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Title: Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Volume 1, Cimabue to Agnolo Gaddi
Author: Vasari, Giorgio, 1511-1574
Language: English
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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 - Volume 1, Cimabue to Agnolo Gaddi" ***

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     GADDI                  1912




[Illustration: 1511-1574]




 TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE TO THIS EDITION                             xi

 EDITION OF 1550                                                xiii
 EDITION OF 1568                                                xvii

 IMPRIMATUR OF POPE PIUS V                                       xxi

 THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE WHOLE WORK                        xxiii

 THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE LIVES                            xxxvii

 GIOVANNI CIMABUE                                                  1

 ARNOLFO DI LAPO                                                  11

 PISANO]                                                          27

 ANDREA TAFI                                                      45

 GADDO GADDI                                                      53

 MARGARITONE                                                      61

 GIOTTO                                                           69

 AGOSTINO AND AGNOLO OF SIENA                                     95


 PIETRO LAURATI [PIETRO LORENZETTI]                              115

 ANDREA PISANO                                                   121

 BUONAMICO BUFFALMACCO                                           133

 AMBROGIO LORENZETTI                                             153

 PIETRO CAVALLINI                                                159

 SIMONE SANESE [SIMONE MEMMI _OR_ MARTINI]                       165

 TADDEO GADDI                                                    175

 ANDREA DI CIONE ORCAGNA                                         187

 TOMMASO, CALLED GIOTTINO                                        201

 GIOVANNI DAL PONTE                                              209

 AGNOLO GADDI                                                    215

 INDEX OF NAMES                                                  225



                                                                FACING PAGE

 CIMABUE          Madonna and Child    Florence: Accademia,         102  10

 GIOTTO           Madonna and Child    Florence: Accademia,         103  82

 PIETRO LAURATI   Madonna and Child,   Assisi: Lower Church             118
                  with SS. Francis
                           and John

 AMBROGIO         Madonna and Child,   Siena: Pinacoteca,           77  156
    LORENZETTI    with SS. Mary
                  Magdalen and Dorothy

 SIMONE SANESE    The Knighting of     Assisi: Lower Church,
                  S. Martin            Chapel of S. Martin              168

 LIPPO MEMMI      Madonna and Child    Berlin: Kaiser
                                       Friedrich Museum, 1081A          172

 TADDEO GADDI     The Presentation     Florence: Accademia,         107 182
                  in the Temple

 ANDREA DI CIONE  Christ Enthroned     Florence: S. Maria
   ORCAGNA                             Novella, Strozzi Chapel          192

 GIOTTINO         The Descent from     Florence: Uffizi,            27  206
                  the Cross


 CIMABUE          Madonna, Child,     Paris: Louvre, 1260                 2
                  and Angels

 ROMAN SCHOOL     Isaac's Blessing    Assisi: Upper Church                6

 ROMAN SCHOOL     The Deposition      Assisi: Upper Church                6
                  from the Cross

 CIMABUE          The Crucifixion     Assisi: Upper Church                8

 ARNOLFO DI LAPO  Reclining Female    Florence:
   (SCHOOL OF)    Figure from a Tomb  Collection Bardini                 18

 ARNOLFO DI LAPO  Tomb of Adrian V    Viterbo: S. Francesco              24

 NICCOLA PISANO   Pulpit              Pisa: The Baptistery               30

 NICCOLA PISANO   Detail: The         Pisa: Relief from the
                  Adoration of        Pulpit of the Baptistery           32
                  the Magi

 NICCOLA PISANO   Detail: The         Siena: Relief from
                  Visitation and      the Pulpit
                  The Nativity        of the Baptistery                  34

 GIOVANNI PISANO  Detail: A Sibyl     Siena: Duomo (façade)              38

 GIOVANNI PISANO  Detail: The Massacre Pistoia: Relief from the
                   of the Innocents    Pulpit, S. Andrea                 40

 GIOVANNI PISANO  Madonna and Child    Padua: Arena Chapel               42

 MARGARITONE       The Virgin and Child,  London: N.G., 5040              64
                  with Scenes from
                  the Lives of the Saints

 GIOTTO           The Death of S. Francis   Florence: S. Croce           70

 ROMAN SCHOOL     S. Francis Preaching      Assisi: Upper Church         72
                  before Pope Honorius III

 ROMAN SCHOOL     The Body of S. Francis    Assisi: Upper Church         74
                  before the Church of
                  S. Damiano

 GIOTTO AND HIS   The Raising of Lazarus    Assisi: Lower Church         78

 GIOTTO           The Flight into Egypt     Padua: Arena Chapel          88

 GIOTTO           The Crucifixion           Assisi: Lower Church         90

 UGOLINO SANESE   SS. Paul, Peter,          Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich
                  and John the Baptist      Museum, 1635                112

 PIETRO LAURATI   The Madonna Enthroned     Arezzo: S. Maria della
                                            Pieve                       116

 PIETRO LAURATI   The Deposition from the   Assisi: Lower Church        120

 ANDREA PISANO    Details: Salome and The   Florence: Gates of the
                  Beheading of S. John the  Baptistery                  126

 ANDREA PISANO    The Creation of Man       Florence: Relief on the
                                            Campanile                   128

 NINO PISANO      Madonna and Child         Orvieto: Museo dell'Opera   130

 AMBROGIO         Madonna and Child         Milan: Cagnola Collection   154

 AMBROGIO         Central Panel of          Massa Marittima: Municipio
     LORENZETTI   Polyptych: Madonna                                    158
                  and Child

 PIETRO           Detail from The Last      Rome: Convent of S. Cecilia
     CAVALLINI    Judgment: Head of an                                  162

 PIETRO           Detail from The Last      Rome: Convent of S. Cecilia
     CAVALLINI    Judgment: Head of the                                 164
                  Christ in Glory

 SIMONE SANESE    Altar-piece: S. Louis     Naples: S. Lorenzo          166
                  crowning King Robert
                  of Naples

 SIMONE SANESE    The Annunciation          Antwerp: Royal
                                            Museum,              257-8  170

 LIPPO MEMMI      Madonna and Child         Altenburg: Lindenau
                                            Museum,                 43  174

 TADDEO GADDI     The Last Supper           Florence: S. Croce, the
                                            Refectory  178

 BERNARDO DI CIONE  Detail from The         Florence: S. Maria Novella  190
     ORCAGNA        Paradise: Christ
                    with the Virgin

 ANDREA DI CIONE   The Death and Assumption Florence: Relief on the
     ORCAGNA       of the Virgin            Tabernacle, Or San Michele  194

 FRANCESCO TRAINI  S. Thomas Aquinas        Pisa: S. Caterina           198

 GIOVANNI DAL      S. Peter Enthroned       Florence: Uffizi, 1292      212

 AGNOLO GADDI     The Marriage of S.        Philadelphia: J. G. Johnson 218
                  Catharine                 Collection

       *       *       *       *       *

|Transcriber's note:                              |
|                                                 |
|The CORRIGENDA have been corrected in this etext.|


Page 49, lines 1, 27, _for_ "Apollonius" _read_ "Apollonio."

Page 120, line 10, _for_ "which tabernacle is quite round" _read_ "which
tabernacle is in the round."

Page 127, lines 11, 12, _for_ "oval spaces" _read_ "mandorle."

Page 196, line 18, _for_ "an oval space" _read_ "a mandorla."


Vasari introduces himself sufficiently in his own prefaces and
introduction; a translator need concern himself only with the system by
which the Italian text can best be rendered in English. The style of
that text is sometimes laboured and pompous; it is often ungrammatical.
But the narrative is generally lively, full of neat phrases, and
abounding in quaint expressions--many of them still recognizable in the
modern Florentine vernacular--while, in such Lives as those of Giotto,
Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelagnolo, Vasari shows how well he can rise
to a fine subject. His criticism is generally sound, solid, and direct;
and he employs few technical terms, except in connection with
architecture, where we find passages full of technicalities, often so
loosely used that it is difficult to be sure of their exact meaning. In
such cases I have invariably adopted the rendering which seemed most in
accordance with Vasari's actual words, so far as these could be
explained by professional advice and local knowledge; and I have
included brief notes where they appeared to be indispensable.

In Mrs. Foster's familiar English paraphrase--for a paraphrase it is
rather than a translation--all Vasari's liveliness evaporates, even
where his meaning is not blurred or misunderstood. Perhaps I have gone
too far towards the other extreme in relying upon the Anglo-Saxon side
of the English language rather than upon the Latin, and in taking no
liberties whatever with the text of 1568. My intention, indeed, has been
to render my original word for word, and to err, if at all, in favour of
literalness. The very structure of Vasari's sentences has usually been
retained, though some freedom was necessary in the matter of the
punctuation, which is generally bewildering. As Mr. Horne's only too
rare translation of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci has proved, it is by
some such method that we can best keep Vasari's sense and Vasari's
spirit--the one as important to the student of Italian art as is the
other to the general reader. Such an attempt, however, places an English
translator of the first volume at a conspicuous disadvantage. Throughout
the earlier Lives Vasari seems to be feeling his way. He is not sure of
himself, and his style is often awkward. The more faithful the attempted
rendering, the more plainly must that awkwardness be reproduced.

Vasari's Introduction on Technique has not been included, because it has
no immediate connection with the Lives. In any case, there already
exists an adequate translation by Miss Maclehose. All Vasari's other
prefaces and introductions are given in the order in which they are
found in the edition of 1568.

With this much explanation, I may pass to personal matters, and record
my thanks to many Florentine friends for help in technical and
grammatical questions; to Professor Baldwin Brown for the notes on
technical matters printed with Miss Maclehose's translation of "Vasari
on Technique"; and to Mr. C. J. Holmes, of the National Portrait
Gallery, for encouragement in a task which has proved no less pleasant
than difficult.

     G. DU C. DE V.

     _March 1912_.



Seeing that your Excellency, following in this the footsteps of your
most Illustrious ancestors, and incited and urged by your own natural
magnanimity, ceases not to favour and to exalt every kind of talent,
wheresoever it may be found, and shows particular favour to the arts of
design, fondness for their craftsmen,[1] and understanding and delight
in their beautiful and rare works; I think that you cannot but take
pleasure in this labour which I have undertaken, of writing down the
lives, the works, the manners, and the circumstances of all those who,
finding the arts already dead, first revived them, then step by step
nourished and adorned them, and finally brought them to that height of
beauty and majesty whereon they stand at the present day. And because
these masters have been almost all Tuscans, and most of these
Florentines, of whom many have been incited and aided by your most
Illustrious ancestors with every kind of reward and honour to put
themselves to work, it may be said that in your state, nay, in your most
blessed house the arts were born anew, and that through the generosity
of your ancestors the world has recovered these most beautiful arts,
through which it has been ennobled and embellished.

Wherefore, through the debt which this age, these arts, and these
craftsmen owe to your ancestors, and to you as the heir of their virtue
and of their patronage of these professions, and through that debt which
I, above all, owe them, seeing that I was taught by them, that I was
their subject and their devoted servant, that I was brought up under
Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, and under Alessandro, your predecessor,
and that, finally, I am infinitely attached to the blessed memory of the
Magnificent Ottaviano de' Medici, by whom I was supported, loved and
protected while he lived; for all these reasons, I say, and because from
the greatness of your worth and of your fortunes there will come much
favour for this work, and from your understanding of its subject there
will come a better appreciation than from any other for its usefulness
and for the labour and the diligence that I have given to its execution,
it has seemed to me that to your Excellency alone could it be fittingly
dedicated, and it is under your most honoured name that I have wished it
to come to the hands of men.

Deign, then, Excellency, to accept it, to favour it, and, if this may be
granted to it by your exalted thoughts, sometimes to read it; having
regard to the nature of the matter therein dealt with and to my pure
intention, which has been, not to gain for myself praise as a writer,
but as craftsman to praise the industry and to revive the memory of
those who, having given life and adornment to these professions, do not
deserve to have their names and their works wholly left, even as they
were, the prey of death and of oblivion. Besides, at the same time,
through the example of so many able men and through so many observations
on so many works that I have gathered together in this book, I have
thought to help not a little the masters of these exercises and to
please all those who therein have taste and pleasure. This I have
striven to do with that accuracy and with that good faith which are
essential for the truth of history and of things written. But if my
writing, being unpolished and as artless as my speech, be unworthy of
your Excellency's ear and of the merits of so many most illustrious
intellects; as for them, pardon me that the pen of a draughtsman, such
as they too were, has no greater power to give them outline and shadow;
and as for yourself, let it suffice me that your Excellency should deign
to approve my simple labour, remembering that the necessity of gaining
for myself the wherewithal to live has left me no time to exercise
myself with any instrument but the brush. Nor even with that have I
reached that goal to which I think to be able to attain, now that
Fortune promises me so much favour, that, with greater ease and greater
credit for myself and with greater satisfaction to others, I may
perchance be able, as well with the pen as with the brush, to unfold my
ideas to the world, whatsoever they may be. For besides the help and
protection for which I must hope from your Excellency, as my liege lord
and as the protector of poor followers of the arts, it has pleased the
goodness of God to elect as His Vicar on earth the most holy and most
blessed Julius III, Supreme Pontiff and a friend and patron of every
kind of excellence and of these most excellent and most difficult arts
in particular, from whose exalted liberality I expect recompense for
many years spent and many labours expended, and up to now without fruit.
And not only I, who have dedicated myself to the perpetual service of
His Holiness, but all the gifted craftsmen of this age, must expect from
him such honour and reward and opportunities for practising the arts so
greatly, that already I rejoice to see these arts arriving in his time
at the greatest height of their perfection, and Rome adorned by
craftsmen so many and so noble that, counting them with those of
Florence, whom your Excellency is calling every day into activity, I
hope that someone after our time will have to write a fourth part to my
book, enriching it with other masters and other masterpieces than those
described by me; in which company I am striving with every effort not to
be among the last.

Meanwhile, I am content if your Excellency has good hope of me and a
better opinion than that which, by no fault of mine, you have perchance
conceived of me; beseeching you not to let me be undone in your
estimation by the malignant tales of other men, until at last my life
and my works shall prove the contrary to what they say.

Now with that intent to which I hold, always to honour and to serve
your Excellency, dedicating to you this my rough labour, as I have
dedicated to you every other thing of mine and my own self, I implore
you not to disdain to grant it your protection, or at least to
appreciate the devotion of him who offers it to you; and recommending
myself to your gracious goodness, most humbly do I kiss your hand.

     Your Excellency's most humble Servant,
     _Painter of Arezzo_.


[Footnote 1: The word "artist" has become impossible as a translation of
"artefice." Such words as "artificer," "art-worker," or "artisan," seem
even worse. "Craftsman" loses the alliterative connection with "art,"
but it comes nearest to expressing Vasari's idea of the "artefice" as a
practical workman (_cf._ his remark about Ambrogio Lorenzetti: "The ways
of Ambrogio were rather those of a 'gentiluomo' than of an



Behold, seventeen years since I first presented to your most Illustrious
Excellency the Lives, sketched so to speak, of the most famous painters,
sculptors and architects, they come before you again, not indeed wholly
finished, but so much changed from what they were and in such wise
adorned and enriched with innumerable works, whereof up to that time I
had been able to gain no further knowledge, that from my endeavour and
in so far as in me lies nothing more can be looked for in them.

Behold, I say, once again they come before you, most Illustrious and
truly most Excellent Lord Duke, with the addition of other noble and
right famous craftsmen, who from that time up to our own day have passed
from the miseries of this life to a better, and of others who, although
they are still living in our midst, have laboured in these professions
to such purpose that they are most worthy of eternal memory. And in
truth it has been no small good-fortune for many that I, by the goodness
of Him in whom all things have their being, have lived so long that I
have almost rewritten this book; seeing that, even as I have removed
many things which had been included I know not how, in my absence and
without my consent, and have changed others, so too I have added many,
both useful and necessary, that were lacking. And as for the likenesses
and portraits of so many men of worth which I have placed in this work,
whereof a great part have been furnished by the help and co-operation of
your Excellency, if they are sometimes not very true to life, and if
they all have not that character and resemblance which the vivacity of
colours is wont to give them, that is not because the drawing and the
lineaments have not been taken from the life and are not characteristic
and natural; not to mention that a great part of them have been sent me
by the friends that I have in various places, and they have not all been
drawn by a good hand. Moreover, I have suffered no small inconvenience
in this from the distance of those who have engraved these heads,
because, if the engravers had been near me, it might perchance have been
possible to use in this matter more diligence than has been shown. But
however this may be, our lovers of art and our craftsmen, for the
convenience and benefit of whom I have put myself to so great pains,
must be wholly indebted to your most Illustrious Excellency for whatever
they may find in it of the good, the useful, and the helpful, seeing
that while engaged in your service I have had the opportunity, through
the leisure which it has pleased you to give me and through the
management of your many, nay, innumerable treasures, to put together and
to give to the world everything which appeared to be necessary for the
perfect completion of this work; and would it not be almost impiety, not
to say ingratitude, were I to dedicate these Lives to another, or were
the craftsmen to attribute to any other than yourself whatever they may
find in them to give them help or pleasure? For not only was it with
your help and favour that they first came to the light, as now they do
again, but you are, in imitation of your ancestors, sole father, sole
lord, and sole protector of these our arts. Wherefore it is very right
and reasonable that by these there should be made, in your service and
to your eternal and perpetual memory, so many most noble pictures and
statues and so many marvellous buildings in every manner.

But if we are all, as indeed we are beyond calculation, most deeply
obliged to you for these and for other reasons, how much more do I not
owe to you, who have always had (would that my brain and my hand had
been equal to my desire and right good will) so many valuable
opportunities to display my little knowledge, which, whatsoever it may
be, fails by a very great measure to counterbalance the greatness and
the truly royal magnificence of your mind? But how may I tell? It is in
truth better that I should stay as I am than that I should set myself to
attempt what would be to the most lofty and noble brain, and much more
so to my insignificance, wholly impossible.

Accept then, most Illustrious Excellency, this my book, or rather indeed
your book, of the Lives of the craftsmen of design; and like the
Almighty God, looking rather at my soul and at my good intentions than
at my work, take from me with right good will not what I would wish and
ought to give, but what I can.

     Your most Illustrious Excellency's most indebted servant,

     _January 9, 1568_.


Motu proprio (et cet.). Cum, sicut accepimus, dilectus filius Philippus
Junta, typographus Florentinus, ad communem studiosorum utilitatem, sua
impensa, Vitas Illustrium Pictorum et Sculptorum Georgii Vasarii demum
auctas et suis imaginibus exornatas, Statuta Equitum Melitensium in
Italicam linguam translata, Receptariumque Novum pro Aromatariis,
aliaque opera tum Latina, tum Italica, saneque utilia et necessaria,
imprimi facere intendat, dubitetque ne hujusmodi opera postmodum ab
aliis sine ejus licentia et in ejus grave præjudicium imprimantur; nos
propterea, illius indemnitati consulere volentes, motu simili et ex
certa scientia, eidem Philippo concedimus et indulgemus ne prædicta
opera, dummodo prius ab Inquisitore visa et approbata fuerint, per ipsum
imprimenda, infra decennium a quoquo sine ipsius licentia imprimi aut
vendi vel in apothecis teneri possint; inhibentes omnibus et singulis
Christi fidelibus tam in Italia quam extra Italiam existentibus, sub
excommunicationis lata sententia, in terris vero S.R.E. mediate vel
immediate subjectis, etiam ducentorum ducatorum auri Cameræ Apostolicæ
applicandorum et amissionis librorum p[oe]nis, totiens ipso facto et
absque alia declaratione incurrendis quotiens contraventum fuerit, ne
intra decennium præfatum dicta opera sine ejusdem Philippi expressa
licentia imprimere, seu ab ipsis aut aliis impressa vendere, vel venalia
habere; mandantes universis veneralibus fratribus nostris
Archiepiscopis, Episcopis, eorumque Vicariis in spiritualibus
generalibus, et in Statu S.R.E. etiam Legatis, Vicelegatis, Præsidibus
et Gubernatoribus, ut quoties pro ipsius Philippi parte fuerint
requisiti, vel eorum aliquis fuerit requisitus, eidem, efficacis
defensionis præsidio assistentes, præmissa contra inobedientes et
rebelles, per censuras ecclesiasticas, etiam sæpius aggravando, et per
alia juris remedia, auctoritate Apostolica exequantur; invocato etiam ad
hoc, si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii sæcularis. Volumus autem quod
præsentis motus proprii nostri sola signatura sufficiat, et ubique fidem
faciat in judicio et extra, regula contraria non obstante et officii
sanctissimæ Inquisitionis Florentinæ.

     Placet motu proprio M.

     Datum Romæ apud Sanctum Petrum, quintodecimo Cal. Maij,
     anno secundo.


It was the wont of the finest spirits in all their actions, through a
burning desire for glory, to spare no labour, however grievous, in order
to bring their works to that perfection which might render them
impressive and marvellous to the whole world; nor could the humble
fortunes of many prevent their energies from attaining to the highest
rank, whether in order to live in honour or to leave in the ages to come
eternal fame for all their rare excellence. And although, for zeal and
desire so worthy of praise, they were, while living, highly rewarded by
the liberality of Princes and by the splendid ambition of States, and
even after death kept alive in the eyes of the world by the testimony of
statues, tombs, medals, and other memorials of that kind; none the less,
it is clearly seen that the ravening maw of time has not only diminished
by a great amount their own works and the honourable testimonies of
others, but has also blotted out and destroyed the names of all those
who have been kept alive by any other means than by the right vivacious
and pious pens of writers.

Pondering over this matter many a time in my own mind, and recognizing,
from the example not only of the ancients but of the moderns as well,
that the names of very many architects, sculptors, and painters, both
old and modern, together with innumerable most beautiful works wrought
by them, are going on being forgotten and destroyed little by little,
and in such wise, in truth, that nothing can be foretold for them but a
certain and wellnigh immediate death; and wishing to defend them as much
as in me lies from this second death, and to preserve them as long as
may be possible in the memory of the living; and having spent much time
in seeking them out and used the greatest diligence in discovering the
native city, the origin, and the actions of the craftsmen, and having
with great labour drawn them from the tales of old men and from various
records and writings, left by their heirs a prey to dust and food for
worms; and finally, having received from this both profit and pleasure,
I have judged it expedient, nay rather, my duty, to make for them
whatsoever memorial my weak talents and my small judgment may be able to
make. In honour, then, of those who are already dead, and for the
benefit, for the most part, of all the followers of these three most
excellent arts, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, I will write the
Lives of the craftsmen of each according to the times wherein they
lived, step by step from Cimabue down to our own time; not touching on
the ancients save in so far as it may concern our subject, seeing that
no more can be said of them than those so many writers have said who
have come down to our own age. I will treat thoroughly of many things
that appertain to the science of one or other of the said arts; but
before I come to the secrets of these, or to the history of the
craftsmen, it seems to me right to touch a little on a dispute, born and
bred between many without reason, as to the sovereignty and nobility,
not of architecture, which they have left on one side, but of sculpture
and painting; there being advanced, on one side and on the other, many
arguments whereof many, if not all, are worthy to be heard and discussed
by their craftsmen.

I say, then, that the sculptors, as being endowed, perchance by nature
and by the exercise of their art, with a better habit of body, with more
blood, and with more energy, and being thereby more hardy and more fiery
than the painters, in seeking to give the highest rank to their art,
argue and prove the nobility of sculpture primarily from its antiquity,
for the reason that God Almighty made man, who was the first statue; and
they say that sculpture embraces many more arts as kindred, and has many
more of them subordinate to itself than has painting, such as
low-relief, working in clay, wax, plaster, wood, and ivory, casting in
metals, every kind of chasing, engraving and carving in relief on fine
stones and steel, and many others which both in number and in difficulty
surpass those of painting. And alleging, further, that those things
which stand longest and best against time and can be preserved longest
for the use of men, for whose benefit and service they are made, are
without doubt more useful and more worthy to be held in love and honour
than are the others, they maintain that sculpture is by so much more
noble than painting as it is more easy to preserve, both itself and the
names of all who are honoured by it both in marble and in bronze,
against all the ravages of time and air, than is painting, which, by its
very nature, not to say by external accidents, perishes in the most
sheltered and most secure places that architects have been able to
provide. Nay more, they insist that the small number not merely of their
excellent but even of their ordinary craftsmen, in contrast to the
infinite number of the painters, proves their greater nobility; saying
that sculpture calls for a certain better disposition, both of mind and
of body, that are rarely found together, whereas painting contents
itself with any feeble temperament, so long as it has a hand, if not
bold, at least sure; and that this their contention is proved by the
greater prices cited in particular by Pliny, by the loves caused by the
marvellous beauty of certain statues, and by the judgment of him who
made the statue of sculpture of gold and that of painting of silver, and
placed the first on the right and the second on the left. Nor do they
even refrain from quoting the difficulties experienced before the
materials, such as the marbles and the metals, can be got into
subjection, and their value, in contrast to the ease of obtaining the
panels, the canvases, and the colours, for the smallest prices and in
every place; and further, the extreme and grievous labour of handling
the marbles and the bronzes, through their weight, and of working them,
through the weight of the tools, in contrast to the lightness of the
brushes, of the styles, and of the pens, chalk-holders, and charcoals;
besides this, that they exhaust their minds together with all the parts
of their bodies, which is something very serious compared with the quiet
and light work of the painter, using only his mind and hand. Moreover,
they lay very great stress on the fact that things are more noble and
more perfect in proportion as they approach more nearly to the truth,
and they say that sculpture imitates the true form and shows its works
on every side and from every point of view, whereas painting, being
laid on flat with most simple strokes of the brush and having but one
light, shows but one aspect; and many of them do not scruple to say that
sculpture is as much superior to painting as is truth to falsehood. But
as their last and strongest argument, they allege that for the sculptor
there is necessary a perfection of judgment not only ordinary, as for
the painter, but absolute and immediate, in a manner that it may see
within the marble the exact whole of that figure which they intend to
carve from it, and may be able to make many parts perfect without any
other model before it combines and unites them together, as Michelagnolo
has done divinely well; although, for lack of this happiness of
judgment, they make easily and often some of those blunders which have
no remedy, and which, when made, bear witness for ever to the slips of
the chisel or to the small judgment of the sculptor. This never happens
to painters, for the reason that at every slip of the brush or error of
judgment that might befall them they have time, recognizing it
themselves or being told by others, to cover and patch it up with the
very brush that made it; which brush, in their hands, has this advantage
over the sculptor's chisels, that it not only heals, as did the iron of
the spear of Achilles, but leaves its wounds without a scar.

