_,
     101-104. 145, 146, 159, 200

   Aretino, Spinello, _Life_, 29-39. 25, 26, 29-39, 67, 83, 179

   Arezzo, Niccolò d' (Niccolò Aretino, Niccolò di Piero Lamberti), _Life_,
     101-104. 145, 146, 159, 200

   Arnolfo di Lapo (Arnolfo Lapo, Arnolfo Lapi), 80, 202, 203, 262,
     264, 265

   Asciano, Giovanni da, 5

   Baccio Bandinelli, 127, 190

   Baccio della Porta (Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco), 190, 249

   Baldovinetti, Alesso, 190

   Banco, Nanni d'Antonio di, _Life_, 113-115. 253

   Bandinelli, Baccio, 127, 190

   Bartoli, Domenico, 63, 64

   Bartoli, Taddeo, _Life_, 61-64

   Bartolo di Maestro Fredi, 61

   Bartolommeo Ammanati, 228

   Bartolommeo di San Marco, Fra (called Baccio della Porta), 190, 249

   Bartoluccio Ghiberti, 144-146, 155, 161, 162

   Beccafumi, Domenico, 96

   Berna, _Life_, 3-5

   Bernardetto di Mona Papera, 248

   Bernardo Daddi, 25, 26

   Bertoldo, 249, 253, 254

   Bicci, Lorenzo di, _Life_, 67-73

   Bicci di Lorenzo, 72

   Bologna, Galante da, 51

   Bolognese, Niccolò (called Niccolò dell'Arca), 97

   Bonaccorso Ghiberti, 160

   Botticelli, Sandro (Sandro di Botticello, or Alessandro Filipepi), 190

   Bronzi, Simone de' (Simone da Colle), 145, 146, 200

   Brunelleschi, Filippo (Filippo di Ser Brunellesco), _Life_, 195-236.
     84-86, 93, 95, 124, 139, 143-147, 150, 159, 161, 183, 185, 188, 190,
     195-236, 240-243, 259, 260

   Buffalmacco, Buonamico, 68

   Buggiano, Il, 235

   Bugiardini, Giuliano, 138

   Buonaiuti, Corsino, 26

   Buonarroti, Michelagnolo, 159, 162, 187, 190, 191, 221, 255, 261

   Buschetto, 80

   Calamis, 80

   Campagnola, Girolamo, 138

   Canachus, 80

   Casentino, Jacopo di, _Life_, 23-26. 29, 33, 83

   Castagno, Andrea dal (called Andrea degli Impiccati), 190

   Castel della Pieve, Pietro da (Pietro Vannucci, or Pietro Perugino), 190

   Cenni, Pasquino, 26

   Cennini, Cennino di Drea, 109

   Cimabue, Giovanni, 25, 82, 161, 202

   Cini, Simone, 36

   Cinuzzi, Vanni, 26

   Colle, Simone da (called Simone de' Bronzi), 145, 146, 200

   Consiglio Gherardi, 26

   Corsino Buonaiuti, 26

   Cosmè, 104

   Credi, Lorenzo di, 190

   Cremona, Geremia da, 236

   Cristofano, 104

   Daddi, Bernardo, 25, 26

   Dalmasi, Lippo, 51

   Dello, _Life_, 107-110. 136

   Desiderio da Settignano, 253

   Domenico Bartoli, 63, 64

   Domenico Beccafumi, 96

   Domenico dal Lago di Lugano, 236

   Domenico Ghirlandajo, 190

   Domenico Pucci, 26

   Don Jacopo, 57

   Don Lorenzo Monaco (Don Lorenzo degli Angeli), _Life_, 55-58. 171

   Don Silvestro, 57

   Donato (Donatello), _Life_, 239-255. 72, 86, 93, 95, 101, 109,
    113-115, 120, 121, 123, 126, 132, 133, 138-140, 143-147, 151,
    161, 183, 185, 188, 197, 199-204, 213, 225, 239-255, 259, 260,