To these things the painters, answering not without disdain, say, in the
first place, that if the sculptors wish to discuss the matter on the
ground of the Scriptures the chief nobility is their own, and that the
sculptors deceive themselves very grievously in claiming as their work
the statue of our first father, which was made of earth; for the art of
this performance, both in its putting on and in its taking off, belongs
no less to the painters than to others, and was called "plastice" by the
Greeks and "fictoria" by the Latins, and was judged by Praxiteles to be
the mother of sculpture, of casting, and of chasing, a fact which makes
sculpture, in truth, the niece of painting, seeing that "plastice" and
painting are born at one and the same moment from design. And they say
that if we consider it apart from the Scriptures, the opinions of the
ages are so many and so varied that it is difficult to believe one more
than the other; and that finally, considering this nobility as they
wish it, in one place they lose and in the other they do not win, as may
be seen more clearly in the Preface to the Lives.

After this, in comparison with the arts related and subordinate to
sculpture, they say that they have many more than the sculptors, because
painting embraces the invention of history, the most difficult art of
foreshortening, all the branches of architecture needful for the making
of buildings, perspective, colouring in distemper, and the art of
working in fresco, an art different and distinct from all the others;
likewise working in oils on wood, on stone, and on canvas; illumination,
too, an art different from all the others; the staining of glass,
mosaics in glass, the art of inlaying and making pictures with coloured
woods, which is painting; making sgraffito[2] work on houses with iron
tools; niello[3] work and printing from copper, both members of
painting; goldsmith's enamelling, and the inlaying of gold for
damascening; the painting of glazed figures, and the making on
earthenware vessels of scenes and figures to resist the action of water;
weaving brocades with figures and flowers, and that most beautiful
invention, woven tapestries, that are both convenient and magnificent,
being able to carry painting into every place, whether savage or
civilized; not to mention that in every department of art that has to be
practised, design, which is our design, is used by all; so that the
members of painting are more numerous and more useful than those of
sculpture. They do not deny the eternity, for so the others call it, of
sculpture, but they say that this is no privilege that should make the
art more noble than it is by nature, seeing that it comes simply from
the material, and that if length of life were to give nobility to souls,
the pine, among the plants, and the stag, among the animals, would have
a soul more noble beyond compare than that of men; although they could
claim a similar immortality and nobility in their mosaics, seeing that
there may be seen some as ancient as the most ancient sculptures that
are in Rome, and that they used to be made of jewels and fine stones.
And as for their small or smaller number, they declare that this is not
because the art calls for a better habit of body and greater judgment,
but that it depends wholly on the poverty of their resources and on the
little favour, or avarice, as we would rather call it, of rich men, who
give them no supply of marble and no opportunity to work; in contrast
with what may be believed, nay, seen to have happened in ancient times,
when sculpture rose to its greatest height. Indeed, it is manifest that
he who cannot use and waste a small quantity of marble and hard stone,
which are very costly, cannot have that practice in the art that is
essential; he who does not practise does not learn it; and he who does
not learn it can do no good. Wherefore they should rather excuse with
these arguments the imperfection and the small number of their masters,
than seek to deduce nobility from them under false colours. As for the
higher prices of sculptures, they answer that, although theirs might be
much less, they have not to share them, being content with a boy who
grinds their colours and hands them their brushes or their cheap stools,
whereas the sculptors, besides the great cost of their material, require
many aids and spend more time on one single figure than they themselves
do on very many; wherefore their prices appear to come from the quality
and the durability of the material itself, from the aids that it
requires for its completion, and from the time that is taken in working
it, rather than from the excellence of the art itself. And although that
does not suffice and no greater price is found, as would be easily seen
by anyone who were willing to consider it diligently, let them find a
greater price than the marvellous, beautiful, and living gift that
Alexander the Great made in return for the most splendid and excellent
work of Apelles, bestowing on him, not vast treasures or high estate,
but his own beloved and most beautiful Campaspe; let them observe, in
addition, that Alexander was young, enamoured of her, and naturally
subject to the passions of love, and also both a King and a Greek; and
then, from this, let them draw what conclusion they please. As for the
loves of Pygmalion and of those other rascals no more worthy to be men,
cited as proof of the nobility of the art, they know not what to answer,
if, from a very great blindness of intellect and from a licentiousness
unbridled beyond all natural bounds, there can be made a proof of
nobility. As for the man, whosoever he was, alleged by the sculptors to
have made sculpture of gold and painting of silver, they are agreed that
if he had given as much sign of judgment as of wealth, there would be no
disputing it; and finally, they conclude that the ancient Golden Fleece,
however celebrated it may be, none the less covered nothing but an
unintelligent ram; wherefore neither the testimony of riches nor that of
dishonest desires, but those of letters, of practice, of excellence, and
of judgment are those to which we must pay attention. Nor do they make
any answer to the difficulty of obtaining the marbles and the metals,
save this, that it springs from their own poverty and from the little
favour of the powerful, as has been said, and not from any degree of
greater nobility. To the extreme fatigues of the body and to the dangers
peculiar to them and to their works, laughing and without any ado they
answer that if greater fatigues and dangers prove greater nobility, the
art of quarrying the marbles from the bowels of mountains by means of
wedges, levers, and hammers must be more noble than sculpture, that of
the blacksmith must surpass the goldsmith's, and that of masonry must be
superior to architecture.

They say, next, that the true difficulties lie rather in the mind than
in the body, wherefore those things that from their nature call for more
study and knowledge are more noble and excellent than those that avail
themselves rather of strength of body; and they declare that since the
painters rely more on the worth of the mind than the others, this
highest honour belongs to painting. For the sculptors the compasses and
squares suffice to discover and apply all the proportions and
measurements whereof they have need; for the painters there is
necessary, besides the knowledge how to make good use of the aforesaid
instruments, an accurate understanding of perspective, for the reason
that they have to provide a thousand other things beyond landscapes and
buildings, not to mention that they must have greater judgment by reason
of the quantity of the figures in one scene, wherein more errors can
come than in a single statue. For the sculptor it is enough to be
acquainted with the true forms and features of solid and tangible
bodies, subordinate on every side to the touch, and moreover of those
only that have something to support them. For the painter it is
necessary to know the forms not only of all the bodies supported and not
supported, but also of all those transparent and intangible; and besides
this they must know the colours that are suitable for the said bodies,
whereof the multitude and the variety, so absolute and admitting of such
infinite extension, are demonstrated better by the flowers, the fruits,
and the minerals than by anything else; and this knowledge is supremely
difficult to acquire and to maintain, by reason of their infinite
variety. They say, moreover, that whereas sculpture, through the
stubbornness and the imperfection of the material, does not represent
the emotions of the soul save with motion, which does not, however, find
much scope therein, and with the mere shape of the limbs and not even of
all these; the painters demonstrate them with all the forms of motion,
which are infinite, with the shape of the limbs, however subtle they may
be, and even with breath itself and the spiritual essence of sight; and
that, for greater perfection in demonstrating not only the passions and
emotions of the soul but also the events of the future, as living men
do, they must have, besides long practice in the art, a complete
understanding of physiognomy, whereof that part suffices for the
sculptor which deals with the quantity and the quality of the members,
without troubling about the quality of colours, as to the knowledge of
which anyone who judges by the eye knows how useful and necessary it is
for the true imitation of nature, whereunto the closer a man approaches
the more perfect he is.

After this they add that whereas sculpture, taking away bit by bit, at
one and the same time gives depth to and acquires relief for those
things that have solidity by their own nature, and makes use of touch
and sight, the painters, in two distinct actions, give relief and depth
to a flat surface with the help of one single sense; and this, when it
has been done by a person intelligent in the art, has caused many great
men, not to speak of animals, to stand fast in the most pleasing
illusion, which has never been seen to be done by sculpture, for the
reason that it does not imitate nature in a manner that may be called
as perfect as their own. And finally, in answer to that complete and
absolute perfection of judgment which is required for sculpture, by
reason of its having no means to add where it takes away; declaring,
first, that such mistakes are irreparable, as the others say, and not to
be remedied save by patches, which, even as in garments they are signs
of poverty of wardrobe, so too both in sculpture and in pictures are
signs of poverty of intellect and judgment; and saying, further, that
patience, at its own leisure, by means of models, protractors, squares,
compasses, and a thousand other devices and instruments for enlarging,
not only preserves them from mistakes but enables them to bring their
whole work to its perfection; they conclude, then, that this difficulty
which they put down as the greater is nothing or little when compared to
those which the painters have when working in fresco, and that the said
perfection of judgment is in no way more necessary for sculptors than
for painters, it being sufficient for the former to execute good models
in wax, clay, or something else, even as the latter make their drawings
on corresponding materials or on cartoons; and that finally, the quality
that little by little transfers their models to the marble is rather
patience than aught else.

But let us consider about judgment, as the sculptors wish, and see
whether it is not more necessary to one who works in fresco than to one
who chisels in marble. For here not only is there no place for patience
or for time, which are most mortal enemies to the union of the plaster
and the colours, but the eye does not see the true colours until the
plaster is well dry, nor can the hand judge of anything but of the soft
or the dry, in a manner that anyone who were to call it working in the
dark, or with spectacles of colours different from the truth, would not
in my belief be very far wrong. Nay, I do not doubt at all that such a
name is more suitable for it than for intaglio, for which wax serves as
spectacles both true and good. They say, too, that for this work it is
necessary to have a resolute judgment, to foresee the end in the fresh
plaster and how the work will turn out on the dry; besides that the work
cannot be abandoned so long as the plaster is still fresh, and that it
is necessary to do resolutely in one day what sculpture does in a month.
And if a man has not this judgment and this excellence, there are seen,
on the completion of his work or in time, patches, blotches,
corrections, and colours superimposed or retouched on the dry, which is
something of the vilest, because afterwards mould appears and reveals
the insufficiency and the small knowledge of the craftsmen, even as the
pieces added in sculpture lead to ugliness; not to mention that when it
comes about that the figures in fresco are washed, as is often done
after some time to restore them, what has been worked on the fresh
plaster remains, and what has been retouched on the dry is carried away
by the wet sponge.

They add, moreover, that whereas the sculptors make two figures
together, or at the most three, from one block of marble, they make many
of them on one single panel, with all those so many and so varied
aspects which the sculptors claim for one single statue, compensating
with the variety of their postures, foreshortenings, and attitudes, for
the fact that the work of the sculptors can be seen from every side;
even as Giorgione da Castelfranco did once in one of his pictures,
wherein a figure with its back turned, having a mirror on either side,
and a pool of water at its feet, shows its back in the painting, its
front in the pool, and its sides in the mirrors, which is something that
sculpture has never been able to do. In addition to this, they maintain
that painting leaves not one of the elements unadorned and not abounding
with all the excellent things that nature has bestowed on them, giving
its own light and its own darkness to the air, with all its varieties of
feeling, and filling it with all the kinds of birds together; to water,
its clearness, the fishes, the mosses, the foam, the undulations of the
waves, the ships, and all its various moods; and to the earth, the
mountains, the plains, the plants, the fruits, the flowers, the animals,
and the buildings; with so great a multitude of things and so great a
variety of their forms and of their true colours, that nature herself
many a time stands in a marvel thereat; and finally, giving to fire so
much of its heat and light that it is clearly seen burning things, and,
almost quivering with its flames, rendering luminous in part the
thickest darkness of the night. Wherefore it appears to them that they
can justly conclude and declare that contrasting the difficulties of the
sculptors with their own, the labours of the body with those of the
mind, the imitation of the mere form with the imitation of the
impression, both of quantity and of quality, that strikes the eye, the
small number of the subjects wherein sculpture can and does demonstrate
its excellence with the infinite number of those which painting presents
to us (not to mention the perfect preservation of them for the intellect
and the distribution of them in those places wherein nature herself has
not done so); and finally, weighing the whole content of the one with
that of the other, the nobility of sculpture, as shown by the intellect,
the invention, and the judgment of its craftsmen, does not correspond by
a great measure to that which painting enjoys and deserves. And this is
all that on the one side and on the other has come to my ears that is
worthy of consideration.

But because it appears to me that the sculptors have spoken with too
much heat and the painters with too much disdain, and seeing that I have
long enough studied the works of sculpture and have ever exercised
myself in painting, however small, perhaps, may be the fruit that is to
be seen of it; none the less, by reason of that which it is worth, and
by reason of the undertaking of these writings, judging it my duty to
demonstrate the judgment that I have ever made of it in my own mind (and
may my authority avail the most that it can), I will declare my opinion
surely and briefly over such a dispute, being convinced that I will not
incur any charge of presumption or of ignorance, seeing that I will not
treat of the arts of others, as many have done before to the end that
they might appear to the crowd intelligent in all things by means of
letters, and as happened, among others, to Phormio the Peripatetic of
Ephesus, who, in order to display his eloquence, lecturing and making
disputation about the virtues and parts of the excellent captain, made
Hannibal laugh not less at his presumption than at his ignorance.

I say, then, that sculpture and painting are in truth sisters, born from
one father, that is, design, at one and the same birth, and have no
precedence one over the other, save insomuch as the worth and the
strength of those who maintain them make one craftsman surpass another,
and not by reason of any difference or degree of nobility that is in
truth to be found between them. And although by reason of the diversity
of their essence they have many different advantages, these are neither
so great nor of such a kind that they do not come exactly into balance
together and that we do not perceive the infatuation or the obstinacy,
rather than the judgment, of those who wish one to surpass the other.
Wherefore it may be said with reason that one and the same soul rules
the bodies of both, and by reason of this I conclude that those do evil
who strive to disunite and to separate the one from the other. Heaven,
wishing to undeceive us in this matter and to show us the kinship and
union of these two most noble arts, has raised up in our midst at
various times many sculptors who have painted and many painters who have
worked in sculpture, as will be seen in the Life of Antonio del
Pollaiuolo, of Leonardo da Vinci, and of many others long since passed
away. But in our own age the Divine Goodness has created for us
Michelagnolo Buonarroti, in whom both these arts shine forth so perfect
and appear so similar and so closely united, that the painters marvel at
his pictures and the sculptors feel for the sculptures wrought by him
supreme admiration and reverence. On him, to the end that he might not
perchance need to seek from some other master some convenient
resting-place for the figures that he wrought, nature has bestowed so
generously the science of architecture, that without having need of
others he has strength and power within himself to give to this or the
other image made by himself an honourable and suitable resting-place, in
a manner that he rightly deserves to be called the king of sculptors,
the prince of painters, and the most excellent of architects, nay
rather, of architecture the true master. And indeed we can affirm with
certainty that those do in no way err who call him divine, seeing that
he has within his own self embraced the three arts most worthy of praise
and most ingenious that are to be found among mortal men, and that with
these, after the manner of a God, he can give us infinite delight. And
let this suffice for the dispute raised between the factions, and for
our own opinion.

Now, returning to my first intention, I say that, wishing in so far as
it lies within the reach of my powers to drag from the ravening maw of
time, the names of the sculptors, painters, and architects, who, from
Cimabue to the present day, have been of some notable excellence in
Italy, and desiring that this my labour may be no less useful than it
has been pleasant to me in the undertaking, it appears to me necessary,
before we come to the history, to make as briefly as may be an
introduction to these three arts, wherein those were valiant of whom I
am to write the Lives, to the end that every gracious spirit may first
learn the most notable things in their professions, and afterwards may
be able with greater pleasure and benefit to see clearly in what they
were different among themselves, and how great adornment and convenience
they give to their countries and to all who wish to avail themselves of
their industry and knowledge.

I will begin, then, with architecture, as the most universal and the
most necessary and useful to men, and as that for the service and
adornment of which the two others exist; and I will expound briefly the
varieties of stone, the manners or methods of construction, with their
proportions, and how one may recognize buildings that are good and
well-conceived. Afterwards, discoursing of sculpture, I will tell how
statues are wrought, the form and the proportion that are looked for in
them, and of what kind are good sculptures, with all the most secret and
most necessary precepts. Finally, treating of painting, I will speak of
draughtsmanship, of the methods of colouring, of the perfect execution
of any work, of the quality of the pictures themselves, and of
whatsoever thing appertains to painting; of every kind of mosaic, of
niello, of enamelling, of damascening, and then, lastly, of the printing
of pictures. And in this way I am convinced that these my labours will
delight those who are not engaged in these pursuits, and will both
delight and help those who have made them a profession. For not to
mention that in the Introduction they will review the methods of
working, and that in the Lives of the craftsmen themselves they will
learn where their works are, and how to recognize easily their
perfection or imperfection and to discriminate between one manner and
another, they will also be able to perceive how much praise and honour
that man deserves who adds upright ways and goodness of life to the
excellencies of arts so noble. Kindled by the praise that those so
constituted have obtained, they too will aspire to true glory. Nor will
little fruit be gathered from the history, true guide and mistress of
our actions, in reading of the infinite variety of innumerable accidents
that befell the craftsmen, sometimes by their own fault and very often
by chance.

It remains for me to make excuse for having on occasion used some words
of indifferent Tuscan, whereof I do not wish to speak, having ever taken
thought to use rather the words and names particular and proper to our
arts than the delicate or choice words of precious writers. Let me be
allowed, then, to use in their proper speech the words proper to our
craftsmen, and let all content themselves with my good will, which has
bestirred itself to produce this result not in order to teach to others
what I do not know myself, but through a desire to preserve this memory
at least of the most celebrated craftsmen, seeing that in so many
decades I have not yet been able to see one who has made much record of
them. For I have wished with these my rough labours, adumbrating their
noble deeds, to repay to them in some measure the debt that I owe to
their works, which have been to me as masters for the learning of
whatsoever I know, rather than, living in sloth, to be a malignant
critic of the works of others, blaming and decrying them as men are
often wont to do. But it is now time to come to our business.


[Footnote 2: The process of sgraffito work is described in Professor
Baldwin Brown's notes to "Vasari on Technique" as follows: "A wall is
covered with a layer of tinted plaster, and on this is superimposed a
thin coating of white plaster. This outer coating is scratched through
(with an iron tool), and the colour behind is revealed. Then all the
surface outside the design is cut away, and a cameo-like effect is given
to the design."]

[Footnote 3: The process of niello is as follows: A design is engraved
on silver or bronze, and the lines of the design are filled with a
composition of silver and lead. On the application of fire to the whole,
this composition turns black, leaving the design strongly outlined.]


I have no manner of doubt that it is with almost all writers a common
and deeply-fixed opinion that sculpture and painting together were first
discovered, by the light of nature, by the people of Egypt, and that
there are certain others who attribute to the Chaldæans the first rough
sketches in marble and the first reliefs in statuary, even as they also
give to the Greeks the invention of the brush and of colouring. But I
will surely say that of both one and the other of these arts the design,
which is their foundation, nay rather, the very soul that conceives and
nourishes within itself all the parts of man's intellect, was already
most perfect before the creation of all other things, when the Almighty
God, having made the great body of the world and having adorned the
heavens with their exceeding bright lights, descended lower with His
intellect into the clearness of the air and the solidity of the earth,
and, shaping man, discovered, together with the lovely creation of all
things, the first form of sculpture; from which man afterwards, step by
step (and this may not be denied), as from a true pattern, there were
taken statues, sculptures, and the science of pose and of outline; and
for the first pictures (whatsoever they were), softness, harmony, and
the concord in discord that comes from light and shade. Thus, then, the
first model whence there issued the first image of man was a lump of
clay, and not without reason, seeing that the Divine Architect of time
and of nature, being Himself most perfect, wished to show in the
imperfection of the material the way to add and to take away; in the
same manner wherein the good sculptors and painters are wont to work,
who, adding and taking away in their models, bring their imperfect
sketches to that final perfection which they desire. He gave to man that
most vivid colour of flesh, whence afterwards there were drawn for
painting, from the mines of the earth, the colours themselves for the
counterfeiting of all those things that are required for pictures. It is
true, indeed, that it cannot be affirmed for certain what was made by
the men before the Flood in these arts in imitation of so beautiful a
work, although it is reasonable to believe that they too carved and
painted in every manner; seeing that Belus, son of the proud Nimrod,
about 200 years after the Flood, caused to be made that statue wherefrom
there was afterwards born idolatry, and his son's wife, the very famous
Semiramis, Queen of Babylon, in the building of that city, placed among
its adornments not only diverse varied kinds of animals, portrayed and
coloured from nature, but also the image of herself and of Ninus, her
husband, and, moreover, statues in bronze of her husband's father, of
her husband's mother, and of the mother of the latter, as Diodorus
relates, calling them by the Greek names (that did not yet exist), Jove,
Juno, and Ops. From these statues, perchance, the Chaldæans learnt to
make the images of their gods, seeing that 150 years later Rachel, in
flying from Mesopotamia together with Jacob her husband, stole the idols
of Laban her father, as is clearly related in Genesis. Nor, indeed, were
the Chaldæans alone in making sculptures and pictures, but the Egyptians
made them also, exercising themselves in these arts with that so great
zeal which is shown in the marvellous tomb of the most ancient King
Osimandyas, copiously described by Diodorus, and proved by the stern
commandment made by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt, namely, that under
pain of death there should be made to God no image whatsoever. He, on
descending from the mountain, having found the golden calf wrought and
adored solemnly by his people, and being greatly perturbed to see Divine
honours paid to the image of a beast, not only broke it and reduced it
to powder, but for punishment of so great a sin caused many thousands of
the wicked sons of Israel to be slain by the Levites. But because not
the making of statues but their adoration was a deadly sin, we read in
Exodus that the art of design and of statuary, not only in marble but in
every kind of metal, was bestowed by the mouth of God on Bezaleel, of
the tribe of Judah, and on Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan, who were those
that made the two cherubim of gold, the candlesticks, the veil, the
borders of the priestly vestments, and so many other most beautiful
castings for the Tabernacle, for no other reason than to bring the
people to contemplate and to adore them.

From the things seen before the Flood, then, the pride of men found the
way to make the statues of those for whom they wished that they should
remain famous and immortal in the world. And the Greeks, who think
differently about this origin, say that the Ethiopians invented the
first statues, as Diodorus tells; that the Egyptians took them from the
Ethiopians, and, from them, the Greeks; for by Homer's time sculpture
and painting are seen to have been perfected, as it is proved, in
discoursing of the shield of Achilles, by that divine poet, who shows it
to us carved and painted, rather than described, with every form of art.
Lactantius Firmianus, by way of fable, attributes it to Prometheus, who,
in the manner of Almighty God, shaped man's image out of mud; and from
him, he declares, the art of statuary came. But according to what Pliny
writes, this came to Egypt from Gyges the Lydian, who, being by the fire
and gazing at his own shadow, suddenly, with some charcoal in his hand,
drew his own outline on the wall. And from that age, for a time,
outlines only were wont to be used, with no body of colour, as the same
Pliny confirms; which method was rediscovered with more labour by
Philocles the Egyptian, and likewise by Cleanthes and Ardices of Corinth
and by Telephanes of Sicyon.

Cleophantes of Corinth was the first among the Greeks who used colours,
and Apollodorus the first who discovered the brush. There followed
Polygnotus of Thasos, Zeuxis, and Timagoras of Chalcis, with Pythias and
Aglaophon, all most celebrated; and after these the most famous Apelles,
so much esteemed and honoured by Alexander the Great for his talent, and
the most ingenious investigator of slander and false favour, as Lucian
shows us; even as almost all the excellent painters and sculptors were
endowed by Heaven, in nearly every case, not only with the adornment of
poetry, as may be read of Pacuvius, but with philosophy besides, as may
be seen in Metrodorus, who, being as well versed in philosophy as in
painting, was sent by the Athenians to Paulus Emilius to adorn his
triumph, and remained with him to read philosophy to his sons.