   Duccio, _Life_, 9-11

   Erion, 80

   Fabriano, Gentile da, 187

   Fancelli, Luca, 227

   Fiesole, Fra Giovanni da (called Fra Angelico), 190, 271

   Filarete, Antonio, 159, 270

   Filipepi, Alessandro (Sandro Botticelli, or Sandro di Botticello), 190

   Filippo Brunelleschi (Filippo di Ser Brunellesco), _Life_, 195-236.
    84-86, 93, 95, 124, 139, 143-147, 150, 159, 161, 183, 185, 188, 190,
    195-236, 240-243, 259, 260

   Filippo Lippi, Fra, 187, 190

   Filippo Lippi (called Filippino), 189, 190

   Fiorentino, Antonio, 236

   Fiorentino, Francesco, 58

   Fiorentino, Niccolò, 236

   Fonte, Jacopo della (Jacopo della Quercia), _Life_, 91-97. 86, 87,
     91-97, 145, 146, 151, 200

   Forzore di Spinello, 39, 177

   Fra Angelico (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole), 190, 271

   Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco (called Baccio della Porta), 190, 249

   Fra Filippo Lippi, 187, 190

   Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (called Fra Angelico), 190, 271

   Francesco della Luna, 223, 232

   Francesco di Giorgio, 10, 85

   Francesco di Valdambrina, 145, 146, 200

   Francesco Fiorentino, 58

   Francesco Granacci (Il Granaccio), 190

   Franciabigio, 190

   Fredi, Bartolo di Maestro, 61

   Gabriello Saracini, 36

   Gaddi, Agnolo, 15, 25

   Gaddi, Taddeo, 23, 56, 83, 199, 240

   Galante da Bologna, 51

   Galasso Galassi, 104

   Gentile da Fabriano, 187

   Geremia da Cremona, 236

   Gherardi, Consiglio, 26

   Gherardo, Starnina, _Life_, 43-46. 20, 43-46, 58, 83, 165

   Ghiberti, Bartoluccio, 144-146, 155, 161, 162

   Ghiberti, Bonaccorso, 160

   Ghiberti, Lorenzo (Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, or Lorenzo di Bartoluccio
     Ghiberti), _Life_, 143-162. 4, 9, 86, 95, 143-162, 165, 171, 183, 200,
     201, 204, 213-218, 234

   Ghiberti, Vittorio, 160, 162

   Ghirlandajo, Domenico, 190

   Ghirlandajo, Ridolfo, 185, 190

   Giorgio, Francesco di, 10, 85

   Giorgio Vasari, see Vasari

   Giottino (Tommaso or Maso), 83

   Giotto, 23, 30, 35, 37, 73, 80-83, 86, 120, 131, 139, 147, 150, 161,
     162, 166, 171, 195, 202, 250, 262

   Jacopo (Jacopo Avanzi), 104

   Jacopo, Don, 57

   Jacopo da Pontormo, 190

   Jacopo della Quercia (or della Fonte), _Life_, 91-97. 86, 87, 91-97,
     145, 146, 151, 200

   Jacopo di Casentino, _Life_, 23-26. 29, 33, 83

   Jacopo Sansovino, 127

   Lamberti, Niccolò di Piero (Niccolò d'Arezzo, Niccolò Aretino), _Life_,
     101-104. 145, 146, 159, 200

   Lapo, Arnolfo di (Arnolfo Lapo, Arnolfo Lapi), 80, 202, 203, 262, 264,

   Lapo Gucci, 26

   Laurati, Pietro (called Lorenzetti), 18

   Leon Batista Alberti, 227

   Leonardo da Vinci, 190

   Leonardo di Ser Giovanni, 119

   Lippi, Filippo (called Filippino), 189, 190

   Lippi, Fra Filippo, 187, 190

   Lippo, _Life_, 49-51. 83

   Lippo Dalmasi, 51

   Lorenzetti, Pietro (Pietro Laurati), 18

   Lorenzo, Bicci di, 72

   Lorenzo, Neri di, 72, 73

   Lorenzo di Bicci, _Life_, 67-73

   Lorenzo di Credi, 190

   Lorenzo Ghiberti (Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti, or Lorenzo di Bartoluccio
     Ghiberti), _Life_, 143-162. 4, 9, 86, 95, 143-162, 165, 171, 183, 200,
     201, 204, 213-218, 234