The art of sculpture, then, was greatly exercised in Greece, and there
appeared many excellent craftsmen, and, among others, Pheidias, an
Athenian, with Praxiteles and Polycletus, all very great masters, while
Lysippus and Pyrgoteles were excellent in sunk reliefs, and Pygmalion in
reliefs in ivory, of whom there is a fable that by his prayers he
obtained breath and spirit for the figure of a virgin that he made.
Painting, likewise, was honoured and rewarded by the ancient Greeks and
Romans, seeing that to those who made it appear marvellous they showed
favour by bestowing on them citizenship and the highest dignities. So
greatly did this art flourish in Rome that Fabius gave renown to his
house by writing his name under the things so beautifully painted by him
in the temple of Salus, and calling himself Fabius Pictor. It was
forbidden by public decree that slaves should exercise this art
throughout the cities, and so much honour did the nations pay without
ceasing to the art and to the craftsmen that the rarest works were sent
among the triumphal spoils, as marvellous things, to Rome, and the
finest craftsmen were freed from slavery and recompensed with honours
and rewards by the commonwealths.

The Romans themselves bore so great reverence for these arts that
besides the respect that Marcellus, in sacking the city of Syracuse,
commanded to be paid to a craftsman famous in them, in planning the
assault of the aforesaid city they took care not to set fire to that
quarter wherein there was a most beautiful painted panel, which was
afterwards carried to Rome in the triumph, with much pomp. Thither,
having, so to speak, despoiled the world, in course of time they
assembled the craftsmen themselves as well as their finest works,
wherewith afterwards Rome became so beautiful, for the reason that she
gained so great adornment from the statues from abroad more than from
her own native ones; it being known that in Rhodes, the city of an
island in no way large, there were more than 30,000 statues counted,
either in bronze or in marble, nor did the Athenians have less, while
those at Olympia and at Delphi were many more and those in Corinth
numberless, and all were most beautiful and of the greatest value. Is
it not known that Nicomedes, King of Lycia, in his eagerness for a Venus
that was by the hand of Praxiteles, spent on it almost all the wealth of
his people? Did not Attalus the same, who, in order to possess the
picture of Bacchus painted by Aristides, did not scruple to spend on it
more than 6,000 sesterces? Which picture was placed by Lucius Mummius in
the temple of Ceres with the greatest pomp, in order to adorn Rome.

But for all that the nobility of these arts was so highly valued, it is
none the less not yet known for certain who gave them their first
beginning. For, as has been already said above, it appears most ancient
among the Chaldæans, some give it to the Ethiopians, and the Greeks
attribute it to themselves; and it may be thought, not without reason,
that it is perchance even more ancient among the Etruscans, as our Leon
Batista Alberti testifies, whereof we have clear enough proof in the
marvellous tomb of Porsena at Chiusi, where, no long time since, there
were discovered underground, between the walls of the Labyrinth, some
terracotta tiles with figures on them in half-relief, so excellent and
in so beautiful a manner that it can be easily recognized that the art
was not begun precisely at that time, nay rather, by reason of the
perfection of these works, that it was much nearer its height than its
beginning. To this, moreover, witness is likewise borne by our seeing
every day many pieces of those red and black vases of Arezzo, made, as
may be judged from the manner, about those times, with the most delicate
carvings and small figures and scenes in low-relief, and many small
round masks wrought with great subtlety by masters of that age, men most
experienced, as is shown by the effect, and most excellent in that art.
It may be seen, moreover, by reason of the statues found at Viterbo at
the beginning of the pontificate of Alexander VI, that sculpture was in
great esteem and in no small perfection among the Etruscans; and
although it is not known precisely at what time they were made, it may
be reasonably conjectured, both from the manner of the figures and from
the style of the tombs and of the buildings, no less than from the
inscriptions in those Etruscan letters, that they are most ancient and
were made at a time when the affairs of this country were in a good and
prosperous state. But what clearer proof of this can be sought? seeing
that in our own day--that is, in the year 1554--there has been found a
bronze figure of the Chimæra of Bellerophon, in making the ditches,
fortifications, and walls of Arezzo, from which figure it is recognized
that the perfection of that art existed in ancient times among the
Etruscans, as may be seen from the Etruscan manner and still more from
the letters carved on a paw, about which--since they are but few and
there is no one now who understands the Etruscan tongue--it is
conjectured that they may represent the name of the master as well as
that of the figure itself, and perchance also the date, according to the
use of those times. This figure, by reason of its beauty and antiquity,
has been placed in our day by the Lord Duke Cosimo in the hall of the
new rooms in his Palace, wherein there have been painted by me the acts
of Pope Leo X. And besides this there were found in the same place many
small figures in bronze after the same manner, which are in the hands of
the said Lord Duke.

But since the dates of the works of the Greeks, the Ethiopians, and the
Chaldæans are as doubtful as our own, and perhaps more, and by reason of
the greater need of founding our judgment about these works on
conjectures, which, however, are not so feeble that they are in every
way wide of the mark, I believe that I strayed not at all from the truth
(and I think that everyone who will consent to consider this question
discreetly will judge as I did), when I said above that the origin of
these arts was nature herself, and the example or model, the most
beautiful fabric of the world, and the master, that divine light infused
by special grace into us, which has not only made us superior to the
other animals, but, if it be not sin to say it, like to God. And if in
our own times it has been seen (as I trust to be able to demonstrate a
little later by many examples) that simple children roughly reared in
the woods, with their only model in the beautiful pictures and
sculptures of nature, and by the vivacity of their wit, have begun by
themselves to make designs, how much more may we, nay, must we
confidently believe that these primitive men, who, in proportion as they
were less distant from their origin and divine creation, were thereby
the more perfect and of better intelligence, that they, by themselves,
having for guide nature, for master purest intellect, and for example
the so lovely model of the world, gave birth to these most noble arts,
and from a small beginning, little by little bettering them, brought
them at last to perfection? I do not, indeed, wish to deny that there
was one among them who was the first to begin, seeing that I know very
well that it must needs be that at some time and from some one man there
came the beginning; nor, also, will I deny that it may have been
possible that one helped another and taught and opened the way to
design, to colour, and relief, because I know that our art is all
imitation, of nature for the most part and then, because a man cannot by
himself rise so high, of those works that are executed by those whom he
judges to be better masters than himself. But I say surely that the
wishing to affirm dogmatically who this man or these men were is a thing
very perilous to judge, and perchance little necessary to know, provided
that we see the true root and origin wherefrom art was born. For since,
of the works that are the life and the glory of the craftsmen, the first
and step by step the second and the third were lost by reason of time,
that consumes all things, and since, for lack of writers at that time,
they could not, at least in that way, become known to posterity, their
craftsmen as well came to be forgotten. But when once the writers began
to make record of things that were before their day, they could not
speak of those whereof they had not been able to have information, in a
manner that there came to be first with them those of whom the memory
had been the last to be lost. Even as the first of the poets, by common
consent, is said to be Homer, not because there were none before him,
for there were, although not so excellent, which is seen clearly from
his own works, but because of these early poets, whatever manner of men
they were, all knowledge had been lost quite 2,000 years before.
However, leaving behind us this part, as too uncertain by reason of its
antiquity, let us come to the clearer matters of their perfection, ruin,
and restoration, or rather resurrection, whereof we will be able to
discourse on much better grounds.

I say, then, it being true indeed, that they began late in Rome, if the
first figure was, as is said, the image of Ceres made of metal from the
treasure of Spurius Cassius, who, for conspiring to make himself King,
was put to death by his own father without any scruple; and that
although the arts of sculpture and of painting continued up to the end
of the twelve Cæsars, they did not, however, continue in that perfection
and excellence which they had enjoyed before, for it may be seen from
the edifices that the Emperors built in succession one after the other
that these arts, decaying from one day to another, were coming little by
little to lose their whole perfection of design. And to this clear
testimony is borne by the works of sculpture and of architecture that
were wrought in the time of Constantine in Rome, and in particular the
triumphal arch raised for him by the Roman people near the Colosseum,
wherein it is seen that in default of good masters they not only made
use of marble groups made at the time of Trajan, but also of the spoils
brought from various places to Rome. And whosoever knows that the votive
offerings in the medallions, that is, the sculptures in half-relief, and
likewise the prisoners, and the large groups, and the columns, and the
mouldings, and the other ornaments, whether made before or from spoils,
are excellently wrought, knows also that the works which were made to
fill up by the sculptors of that time are of the rudest, as also are
certain small groups with little figures in marble below the medallions,
and the lowest base wherein there are certain victories, and certain
rivers between the arches at the sides, which are very rude and so made
that it can be believed most surely that by that time the art of
sculpture had begun to lose something of the good. And there had not yet
come the Goths and the other barbarous and outlandish peoples who
destroyed, together with Italy, all the finer arts. It is true, indeed,
that in the said times architecture had suffered less harm than the
other arts of design had suffered, for in the bath that Constantine
erected on the Lateran, in the entrance of the principal porch it may be
seen, to say nothing of the porphyry columns, the capitals wrought in
marble, and the double bases taken from some other place and very well
carved, that the whole composition of the building is very well
conceived; whereas, on the contrary, the stucco, the mosaics, and
certain incrustations on the walls made by masters of that time are not
equal to those that he caused to be placed in the same bath, which were
taken for the most part from the temples of the heathen gods.
Constantine, so it is said, did the same in the garden of Æquitius, in
making the temple which he afterwards endowed and gave to the Christian
priests. In like manner, the magnificent Church of S. Giovanni Laterano,
erected by the same Emperor, can bear witness to the same--namely, that
in his day sculpture had already greatly declined; for the image of the
Saviour and the twelve Apostles in silver that he caused to be made were
very debased sculptures, wrought without art and with very little
design. Besides this, whosoever examines with diligence the medals of
Constantine and his image and other statues made by the sculptors of
that time, which are at the present day in the Campidoglio, may see
clearly that they are very far removed from the perfection of the medals
and statues of the other Emperors; and all this shows that long before
the coming of the Goths into Italy sculpture had greatly declined.

Architecture, as has been said, continued to maintain itself, if not so
perfect, in a better state; nor is there reason to marvel at this,
seeing that, as the great edifices were made almost wholly of spoils, it
was easy for the architects, in making the new, to imitate in great
measure the old, which they had ever before their eyes, and that much
more easily than the sculptors could imitate the good figures of the
ancients, their art having wholly vanished. And that this is true is
manifest, because the Church of the Prince of the Apostles on the
Vatican was not rich save in columns, bases, capitals, architraves,
mouldings, doors, and other incrustations and ornaments, which were all
taken from various places and from the edifices built most magnificently
in earlier times. The same could be said of S. Croce in Gierusalemme,
which Constantine erected at the entreaty of his mother Helena, of S.
Lorenzo without the walls of Rome, and of S. Agnesa, built by him at the
request of Constantia, his daughter. And who does not know that the font
which served for the baptism of both her and her sister was all adorned
with works wrought long before, and in particular with the porphyry
basin carved with most beautiful figures, with certain marble
candlesticks excellently carved with foliage, and with some boys in
low-relief that are truly most beautiful? In short, for these and many
other reasons it is clear how much, in the time of Constantine,
sculpture had already declined, and together with it the other finer
arts. And if anything was wanting to complete this ruin, it was supplied
to them amply by the departure of Constantine from Rome, on his going to
establish the seat of the Empire at Byzantium; for the reason that he
took with him not only all the best sculptors and other craftsmen of
that age, whatsoever manner of men they were, but also an infinite
number of statues and other works of sculpture, all most beautiful.

After the departure of Constantine, the Cæsars whom he left in Italy,
building continually both in Rome and elsewhere, exerted themselves to
make their works as fine as they could; but, as may be seen, sculpture,
as well as painting and architecture, went ever from bad to worse, and
this perchance came to pass because, when human affairs begin to
decline, they never cease to go ever lower and lower until such time as
they can grow no worse. So, too, it may be seen that although at the
time of Pope Liberius the architects of that day strove to do something
great in constructing the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, they were yet not
happy in the success of the whole, for the reason that although that
building, which is likewise composed for the greater part of spoils, was
made with good enough proportions, it cannot be denied any the less, not
to speak of certain other parts, that the frieze made right round above
the columns with ornaments in stucco and in painting is wholly wanting
in design, and that many other things which are seen in that great
church demonstrate the imperfection of the arts.

Many years after, when the Christians were persecuted under Julian the
Apostate, there was erected on the C[oe]lian Mount a church to S. John
and S. Paul, the martyrs, in a manner so much worse than those named
above, that it is seen clearly that the art was at that time little less
than wholly lost. The buildings, too, that were erected at the same time
in Tuscany, bear most ample testimony to this; and not to speak of many
others, the church that was built outside the walls of Arezzo to S.
Donatus, Bishop of that city (who, together with the monk Hilarian,
suffered martyrdom under the said Julian the Apostate), was in no way
better in architecture than those named above. Nor can it be believed
that this came from anything else but the absence of better architects
in that age, seeing that the said church (as it has been possible to see
in our own day), which is octagonal and constructed from the spoils of
the Theatre, the Colosseum and other edifices that had been standing in
Arezzo before it was converted to the faith of Christ, was built without
thought of economy and at the greatest cost, and adorned with columns of
granite, of porphyry, and of many-coloured marbles, which had belonged
to the said buildings. And for myself I do not doubt, from the expense
which was clearly bestowed on that church, that if the Aretines had had
better architects they would have built something marvellous; for it may
be seen from what they did that they spared nothing if only they might
make that work as rich and as well designed as they possibly could, and
since, as has been already said so many times, architecture had lost
less of its perfection than the other arts, there was to be seen therein
some little of the good. At this time, likewise, was enlarged the Church
of S. Maria in Grado, in honour of the said Hilarian, for the reason
that he had been for a long time living in it when he went, with
Donatus, to the crown of martyrdom.

But because Fortune, when she has brought men to the height of her
wheel, is wont, either in jest or in repentance, to throw them down
again, it came about after these things that there rose up in various
parts of the world all the barbarous peoples against Rome; whence there
ensued after no long time not only the humiliation of so great an Empire
but the ruin of the whole, and above all of Rome herself, and with her
were likewise utterly ruined the most excellent craftsmen, sculptors,
painters, and architects, leaving the arts and their own selves buried
and submerged among the miserable massacres and ruins of that most
famous city. And the first to fall into decay were painting and
sculpture, as being arts that served more for pleasure than for use,
while the other--namely, architecture--as being necessary and useful for
bodily weal, continued to exist, but no longer in its perfection and
excellence. And if it had not been that the sculptures and pictures
presented, to the eyes of those who were born from day to day, those who
had been thereby honoured to the end that they might have eternal life,
there would soon have been lost the memory of both; whereas some of
them survived in the images and in the inscriptions placed in private
houses, as well as in public buildings, namely, in the amphitheatres,
the theatres, the baths, the aqueducts, the temples, the obelisks, the
colossi, the pyramids, the arches, the reservoirs, the public
treasuries, and finally, in the very tombs, whereof a great part was
destroyed by a barbarous and savage race who had nothing in them of man
but the shape and the name. These, among others, were the Visigoths,
who, having created Alaric their King, assailed Italy and Rome and
sacked the city twice without respect for anything whatsoever. The same,
too, did the Vandals, having come from Africa with Genseric, their King,
who, not content with his booty and prey and all the cruelties that he
wrought there, carried away her people into slavery, to their exceeding
great misery, and among them Eudoxia, once the wife of the Emperor
Valentinian, who had been slaughtered no long time before by his own
soldiers. For these, having fallen away in very great measure from the
ancient Roman valour, for the reason that all the best had gone a long
time before to Byzantium with the Emperor Constantine, had no longer any
good customs or ways of life. Nay more, there had been lost at one and
the same time all true men and every sort of virtue, and laws, habits,
names, and tongues had been changed; and all these things together and
each by itself had caused every lovely mind and lofty intellect to
become most brutish and most base.

But what brought infinite harm and damage on the said professions, even
more than all the aforesaid causes, was the burning zeal of the new
Christian religion, which, after a long and bloody combat, with its
wealth of miracles and with the sincerity of its works, had finally cast
down and swept away the old faith of the heathens, and, devoting itself
most ardently with all diligence to driving out and extirpating root and
branch every least occasion whence error could arise, not only defaced
or threw to the ground all the marvellous statues, sculptures, pictures,
mosaics, and ornaments of the false gods of the heathens, but even the
memorials and the honours of numberless men of mark, to whom, for their
excellent merits, the noble spirit of the ancients had set up statues
and other memorials in public places. Nay more, it not only destroyed,
in order to build the churches for the Christian use, the most honoured
temples of the idols, but in order to ennoble and adorn S. Pietro (to
say nothing of the ornaments which had been there from the beginning) it
also robbed of its stone columns the Mausoleum of Hadrian, now called
the Castello di S. Angelo, and many other buildings that to-day we see
in ruins. And although the Christian religion did not do this by reason
of hatred that it bore to the arts, but only in order to humiliate and
cast down the gods of the heathens, it was none the less true that from
this most ardent zeal there came so great ruin on these honoured
professions that their very form was wholly lost. And as if aught were
wanting to this grievous misfortune, there arose against Rome the wrath
of Totila, who, besides razing her walls and destroying with fire and
sword all her most wonderful and noble buildings, burnt the whole city
from end to end, and, having robbed her of every living body, left her a
prey to flames and fire, so that there was not found in her in eighteen
successive days a single living soul; and he cast down and destroyed so
completely the marvellous statues, pictures, mosaics, and works in
stucco, that there was lost, I do not say only their majesty, but their
very form and essence. Wherefore, it being the lower rooms chiefly of
the palaces and other buildings that were wrought with stucco, with
painting, and with statuary, there was buried by the ruins from above
all that good work that has been discovered in our own day, and those
who came after, judging the whole to be in ruins, planted vines thereon,
in a manner that, since the said lower rooms remained under the ground,
the moderns have called them grottoes, and "grotesque" the pictures that
are therein seen at the present day.

After the end of the Ostrogoths, who were destroyed by Narses, men were
living among the ruins of Rome in some fashion, poorly indeed, when
there came, after 100 years, Constantine II, Emperor of Constantinople,
who, although received lovingly by the Romans, laid waste, robbed, and
carried away all that had remained, more by chance than by the good will
of those who had destroyed her, in the miserable city of Rome. It is
true, indeed, that he was not able to enjoy this booty, because, being
carried by a sea-tempest to Sicily and being justly slain by his own
men, he left his spoils, his kingdom, and his life a prey to Fortune.
But she, not yet content with the woes of Rome, to the end that the
things stolen might never return, brought thither for the ruin of the
island a host of Saracens, who carried off both the wealth of the
Sicilians and the spoils of Rome to Alexandria, to the very great shame
and loss of Italy and of Christendom. And so all that the Pontiffs had
not destroyed (and above all S. Gregory, who is said to have decreed
banishment against all the remainder of the statues and of the spoils of
the buildings) came finally, at the hands of that most rascally Greek,
to an evil end; in a manner that, there being no trace or sign to be
found of anything that was in any way good, the men who came after,
although rude and boorish, and in particular in their pictures and
sculptures, yet, incited by nature and refined by the air, set
themselves to work, not according to the rules of the aforesaid arts,
which they did not know, but according to the quality of their own

The arts of design, then, having been brought to these limits both
before and during the lordship of the Lombards over Italy and also
afterwards, continued gradually to grow worse, although some little work
was done, insomuch that nothing could have been more rudely wrought or
with less design than what was done, as bear witness, besides many other
works, certain figures that are in the portico of S. Pietro in Rome,
above the doors, wrought in the Greek manner in memory of certain holy
fathers who had made disputation for Holy Church in certain councils. To
this, likewise, bear witness many works in the same manner that are to
be seen in the city and in the whole Exarchate of Ravenna, and in
particular some that are in S. Maria Rotonda without that city, made a
little time after the Lombards had been driven out of Italy. In this
church, as I will not forbear to say, there may be seen a thing most
notable and marvellous, namely, the vault, or rather cupola, that covers
it, which, although it is ten braccia wide and serves for roof and
covering to that building, is nevertheless of one single piece, so great
and ponderous that it seems almost impossible that such a stone,
weighing more than 200,000 libbre,[4] could have been set into place so
high. But to return to our subject; there issued from the hands of the
masters of these times those puppet-like and uncouth figures that are
still to be seen in the works of old. The same thing happened to
architecture, seeing that, since it was necessary to build, and since
form and the good method were completely lost by reason of the death of
the craftsmen and the destruction and ruin of their works, those who
applied themselves to this exercise built nothing that either in
ordering or in proportion showed any grace, or design, or reason
whatsoever. Wherefore there came to arise new architects, who brought
from their barbarous races the method of that manner of buildings that
are called by us to-day German; and they made some that are rather a
source of laughter for us moderns than creditable to them, until better
craftsmen afterwards found a better style, in some measure similar to
the good style of the ancients, even as that manner may be seen
throughout all Italy in the old churches (but not the ancient), which
were built by them, such as a palace of Theodoric, King of Italy, in
Ravenna, and one in Pavia, and another in Modena; all in a barbarous
manner, and rather rich and vast than well-conceived or of good
architecture. The same may be affirmed of S. Stefano in Rimini, of S.
Martino in Ravenna, and of the Church of S. Giovanni Evangelista,
erected in the same city by Galla Placidia about the year of our
salvation 438; of S. Vitale, which was erected in the year 547, of the
Abbey of Classi di Fuori, and in short of many other monasteries and
churches erected after the Lombard rule. All these buildings, as has
been said, are both large and magnificent, but of the rudest
architecture, and among them are many abbeys in France erected to S.
Benedict, the Church and Monastery of Monte Casino, and the Church of S.
Giovanni Battista at Monza, built by that Theodelinda, Queen of the
Goths, to whom S. Gregory the Pope wrote his Dialogues; in which place
that Queen caused to be painted the story of the Lombards, wherein it
was seen that they shaved the back of their heads, and in front they had
long locks, and they dyed themselves as far as the chin. Their garments
were of ample linen, as was the use of the Angles and Saxons, and below
a mantle of diverse colours; their shoes open as far as the toes and
tied above with certain straps of leather. Similar to the aforesaid
churches were the Church of S. Giovanni in Pavia, erected by Gondiberta,
daughter of the aforesaid Theodelinda, and in the same city the Church
of S. Salvadore, built by the brother of the said Queen, Aribert, who
succeeded to the throne of Rodoald, husband of Gondiberta; and the
Church of S. Ambrogio in Pavia, erected by Grimoald, King of the
Lombards, who drove Bertrid, son of Aribert, from his throne. This
Bertrid, being restored to his throne after the death of Grimoald,
erected, also in Pavia, a monastery for nuns called the Monasterio
Nuovo, in honour of Our Lady and of S. Agatha; and the Queen erected one
without the walls, dedicated to the "Virgin Mary in Pertica." Cunibert,
likewise, son of that Bertrid, erected a monastery and church after the
same manner to S. Giorgio, called di Coronate, on the spot where he had
gained a great victory over Alahi. Not unlike to these, too, was the
church that the King of the Lombards, Luitprand (who lived in the time
of King Pepin, father of Charlemagne), built in Pavia, which is called
S. Pietro in Cieldauro; nor that one, likewise, that Desiderius built,
who reigned after Astolf--namely, S. Pietro Clivate, in the diocese of
Milan; nor the Monastery of S. Vincenzo in Milan, nor that of S. Giulia
in Brescia, seeing that they were all built at the greatest cost, but in
the most ugly and haphazard manner.

Later, in Florence, architecture made some little progress, and the
Church of S. Apostolo, that was erected by Charlemagne, although small,
was most beautiful in manner; for not to mention that the shafts of the
columns, although they are of separate pieces, show much grace and are
made with beautiful proportion, the capitals, also, and the arches
turned to make the little vaulted roofs of the two small aisles, show
that in Tuscany there had survived or in truth arisen some good
craftsman. In short, the architecture of this church is such that
Filippo di Ser Brunellesco did not disdain to avail himself of it as a
model in building the Church of S. Spirito and that of S. Lorenzo in the
same city. The same may be seen in the Church of S. Marco in Venice,
which (to say nothing of S. Giorgio Maggiore, erected by Giovanni
Morosini in the year 978) was begun under the Doge Giustiniano and
Giovanni Particiaco, close by S. Teodosio, when the body of that
Evangelist was sent from Alexandria to Venice; and after many fires,
which greatly damaged the Doge's palace and the church, it was finally
rebuilt on the same foundations in the Greek manner and in that style
wherein it is seen to-day, at very great cost and under the direction of
many architects, in the year of Christ 973, at the time of Doge Domenico
Selvo, who had the columns brought from wheresoever he could find them.
And so it continued to go on up to the year 1140, when the Doge was
Messer Piero Polani, and, as has been said, with the design of many
masters, all Greeks. In the same Greek manner and about the same time
were the seven abbeys that Count Ugo, Marquis of Brandenburg, caused to
be built in Tuscany, as can be seen in the Badia of Florence, in that of
Settimo, and in the others; which buildings, with the remains of those
that are no longer standing, bear testimony that architecture was still
in a measure holding its ground, although greatly corrupted and far
removed from the good manner of the ancients. To this can also bear
witness many old palaces built in Florence after the ruin of Fiesole, in
Tuscan workmanship, but with barbaric ordering in the proportions of
those doors and windows of immense length, in the curves of the pointed
quarter-segments, and in the turning of the arches, after the wont of
the foreign architects of those times.

The year afterwards, 1013, it is clear that the art had regained some of
its vigour from the rebuilding of that most beautiful church, S. Miniato
in Sul Monte, in the time of Messer Alibrando, citizen and Bishop of
Florence; for the reason that, besides the marble ornaments that are
seen therein both within and without, it may be seen from the façade
that the Tuscan architects strove as much as they could in the doors,
the windows, the columns, the arches, and the mouldings, to imitate the
good order of the ancients, having in part recovered it from the most
ancient temple of S. Giovanni in their city. At the same time painting,
which was little less than wholly spent, may be seen to have begun to
win back something, as the mosaic shows that was made in the principal
chapel[5] of the said Church of S. Miniato.

From such beginnings, then, these arts commenced to grow better in
design throughout Tuscany, as is seen in the year 1016, from the
commencement made by the people of Pisa for the building of their Duomo,
seeing that in those times it was a great thing for men to put their
hands to the construction of a church made, as this was, with five
naves, and almost wholly of marble both within and without. This church,
which was built under the direction and design of Buschetto, a Greek of
Dulichium, an architect of rarest worth for those times, was erected and
adorned by the people of Pisa with innumerable spoils brought by sea
(for they were at the height of their greatness) from diverse most
distant places, as is well shown by the columns, bases, capitals,
cornices, and all the other kinds of stonework that are therein seen.
And seeing that these things were some of them small, some large, and
some of a middle size, great was the judgment and the talent of
Buschetto in accommodating them and in making the distribution of all
this building, which is very well arranged both within and without; and
besides other work, he contrived the frontal slope of the façade very
ingeniously with a great number of columns, adorning it besides with
columns carved in diverse and varied ways, and with ancient statues,
even as he also made the principal doors in the same façade, between
which--that is, beside that of the Carroccio--there was afterwards given
an honourable burial-place to Buschetto himself, with three epitaphs,
whereof this is one, in Latin verses in no way dissimilar to others of
those times:


And seeing that there has been made mention above of the Church of S.
Apostolo in Florence, I will not forbear to say that on a marble slab
therein, on one side of the high-altar, there may be seen these words:


The aforesaid edifice of the Duomo in Pisa, awaking the minds of many to
fair enterprises throughout all Italy, and above all in Tuscany, was the
cause that in the city of Pistoia, in the year 1032, a beginning was
made for the Church of S. Paolo, in the presence of the Blessed Atto,
Bishop of that city, as may be read in a contract made at that time,
and, in short, for many other buildings whereof it would take too long
to make mention at present. I cannot forbear to say, however, following
the course of time, that afterwards, in the year 1060, there was erected
in Pisa the round church of S. Giovanni, opposite the Duomo and in the
same square. And something marvellous and almost wholly incredible is to
be found recorded in an old book of the Works of the said Duomo, namely,
that the columns of the said S. Giovanni, the pillars, and the vaulting
were raised and completed in fifteen days and no more. In the same book,
which anyone can see who has the wish, it may be read that for the
building of this church there was imposed a tax of one danaio for each
fire, but it is not said therein whether of gold or of small coin; and
at that time there were in Pisa, as may be seen in the same book, 34,000
fires. Truly this work was vast, of great cost, and difficult to
execute, and above all the vaulting of the tribune, made in the shape of
a pear and covered without with lead. The outer side is full of columns,
carvings, and groups, and on the frieze of the central door is a Jesus
Christ with the twelve Apostles in half-relief, after the Greek manner.

The people of Lucca, about the same time--that is, in the year 1061--as
rivals of the people of Pisa, began the Church of S. Martino in Lucca
from the design of certain disciples of Buschetto, there being then no
other architects in Tuscany. Attached to the façade of this church there
may be seen a marble portico with many ornaments and carvings made in
memory of Pope Alexander II, who had been, a short time before he was
elected to the Pontificate, Bishop of that city. Of this construction
and of Alexander himself everything is fully told in nine Latin verses,
and the same may be seen in certain other ancient letters engraved on
the marble under the portico, between the doors. On the said façade are
certain figures, and under the portico many scenes in marble from the
life of S. Martin, in half-relief, and in the Greek manner. But the
best, which are over one of the doors, were made 170 years after by
Niccola Pisano and finished in 1233, as will be told in the proper
place; the Wardens, when these were begun, being Abellenato and
Aliprando, as it may be clearly seen from certain letters carved in
marble in the same place. These figures by the hand of Niccola Pisano
show how much improvement there came from him to the art of sculpture.
Similar to these were most, nay, all of the buildings that were erected
in Italy from the times aforesaid up to the year 1250, seeing that
little or no acquisition or improvement can be seen to have been made in
the space of so many years by architecture, which stayed within the same
limits and went on ever in that rude manner, whereof many examples are
still to be seen, of which I will at present make no mention, for the
reason that they will be spoken of below according to the occasions that
may come before me.

In like manner the good sculptures and pictures which had been buried
under the ruins of Italy remained up to the same time hidden from or not
known to the men boorishly reared in the rudeness of the modern use of
that age, wherein no other sculptures or pictures existed than those
which a remnant of old Greeks were making either in images of clay or
stone, or painting monstrous figures and covering only the bare
lineaments with colour. These craftsmen, as the best, being the only
ones in these professions, were summoned to Italy, whither they brought
sculpture and painting, together with mosaic, in that style wherein
they knew them; and even so they taught them rudely and roughly to the
Italians, who afterwards made use of them, as has been told and will be
told further, up to a certain time. And the men of those times, not
being used to see other excellence or greater perfection in any work
than that which they themselves saw, marvelled and took these for the
best, for all that they were vile, until the spirits of the generation
then arising, helped in some places by the subtlety of the air, became
so greatly purged that about 1250, Heaven, moved to pity for the lovely
minds that the Tuscan soil was producing every day, restored them to
their first condition. And although those before them had seen remains
of arches, of colossi, of statues, of urns, and of storied columns in
the ages that came after the sackings, the destructions, and the
burnings of Rome, and never knew how to make use of them or draw from
them any benefit, up to the time mentioned above, the minds that came
after, discerning well enough the good from the bad and abandoning the
old manners, turned to imitating the ancient with all their industry and

But in order that it may be understood more clearly what I call "old"
and what "ancient," the "ancient" were the works made before Constantine
in Corinth, in Athens, in Rome, and in other very famous cities, until
the time of Nero, the Vespasians, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus;
whereas those others are called "old" that were executed from S.
Silvester's day up to that time by a certain remnant of Greeks, who knew
rather how to dye than how to paint. For since the excellent early
craftsmen had been killed in these wars, as has been said, to the
remainder of these Greeks, old but not ancient, there had been left
nothing but elementary outlines on a ground of colour; and to this at
the present day witness is borne by an infinity of mosaics, which,
wrought throughout all Italy by these Greeks, are to be seen in every
old church in any city whatsoever of Italy, and above all in the Duomo
of Pisa, in S. Marco at Venice, and in other places as well; and so,
too, they kept making many pictures in that manner, with eyes staring,
hands outstretched, and standing on tiptoe, as may still be seen in S.
Miniato without Florence, between the door that leads into the sacristy
and that which leads into the convent; and in S. Spirito in the said
city, the whole side of the cloister opposite the church; and in like
manner at Arezzo, in S. Giuliano and S. Bartolommeo and in other
churches; and in Rome, in the old Church of S. Pietro, scenes right
round between the windows--works that have more of the monstrous in
their lineaments than of likeness to whatsoever they represent. Of
sculptures, likewise, they made an infinity, as may still be seen in
low-relief over the door of S. Michele in the Piazza Padella of
Florence, and in Ognissanti; and tombs and adornments in many places for
the doors of churches, wherein they have certain figures for corbels to
support the roof, so rude and vile, so misshapen, and of such a
grossness of manner, that it appears impossible that worse could be

Thus far have I thought fit to discourse from the beginning of sculpture
and of painting, and peradventure at greater length than was necessary
in this place, which I have done, indeed, not so much carried away by my
affection for art as urged by the common benefit and advantage of our
craftsmen. For having seen in what way she, from a small beginning,
climbed to the greatest height, and how from a state so noble she fell
into utter ruin, and that, in consequence, the nature of this art is
similar to that of the others, which, like human bodies, have their
birth, their growth, their growing old, and their death; they will now
be able to recognize more easily the progress of her second birth and of
that very perfection whereto she has risen again in our times. And I
hope, moreover, that if ever (which God forbid) it should happen at any
time, through the negligence of men, or through the malice of time, or,
finally, through the decree of Heaven, which appears to be unwilling
that the things of this earth should exist for long in one form, that
she falls again into the same chaos of ruin; that these my labours,
whatsoever they may be worth (if indeed they may be worthy of a happier
fortune), both through what has been already said and through what
remains to say, may be able to keep her alive or at least to encourage
the most exalted minds to provide them with better assistance; so much
so that, what with my good will and the works of these masters, she may
abound in those aids and adornments wherein, if I may freely speak the
truth, she has been wanting up to the present day.

But it is now time to come to the Life of Giovanni Cimabue, and even as
he gave the first beginning to the new method of drawing and painting,
so it is just and expedient that he should give it to the Lives, in
which I will do my utmost to observe, the most that I can, the order of
their manners rather than that of time. And in describing the forms and
features of the craftsmen I will be brief, seeing that their portraits,
which have been collected by me with no less cost and fatigue than
diligence, will show better what sort of men the craftsmen themselves
were in appearance than describing them could ever do; and if the
portrait of any one of them should be wanting, that is not through my
fault but by reason of its being nowhere found. And if the said
portraits were not peradventure to appear to someone to be absolutely
like to others that might be found, I wish it to be remembered that the
portrait made of a man when he was eighteen or twenty years old will
never be like to the portrait that may have been made fifteen or twenty
years later. To this it must be added that portraits in drawing are
never so like as are those in colours, not to mention that the
engravers, who have no draughtsmanship, always rob the faces (being
unable or not knowing how to make exactly those minutenesses that make
them good and true to life) of that perfection which is rarely or never
found in portraits cut in wood. In short, how great have been therein my
labour, expense, and diligence, will be evident to those who, in
reading, will see whence I have to the best of my ability unearthed


[Footnote 4: The libbra is twelve ounces of our ordinary pound

[Footnote 5: It is difficult to find a rendering of "cappella maggiore"
that is absolutely satisfactory. There may be a chapel in some churches
that is actually larger than the "principal chapel." The principal
chapel generally contains the choir, but not always, and when Vasari
wants to say "choir" he uses the word "coro." The rendering "principal
chapel" has therefore been adopted as the least misleading.]



[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the painting by_ Cimabue. _Paris: Louvre, 1260_)]



By the infinite flood of evils which had laid prostrate and submerged
poor Italy there had not only been ruined everything that could truly
claim the name of building, but there had been blotted out (and this was
of graver import) the whole body of the craftsmen, when, by the will of
God, in the city of Florence, in the year 1240, there was born, to give
the first light to the art of painting, Giovanni, surnamed Cimabue, of
the family, noble in those times, of Cimabue. He, while growing up,
being judged by his father and by others to have a beautiful and acute
intelligence, was sent, to the end that he might exercise himself in
letters, to a master in S. Maria Novella, his relative, who was then
teaching grammar to the novices of that convent; but Cimabue, in place
of attending to his letters, would spend the whole day, as one who felt
himself led thereto by nature, in drawing, on books and other papers,
men, horses, houses, and diverse other things of fancy; to which natural
inclination fortune was favourable, for certain Greek painters had been
summoned to Florence by those who then governed the city, for nothing
else but to restore to Florence the art of painting, which was rather
out of mind than out of fashion, and they began, among the other works
undertaken in the city, the Chapel of the Gondi, whereof to-day the
vaulting and the walls are little less than eaten away by time, as may
be seen in S. Maria Novella beside the principal chapel, where it
stands. Wherefore Cimabue, having begun to take his first steps in this
art which pleased him, playing truant often from school, would stand the
livelong day watching these masters at work, in a manner that, being
judged by his father and by these painters to be in such wise fitted
for painting that there could be hoped for him, applying himself to this
profession, an honourable success, to his own no small satisfaction he
was apprenticed by the said father to these men; whereupon, exercising
himself without ceasing, in a short time nature assisted him so greatly
that he surpassed by a long way, both in drawing and in colouring, the
manner of the masters who were teaching him. For they, giving no thought
to making any advance, had made those works in that fashion wherein they
are seen to-day--that is, not in the good ancient manner of the Greeks
but in that rude modern manner of those times; and because, although he
imitated these Greeks, he added much perfection to the art, relieving it
of a great part of their rude manner, he gave honour to his country with
his name and with the works that he made, to which witness is borne in
Florence by the pictures that he wrought, such as the front of the altar
in S. Cecilia, and in S. Croce a panel with a Madonna, which was and
still is placed against a pilaster on the right within the choir. After
this, he made a S. Francis on a small panel on a gold ground, and
portrayed him from nature (which was something new in those times) as
best he knew, and round him all the stories of his life, in twenty small
pictures full of little figures on a gold ground.

Having next undertaken to make a large panel for the monks of
Vallombrosa, in the Abbey of S. Trinita in Florence, he showed in that
work (using therein great diligence, so as to rise equal to the esteem
which had already been conceived of him) better inventions and a
beautiful method in the attitude of a Madonna, whom he made with the
Child in her arms and with many angels round her in adoration, on a gold
ground; which panel, being finished, was placed by these monks over the
high-altar of the said church, and being afterwards removed, in order to
give that place to the panel by Alesso Baldovinetti which is there
to-day, it was placed in a smaller chapel in the left-hand aisle of the
said church.

Working next in fresco on the Hospital of the Porcellana, at the corner
of the Via Nuova which goes into the Borg' Ognissanti, on the façade
which has in the middle the principal door, and making on one side the
Annunciation of the Virgin by the Angel, and on the other Jesus Christ
with Cleophas and Luke, figures as large as life, he swept away that
ancient manner, making the draperies, the vestments, and everything else
in this work, a little more lively and more natural and softer than the
manner of these Greeks, all full of lines and profiles both in mosaic
and in painting; which manner, rough, rude, and vulgar, the painters of
those times, not by means of study, but by a certain convention, had
taught one to the other for many and many a year, without ever thinking
of bettering their draughtsmanship, of beauty of colouring, or of any
invention that might be good.

Cimabue, being summoned again after this work by the same Prior who had
caused him to make the works in S. Croce, made him a large Crucifix on
wood, which is still seen to-day in the church; which work was the
reason, it appearing to the Prior that he had been well served, that he
took him to S. Francesco in Pisa, their convent, in order to make a S.
Francis on a panel, which was held by these people to be a most rare
work, there being seen therein a certain greater quality of excellence,
both in the air of the heads and in the folds of the draperies, than had
been shown in the Greek manner up to that time by anyone who had wrought
anything, not only in Pisa, but in all Italy. Cimabue having next made
for the same church on a large panel the image of Our Lady, with the
Child in her arms and with many angels round her, also on a ground of
gold, it was after no long time removed from where it had been set up
the first time, in order to make there the marble altar that is there at
present, and was placed within the church beside the door on the left
hand; and for this work he was much praised and rewarded by the people
of Pisa. In the same city of Pisa, at the request of the then Abbot of
S. Paolo in Ripa d'Arno, he made a S. Agnes on a little panel, and round
her, with little figures, all the stories of her life; which little
panel is to-day over the altar of the Virgins in the said church.

By reason of these works, then, the name of Cimabue being very famous
everywhere, he was brought to Assisi, a city of Umbria, where, in
company with certain Greek masters, in the lower Church of S.
Francesco, he painted part of the vaulting, and on the walls the life of
Jesus Christ and that of S. Francis. In these pictures he surpassed by a
long way those Greek painters; wherefore, growing in courage, he began
by his own self to paint the upper church in fresco, and in the chief
apse, over the choir, on four sides, he made certain stories of Our
Lady--namely, her death; when her soul is borne by Christ to Heaven upon
a throne of clouds; and when, in the midst of a choir of angels, He
crowns her, with a great number of saints below, both male and female,
now eaten away by time and by dust. Next, in the sections of the
vaulting of the said church, which are five, he painted in like manner
many scenes. In the first, over the choir, he made the four Evangelists,
larger than life, and so well that to-day there is still recognized in
them much that is good, and the freshness of the colours in the flesh
shows that painting began to make great progress in fresco work through
the labours of Cimabue. The second section he made full of golden stars
on a ground of ultramarine. In the third he made in certain medallions
Jesus Christ, the Virgin His mother, S. John the Baptist, and S.
Francis--namely, in every medallion one of these figures, and in every
quarter segment of the vaulting a medallion. And between this and the
fifth section he painted the fourth with golden stars, as above, on a
ground of ultramarine. In the fifth he painted the four Doctors of the
Church, and beside each one of these one of the four chief Religious
Orders--a work truly laborious and executed with infinite diligence. The
vaulting finished, he wrought, also in fresco, the upper walls of the
whole left-hand side of the church, making towards the high-altar,
between the windows and right up to the vaulting, eight scenes from the
Old Testament, commencing from the beginning of Genesis and following
the most notable events. And in the space that is round the windows, up
to the point where they end in the gallery that encircles the interior
of the wall of the church, he painted the remainder of the Old Testament
in eight other scenes. And opposite this work, in sixteen other scenes
corresponding to these, he painted the acts of Our Lady and of Jesus
Christ. And on the end wall over the principal door, and round the rose
window of the church, he made her Ascension into Heaven and the Holy
Spirit descending on the Apostles. This work, truly very great and
rich and most excellently executed, must have, in my judgment, amazed
the world in those times, seeing, above all, that painting had lain so
long in such great darkness; and to me, who saw it again in the year
1563, it appeared very beautiful, thinking how in so great darkness
Cimabue could see so great light. But of all these pictures (and to this
we should give consideration), those on the roof, as being less injured
by dust and by other accidents, have been preserved much better than the
others. These works finished, Giovanni put his hand to painting the
lower walls--namely, those that are from the windows downwards--and made
certain works upon them, but being called to Florence on some business
of his own, he did not carry this work further; but it was finished, as
will be told in the proper place, by Giotto, many years afterwards.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco of the_ Roman School. _Assisi: Upper Church of S.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco by_ Pietro Laurati [Lorenzetti]. _Assisi: Lower
Church of S. Francesco_)]

Having returned, then, to Florence, Cimabue painted in the cloister of
S. Spirito (wherein there is painted in the Greek manner, by other
masters, the whole side facing the church) three small arches by his own
hand, from the life of Christ, and truly with much design. And at the
same time he sent certain works wrought by himself in Florence to
Empoli, which works are still held to-day in great veneration in the
Pieve of that township. Next, he made for the Church of S. Maria Novella
the panel of Our Lady that is set on high between the Chapel of the
Rucellai and that of the Bardi da Vernia; which work was of greater size
than any figure that had been made up to that time. And certain angels
that are round it show that, although he still had the Greek manner, he
was going on approaching in part to the line and method of the modern.
Wherefore this work caused so great marvel to the people of that age, by
reason of there not having been seen up to then anything better, that it
was borne in most solemn procession from the house of Cimabue to the
church, with much rejoicing and with trumpets, and he was thereby much
rewarded and honoured. It is said, and it may be read in certain records
of old painters, that while Cimabue was painting the said panel in
certain gardens close to the Porta S. Pietro, there passed through
Florence King Charles the Elder of Anjou, and that, among the many signs
of welcome made to him by the men of this city, they brought him to see
Cimabue's panel; whereupon, for the reason that it had not yet been seen
by anyone, in the showing it to the King there flocked together to it
all the men and all the women of Florence, with the utmost rejoicing and
in the greatest crowd in the world. Wherefore, by reason of the joy that
the neighbours had thereby, they called that place the Borgo Allegri;
which place, although enclosed in time within the walls, has ever after
retained the same name.

In S. Francesco in Pisa, where he wrought, as has been said above,
certain other works, there is in the cloister, beside the door that
leads into the church, in a corner, a small panel in distemper by the
hand of Cimabue, wherein is a Christ on the Cross, with certain angels
round Him, who, weeping, are taking with their hands certain words that
are written round the head of Christ and are presenting them to the ears
of a Madonna who stands weeping on the right, and on the other side to
S. John the Evangelist, who is on the left, all grieving. And the words
to the Virgin are: MULIER, ECCE FILIUS TUUS; and those to S. John: ECCE
MATER TUA; and those that an angel standing apart holds in his hand,
observed that Cimabue began to give light and to open the way to
invention, assisting art with words in order to express his conception;
which was certainly something whimsical and new.

Now because, by means of these works, Cimabue had acquired a very great
name, together with much profit, he was appointed as architect, in
company with Arnolfo Lapi, a man then excellent in architecture, for the
building of S. Maria del Fiore in Florence. But at length, having lived
sixty years, he passed to the other life in the year 1300, having little
less than resurrected painting. He left many disciples, and among others
Giotto, who was afterwards an excellent painter; which Giotto dwelt,
after Cimabue, in his master's own house in the Via del Cocomero.
Cimabue was buried in S. Maria del Fiore, with that epitaph made for him
by one of the Nini:


[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco by_ Cimabue. _Assisi: Upper Church of S.

I will not refrain from saying that if to the glory of Cimabue there had
not been contrasted the greatness of Giotto, his disciple, his fame
would have been greater, as Dante demonstrates in his _Commedia_,
wherein, alluding in the eleventh canto of the _Purgatorio_ to this very
inscription on the tomb, he said:

     Credette Cimabue nella pittura
     Tener lo campo, ed hora ha Giotto il grido,
     Si che la fama di colui s' oscura.

In explanation of these verses, a commentator of Dante, who wrote at the
time when Giotto was alive and ten or twelve years after the death of
Dante himself--that is, about the year of Christ 1334--says, speaking of
Cimabue, precisely these words: "Cimabue was a painter of Florence in
the time of the author, very noble beyond the knowledge of man, and
withal so arrogant and so disdainful that if there were found by anyone
any failing or defect in his work, or if he himself had seen one (even
as it comes to pass many times that the craftsman errs, through a defect
in the material whereon he works, or through some lack in the instrument
wherewith he labours), incontinently he would destroy that work, however
costly it might be. Giotto was and is the most exalted among the
painters of the same city of Florence, and his works bear testimony for
him in Rome, in Naples, in Avignon, in Florence, in Padua, and in many
parts of the world." This commentary is now in the hands of the Very
Reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, Prior of the Innocenti, a man not only
most famous for his nobility, goodness, and learning, but also endowed
with such love and understanding for all the finer arts that he has
deserved to be elected by the Lord Duke Cosimo, most properly, as his
Lieutenant in our Academy of Design.

But to return to Cimabue: Giotto, truly, obscured his fame not otherwise
than as a great light does the splendour of one much less, for the
reason that although Cimabue was, as it were, the first cause of the
renovation of the art of painting, yet Giotto, his pupil, moved by
laudable ambition and assisted by Heaven and by nature, was he who,
rising higher with his thought, opened the gate of truth to those who
have brought her to that perfection and majesty wherein we see her in
her own century, which, being used to see every day the marvels, the
miracles, nay, the impossibilities wrought by the craftsmen in that art,
is now brought to such a pitch that nothing that men do, be it even more
Divine than human, causes it in any way to marvel. Well is it with those
whose labours deserve all praise, if, in place of being praised and
admired, they do not thereby incur blame and many times even disgrace.

The portrait of Cimabue, by the hand of Simone Sanese, is to be seen in
the Chapter-house of S. Maria Novella, made in profile in the story of
the Faith, in a figure that has the face thin, the beard small, reddish,
and pointed, with a cap according to the use of those times--that is,
wound round and round and under the throat in lovely fashion. He who is
beside him is Simone himself, the author of that work, who portrayed
himself with two mirrors in order to make his head in profile, placing
the one opposite to the other. And that soldier clad in armour who is
between them is said to be Count Guido Novello, then Lord of Poppi.
There remains for me to say of Cimabue that in the beginning of our
book, where I have put together drawings from the own hand of all those
who have made drawings from his time to ours, there are to be seen
certain small things made by his hand in the way of miniature, wherein,
although to-day perchance they appear rather rude than otherwise, it is
seen how much excellence was given by his work to draughtsmanship.