   Lorenzo Monaco, Don (Don Lorenzo degli Angeli), _Life_, 55-58. 171

   Lorenzo Vecchietto, 151

   Luca della Robbia, _Life_, 119-128. 175, 213

   Luca della Robbia (the younger), 126, 127

   Luca di Tomè, 5

   Luca Fancelli, 227

   Lugano, Domenico dal Lago di, 236

   Luna, Francesco della, 223, 232

   Mantegna, Andrea, 138

   Marco da Montepulciano, 72, 179

   Mariotto Albertinelli, 190

   Martini, Simone (Memmi or Sanese), 16, 37, 83

   Masaccio, _Life_, 183-191. 86, 87, 133, 183-191, 198

   Maso (or Tommaso, called Giottino), 83

   Masolino da Panicale, _Life_, 165-167. 46, 159, 165-167, 171, 185,

   Matteo (of Lucca), 96, 97

   Memmi, Simone (Martini or Sanese), 16, 37, 83

   Michelagnolo Buonarroti, 159, 162, 187, 190, 191, 221, 255, 261

   Michelozzo Michelozzi, _Life_, 259-271. 241

   Milano, Giovanni da, 23

   Moccio, 4, 10, 11, 101

   Mona Papera, Bernardetto di, 248

   Monaco, Don Lorenzo (Don Lorenzo degli Angeli), _Life_, 55-58. 171

   Montepulciano, Marco da, 72, 179

   Myron, 80

   Nanni d'Antonio di Banco, _Life_, 113-115. 253

   Neri di Lorenzo, 72, 73

   Niccola Pisano, 97

   Niccolò Aretino (Niccolò d'Arezzo, Niccolò di Piero Lamberti), _Life_,
     101-104. 145, 146, 159, 200

   Niccolò Bolognese (called Niccolò dell'Arca), 97

   Niccolò Fiorentino, 236

   Nicomachus, 80

   Nino Pisano, 81, 83

   Nunziata, Toto del, 190

   Orcagna, Andrea di Cione, 91

   Ottaviano della Robbia, 123-125

   Padova, Vellano da, 253

   Pagno di Lapo Partigiani, 269, 270

   Panicale, Masolino da, _Life_, 165-167. 46, 159, 165-167, 171,
     185, 187-189

   Paolo Schiavo, 166

   Paolo Uccello, _Life_, 131-140. 20, 110, 131-140, 159, 183, 184, 253

   Parri Spinelli, _Life_, 171-179. 36, 39, 83, 125, 159, 171-179

   Partigiani, Pagno di Lapo, 269, 270

   Pasquino Cenni, 26

   Perino (or Pierino) del Vaga, 190

   Perugino, Pietro (Pietro Vannucci, or Pietro da Castel della Pieve), 190

   Pheidias, 120

   Piero, Alvaro di, 64

   Pietro Laurati (called Lorenzetti), 18

   Pietro Perugino (Pietro Vannucci, or Pietro da Castel della Pieve), 190

   Pisanello (Vittore or Antonio), 187

   Pisano, Andrea, 50, 81, 83, 91, 93, 120, 145, 147, 154, 160, 200

   Pisano, Niccola, 97

   Pisano, Nino, 81, 83

   Polycletus, 80, 160

   Polygnotus, 80

   Pollaiuolo, Antonio, 159

   Pontormo, Jacopo da, 190

   Porta, Baccio della (Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco), 190, 249

   Protogenes, 80

   Pucci, Domenico, 26

   Quercia, Jacopo della (or della Fonte), _Life_, 91-97. 86, 87, 91-97,
     145, 146, 151, 200