(_Florence: Accademia 102 Panel_)]




     [NOTICE TO READERS IN THE LIFE OF ARNOLFO.--The said Arnolfo began,
     in S. Maria Maggiore in Rome, the tomb of Pope Honorius III, of the
     house of Savelli; which tomb he left imperfect, with the portrait
     of the said Pope, which was afterwards placed with his design in
     the principal chapel of mosaic of S. Paolo in Rome, with the
     portrait of Giovanni Gaetano, Abbot of that monastery. And the
     marble chapel, wherein is the Manger of Jesus Christ, was one of
     the last pieces of sculpture in marble that Arnolfo ever made; and
     he made it at the instance of Pandolfo Ippotecorvo, in the year
     twelve (?), as an epitaph bears witness that is on the wall beside
     the chapel; and likewise the chapel and tomb of Pope Boniface VIII,
     in S. Pietro in Rome, whereon is carved the same name of Arnolfo,
     who wrought it.]

Having discoursed, in the Preface to the Lives, of certain buildings in
a manner old but not ancient, and having been silent, for the reason
that I did not know them, about the names of the architects who had
charge of their construction, I will make mention, in the Preface to
this Life of Arnolfo, of certain other edifices built in his time or a
little before, whereof in like manner it is not known who were the
masters; and then of those that were built in the same times, whereof it
is known who were the architects, either because the manner of the
edifices themselves is recognized very well, or because we have had
information about them by means of the writings and memorials left by
them in the works that they made. Nor will this be outside our subject,
seeing that, although they are neither in a beautiful nor in a good
manner but only vast and magnificent, they are worthy none the less of
some consideration.

There were built, then, in the time of Lapo and of Arnolfo his son, many
edifices of importance both in Italy and abroad, whereof I have not been
able to find the architects, such as the Abbey of Monreale in Sicily,
the Piscopio of Naples, the Certosa of Pavia, the Duomo of Milan, S.
Pietro and S. Petronio in Bologna, and many others which are seen
throughout all Italy, built at incredible cost. Having seen all these
buildings for myself and studied them, and likewise many sculptures of
those times, particularly in Ravenna, and not having ever found, I do
not say any memorials of the masters, but even many times the date when
they were built, I cannot but marvel at the rudeness and little desire
for glory of the men of that age. But returning to our subject; after
the buildings named above, there began at last to arise men of a more
exalted spirit, who, if they did not find, sought at least to find
something of the good. The first was Buono, of whom I know neither the
country nor the surname, for the reason that in making record of himself
in some of his works he put nothing but simply his name. He, being both
sculptor and architect, first made many palaces and churches and some
sculptures in Ravenna, in the year of our salvation 1152; and having
become known by reason of these works, he was called to Naples, where he
founded (although they were finished by others, as will be told) the
Castel Capoano and the Castel dell' Uovo; and afterwards, in the time of
Domenico Morosini, Doge of Venice, he founded the Campanile of S. Marco
with much consideration and judgment, having caused the foundation of
that tower to be so well fixed with piles that it has never moved a
hair's-breadth, as many buildings constructed in that city before his
day have been seen and still are seen to have done. And from him,
perchance, the Venetians learnt to found, in the manner in which they do
it to-day, the very beautiful and very rich edifices that every day are
being built so magnificently in that most noble city. It is true,
indeed, that this tower has nothing else good in it, neither manner, nor
ornament, nor, in short, anything that might be worthy of much praise.
It was finished under Anastasius IV and Adrian IV, Pontiffs, in the year
1154. In architecture, likewise, Buono made the Church of S. Andrea in
Pistoia, and in sculpture he made an architrave of marble that is over
the door, full of figures made in the manner of the Goths, on which
architrave his name is carved, with the date when this work was made by
him, which was the year 1166. Next, being summoned to Florence, he gave
the design for enlarging, as was done, the Church of S. Maria Maggiore,
which was then without the city, and held in great veneration for the
reason that Pope Pelagius had consecrated it many years before, and
because, as to size and manner, it was a very fair body of a church.

Being then summoned by the Aretines to their city, Buono built the old
habitation of the Lords of Arezzo, namely, a palace in the manner of the
Goths, and beside it a bell-tower. This edifice, which for that manner
was good enough, was thrown to the ground, because it was opposite and
very near to the fortress of that city, in the year 1533. Afterwards,
the art making some little improvement through the works of one
Guglielmo, German (I believe) in origin, there were built certain
edifices of the greatest cost and in a slightly better manner; for this
Guglielmo, so it is said, in the year 1174, together with Bonanno, a
sculptor, founded in Pisa the Campanile of the Duomo, where there are
certain words carved that say: A.D. MCLXXIV, CAMPANILE HOC FUIT
FUNDATUM, MENSE AUG. But these two architects not having much practice
of founding in Pisa and therefore not supporting the platform with
piles, as they ought, before they had gone halfway with that building it
inclined to one side and bent over to the weakest part, in a manner that
the said campanile leans six and a half braccia[6] out of the straight,
according as the foundation sank on this side; and although in the lower
part this is not much, up above it shows clear enough to make men stand
fast in a marvel how it can be that it has not fallen down and has not
thrown out cracks. The reason is that this edifice is round both without
and within and built in the shape of a hollow well, and bound together
with the stones in a manner that it is well-nigh impossible that it
should fall; and it is assisted, above all, by the foundations, which
have an outwork three braccia wide outside the tower, made, as it is
seen, after the sinking of the campanile, in order to support it. I am
convinced that if it had been square it would not have been standing
to-day, for the reason that the corner-stones of the square sides, as is
often seen to happen, would have forced them out in a manner that it
would have fallen down. And if the Garisenda, a tower in Bologna,
although square, leans and does not fall, that comes to pass because it
is slender and does not lean so much, not being burdened by so great a
weight, by a great measure, as is this campanile, which is praised, not
because it has in it any design or beautiful manner, but simply for its
extravagance, it appearing impossible to anyone who sees it that it can
in any wise keep standing. And the same Bonanno, while the said
campanile was building, made, in the year 1180, the royal door of bronze
for the said Duomo of Pisa, wherein are seen these letters:

                     TEMPORE BENEDICTI OPERARII.

Next, from the walls that were made from ancient spoils at S. Giovanni
Laterano in Rome, under Lucius III and Urban III, Pontiffs, when the
Emperor Frederick was crowned by this Urban, it is seen that the art was
going on continually improving, because certain little temples and
chapels, built, as has been said, of spoils, have passing good design
and certain things in them worthy of consideration, and among others
this, that in order not to overburden the walls of these buildings the
vaulting was made of small tubes and with partitions of stucco,
praiseworthy enough for these times. And from the mouldings and other
parts it is seen that the craftsmen were going on striving in order to
find the good way.

Innocent III afterwards caused two palaces to be built on the Vatican
Hill, which were passing good, in so far as it has been possible to
discover; but since they were destroyed by other Popes, and in
particular by Nicholas V, who pulled down and rebuilt the greater part
of one palace, there will be nothing said of them but this, that a part
of them is to be seen in the great Round Tower and part in the old
sacristy of S. Pietro. This Innocent III, who ruled for nineteen years
and took much delight in building, made many edifices in Rome; and in
particular, with the design of Marchionne Aretino, both architect and
sculptor, the Conti Tower, so called from his own surname, seeing that
he was of that family. The same Marchionne, in the year when Innocent
III died, finished the building of the Pieve of Arezzo and likewise the
campanile, making in sculpture, for the façade of the said church, three
rows of columns one above the other, with great variety not only in the
fashion of the capitals and the bases but also in the shafts of the
columns, some among them being thick, some slender, some joined together
two by two, and others four by four. In like manner there are some
twined in the manner of vines, and some made in the shape of figures
acting as supports, with diverse carvings. He also made therein many
animals of diverse sorts that support on the middle of their backs the
weights of those columns, and all with the most strange and extravagant
inventions that can possibly be imagined, and not only wide of the good
order of the ancients but almost wide of all just and reasonable
proportion. But with all this, whosoever sets out well to consider the
whole sees that he went on striving to do well, and thought peradventure
to have found it in that method of working and in that whimsical
variety. The same man made in sculpture, on the arch that is over the
door of the said church, in barbaric manner, a God the Father with
certain angels, in half-relief and rather large; and in the arch he
carved the twelve months, placing his own name underneath in round
letters, as was the custom, and the date--namely, the year 1216. It is
said that Marchionne built in the Borgo Vecchio in Rome, for the same
Pope Innocent III, the ancient edifice of the Hospital and Church of S.
Spirito in Sassia, where there is still seen something of the old; and
the ancient church was still standing in our own day, when it was
rebuilt in modern fashion, with greater ornament and design, by Pope
Paul III of the house of Farnese.

And in S. Maria Maggiore, also in Rome, he built the marble chapel where
there is the Manger of Jesus Christ; here he portrayed from the life
Pope Honorius III, whose tomb, also, he made, with ornaments some little
better than and different enough from the manner that was then in
universal use throughout all Italy. About the same time Marchionne also
made the side door of S. Pietro in Bologna, which was truly for those
times a work of the greatest mastery, by reason of the many carvings
that are seen therein, such as lions in the round that sustain columns,
and men in the use of porters, and other animals that support weights;
and in the arch above he made the twelve months in full relief, with
various fancies, and for each month its celestial sign; which work must
have been held marvellous in those times.


(_After the_ School of Arnolfo di Lapo. _Florence: Collection Bardini_)]

About the same time there was founded the Order of the Friars Minor of
S. Francis, which was confirmed by the said Innocent III, Pontiff, in
the year 1206; and there came such growth, not only in Italy but in all
the other parts of the world, both to the devoutness and to the number
of the Friars, that there was scarce a city of account that did not
erect for them churches and convents of the greatest cost, each
according to its power. Wherefore, Frate Elia having erected, two years
before the death of S. Francis (while the Saint himself, as General, was
abroad preaching, and he, Prior in Assisi), a church with the title of
Our Lady, and S. Francis having died, and all Christendom flocking
together to visit the body of the Saint, who, in life and in death, had
been known as so much the friend of God, and every man making offering
to the holy place according to his power, it was ordained that the said
church begun by Frate Elia should be built much greater and more
magnificent. But there being a dearth of good architects, and the work
which was to be done having need of an excellent one, seeing that it had
to be built upon a very high hill at the foot of which there runs a
torrent called Tescio, there was brought to Assisi, after much
consideration, as the best of all that were then to be found, one
Maestro Jacopo Tedesco. He, having considered the site and grasped the
wishes of the fathers, who held thereunto a general Chapter in Assisi,
designed a very beautiful body of a church and convent, making in the
model three tiers, one to be made underground and the others for two
churches, one of which, on the lower level, should serve as a court,
with a fairly large portico round it, and the other for a church;
planning that from the first one should climb to the second by a most
convenient flight of steps, which should wind round the principal
chapel, opening out into two parts in order to lead more easily into the
second church, to which he gave the form of a [Symbol: T], making it
five times as long as it is broad and dividing one bay from another with
great piers of stone, on which he afterwards threw very bold arches,
with groined vaulting between one and another. From a model so made,
then, was built this truly very great edifice, and it was followed in
every part, save in the buttresses above that had to surround the apse
and the principal chapel, and in making the vaulting groined, because
they did not make it as has been said, but barrel-shaped, in order that
it might be stronger. Next, in front of the principal chapel of the
lower church, they placed the altar, and under that, when it was
finished, they laid, with most solemn translation, the body of S.
Francis. And because the true sepulchre which holds the body of the
glorious Saint is in the first--that is, in the lowest church--where no
one ever goes, and the doors are walled up, round the said altar there
are very large gratings of iron, with rich ornaments in marble and
mosaic, that look down therein. This building is flanked on one of the
sides by two sacristies, and by a very high campanile, namely, five
times as high as it is broad. It had on top a very high octagonal spire,
but this was removed because it threatened to fall. This whole work was
brought to a finish in the space of four years, and no more, by the
genius of Maestro Jacopo Tedesco and by the solicitude of Frate Elia,
after whose death, to the end that such a pile might never through any
lapse of time fall into ruin, there were built round the lower church
twelve very stout towers, and in each of these a spiral staircase that
climbs from the ground up to the summit. And in time, afterwards, there
were made therein many chapels and other very rich ornaments, whereof
there is no need to discourse further, since this is enough on this
subject for the present, and above all because everyone can see how much
of the useful, the ornamental, and the beautiful has been added to this
beginning of Maestro Jacopo's by many supreme Pontiffs, Cardinals,
Princes, and other people of importance throughout all Europe.

Now, to return to Maestro Jacopo; by means of this work he acquired so
great fame throughout all Italy that he was summoned by those who then
governed the city of Florence, and afterwards received with the greatest
possible friendliness; although, according to the use that the
Florentines have, and had still more in ancient times, of abbreviating
names, he was called not Jacopo but Lapo throughout all the course of
his life; for he dwelt ever with his whole family in that city. And
although he went at diverse times to erect many buildings throughout
Tuscany, such as the Palace of Poppi in the Casentino, for that Count
who had had for wife the beautiful Gualdrada, and for her dower, the
Casentino; and for the Aretines, the Vescovado,[7] and the Palazzo
Vecchio of the Lords of Pietramala; none the less his home was always in
Florence, where, having founded in the year 1218 the piers of the Ponte
alla Carraja, which was then called the Ponte Nuovo, he delivered them
finished in two years; and a little time afterwards the rest was
finished of wood, as was then the custom. And in the year 1221 he gave
the design for the Church of S. Salvadore del Vescovado, which was begun
under his direction, and that of S. Michele in Piazza Padella, where
there are certain sculptures in the manner of those times. Next, having
given the design for draining the waters of the city, having caused the
Piazza di S. Giovanni to be raised, having built, in the time of Messer
Rubaconte da Mandella, a Milanese, the bridge that retains the same
man's name, and having discovered that most useful method of paving
streets, which before were covered with bricks, he made the model of the
Palace, to-day of the Podestà, which was then built for the Anziani. And
finally, having sent the model of a tomb to Sicily, to the Abbey of
Monreale, for the Emperor Frederick and by order of Manfred, he died,
leaving Arnolfo, his son, heir no less to the talent than to the wealth
of his father.

This Arnolfo, from whose talent architecture gained no less betterment
than painting had gained from that of Cimabue, being born in the year
1232, was thirty years of age when his father died, and was held in very
great esteem, for the reason that, having not only learnt from his
father all that he knew, but having also given attention under Cimabue
to design in order to make use of it in sculpture, he was held by so
much the best architect in Tuscany, that not only did the Florentines
found the last circle of the walls of their city under his direction, in
the year 1284, and make after his design the Loggia and the piers of Or
San Michele, where the grain was sold, building them of bricks and with
a simple roof above, but by his counsel, in the same year when the
Poggio de' Magnuoli collapsed, on the brow of S. Giorgio above S. Lucia
in the Via de' Bardi, they determined by means of a public decree that
there should be no more building on the said spot, nor should any
edifice be ever made, seeing that by the sinking of the stones, which
have water trickling under them, there would be always danger in
whatsoever edifice might be made there. That this is true has been seen
in our own day from the ruin of many buildings and magnificent houses of
noblemen. In the next year, 1285, he founded the Loggia and Piazza de'
Priori, and built the principal chapel of the Badia of Florence, and the
two that are on either side of it, renovating the church and the choir,
which at first had been made much smaller by Count Ugo, founder of that
abbey; and for Cardinal Giovanni degli Orsini, Legate of the Pope in
Tuscany, he built the campanile of the said church, which, according to
the works of those times, was much praised, although it did not have its
completion of grey-stone until afterwards, in the year 1330.

After this there was founded with his design, in the year 1294, the
Church of S. Croce, where the Friars Minor have their seat. What with
the middle nave and the two lesser ones Arnolfo constructed this so
wide, that, being unable to make the vaulting below the roof by reason
of the too great space, he, with much judgment, caused arches to be made
from pier to pier, and upon these he placed the roofs on a slope,
building stone gutters over the said arches in order to carry away the
rain-water, and giving them so much fall as to make the roofs secure, as
they are, from the danger of rotting; which device was not only new and
ingenious then, but is equally useful and worthy of being considered
to-day. He then gave the design for the first cloisters of the old
convent of that church, and a little time after he caused to be removed
from round the Church of S. Giovanni, on the outer side, all the arches
and tombs of marble and grey-stone that were there, and had part of them
placed behind the campanile on the façade of the Canon's house, beside
the Company of S. Zanobi; and then he incrusted with black marble from
Prato all the eight outer walls of the said S. Giovanni, removing the
grey-stone that there had been before between these ancient marbles. The
Florentines, in the meanwhile, wishing to build walls in the Valdarno di
Sopra round Castello di San Giovanni and Castel Franco, for the
convenience of the city and of their victualling by means of the
markets, Arnolfo made the design for them in the year 1295, and
satisfied them in such a manner, as well in this as he had done in the
other works, that he was made citizen of Florence.

After these works, the Florentines determined, as Giovanni Villani
relates in his History, to build a principal church in their city, and
to build it such that in point of greatness and magnificence there could
be desired none larger or more beautiful from the industry and knowledge
of men; and Arnolfo made the design and the model of the never to be
sufficiently praised Church of S. Maria del Fiore, ordering that it
should be all incrusted, without, with polished marbles and with the so
many cornices, pilasters, columns, carved foliage, figures, and other
ornaments, with which to-day it is seen brought, if not to the whole, to
a great part at least of its perfection. And what was marvellous therein
above everything else was this, that incorporating, besides S. Reparata,
other small churches and houses that were round it, in making the site,
which is most beautiful, he showed so great diligence and judgment in
causing the foundations of so great a fabric to be made broad and deep,
filling them with good material--namely, with gravel and lime and with
great stones below--wherefore the square is still called "Lungo i
Fondamenti," that they have been very well able, as is to be seen
to-day, to support the weight of the great mass of the cupola which
Filippo di Ser Brunellesco raised over them. The laying of such
foundations for so great a church was celebrated with much solemnity,
for on the day of the Nativity of Our Lady, in 1298, the first stone was
laid by the Cardinal Legate of the Pope, in the presence not only of
many Bishops and of all the clergy, but of the Podestà as well, the
Captains, Priors, and other magistrates of the city, nay, of the whole
people of Florence, calling it S. Maria del Fiore. And because it was
estimated that the expenses of this fabric must be very great, as they
afterwards were, there was imposed a tax at the Chamber of the Commune
of four danari in the lira on everything that was put out at interest,
and two soldi per head per annum; not to mention that the Pope and the
Legate granted very great indulgences to those who should make them
offerings thereunto. I will not forbear to say, moreover, that besides
the foundations, very broad and fifteen braccia deep, much consideration
was shown in making those buttresses of masonry at every angle of the
eight sides, seeing that it was these afterwards that emboldened the
mind of Brunellesco to superimpose a much greater weight than that which
Arnolfo, perchance, had thought to impose thereon. It is said that while
the two first side-doors of S. Maria del Fiore were being begun in
marble Arnolfo caused some fig-leaves to be carved on a frieze, these
being the arms of himself and of Maestro Lapo, his father, and that
therefore it may be believed that from him the family of the Lapi had
its origin, to-day a noble family in Florence. Others say, likewise,
that from the descendants of Arnolfo there descended Filippo di Ser
Brunellesco. But leaving this, seeing that others believe that the Lapi
came from Ficaruolo, a township on the mouth of the Po, and returning to
our Arnolfo, I say that by reason of the greatness of this work he
deserves infinite praise and an eternal name, above all because he
caused it to be all incrusted, without, with marbles of many colours,
and within, with hard stone, and made even the smallest corners of that
same stone. But in order that everyone may know the exact size of this
marvellous fabric, I say that from the door up to the end of the Chapel
of S. Zanobi the length is 260 braccia, and the breadth across the
transepts 166; across the three naves it is 66 braccia. The middle nave
alone is 72 braccia in height; and the other two lesser naves, 48
braccia. The external circuit of the whole church is 1,280 braccia. The
cupola, from the ground up to the base of the lantern, is 154 braccia;
the lantern, without the ball, is 36 braccia in height; the ball, 4
braccia in height; the cross, 8 braccia in height. The whole cupola,
from the ground up to the summit of the cross, is 202 braccia.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the_ School of Arnolfo di Lapo. _Viterbo: Church of S.

But returning to Arnolfo, I say that being held, as he was, excellent,
he had acquired so great trust that nothing of importance was determined
without his counsel; wherefore, in the same year, the Commune of
Florence having finished the foundation of the last circle of the walls
of the city, even as it was said above that they were formerly begun,
and so too the towers of the gates, and all being in great part well
advanced, he made a beginning for the Palace of the Signori, designing
it in resemblance to that which his father Lapo had built in the
Casentino for the Counts of Poppi. But yet, however magnificent and
great he designed it, he could not give it that perfection which his art
and his judgment required, for the following reason: the houses of the
Uberti, Ghibellines and rebels against the people of Florence, had been
pulled down and thrown to the ground, and a square had been made on the
site, and the stupid obstinacy of certain men prevailed so greatly that
Arnolfo could not bring it about, through whatsoever arguments he might
urge thereunto, that it should be granted to him to put the Palace on a
square base, because the governors had refused that the Palace should
have its foundations in any way whatsoever on the ground of the rebel
Uberti. And they brought it about that the northern aisle of S. Pietro
Scheraggio should be thrown to the ground, rather than let him work in
the middle of the square with his own measurements; not to mention that
they insisted, moreover, that there should be united and incorporated
with the Palace the Tower of the Foraboschi, called the "Torre della
Vacca," in height fifty braccia, for the use of the great bell, and
together with it some houses bought by the Commune for this edifice. For
which reasons no one must marvel if the foundation of the Palace is awry
and out of the square, it having been necessary, in order to incorporate
the tower in the middle and to render it stronger, to bind it round with
the walls of the Palace; which walls, having been laid open in the year
1561 by Giorgio Vasari, painter and architect, were found excellent.
Arnolfo, then, having filled up the said tower with good material, it
was afterwards easy for other masters to make thereon the very high
campanile that is to be seen there to-day; for within the limits of two
years he finished only the Palace, which has subsequently received from
time to time those improvements which give it to-day that greatness and
majesty that are to be seen.

After all these works and many more that Arnolfo made, no less
convenient and useful than beautiful, he died at the age of seventy, in
1300, at the very time when Giovanni Villani began to write the
Universal History of his times. And because he not only left S. Maria
del Fiore founded, but its three principal tribunes, which are under the
cupola, vaulted, to his own great glory, he well deserved that there
should be made a memorial of him on the corner of the church opposite
the Campanile, with these verses carved in marble in round letters:


Of this Arnolfo we have written the Life, with the greatest brevity that
has been possible, for the reason that, although his works do not
approach by a great measure the perfection of the things of to-day, he
deserves, none the less, to be celebrated with loving memory, having
shown amid so great darkness, to those who lived after him, the way to
walk to perfection. The portrait of Arnolfo, by the hand of Giotto, is
to be seen in S. Croce, beside the principal chapel, at the beginning of
the story, where the friars are weeping for the death of S. Francis, in
one of two men that are talking together. And the picture of the Church
of S. Maria del Fiore--namely, of the outer side with the cupola--by the
hand of Simone Sanese, is to be seen in the Chapter-house of S. Maria
Novella, copied from the original in wood that Arnolfo made; wherein it
is noticeable that he had thought to raise the dome immediately over the
walls, at the edge of the first cornice, whereas Filippo di Ser
Brunellesco, in order to relieve them of weight and to make it more
graceful, added thereto, before he began to raise it, all that height
wherein to-day are the round windows; which circumstance would be even
clearer than it is, if the little care and diligence of those who have
directed the Works of S. Maria del Fiore in the years past had not left
the very model that Arnolfo made to go to ruin, and afterwards those of
Brunellesco and of the others.


[Footnote 6: The braccio is a very variable standard of measurement. As
used by Vasari, it may be taken to denote about 23 inches.]

[Footnote 7: Vescovado includes both the Cathedral and the Episcopal
buildings of Arezzo. Vasari generally uses it to denote the Cathedral.]





Having discoursed of design and of painting in the Life of Cimabue and
of architecture in that of Arnolfo di Lapo, in this one concerning
Niccola and Giovanni of Pisa we will treat of sculpture, and also of the
most important buildings that they made, for the reason that their works
in sculpture and in architecture truly deserve to be celebrated, not
only as being large and magnificent but also well enough conceived,
since both in working marble and in building they swept away in great
part that old Greek manner, rude and void of proportion, showing better
invention in their stories and giving better attitudes to their figures.

Niccola Pisano, then, chancing to be under certain Greek sculptors who
were working the figures and other carved ornaments of the Duomo of Pisa
and of the Church of S. Giovanni, and there being, among many marble
spoils brought by the fleet of the Pisans, certain ancient sarcophagi
that are to-day in the Campo Santo of that city, there was one of them,
most beautiful among them all, whereon there was carved the Chase of
Meleager after the Calydonian Boar, in very beautiful manner, seeing
that both the nude figures and the draped were wrought with much mastery
and with most perfect design. This sarcophagus was placed by the Pisans,
by reason of its beauty, in the side of the Duomo opposite S. Rocco,
beside the principal side-door, and it served for the body of the mother
of Countess Matilda, if indeed these words are true that are to be read
carved in the marble:

     IN PACE

And then:


[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After_ Niccola Pisano. _Pisa_)]

Niccola, pondering over the beauty of this work and being greatly
pleased therewith, put so much study and diligence into imitating this
manner and some other good sculptures that were in these other ancient
sarcophagi, that he was judged, after no long time, the best sculptor of
his day; there being in Tuscany in those times, after Arnolfo, no other
sculptor of repute save Fuccio, an architect and sculptor of Florence,
who made S. Maria sopra Arno in Florence, in the year 1229, placing his
name there, over a door, and in the Church of S. Francesco in Assisi he
made the marble tomb of the Queen of Cyprus, with many figures, and in
particular a portrait of her sitting on a lion, in order to show the
strength of her soul; which Queen, after her death, left a great sum of
money to the end that this fabric might be finished. Niccola, then,
having made himself known as a much better master than was Fuccio, was
summoned to Bologna in the year 1225, after the death of S. Domenico
Calagora, first founder of the Order of Preaching Friars, in order to
make a marble tomb for the said Saint; wherefore, after agreement with
those who had the charge of it, he made it full of figures in that
manner wherein it is to be seen to-day, and delivered it finished in the
year 1231 with much credit to himself, for it was held something
remarkable, and the best of all the works that had been wrought in
sculpture up to that time. He made, likewise, the model of that church
and of a great part of the convent. Afterwards Niccola, returning to
Tuscany, found that Fuccio had departed from Florence and had gone to
Rome in those days when the Emperor Frederick was crowned by Honorius,
and from Rome with Frederick to Naples, where he finished the Castel di
Capoana, to-day called the Vicaria, wherein are all the tribunals of
that kingdom, and likewise the Castel dell' Uovo; and where he likewise
founded the towers he also made the gates over the River Volturno for
the city of Capua, and a park girt with walls, for fowling, near
Gravina, and another for sport in winter at Melfi; besides many other
things that are not related, for the sake of brevity. Niccola,
meanwhile, busying himself in Florence, was going on exercising himself
not only in sculpture but in architecture as well, by means of the
buildings that were going on being made with some little goodness of
design throughout all Italy, and in particular in Tuscany; wherefore he
occupied himself not a little with the building of the Abbey of Settimo,
which had not been finished by the executors of Count Ugo of
Brandenburg, like the other six, as was said above. And although it is
read in a marble epitaph on the campanile of the said abbey, GUGLIELM.
ME FECIT, it is known, nevertheless, by the manner, that it was directed
with the counsel of Niccola. About the same time he made the Palazzo
Vecchio of the Anziani in Pisa, pulled down in our day by Duke Cosimo,
in order to make the magnificent Palace and Convent of the Knights of S.
Stephen on the same spot, using some part of the old, from the design
and model of Giorgio Vasari, painter and architect of Arezzo, who has
accommodated himself to those old walls as well as he has been able in
fitting them into the new. Niccola made, likewise in Pisa, many other
palaces and churches, and he was the first, since the loss of the good
method of building, who made it the custom to found edifices in Pisa on
piers, and on these to raise arches, piles having first been sunk under
the said piers; because, with any other method, the solid base of the
foundation cracked and the walls always collapsed, whereas the sinking
of piles renders the edifice absolutely safe, even as experience shows.
With his design, also, was made the Church of S. Michele in Borgo for
the Monks of Camaldoli. But the most beautiful, the most ingenious, and
the most whimsical work of architecture that Niccola ever made was the
Campanile of S. Niccola in Pisa, where is the seat of the Friars of S.
Augustine, for the reason that it is octagonal on the outer side and
round within, with stairs that wind in a spiral and lead to the summit,
leaving the hollow space in the middle free, in the shape of a well, and
on every fourth step are columns that have the arches above them on a
slant and wind round and round; wherefore, the spring of the vaulting
resting on the said arches, one goes climbing to the summit in a manner
that he who is on the ground always sees all those who are climbing,
those who are climbing see those who are on the ground, and those who
are halfway up see both the first and the second--that is, those who are
above and those who are below. This fanciful invention, with better
method and more just proportions, and with more adornment, was
afterwards put into execution by the architect Bramante in the Belvedere
in Rome, for Pope Julius II, and by Antonio da San Gallo in the well
that is at Orvieto, by order of Pope Clement VII, as will be told when
the time comes.

But returning to Niccola, who was no less excellent as sculptor than as
architect; in the façade of the Church of S. Martino in Lucca, under the
portico that is above the lesser door, on the left as one enters into
the church, where there is seen a Christ Deposed from the Cross, he made
a marble scene in half-relief, all full of figures wrought with much
diligence, having hollowed out the marble and finished the whole in a
manner that gave hope to those who were previously working at the art
with very great difficulty, that there soon should come one who, with
more facility, would give them better assistance. The same Niccola, in
the year 1240, gave the design for the Church of S. Jacopo in Pistoia,
and put to work there in mosaic certain Tuscan masters who made the
vaulting of the choir-niche, which, although in those times it was held
as something difficult and of great cost, moves us to-day rather to
laughter and to compassion than to marvel, and all the more because such
confusion, which comes from lack of design, existed not only in Tuscany
but throughout all Italy, where many buildings and other works, that
were being wrought without method and without design, give us to know no
less the poverty of their talents than the unmeasured riches wasted by
the men of those times, by reason of their having had no masters who
might execute in a good manner any work that they might do.

Niccola, then, by means of the works that he was making in sculpture and
in architecture, was going on ever acquiring a greater name than the
sculptors and architects who were then working in Romagna, as can be
seen in S. Ippolito and S. Giovanni of Faenza, in the Duomo of Ravenna,
in S. Francesco, in the houses of the Traversari, and in the Church
of Porto; and at Rimini, in the fabric of the public buildings, in the
houses of the Malatesti, and in other buildings, which are all much
worse than the old edifices made about the same time in Tuscany. And
what has been said of Romagna can be also said with truth of a part of
Lombardy. A glance at the Duomo of Ferrara, and at the other buildings
made by the Marquis Azzo, will give us to know that this is the truth
and how different they are from the Santo of Padua, made with the model
of Niccola, and from the Church of the Friars Minor in Venice, both
magnificent and honoured buildings. Many, in the time of Niccola, moved
by laudable envy, applied themselves with more zeal to sculpture than
they had done before, and particularly in Milan, whither there assembled
for the building of the Duomo many Lombards and Germans, who afterwards
scattered throughout Italy by reason of the discords that arose between
the Milanese and the Emperor Frederick. And so these craftsmen,
beginning to compete among themselves both in marble and in building,
found some little of the good. The same came to pass in Florence after
the works of Arnolfo and Niccola had been seen; and the latter, while
the little Church of the Misericordia was being erected from his design
in the Piazza di S. Giovanni, made therein in marble, with his own hand,
a Madonna with S. Dominic and another Saint, one on either side of her,
which may still be seen on the outer façade of the said church.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail, after_ Niccola Pisano, _from the Pulpit of the Baptistery,

The Florentines had begun, in the time of Niccola, to throw to the
ground many towers made formerly in barbaric manner throughout the whole
city, in order that the people might be less hurt by reason of these in
the brawls that were often taking place between the Guelphs and the
Ghibellines, or in order that there might be greater security for the
State, and it appeared to them that it would be very difficult to pull
down the Tower of Guardamorto, which was in the Piazza di S. Giovanni,
because the walls had been made so stoutly that they could not be pulled
to pieces with pickaxes, and all the more because it was very high.
Wherefore, Niccola causing the foot of the tower to be cut away on one
side and supporting it with wooden props a braccio and a half in length,
and then setting fire to them, as soon as the props were burnt away it
fell and was almost entirely shattered; which was held something so
ingenious and useful for such affairs that later it passed into use,
insomuch that, when there is need, any building is destroyed in very
little time with this most easy method. Niccola was present at the first
foundation of the Duomo of Siena, and designed the Church of S. Giovanni
in the same city; then, having returned to Florence in the same year
that the Guelphs returned, he designed the Church of S. Trinita, and the
Convent of the Nuns of Faenza, destroyed in our day in order to make the
citadel. Being next summoned to Naples, in order not to desert the work
in Tuscany he sent thither Maglione, his pupil, a sculptor and
architect, who afterwards made, in the time of Conradin, the Church of
S. Lorenzo in Naples, finished part of the Piscopio, and made there
certain tombs, wherein he imitated closely the manner of Niccola, his

Niccola, meanwhile, being summoned by the people of Volterra, in the
year 1254 (when they came under the power of the Florentines), in order
that their Duomo, which was small, might be enlarged, he brought it to
better form, although it was very irregular, and made it more
magnificent than it was before. Then, having returned finally to Pisa,
he made the pulpit of S. Giovanni, in marble, putting therein all
diligence in order to leave a memorial of himself to his country; and
among other things, carving in it the Universal Judgment, he made
therein many figures, if not with perfect design, at least with infinite
patience and diligence, as can be seen. And because it appeared to him,
as was true, that he had done a work worthy of praise, he carved at the
foot of it these verses:


The people of Siena, moved by the fame of this work, which greatly
pleased not only the Pisans but everyone who saw it, gave to Niccola the
making of the pulpit of their Duomo, in which there is sung the Gospel;
Guglielmo Mariscotti being Prætor. In this Niccola made many stories of
Jesus Christ, with much credit to himself, by reason of the figures that
are there wrought and with great difficulty almost wholly detached
from the marble. Niccola likewise made the design of the Church and
Convent of S. Domenico in Arezzo for the Lords of Pietramala, who
erected it. And at the entreaty of Bishop Ubertini he restored the Pieve
of Cortona, and founded the Church of S. Margherita for the Friars of S.
Francis, on the highest point of that city.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail, after_ Niccola Pisano, _from the Pulpit of the Baptistery,

Wherefore, the fame of Niccola ever growing greater by reason of so
great works, he was summoned in the year 1267, by Pope Clement IV, to
Viterbo, where, besides many other works, he restored the Church and
Convent of the Preaching Friars. From Viterbo he went to Naples to King
Charles I, who, having routed and slain Conradin on the plain of
Tagliacozzo, caused to be made on that spot a very rich church and
abbey, burying therein the infinite number of bodies slain on that day,
and ordaining afterwards that there should be prayers offered by many
monks, day and night, for their souls; in which building King Charles
was so well pleased with the work of Niccola that he honoured and
rewarded him very greatly. Returning from Naples to Tuscany, Niccola
stayed in Orvieto for the building of S. Maria, and working there in
company with some Germans, he made in marble, for the façade of that
church, certain figures in the round, and in particular two scenes of
the Universal Judgment containing Paradise and Hell; and even as he
strove, in the Paradise, to give the greatest beauty that he knew to the
souls of the blessed, restored to their bodies, so too in the Hell he
made the strangest forms of devils that can possibly be seen, most
intent on tormenting the souls of the damned; and in this work he
surpassed not merely the Germans who were working there but even his own
self, to his own great credit. And for the reason that he made therein a
great number of figures and endured much fatigue, it has been nothing
but praised up to our own times by those who have had no more judgment
than this much in sculpture.

Niccola had, among others, a son called Giovanni, who, because he ever
followed his father and applied himself under his teaching to sculpture
and to architecture, in a few years became not only equal to his father
but in some ways superior; wherefore Niccola, being now old, retired to
Pisa, and living there quietly left the management of everything to his
son. Pope Urban IV having died at that time in Perugia, a summons was
sent to Giovanni, who, having gone there, made a tomb of marble for that
Pontiff, which, together with that of Pope Martin IV, was afterwards
thrown to the ground when the people of Perugia enlarged their
Vescovado, in a manner that there are seen only a few relics of it
scattered throughout the church. And the people of Perugia, at the same
time, having brought a very great body of water through leaden pipes
from the hill of Pacciano, two miles distant from the city, by means of
the genius and industry of a friar of the Silvestrines, it was given to
Giovanni Pisano to make all the ornaments of the fountain, both in
bronze and in marble; wherefore he put his hand thereto and made three
tiers of basins, two of marble and one of bronze. The first is placed
above twelve rows of steps, each with twelve sides; the other on some
columns that stand on the lowest level of the first basin--that is, in
the middle; and the third, which is of bronze, rests on three figures,
and has in the middle certain griffins, also of bronze, that pour water
on every side; and because it appeared to Giovanni that he had done very
well in this work, he put on it his name. About the year 1560, the
arches and the conduits of this fountain (which cost 160,000 ducats of
gold) having become in great part spoilt and ruined, Vincenzio Danti, a
sculptor of Perugia, without rebuilding the arches, which would have
been a thing of the greatest cost, very ingeniously reconducted the
water to the fountain in the way that it was before, with no small
credit to himself.

This work finished, Giovanni, desiring to see again his old and ailing
father, departed from Perugia in order to return to Pisa; but, passing
through Florence, he was forced to stay, to the end that he might apply
himself, together with others, to the work of the Mills on the Arno,
which were being made at S. Gregorio near the Piazza de' Mozzi. But
finally, having had news that his father Niccola was dead, he went to
Pisa, where, by reason of his worth, he was received by the whole city
with great honour, every man rejoicing that after the loss of Niccola
there still remained Giovanni, as heir both of his talents and of his
wealth. And the occasion having come of making proof of him, their
opinion was in no way disappointed, because, there being certain things
to do in the small but most ornate Church of S. Maria della Spina, they
were given to Giovanni to do, and he, putting his hand thereunto, with
the help of some of his boys brought many ornaments in that oratory to
that perfection that is seen to-day; which work, in so far as we can
judge, must have been held miraculous in those times, and all the more
that he made in one figure the portrait of Niccola from nature, as best
he knew.

Seeing this, the Pisans, who long before had had the idea and the wish
to make a place of burial for all the inhabitants of the city, both
noble and plebeian, either in order not to fill the Duomo with graves or
for some other reason, caused Giovanni to make the edifice of the Campo
Santo, which is on the Piazza del Duomo, towards the walls; wherefore
he, with good design and with much judgment, made it in that manner and
with those ornaments of marble and of that size which are to be seen;
and because there was no consideration of expense, the roof was made of
lead. And outside the principal door there are seen these words carved
in marble:


This work finished, in the same year, 1283, Giovanni went to Naples,
where, for King Charles, he made the Castel Nuovo of Naples; and in
order to have room and to make it stronger, he was forced to pull down
many houses and churches, and in particular a convent of Friars of S.
Francis, which was afterwards rebuilt no little larger and more
magnificent than it was before, far from the castle and under the title
of S. Maria della Nuova. These buildings being begun and considerably
advanced, Giovanni departed from Naples, in order to return to Tuscany;
but arriving at Siena, without being allowed to go on farther he was
caused to make the model of the façade of the Duomo of that city, and
afterwards the said façade was made very rich and magnificent from this
model. Next, in the year 1286, when the Vescovado of Arezzo was
building with the design of Margaritone, architect of Arezzo, Giovanni
was brought from Siena to Arezzo by Guglielmino Ubertini, Bishop of that
city, where he made in marble the panel of the high-altar, all filled
with carvings of figures, of foliage, and other ornaments, distributing
throughout the whole work certain things in delicate mosaic, and enamels
laid on plates of silver, let into the marble with much diligence. In
the middle is a Madonna with the Child in her arms, and on one side S.
Gregory the Pope, whose face is the portrait from life of Pope Honorius
IV; and on the other side is S. Donatus, Bishop and Protector of that
city, whose body, with those of S. Antilla and of other Saints, is laid
under that same altar. And because the said altar stands out by itself,
round it and on the sides there are small scenes in low-relief from the
life of S. Donatus, and the crown of the whole work are certain
tabernacles full of marble figures in the round, wrought with much
subtlety. On the breast of the said Madonna is a bezel-shaped setting of
gold, wherein, so it is said, were jewels of much value, which have been
carried away in the wars, so it is thought, by soldiers, who have no
respect, very often, even for the most holy Sacrament, together with
some little figures in the round that were on the top of and around that
work; on which the Aretines spent altogether, according to what is found
in certain records, 30,000 florins of gold. Nor does this seem anything
great, seeing that at that time it was something as precious and rare as
it could well be; wherefore Frederick Barbarossa, returning from Rome,
where he had been crowned, and passing through Arezzo, many years after
it had been made, praised it, nay, admired it infinitely; and in truth
with great reason, seeing that, besides everything else, the joinings of
this work, made of innumerable pieces, are cemented and put together so
well that the whole work is easily judged, by anyone who has not much
practice in the matters of the art, to be all of one piece. In the same
church Giovanni made the Chapel of the Ubertini, a most noble family,
and lords of castles, as they still are to-day and were formerly even
more; with many ornaments of marble, which to-day have been covered over
with other ornaments of grey-stone, many and fine, which were set up in
that place with the design of Giorgio Vasari in the year 1535, for
the supporting of an organ of extraordinary excellence and beauty that
stands thereon.

[Illustration: _Lombardi_


(_Detail, after_ Giovanni Pisano, _from the façade of the Duomo,

Giovanni Pisano likewise made the design of the Church of S. Maria de'
Servi, which to-day has been destroyed, together with many palaces of
the most noble families of the city, for the reasons mentioned above. I
will not forbear to say that Giovanni made use, in working on the said
marble altar, of certain Germans who had apprenticed themselves to him
rather for learning than for gain; and under his teaching they became
such that, having gone after this work to Rome, they served Boniface
VIII in many works of sculpture for S. Pietro, and in architecture when
he made Cività Castellana. Besides this, they were sent by the same man
to S. Maria in Orvieto, where, for its façade, they made many figures in
marble which were passing good for those times. But among others who
assisted Giovanni in the work of the Vescovado in Arezzo, Agostino and
Agnolo, sculptors and architects of Siena, surpassed in time all the
others, as will be told in the proper place. But returning to Giovanni;
having departed from Orvieto, he came to Florence, in order to see the
fabric of S. Maria del Fiore that Arnolfo was making, and likewise to
see Giotto, of whom he had heard great things spoken abroad; and no
sooner had he arrived in Florence than he was charged by the Wardens of
the said fabric of S. Maria del Fiore to make the Madonna which is over
that door of the church that leads to the Canon's house, between two
little angels; which work was then much praised. Next, he made the
little baptismal font of S. Giovanni, wherein are certain scenes in
half-relief from the life of that Saint. Having then gone to Bologna, he
directed the building of the principal chapel of the Church of S.
Domenico, wherein he was charged by Bishop Teodorigo Borgognoni of
Lucca, a friar of that Order, to make an altar of marble; and in the
same place he afterwards made, in the year 1298, the marble panel
wherein are the Madonna and eight other figures, reasonably good.

In the year 1300, Niccola da Prato, Cardinal Legate of the Pope, being
in Florence in order to accommodate the dissensions of the Florentines,
caused him to make a convent for nuns in Prato, which is called S.
Niccola from his name, and to restore in the same territory the Convent
of S. Domenico, and so too that of Pistoia; in both the one and the
other of which there are still seen the arms of the said Cardinal. And
because the people of Pistoia held in veneration the name of Niccola,
father of Giovanni, by reason of that which he had wrought in that city
with his talent, they caused Giovanni himself to make a pulpit of marble
for the Church of S. Andrea, like to the one which he had made in the
Duomo of Siena; and this he did in order to compete with one which had
been made a little before in the Church of S. Giovanni Evangelista by a
German, who was therefore much praised. Giovanni, then, delivered his
finished in four years, having divided this work into five scenes from
the life of Jesus Christ, and having made therein, besides this, a
Universal Judgment, with the greatest diligence that he knew, in order
to equal or perchance to surpass the one of Orvieto, then so greatly
renowned. And round the said pulpit, on the architrave, over some
columns that support it, thinking (as was the truth, according to the
knowledge of that age) that he had done a great and beautiful work, he
carved these verses:


At the same time Giovanni made the holy-water font, in marble, of the
Church of S. Giovanni Evangelista in the same city, with three figures
that support it--Temperance, Prudence, and Justice; which work, by
reason of its having then been held very beautiful, was placed in the
centre of that church as something remarkable. And before he departed
from Pistoia, although the work had not up to then been begun, he made
the model of the Campanile of S. Jacopo, the principal church of that
city; on which campanile, which is on the square of the said S. Jacopo
and beside the church, there is this date: A.D. 1301.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail, after_ Giovanni Pisano, _from the Pulpit of the Church of S.
Andrea, Pistoia_)]

Afterwards, Pope Benedict IX having died in Perugia, a summons was sent
to Giovanni, who, having gone to Perugia, made a tomb of marble for that
Pontiff in the old Church of S. Domenico, belonging to the Preaching
Friars; the Pope, portrayed from nature and robed in his pontifical
habits, is lying at full length on the bier, with two angels, one on
either side, that are holding up a curtain, and above there is a Madonna
with two saints in relief, one on either side of her; and many other
ornaments are carved round that tomb. In like manner, in the new church
of the said Preaching Friars he made the tomb of Messer Niccolò
Guidalotti of Perugia, Bishop of Recanati, who was founder of the
Sapienza Nuova of Perugia. In this new church, which had been founded
before this by others, he executed the central nave, which was founded
by him with much better method than the remainder of the church had
been; for on one side it leans and threatens to fall down, by reason of
having been badly founded. And in truth, he who puts his hand to
building and to doing anything of importance should ever take counsel,
not from him who knows little but from the best, in order not to have to
repent after the act, with loss and shame, that where he most needed
good counsel he took the bad.

Giovanni, having dispatched his business in Perugia, wished to go to
Rome, in order to learn from those few ancient things that were to be
seen there, even as his father had done; but being hindered by good
reasons, this his desire did not take effect, and the rather as he heard
that the Court had just gone to Avignon. Returning, then, to Pisa, Nello
di Giovanni Falconi, Warden, caused him to make the great pulpit of the
Duomo, which is on the right hand going towards the high-altar, attached
to the choir; and having made a beginning with this and with many
figures in the round, three braccia high, that were to serve for it,
little by little he brought them to that form that is seen to-day,
placing the pulpit partly on the said figures and partly on some columns
sustained by lions; and on the sides he made some scenes from the life
of Christ. It is a pity, truly, that so great cost, so great diligence,
and so great labour should not have been accompanied by good design and
should be wanting in perfection and in excellence of invention, grace,
and manner, such as any work of our own times would show, even if made
with much less cost and labour. None the less, it must have caused no
small marvel to the men of those times, used to seeing only the rudest
works. This work was finished in the year 1320, as appears in certain
verses that are round the said pulpit, which run thus:


with other thirteen verses, which are not written, in order not to weary
the reader, and because these are enough not only to bear witness that
the said pulpit is by the hand of Giovanni, but also that the men of
these times were in all things made thus. A Madonna of marble, also,
that is seen between S. John the Baptist and another Saint, over the
principal door of the Duomo, is by the hand of Giovanni; and he who is
at the feet of the Madonna, on his knees, is said to be Piero
Gambacorti, Warden of Works. However this may be, on the base whereon
stands the image of Our Lady there are carved these words:


In like manner, over the side door that is opposite the campanile, there
is a Madonna of marble by the hand of Giovanni, having on one side a
woman kneeling with two babies, representing Pisa, and on the other the
Emperor Henry. On the base whereon stands the Madonna are these words:


and beside them:


And round the base of Pisa:


And round the base of Henry:


[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After_ Giovanni Pisano. _Padua: Arena Chapel_)]

In the old Pieve of the territory of Prato, under the altar of the
principal chapel, there had been kept for many years the Girdle of Our
Lady, which Michele da Prato, returning from the Holy Land, had brought
to his country in the year 1141 and consigned to Uberto, Provost of that
church, who placed it where it has been said, and where it had been ever
held in great veneration; and in the year 1312 an attempt was made to
steal it by a man of Prato, a fellow of the basest sort, and as it were,
another Ser Ciappelletto; but having been discovered, he was put to
death for sacrilege by the hand of justice. Moved by this, the people of
Prato determined to make a strong and suitable resting-place, in order
to hold the said Girdle more securely; wherefore, having summoned
Giovanni, who was now old, they made with his counsel, in the greater
church, the chapel wherein there is now preserved the said Girdle of Our
Lady. And next, with the same man's design, they made the said church
much larger than it was before, and encrusted it without with white and
black marbles, and likewise the campanile, as may be seen. Finally,
being now very old, Giovanni died in the year 1320, after having made,
besides those that have been mentioned, many other works in sculpture
and in architecture. And in truth there is much owed to him and to his
father Niccola, seeing that, in times void of all goodness of design,
they gave in so great darkness no small light to the matters of these
arts, wherein they were, for that age, truly excellent. Giovanni was
buried in the Campo Santo, with great honour, in the same grave wherein
had been laid Niccola, his father. There were as disciples of Giovanni
many who flourished after him, but in particular Lino, sculptor and
architect of Siena, who made in the Duomo of Pisa the chapel all adorned
with marble wherein is the body of S. Ranieri, and likewise the
baptismal font that is in the said Duomo, with his name.