   Raffaello Sanzio (Raffaello da Urbino), 126, 190

   Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, 185, 190

   Robbia, Agostino della, 123-125

   Robbia, Andrea della, 125-127, 175

   Robbia, Giovanni della, 126

   Robbia, Girolamo della, 126, 127

   Robbia, Luca della, _Life_, 119-128. 175, 213

   Robbia, Luca della (the younger), 126, 127

   Robbia, Ottaviano della, 123-125

   Rossellino, Antonio, 253

   Rosso, Il, 190

   San Marco, Fra Bartolommeo di (called Baccio della Porta), 190, 249

   Sandro Botticelli (Sandro di Botticello, or Alessandro Filipepi), 190

   Sanese, Simone (Martini or Memmi), 16, 37, 83

   Sanese, Ugolino (Ugolino da Siena,) 62

   Sansovino, Jacopo, 127

   Sanzio, Raffaello (Raffaello da Urbino), 126, 190

   Saracini, Gabriello, 36

   Sarto, Andrea del, 190

   Schiavo, Paolo, 166

   Segna d'Antignano, 26

   Ser Giovanni, Leonardo di, 119

   Settignano, Desiderio da, 253

   Siena, Ugolino da (Ugolino Sanese), 62

   Silvestro, Don, 57

   Simone, 104

   Simone (brother of Donatello), 251

   Simone (pupil of Filippo Brunelleschi), 236

   Simone Cini, 36

   Simone da Colle (called Simone de' Bronzi), 145, 146, 200

   Spagnuolo, Alonso, 190

   Spinelli, Parri, _Life_, 171-179. 36, 39, 83, 125, 159, 171-179

   Spinello, Forzore di, 39, 177

   Spinello Aretino, _Life_, 29-39. 25, 26, 29-39, 67, 83, 179

   Starnina, Gherardo, _Life_, 43-46. 20, 43-46, 58, 83, 165

   Stefano, 83

   Taddeo Bartoli, _Life_, 61-64

   Taddeo Gaddi, 23, 56, 83, 199, 240

   Timanthes, 80

   Tomè, Luca di, 5

   Tommaso (or Maso, called Giottino), 83

   Toto del Nunziata, 190

   Uccello, Paolo, _Life_, 131-140. 20, 110, 131-140, 159, 183, 184, 253

   Ugolino Sanese (Ugolino da Siena), 62

   Urbino, Raffaello da (Raffaello Sanzio), 126, 190

   Vaga, Perino (or Pierino) del, 190

   Valdambrina, Francesco di, 145, 146, 200

   Vanni Cinuzzi, 26

   Vannucci, Pietro (Pietro Perugino, or Pietro da Castel della Pieve), 190

   Vasari, Giorgio--
     as art-collector, 5, 20, 26, 39, 46, 51, 58, 64, 96, 104, 109, 110,
       128, 135, 139, 162, 178, 179, 227, 253
     as author, 3, 5, 10, 31, 55, 57, 71-73, 77-87, 94-96, 104, 113, 119,
       125-127, 136, 138, 139, 147, 160-162, 165, 166, 172, 178, 184, 187,
       188, 190, 202, 208, 228, 229, 234, 250, 252-254, 263, 264
     as painter, 32, 39
     as architect, 173, 233, 264, 265

   Vecchietto, Lorenzo, 151

   Vellano da Padova, 253

   Verrocchio, Andrea, 190, 243, 248

   Verzelli, Antonio da, 218

   Vincenzio di Zoppa, 271

   Vinci, Leonardo da, 190

   Viniziano, Antonio, _Life_, 15-20. 37, 43, 83

   Vite, Antonio, 45, 58

   Vittorio Ghiberti, 160, 162

   Vittore (or Antonio) Pisanello, 187

   Zeuxis, 80

   Zoppa, Vincenzio di, 271



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Vol 2, Berna to Michelozzo Michelozzi" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.