Nor let anyone marvel that Niccola and Giovanni did so many works,
because, not to mention that they lived very long, being the first
masters that were in Europe at that time, there was nothing done of any
importance in which they did not have a hand, as can be seen in many
inscriptions besides those that have been mentioned. And seeing that,
while touching on these two sculptors and architects, there has been
something said of matters in Pisa, I will not forbear to say that on the
top of the steps in front of the new hospital, round the base that
supports a lion and the vase that rests on the porphyry column, are
these words:





Even as the works of Cimabue awakened no small marvel (he having given
better design and form to the art of painting) in the men of those
times, used to seeing nothing save works done after the Greek manner,
even so the works in mosaic of Andrea Tafi, who lived in the same times,
were admired, and he thereby held excellent, nay, divine; these people
not thinking, being unused to see anything else, that better work could
be done in such an art. But not being in truth the most able man in the
world, and having considered that mosaic, by reason of its long life,
was held in estimation more than all the other forms of painting, he
went from Florence to Venice, where some Greek painters were working in
S. Marco in mosaic; and becoming intimate with them, with entreaties,
with money, and with promises he contrived in such a manner that he
brought to Florence Maestro Apollonio, a Greek painter, who taught him
to fuse the glass for mosaic and to make the cement for putting it
together; and in his company he wrought the upper part of the tribune of
S. Giovanni, where there are the Powers, the Thrones, and the Dominions;
in which place Andrea, when more practised, afterwards made, as will be
said below, the Christ that is over the side of the principal chapel.
But having made mention of S. Giovanni, I will not pass by in silence
that this ancient temple is all wrought, both without and within, with
marbles of the Corinthian Order, and that it is not only designed and
executed perfectly in all its parts and with all its proportions, but
also very well adorned with doors and with windows, and enriched with
two columns of granite on each wall-face, each eleven braccia high, in
order to make the three spaces over which are the architraves, that rest
on the said columns in order to support the whole mass of the double
vaulted roof, which has been praised by modern architects as something
remarkable, and deservedly, for the reason that it showed the good which
that art already had in itself to Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, to
Donatello, and to the other masters of those times, who learnt the art
by means of this work and of the Church of S. Apostolo in Florence, a
work so good in manner that it casts back to the true ancient goodness,
having all the columns in sections, as it has been said above, measured
and put together with so great diligence that much can be learnt by
studying it in all its parts. But to be silent about many things that
could be said about the good architecture of this church, I will say
only that there was a great departure from this example and from this
good method of working when the façade of S. Miniato sul Monte without
Florence was rebuilt in marble, in honour of the conversion of the
Blessed S. Giovanni Gualberto, citizen of Florence and founder of the
Order of the Monks of Vallombrosa; because that and many other works
that were made later were in no way similar in beauty to those
mentioned. The same, in like manner, came to pass in the works of
sculpture, for all those that were made in Italy by the masters of that
age, as has been said in the Preface to the Lives, were very rude, as
can be seen in many places, and in particular in S. Bartolommeo at
Pistoia, a church of the Canons Regular, where, in a pulpit very rudely
made by Guido da Como, there is the beginning of the life of Jesus
Christ, with these words carved thereon by the craftsman himself in the
year 1199:


But to return to the Church of S. Giovanni; forbearing to relate its
origin, by reason of its having been described by Giovanni Villani and
by other writers, and having already said that from this church there
came the good architecture that is to-day in use, I will add that the
tribune was made later, so far as it is known, and that at the time when
Alesso Baldovinetti, succeeding Lippo, a painter of Florence, restored
those mosaics, it was seen that it had been in the past painted with
designs in red, and all worked on stucco.

Andrea Tafi and Apollonio the Greek, then, in order to cover this
tribune with mosaics, made therein a number of compartments, which,
narrow at the top beside the lantern, went on widening as far as the
level of the cornice below; and they divided the upper part into circles
of various scenes. In the first are all the ministers and executors of
the Divine Will, namely, the Angels, the Archangels, the Cherubim, the
Seraphim, the Powers, the Thrones, and the Dominions. In the second row,
also in mosaic, and after the Greek manner, are the principal works done
by God, from the creation of light down to the Flood. In the circle that
is below these, which goes on widening with the eight sides of that
tribune, are all the acts of Joseph and of his twelve brethren. Below
these, then, there follow as many other spaces of the same size that
circle in like manner onward, wherein there is the life of Jesus Christ,
also in mosaic, from the time when He was conceived in Mary's womb up to
the Ascension into Heaven. Then, resuming the same order, under the
three friezes there is the life of S. John the Baptist, beginning with
the appearing of the Angel to Zacharias the priest, up to his beheading
and to the burial that his disciples gave him. All these works, being
rude, without design and without art, I do not absolutely praise; but of
a truth, having regard to the method of working of that age and to the
imperfection that the art of painting then showed, not to mention that
the work is solid and that the pieces of the mosaic are very well put
together, the end of this work is much better--or to speak more exactly,
less bad--than is the beginning, although the whole, with respect to the
work of to-day, moves us rather to laughter than to pleasure or marvel.
Finally, over the side of the principal chapel in the said tribune,
Andrea made by himself and without the help of Apollonio, to his own
great credit, the Christ that is still seen there to-day, seven braccia
high. Becoming famous for these works throughout all Italy, and being
reputed in his own country as excellent, he well deserved to be largely
honoured and rewarded. It was truly very great good-fortune, that of
Andrea, to be born at a time when, all work being rudely done, there was
great esteem even for that which deserved to be esteemed very little, or
rather not at all. This same thing befell Fra Jacopo da Turrita, of the
Order of S. Francis, seeing that, having made the works in mosaic that
are in the recess behind the altar of the said S. Giovanni,
notwithstanding that they were little worthy of praise he was
remunerated for them with extraordinary rewards, and afterwards, as an
excellent master, summoned to Rome, where he wrought certain things in
the chapel of the high-altar of S. Giovanni Laterano, and in that of S.
Maria Maggiore. Next, being summoned to Pisa, he made the Evangelists in
the principal apse of the Duomo, with other works that are there,
assisted by Andrea Tafi and by Gaddo Gaddi, and using the same manner
wherein he had done his other works; but he left them little less than
wholly imperfect, and they were afterwards finished by Vicino.

The works of these men, then, were prized for some time; but when the
works of Giotto, as will be said in its own place, were set in
comparison with those of Andrea, of Cimabue, and of the others, people
recognized in part the perfection of the art, seeing the difference that
there was between the early manner of Cimabue and that of Giotto, in the
figures of the one and of the other and in those that their disciples
and imitators made. From this beginning the others sought step by step
to follow in the path of the best masters, surpassing one another
happily from one day to another, so that from such depths these arts
have been raised, as is seen, to the height of their perfection.

Andrea lived eighty-one years, and died before Cimabue, in 1294. And by
reason of the reputation and the honour that he gained with his mosaic,
seeing that he, before any other man, introduced and taught it in better
manner to the men of Tuscany, he was the cause that Gaddo Gaddi, Giotto,
and the others afterwards made the most excellent works of that craft
which have acquired for them fame and an eternal name. After the death
of Andrea there was not wanting one to magnify him with this


A disciple of Andrea was Buonamico Buffalmacco, who, being very young,
played him many tricks, and had from him the portrait of Pope Celestine
IV, a Milanese, and that of Innocent IV, both one and the other of whom
he portrayed afterwards in the pictures that he made in S. Paolo a Ripa
d' Arno in Pisa. A disciple and perhaps a son of the same man was
Antonio d'Andrea Tafi, who was a passing good painter; but I have not
been able to find any work by his hand. There is only mention made of
him in the old book of the Company of the Men of Design.

Deservedly, then, did Andrea Tafi gain much praise among the early
masters, for the reason that, although he learnt the principles of
mosaic from those whom he brought from Venice to Florence, he added
nevertheless so much of the good to the art, putting the pieces together
with much diligence and executing the work smooth as a table, which is
of the greatest importance in mosaic, that he opened the way to good
work to Giotto, among others, as will be told in his Life; and not only
to Giotto, but to all those who have exercised themselves in this sort
of painting from his day up to our own times. Wherefore it can be truly
affirmed that those marvellous works which are being made to-day in S.
Marco at Venice, and in other places, had their first beginning from
Andrea Tafi.




Gaddo, painter of Florence, displayed at this same time more design in
his works, wrought after the Greek manner, than did Andrea Tafi and the
other painters that were before him, and this perchance arose from the
intimate friendship and intercourse that he held with Cimabue, seeing
that, by reason either of their conformity of blood or of the goodness
of their minds, finding themselves united one to the other by a strait
affection, from the frequent converse that they had together and from
their discoursing lovingly very often about the difficulties of the arts
there were born in their minds conceptions very beautiful and grand; and
this came to pass for them the more easily inasmuch as they were
assisted by the subtlety of the air of Florence, which is wont to
produce spirits both ingenious and subtle, removing continually from
round them that little of rust and grossness that most times nature is
not able to remove, together with the emulation and with the precepts
that the good craftsmen provide in every age. And it is seen clearly
that works concerted between those who, in their friendship, are not
veiled with the mask of duplicity (although few so made are to be
found), arrive at much perfection; and the same men, conferring on the
difficulties of the sciences that they are learning, purge them and
render them so clear and easy that the greatest praise comes therefrom.
Whereas some, on the contrary, diabolically working with profession of
friendship, and using the cloak of truth and of lovingness to conceal
their envy and malice, rob them of their conceptions, in a manner that
the arts do not so soon attain to that excellence which they would if
love embraced the minds of the gracious spirits; as it truly bound
together Gaddo and Cimabue, and in like manner Andrea Tafi and Gaddo,
who was taken by Andrea into company with himself in order to finish the
mosaics of S. Giovanni, where that Gaddo learnt so much that afterwards
he made by himself the Prophets that are seen round that church in the
square spaces beneath the windows; and having wrought these by his own
self and with much better manner, they brought him very great fame.
Wherefore, growing in courage and being disposed to work by himself, he
applied himself continually to studying the Greek manner together with
that of Cimabue. Whence, after no long time, having become excellent in
the art, there was allotted to him by the Wardens of Works of S. Maria
del Fiore the lunette over the principal door within the church, wherein
he wrought in mosaic the Coronation of Our Lady; which work, when
finished, was judged by all the masters, both foreign and native, the
most beautiful that had yet been seen in all Italy in that craft, there
being recognized therein more design, more judgment, and more
diligence than in all the rest of the works in mosaic that were then
to be found in Italy.

Wherefore, the fame of this work spreading, Gaddo was called to Rome in
the year 1308 (which was the year after the fire that burnt down the
Church and the Palaces of the Lateran) by Clement V, for whom he
finished certain works in mosaic left imperfect by Fra Jacopo da
Turrita. He then wrought certain works, also in mosaic, in the Church of
S. Pietro, both in the principal chapel and throughout the church, and
in particular a large God the Father, with many other figures, on the
façade; and helping to finish some scenes in mosaic that are in the
façade of S. Maria Maggiore, he somewhat improved the manner, and
departed also a little from that manner of the Greeks, which had in it
nothing whatever of the good.

Next, having returned to Tuscany, he wrought in the Duomo Vecchio
without the city of Arezzo, for the Tarlati, Lords of Pietramala,
certain works in mosaic on a vault that was all made of sponge-stone and
served for roof to the middle part of that church, which, being too much
burdened by the ancient vault of stone, fell down in the time of Bishop
Gentile of Urbino, who had it afterwards all rebuilt with bricks.
Departing from Arezzo, Gaddo went to Pisa, where, in the niche over the
Chapel of the Incoronata in the Duomo, he made a Madonna who is
ascending into Heaven, and, above, a Jesus Christ who is awaiting her
and has a rich chair prepared as a seat for her; which work, for those
times, was wrought so well and with so great diligence that it has been
very well preserved, even to our own day. After this Gaddo returned to
Florence, in mind to rest; wherefore, undertaking to make little panels
in mosaic, he executed some with egg-shells, with incredible diligence
and patience, as can be seen, among others, in some that are still
to-day in the Church of S. Giovanni in Florence. It is read, also, that
he made two of them for King Robert, but nothing more is known of these.
And let this be enough to have said of Gaddo Gaddi with regard to work
in mosaic.

In painting he made many panels, and among others that which is in S.
Maria Novella, in the tramezzo[8] of the church, in the Chapel of the
Minerbetti, and many others that were sent into diverse parts of
Tuscany. And working thus, now in mosaic and now in painting, he made
both in the one and in the other exercise many passing good works, which
maintained him ever in good credit and reputation. I could here enlarge
further in discoursing of Gaddo, but seeing that the manners of the
painters of those times cannot, for the most part, render great
assistance to the craftsmen, I will pass this over in silence, reserving
myself to be longer in the Lives of those who, having improved the arts,
can give some measure of assistance.

Gaddo lived seventy-three years, and died in 1312, and was given
honourable burial in S. Croce by his son Taddeo. And although he had
other sons, Taddeo alone, who was held at the baptismal font by Giotto,
applied himself to painting, learning at first the principles from his
father and then the rest from Giotto. A disciple of Gaddo, besides
Taddeo his son, was Vicino, painter of Pisa, who wrought very well
certain works in mosaic in the principal apse of the Duomo of Pisa, as
these words demonstrate, that are still seen in that apse:


In the Chapel of the Baroncelli, in the same Church of S. Croce, there
is a portrait of Gaddo by the hand of his son Taddeo, in a Marriage of
Our Lady, and beside him is Andrea Tafi. And in our aforesaid book there
is a drawing by the hand of Gaddo, made in miniature, like that of
Cimabue, wherein it is seen how strong he was in draughtsmanship.

Now, seeing that in an old book, from which I have drawn these few facts
that have been related about Gaddo Gaddi, there is also an account of
the building of S. Maria Novella, the Church of the Preaching Friars in
Florence, a building truly magnificent and highly honoured, I will not
pass by in silence by whom and at what time it was built. I say, then,
that the Blessed Dominic being in Bologna, and there being conceded to
him the property of Ripoli without Florence, he sent thither twelve
friars under the care of the Blessed Giovanni da Salerno; and not many
years afterwards these friars came to Florence to occupy the church and
precincts of S. Pancrazio, and they were settled there, when Dominic
himself came to Florence, whereupon they left that place and went to
settle in the Church of S. Paolo, according to his pleasure. Later,
there being conceded to the said Blessed Giovanni the precincts of S.
Maria Novella, with all its wealth, by the Legate of the Pope and by the
Bishop of the city, they were put in possession and began to occupy the
said precincts on the last day of October, 1221. And because the said
church was passing small and faced westward, with its entrance on the
Piazza Vecchia, the friars, being now grown to a good number and having
great repute in the city, began to think of increasing the said church
and convent. Wherefore, having got together a very great sum of money,
and having many in the city who were promising every assistance, they
began the building of the new church on St. Luke's Day, in 1278; the
first stone of the foundations being most solemnly laid by Cardinal
Latino degli Orsini, Legate of Pope Nicholas III to the Florentines. The
architects of the said church were Fra Giovanni, a Florentine, and Fra
Ristoro da Campi, lay-brothers of the same Order, who rebuilt the Ponte
alla Carraja and that of S. Trinita, destroyed by the flood of 1264 on
October 1. The greater part of the site of the said church and convent
was presented to the friars by the heirs of Messer Jacopo, Cavaliere de'
Tornaquinci. The cost, as has been said, was met partly by alms and
partly by the money of diverse persons who assisted gallantly, and in
particular with the assistance of Frate Aldobrandino Cavalcanti, who was
afterwards Bishop of Arezzo and is buried over the door of the Virgin.
Some say that, besides everything else, he got together by his own
industry all the labour and material that went into the said church,
which was finished when the Prior of this convent was Fra Jacopo
Passavanti, who was therefore deemed worthy of a marble tomb in front of
the principal chapel, on the left hand. This church was consecrated in
the year 1420, by Pope Martin V, as is seen in an inscription on marble
on the righthand pillar of the principal chapel, which runs thus:


Of all these things and of many others there is an account in a
chronicle of the building of the said church, which is in the hands of
the fathers of S. Maria Novella, and in the History of Giovanni Villani
likewise; and I have not wished to withhold these few facts regarding
this church and convent, both because it is one of the most important
and most beautiful churches in Florence, and also because they have
therein, as will be said below, many excellent works made by the most
famous craftsmen that have lived in the years past.


[Footnote 8: The literal meaning of tramezzo is "something that acts as
a partition between one thing and another." There are cases where it
might be translated "rood-screen"; but in general it may be taken to
mean transept, which may be said to divide a church into two parts. In
all cases where the word occurs, reference will be made to this note.]




Among the old painters who were much alarmed by the praises rightly
given by men to Cimabue and to his disciple Giotto, whose good work in
painting was making their glory shine throughout all Italy, was one
Margaritone, painter of Arezzo, who, with the others who in that unhappy
century were holding the highest rank in painting, recognized that their
works were little less than wholly obscuring his own fame. Margaritone,
then, being held excellent among the other painters of these times who
were working after the Greek manner, wrought many panels in distemper at
Arezzo, and he painted in fresco--in even more pictures, but in a long
time and with much fatigue--almost the whole Church of S. Clemente,
Abbey of the Order of Camaldoli, which is to-day all in ruins and thrown
down, together with many other buildings and a strong fortress called S.
Chimenti, for the reason that Duke Cosimo de' Medici, not only on that
spot but right round that city, pulled down many buildings and the old
walls (which were restored by Guido Pietramalesco, formerly Bishop and
Patron of that city); in order to rebuild the latter with connecting
wings and bastions, much stronger and smaller than they were, and in
consequence more easy to guard and with few men. There were, in the said
pictures, many figures both small and great, and although they were
wrought after the Greek manner, it was recognized, none the less, that
they had been made with good judgment and lovingly; to which witness is
borne by works by the same man's hand which have survived in that city,
and above all a panel that is now in S. Francesco, in the Chapel of the
Conception, with a modern frame, wherein is a Madonna held by these
friars in great veneration. He made in the same church, also after the
Greek manner, a great Crucifix which is now placed in that chapel where
there is the Office of the Wardens of Works; this is wrought on the
planking, with the Cross outlined, and of this sort he made many in that
city. For the Nuns of S. Margherita he wrought a work that is to-day set
up against the tramezzo[9] of the church--namely, a canvas fixed on a
panel, wherein are scenes with small figures from the life of Our Lady
and of S. John the Baptist, in considerably better manner than the
large, and executed with more diligence and grace. This work is notable,
not only because the said small figures are so well made that they look
like miniatures, but also because it is a marvel to see that a work on
canvas has been preserved for three hundred years. He made throughout
the whole city an infinity of pictures, and at Sargiano, a convent of
the Frati de' Zoccoli, a S. Francis portrayed from nature on a panel,
whereon he placed his name, as on a work, in his judgment, wrought
better than was his wont. Next, having made a large Crucifix on wood,
painted after the Greek manner, he sent it to Florence to Messer
Farinata degli Uberti, a most famous citizen, for the reason that he
had, among other noble deeds, freed his country from imminent ruin and
peril. This Crucifix is to-day in S. Croce, between the Chapel of the
Peruzzi and that of the Giugni. In S. Domenico in Arezzo, a church and
convent built by the Lords of Pietramala in the year 1275, as their arms
still prove, he wrought many works, and then returned to Rome (where he
had already been held very dear by Pope Urban IV), to the end that he
might do certain works in fresco at his commission in the portico of S.
Pietro; these were in the Greek manner, and passing good for those

[Illustration: _Mansell_


(_After the painting by_ Margaritone. _London: National Gallery, 5040_)]

Next, having made a S. Francis on a panel at Ganghereto, a place above
Terra Nuova in Valdarno, his spirit grew exalted and he gave himself to
sculpture, and that with so much zeal that he succeeded much better than
he had done in painting, because, although his first sculptures were in
Greek manner, as four wooden figures show that are in a Deposition from
the Cross in the Prieve, and some other figures in the round placed in
the Chapel of S. Francesco over the baptismal font, none the less he
adopted a better manner after he had seen in Florence the works of
Arnolfo and of the other then most famous sculptors. Wherefore, having
returned to Arezzo in the year 1275, in the wake of the Court of Pope
Gregory, who passed through Florence on his return from Avignon to Rome,
there came to him opportunity to make himself more known, for the reason
that this Pope died in Arezzo, after having presented thirty thousand
crowns to the Commune to the end that there might be finished the
building of the Vescovado, formerly begun by Maestro Lapo and little
advanced, and the Aretines, besides making the Chapel of S. Gregorio
(where Margaritone afterwards made a panel) in the Vescovado, in memory
of the said Pontiff, also ordained that a tomb of marble should be made
for him by the same man in the said Vescovado. Putting his hand to the
work, he brought it to completion, including therein the portrait of the
Pope from nature, done both in marble and in painting, in a manner that
it was held the best work that he had ever yet made. Next, work being
resumed on the building of the Vescovado, Margaritone carried it very
far on, following the design of Lapo; but he did not, however, deliver
it finished, because a few years later, in the year 1289, the wars
between the Florentines and the Aretines were renewed, by the fault of
Guglielmino Ubertini, Bishop and Lord of Arezzo, assisted by the Tarlati
da Pietramala and by the Pazzi di Valdarno, although evil came to them
thereby, for they were routed and slain at Campaldino; and there was
spent in that war all the money left by the Pope for the building of the
Vescovado. And therefore the Aretines ordained that in place of this
there should serve the impost paid by the district (thus do they call a
tax), as a particular revenue for that work; which impost has lasted up
to our own day, and continues to last.

Now returning to Margaritone: from what is seen in his works, as regards
painting, he was the first who considered what a man must do when he
works on panels of wood, to the end that they may stay firm in the
joinings, and that they may not show fissures and cracks opening out
after they have been painted; for he was used to put over the whole
surface of the panels a canvas of linen cloth, attached with a strong
glue made from shreds of parchment and boiled over a fire; and then
over the said canvas he spread gesso, as is seen in many panels by him
and by others. He wrought, besides, on gesso mingled with the same glue,
friezes and diadems in relief and other ornaments in the round; and he
was the inventor of the method of applying Armenian bole, and of
spreading gold-leaf thereon and burnishing it. All these things, never
seen before, are seen in many of his works, and in particular in the
Pieve of Arezzo, in an altar-front wherein are stories of S. Donatus,
and in S. Agnesa and S. Niccolò in the same city.

Finally, he wrought many works in his own country, which went abroad;
some of which are at Rome, in S. Giovanni and in S. Pietro, and some at
Pisa, in S. Caterina, where, in the tramezzo[10] of the church, there is
set up over an altar a panel with S. Catherine on it, and many scenes
from her life with little figures, and a S. Francis with many scenes on
a panel, on a ground of gold. And in the upper Church of S. Francesco
d'Assisi there is a Crucifix by his hand, painted in the Greek manner,
on a beam that crosses the church. All which works were in great esteem
among the people of that age, although to-day by us they are not
esteemed save as old things, good when art was not, as it is to-day, at
its height. And seeing that Margaritone applied himself also to
architecture, although I have not made mention of any buildings made
with his design, because they are not of importance, I will yet not
forbear to say that he, according to what I find, made the design and
model of the Palazzo de' Governatori in the city of Ancona, after the
Greek manner, in the year 1270; and what is more, he made in sculpture,
on the principal front, eight windows, whereof each one has, in the
space in the middle, two columns that support in the middle two arches,
over which each window has a scene in half-relief that reaches from the
said small arches up to the top of the window; a scene, I say, from the
Old Testament, carved in a kind of stone that is found in that district.
Under the said windows, on the façade, there are certain words that are
understood rather at discretion than because they are either in good
form or rightly written, wherein there is read the date and in whose
time this work was made. By the hand of the same man, also, was the
design of the Church of S. Ciriaco in Ancona. Margaritone died at the
age of seventy-seven, disgusted, so it is said, to have lived so long,
seeing the age changed and the honours with the new craftsmen. He was
buried in the Duomo Vecchio without Arezzo, in a tomb of travertine, now
gone to ruin in the destruction of that church; and there was made for
him this epitaph:


The portrait of Margaritone, by the hand of Spinello, is in the Story of
the Magi, in the said Duomo, and was copied by me before that church was
pulled down.


[Footnote 9: See note on p. 57.]

[Footnote 10: See note on p. 57.]


[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco by_ Giotto. _Florence: S. Croce_)]



That very obligation which the craftsmen of painting owe to nature, who
serves continually as model to those who are ever wresting the good from
her best and most beautiful features and striving to counterfeit and to
imitate her, should be owed, in my belief, to Giotto, painter of
Florence, for the reason that, after the methods of good paintings and
their outlines had lain buried for so many years under the ruins of the
wars, he alone, although born among inept craftsmen, by the gift of God
revived that art, which had come to a grievous pass, and brought it to
such a form as could be called good. And truly it was a very great
miracle that that age, gross and inept, should have had strength to work
in Giotto in a fashion so masterly, that design, whereof the men of
those times had little or no knowledge, was restored completely to life
by means of him. And yet this great man was born at the village of
Vespignano, in the district of Florence, fourteen miles distant from
that city, in the year 1276, from a father named Bondone, a tiller of
the soil and a simple fellow. He, having had this son, to whom he gave
the name Giotto, reared him conformably to his condition; and when he
had come to the age of ten, he showed in all his actions, although
childish still, a vivacity and readiness of intelligence much out of the
ordinary, which rendered him dear not only to his father but to all
those also who knew him, both in the village and beyond. Now Bondone
gave some sheep into his charge, and he, going about the holding, now in
one part and now in another, to graze them, and impelled by a natural
inclination to the art of design, was for ever drawing, on stones, on
the ground, or on sand, something from nature, or in truth anything
that came into his fancy. Wherefore Cimabue, going one day on some
business of his own from Florence to Vespignano, found Giotto, while his
sheep were browsing, portraying a sheep from nature on a flat and
polished slab, with a stone slightly pointed, without having learnt any
method of doing this from others, but only from nature; whence Cimabue,
standing fast all in a marvel, asked him if he wished to go to live with
him. The child answered that, his father consenting, he would go
willingly. Cimabue then asking this from Bondone, the latter lovingly
granted it to him, and was content that he should take the boy with him
to Florence; whither having come, in a short time, assisted by nature
and taught by Cimabue, the child not only equalled the manner of his
master, but became so good an imitator of nature that he banished
completely that rude Greek manner and revived the modern and good art of
painting, introducing the portraying well from nature of living people,
which had not been used for more than two hundred years. If, indeed,
anyone had tried it, as has been said above, he had not succeeded very
happily, nor as well by a great measure as Giotto, who portrayed among
others, as is still seen to-day in the Chapel of the Palace of the
Podestà at Florence, Dante Alighieri, a contemporary and his very great
friend, and no less famous as poet than was in the same times Giotto as
painter, so much praised by Messer Giovanni Boccaccio in the preface to
the story of Messer Forese da Rabatta and of Giotto the painter himself.
In the same chapel are the portraits, likewise by the same man's hand,
of Ser Brunetto Latini, master of Dante, and of Messer Corso Donati, a
great citizen of those times.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco of the_ Roman School. _Assisi: Upper Church of S.

The first pictures of Giotto were in the chapel of the high-altar in the
Badia of Florence, wherein he made many works held beautiful, but in
particular a Madonna receiving the Annunciation, for the reason that in
her he expressed vividly the fear and the terror that the salutation of
Gabriel inspired in Mary the Virgin, who appears, all full of the
greatest alarm, to be wishing almost to turn to flight. By the hand of
Giotto, likewise, is the panel on the high-altar of the said chapel,
which has been preserved there to our own day, and is still preserved
there, more because of a certain reverence that is felt for the work of
so great a man than for any other reason. And in S. Croce there are
four chapels by the same man's hand: three between the sacristy and the
great chapel, and one on the other side. In the first of the three,
which is that of Messer Ridolfo de' Bardi, and is that wherein are the
bell-ropes, is the life of S. Francis, in the death of whom a good
number of friars show very naturally the expression of weeping. In the
next, which is that of the family of Peruzzi, are two stories of the
life of S. John the Baptist, to whom the chapel is dedicated; wherein
great vivacity is seen in the dancing and leaping of Herodias, and in
the promptness of some servants bustling at the service of the table. In
the same are two marvellous stories of S. John the Evangelist--namely,
when he brings Drusiana back to life, and when he is carried off into
Heaven. In the third, which is that of the Giugni, dedicated to the
Apostles, there are painted by the hand of Giotto the stories of the
martyrdom of many of them. In the fourth, which is on the other side of
the church, towards the north, and belongs to the Tosinghi and to the
Spinelli, and is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, Giotto painted
her Birth, her Marriage, her Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi,
and when she presents Christ as a little Child to Simeon, which is
something very beautiful, seeing that, besides a great affection that is
seen in that old man as he receives Christ, the action of the child,
stretching out its arms in fear of him and turning in terror towards its
mother, could not be more touching or more beautiful. Next, in the death
of the Madonna herself, there are the Apostles, and a good number of
angels with torches in their hands, all very beautiful. In the Chapel of
the Baroncelli, in the said church, is a panel in distemper by the hand
of Giotto, wherein is executed with much diligence the Coronation of Our
Lady, with a very great number of little figures and a choir of angels
and saints, very diligently wrought. And because in that work there are
written his name and the date in letters of gold, craftsmen who will
consider at what time Giotto, with no glimmer of the good manner, gave a
beginning to the good method of drawing and of colouring, will be forced
to hold him in the highest veneration. In the same Church of S. Croce,
over the marble tomb of Carlo Marsuppini of Arezzo, there is a Crucifix,
with the Madonna, S. John, and Magdalene at the foot of the Cross; and
on the other side of the church, exactly opposite this, over the
burial-place of Lionardo Aretino, facing the high-altar, there is an
Annunciation, which has been recoloured by modern painters, with small
judgment on the part of him who has had this done. In the refectory, on
a Tree of the Cross, are stories of S. Louis and a Last Supper by the
same man's hand; and on the wardrobes in the sacristy are scenes with
little figures from the life of Christ and of S. Francis. He wrought,
also, in the Church of the Carmine, in the Chapel of S. Giovanni
Battista, all the life of that Saint, divided into a number of pictures;
and in the Palace of the Guelph party, in Florence, there is a story of
the Christian Faith, painted perfectly in fresco by his hand; and
therein is the portrait of Pope Clement IV, who created that magisterial
body, giving it his arms, which it has always held and holds still.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco of the_ Roman School. _Assisi: Upper Church of S.

After these works, departing from Florence in order to go to finish in
Assisi the works begun by Cimabue, in passing through Arezzo he painted
in the Pieve the Chapel of S. Francesco, which is above the place of
baptism; and on a round column, near a Corinthian capital that is both
ancient and very beautiful, he portrayed from nature a S. Francis and a
S. Dominic; and in the Duomo without Arezzo he painted the Stoning of S.
Stephen in a little chapel, with a beautiful composition of figures.
These works finished, he betook himself to Assisi, a city of Umbria,
being called thither by Fra Giovanni di Muro della Marca, then General
of the Friars of S. Francis; where, in the upper church, he painted in
fresco, under the gallery that crosses the windows, on both sides of the
church, thirty-two scenes of the life and acts of S. Francis--that is,
sixteen on each wall--so perfectly that he acquired thereby very great
fame. And in truth there is seen great variety in that work, not only in
the gestures and attitudes of each figure but also in the composition of
all the scenes; not to mention that it enables us very beautifully to
see the diversity of the costumes of those times, and certain imitations
and observations of the things of nature. Among others, there is one
very beautiful scene, wherein a thirsty man, in whom the desire for
water is vividly seen, is drinking, bending down on the ground by a
fountain with very great and truly marvellous expression, in a manner
that it seems almost a living person that is drinking. There are also
many other things there most worthy of consideration, about which, in
order not to be tedious, I do not enlarge further. Let it suffice that
this whole work acquired for Giotto very great fame, by reason of the
excellence of the figures and of the order, proportion, liveliness, and
facility which he had from nature, and which he had made much greater by
means of study, and was able to demonstrate clearly in all his works.
And because, besides that which Giotto had from nature, he was most
diligent and went on ever thinking out new ideas and wresting them from
nature, he well deserved to be called the disciple of nature and not of
others. The aforesaid scenes being finished, he painted in the same
place, but in the lower church, the upper part of the walls at the sides
of the high-altar, and all the four angles of the vaulting above in the
place where lies the body of S. Francis; and all with inventions both
fanciful and beautiful. In the first is S. Francis glorified in Heaven,
surrounded by those virtues which are essential for him who wishes to be
perfectly in the grace of God. On one side Obedience is placing a yoke
on the neck of a friar who is before her on his knees, and the bands of
the yoke are drawn by certain hands towards Heaven; and, enjoining
silence with one finger to her lips, she has her eyes on Jesus Christ,
who is shedding blood from His side. And in company with this virtue are
Prudence and Humility, in order to show that where there is true
obedience there are ever humility and prudence, which enable us to carry
out every action well. In the second angle is Chastity, who, standing in
a very strong fastness, is refusing to be conquered either by kingdoms
or crowns or palms that some are presenting to her. At her feet is
Purity, who is washing naked figures; and Force is busy leading people
to wash and purify themselves. Near to Chastity, on one side, is
Penitence, who is chasing Love away with a Discipline, and putting to
flight Impurity. In the third space is Poverty, who is walking with bare
feet on thorns, and has a dog that is barking at her from behind, and
about her a boy who is throwing stones at her, and another who is busy
pushing some thorns with a stick against her legs. And this Poverty is
seen here being espoused by S. Francis, while Jesus Christ is holding
her hand, there being present, not without mystic meaning, Hope and
Compassion. In the fourth and last of the said spaces is a S. Francis,
also glorified, in the white tunic of a deacon, and shown triumphant in
Heaven in the midst of a multitude of angels who are forming a choir
round him, with a standard whereon is a Cross with seven stars; and on
high is the Holy Spirit. Within each of these angles are some Latin
words that explain the scenes. In like manner, besides the said four
angles, there are pictures on the side walls which are very beautiful
and truly to be held in great price, both by reason of the perfection
that is seen in them and because they were wrought with so great
diligence that up to our own day they have remained fresh. In these
pictures is the portrait of Giotto himself, very well made, and over the
door of the sacristy, by the same man's hand and also in fresco, there
is a S. Francis who is receiving the Stigmata, so loving and devout that
to me it appears the most excellent picture that Giotto made in these
works, which are all truly beautiful and worthy of praise.

Having finished, then, for the last, the said S. Francis, he returned to
Florence, where, on arriving there, he painted, on a panel that was to
be sent to Pisa, a S. Francis on the tremendous rock of La Vernia, with
extraordinary diligence, seeing that, besides certain landscapes full of
trees and cliffs, which was something new in those times, there are seen
in the attitude of a S. Francis, who is kneeling and receiving the
Stigmata with much readiness, a most ardent desire to receive them and
infinite love towards Jesus Christ, who, being surrounded in the sky by
seraphim, is granting them to him with an expression so vivid that
anything better cannot be imagined. In the lower part of the same panel
there are three very beautiful scenes of the life of the same Saint.
This panel, which to-day is seen in S. Francesco in Pisa on a pillar
beside the high-altar, and is held in great veneration as a memorial of
so great a man, was the reason that the Pisans, having just finished the
building of the Campo Santo after the design of Giovanni, son of Niccola
Pisano, as has been said above, gave to Giotto the painting of part of
the inner walls, to the end that, since this so great fabric was all
incrusted on the outer side with marbles and with carvings made at very
great cost, and roofed over with lead, and also full of sarcophagi and
ancient tombs once belonging to the heathens and brought to Pisa from
various parts of the world, even so it might be adorned within, on the
walls, with the noblest painting. Having gone to Pisa, then, for this
purpose, Giotto made in fresco, on the first part of a wall in that
Campo Santo, six large stories of the most patient Job. And because he
judiciously reflected that the marbles of that part of the building
where he had to work were turned towards the sea, and that, all being
saline marbles, they are ever damp by reason of the south-east winds and
throw out a certain salt moisture, even as the bricks of Pisa do for the
most part, and that therefore the colours and the paintings fade and
corrode, he caused to be made over the whole surface where he wished to
work in fresco, to the end that his work might be preserved as long as
possible, a coating, or in truth an intonaco or incrustation--that is to
say, with lime, gypsum, and powdered brick all mixed together; so
suitably that the pictures which he afterwards made thereon have been
preserved up to the present day. And they would be still better if the
negligence of those who should have taken care of them had not allowed
them to be much injured by the damp, because the fact that this was not
provided for, as was easily possible, has been the reason that these
pictures, having suffered from damp, have been spoilt in certain places,
and the flesh-colours have been blackened, and the intonaco has peeled
off; not to mention that the nature of gypsum, when it has been mixed
with lime, is to corrode in time and to grow rotten, whence it arises
that afterwards, perforce, it spoils the colours, although it appears at
the beginning to take a good and firm hold. In these scenes, besides the
portrait of Messer Farinata degli Uberti, there are many beautiful
figures, and above all certain villagers, who, in carrying the grievous
news to Job, could not be more full of feeling nor show better than they
do the grief that they felt over the lost cattle and over the other
misadventures. Likewise there is amazing grace in the figure of a
man-servant who is standing with a fan beside Job, who is covered with
ulcers and almost abandoned by all; and although he is well done in
every part, he is marvellous in the attitude that he strikes in chasing
the flies from his leprous and stinking master with one hand, while with
the other he is holding his nose in disgust, in order not to notice the
stench. In like manner, the other figures in these scenes and the heads
both of the males and of the women are very beautiful; and the draperies
are wrought to such a degree of softness that it is no marvel if this
work acquired for him so great fame, both in that city and abroad, that
Pope Benedict IX of Treviso sent one of his courtiers into Tuscany to
see what sort of man was Giotto, and of what kind his works, having
designed to have some pictures made in S. Pietro. This courtier, coming
in order to see Giotto and to hear what other masters there were in
Florence excellent in painting and in mosaic, talked to many masters in
Siena. Then, having received drawings from them, he came to Florence,
and having gone into the shop of Giotto, who was working, declared to
him the mind of the Pope and in what way it was proposed to make use of
his labour, and at last asked him for some little drawing, to the end
that he might send it to His Holiness. Giotto, who was most courteous,
took a paper, and on that, with a brush dipped in red, holding his arm
fast against his side in order to make a compass, with a turn of the
hand he made a circle, so true in proportion and circumference that to
behold it was a marvel. This done, he smiled and said to the courtier:
"Here is your drawing." He, thinking he was being derided, said: "Am I
to have no other drawing but this?" "'Tis enough and to spare," answered
Giotto. "Send it, together with the others, and you will see if it will
be recognized." The envoy, seeing that he could get nothing else, left
him, very ill-satisfied and doubting that he had been fooled. All the
same, sending to the Pope the other drawings and the names of those who
had made them, he also sent that of Giotto, relating the method that he
had followed in making his circle without moving his arm and without
compasses. Wherefore the Pope and many courtiers that were versed in the
arts recognized by this how much Giotto surpassed in excellence all the
other painters of his time. This matter having afterwards spread abroad,
there was born from it the proverb that is still wont to be said to men
of gross wits: "Tu sei più tondo che l' O di Giotto!" ("Thou art
rounder than Giotto's circle"). This proverb can be called beautiful not
only from the occasion that gave it birth, but also for its
significance, which consists in the double meaning; tondo being used, in
Tuscany, both for the perfect shape of a circle and for slowness and
grossness of understanding.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco by_ Giotto and his Pupils. _Assisi: Lower Church of
S. Francesco_)]

The aforesaid Pope then made him come to Rome, where, honouring him much
and appreciating his talents, he made him paint five scenes from the
life of Christ in the apse of S. Pietro, and the chief panel in the
sacristy, which were all executed by him with so great diligence that
there never issued from his hands any more finished work in distemper.
Wherefore he well deserved that the Pope, holding himself to have been
well served, should cause to be given to him six hundred ducats of gold,
besides granting him so many favours that they were talked of throughout
all Italy.

About this time--in order to withhold nothing worthy of remembrance in
connection with art--there was in Rome one Oderigi d'Agobbio, who was
much the friend of Giotto and an excellent illuminator for those days.
This man, being summoned for this purpose by the Pope, illuminated many
books for the library of the palace, which are now in great part eaten
away by time. And in my book of ancient drawings are some remains from
the very hand of this man, who in truth was an able man; although a much
better master than Oderigi was Franco Bolognese, who wrought a number of
works excellently in that manner for the same Pope and for the same
library, about the same time, as can be seen in the said book, wherein I
have designs by his hand both in painting and in illumination, and among
them an eagle very well done, and a very beautiful lion that is tearing
a tree. Of these two excellent illuminators Dante makes mention in the
eleventh canto of the _Purgatorio_, where he is talking of the
vainglorious, in these verses:

     O, dissi a lui, non se' tu Oderigi,
     L'onor d'Agobbio, e l'onor di quell'arte
     Che alluminare è chiamata in Parigi?
     Frate, diss'egli, più ridon le carte
     Che pennelleggia Franco Bolognese;
     L'onor è tutto suo, e mio in parte.

The Pope, having seen these works, and the manner of Giotto pleasing him
infinitely, ordered him to make scenes from the Old Testament and the
New right round S. Pietro; wherefore, for a beginning, Giotto made in
fresco the Angel that is over the organ, seven braccia high, and many
other paintings, whereof part have been restored by others in our own
days, and part, in founding the new walls, have been either destroyed or
removed from the old edifice of S. Pietro, up to the space below the
organ; such as a Madonna on a wall, which, to the end that it might not
be thrown to the ground, was cut right out of the wall and made fast
with beams and iron bars and thus removed, and afterwards built in, by
reason of its beauty, in the place that pleased the pious love that is
borne towards everything excellent in art by Messer Niccolò Acciaiuoli,
doctor of Florence, who richly adorned this work of Giotto with
stucco-work and also with modern paintings. By his hand, also, was the
Navicella in mosaic that is over the three doors of the portico in the
court of S. Pietro, which is truly marvellous and deservedly praised by
all beautiful minds, because in it, besides the design, there is the
grouping of the Apostles, who are travailing in diverse manners through
the sea-tempest, while the winds are blowing into a sail, which has so
high a relief that a real one would not have more; and moreover it is
difficult to have to make with those pieces of glass a unity such as
that which is seen in the lights and shadows of so great a sail, which
could only be equalled by the brush with great difficulty and by making
every possible effort; not to mention that in a fisherman, who is
fishing from a rock with a line, there is seen an attitude of extreme
patience proper to that art, and in his face the hope and the wish to
make a catch. Under this work are three little arches in fresco, of
which, since they are for the greater part spoilt, I will say no more.
The praises universally given by craftsmen to this work are well

Giotto, having afterwards painted on a panel a large Crucifix coloured
in distemper, for the Minerva, a church of the Preaching Friars,
returned to his own country, having been abroad six years. But no long
time after, by reason of the death of Pope Benedict IX, Clement V was
created Pope in Perugia, and Giotto was forced to betake himself with
that Pope to the place where he brought his Court, to Avignon, in order
to do certain works there; and having gone there, he made, not only in
Avignon but in many other places in France, many very beautiful panels
and pictures in fresco, which pleased the Pontiff and the whole Court
infinitely. Wherefore, the work dispatched, the Pope dismissed him
lovingly and with many gifts, and he returned home no less rich than
honoured and famous; and among the rest he brought back the portrait of
that Pope, which he gave afterwards to Taddeo Gaddi, his disciple. And
this return of Giotto to Florence was in the year 1316. But it was not
granted to him to stay long in Florence, because, being summoned to
Padua by the agency of the Signori della Scala, he painted a very
beautiful chapel in the Santo, a church built in those times. From there
he went to Verona, where, for Messer Cane, he made certain pictures in
his palace, and in particular the portrait of that lord; and a panel for
the Friars of S. Francis. These works completed, in returning to Tuscany
he was forced to stay in Ferrara, and he painted at the behest of those
Signori d'Este, in their palace and in S. Agostino, some works that are
still seen there to-day. Meanwhile, it coming to the ears of Dante, poet
of Florence, that Giotto was in Ferrara, he so contrived that he brought
him to Ravenna, where he was living in exile; and he caused him to make
round the Church of S. Francesco, for the Signori da Polenta, some
scenes in fresco that are passing good. Next, having gone from Ravenna
to Urbino, there too he wrought some works. Then, chancing to pass
through Arezzo, he could not but comply with the wish of Piero Saccone,
who had been much his friend; wherefore he made for him in fresco, on a
pillar in the principal chapel of the Vescovado, a S. Martin who has cut
his cloak in half and is giving one part of it to a beggar, who is
standing before him almost wholly naked. Then, having made for the Abbey
of S. Fiore a large Crucifix painted in distemper on wood, which is
to-day in the middle of that church, he returned finally to Florence,
where, among many other works, he made some pictures in the Convent of
the Nuns of Faenza, both in fresco and in distemper, that are not in
existence to-day, by reason of the destruction of that convent. In the
year 1322, likewise--Dante, very much his friend, having died in the
year before, to his great sorrow--he went to Lucca, and at the request
of Castruccio, then Lord of that city, his birthplace, he made a panel
in S. Martino with a Christ in air and four Saints, Protectors of that
city--namely, S. Peter, S. Regulus, S. Martin, and S. Paulinus--who
appear to be recommending a Pope and an Emperor, who, according to what
is believed by many, are Frederick of Bavaria and the Anti-Pope Nicholas
V. Some, likewise, believe that Giotto designed the castle and fortress
of Giusta, which is impregnable, at San Frediano, in the same city of

Afterwards, Giotto having returned to Florence, Robert, King of Naples,
wrote to Charles, King of Calabria, his first-born son, who chanced to
be in Florence, that he should send him Giotto to Naples at all costs,
for the reason that, having finished the building of S. Chiara, a
convent of nuns and a royal church, he wished that it should be adorned
by him with noble paintings. Giotto, then, hearing himself summoned by a
King so greatly renowned and famous, went more than willingly to serve
him, and, on arriving, painted many scenes from the Old Testament and
the New in some chapels of the said convent. And the scenes from the
Apocalypse that he made in one of the said chapels are said to have been
inventions of Dante; and this may be also true of those at Assisi, so
greatly renowned, whereof there has been enough said above. And although
Dante at that time was dead, they may have held discourse on these
matters, as often comes to pass between friends.


(_Florence: Accademia 103. Panel_)]

But to return to Naples; Giotto made many works in the Castel dell'Uovo,
and in particular the chapel, which much pleased that King, by whom he
was so greatly beloved that many times, while working, Giotto found
himself entertained by the King in person, who took pleasure in seeing
him at work and in hearing his discourse. And Giotto, who had ever some
jest on his tongue and some witty repartee in readiness, would entertain
him with his hand, in painting, and with pleasant discourse, in his
jesting. Wherefore, the King saying to him one day that he wished to
make him the first man in Naples, Giotto answered, "And for that end
am I lodged at the Porta Reale, in order to be the first in Naples."
Another time, the King saying to him, "Giotto, an I were you, now that
it is hot, I would give over painting for a little;" he answered, "And
I, i' faith, an I were you." Being then very dear to the King, he made
for him a good number of pictures in a hall (that King Alfonso I pulled
down in order to make the Castle), and also in the Incoronata; and among
others in the said hall were the portraits of many famous men, and among
them that of Giotto himself. Now the King having one day out of caprice
besought him to paint his realm for him, Giotto, so it is said, painted
for him an ass saddled, that had at its feet a new pack-saddle, and was
sniffing at it and making semblance of desiring it; and on both the old
pack-saddle and the new one were the royal crown and the sceptre of
sovereignty; wherefore Giotto, being asked by the King what such a
picture signified, answered that such were his subjects and such the
kingdom, wherein every day a new lord was desired.

Departing from Naples in order to go to Rome, Giotto stopped at Gaeta,
where he was forced to paint some scenes from the Old Testament in the
Nunziata, which are now spoilt by time, but yet not so completely that
there may not be seen in them very well the portrait of Giotto himself,
near a large and very beautiful Crucifix. This work finished, not being
able to refuse this to Signor Malatesta, he first occupied himself in
his service for some days in Rome, and afterwards he betook himself to
Rimini, of which city the said Malatesta was lord; and there, in the
Church of S. Francesco, he made very many pictures, which were
afterwards thrown to the ground and destroyed by Gismondo, son of
Pandolfo Malatesta, who rebuilt the whole said church anew. In the
cloisters of the said place, also, opposite to the wall of the church,
he painted in fresco the story of the Blessed Michelina, which was one
of the most beautiful and excellent works that Giotto ever made, by
reason of the many and beautiful ideas that he had in working thereon;
for besides the beauty of the draperies, and the grace and vivacity of
the heads, which are miraculous, there is a young woman therein as
beautiful as ever a woman can be, who, in order to clear herself from
the false charge of adultery, is taking oath over a book in a most
wonderful attitude, holding her eyes fixed on those of her husband, who
was making her take the oath by reason of mistrust in a black son born
from her, whom he could in no way bring himself to believe to be his.
She, even as the husband is showing disdain and distrust in his face, is
making clear with the purity of her brow and of her eyes, to those who
are most intently gazing on her, her innocence and simplicity, and the
wrong that he is doing to her in making her take oath and in proclaiming
her wrongly as a harlot.

In like manner, very great feeling was that which he expressed in a sick
man stricken with certain sores, seeing that all the women who are round
him, overcome by the stench, are making certain grimaces of disgust, the
most gracious in the world. The foreshortenings, next, that are seen in
another picture among a quantity of beggars that he portrayed, are very
worthy of praise and should be held in great price among craftsmen,
because from them there came the first beginning and method of making
them, not to mention that it cannot be said that they are not passing
good for early work. But above everything else that is in this work,
most marvellous is the gesture that the aforesaid Blessed Michelina is
making towards certain usurers, who are disbursing to her the money from
the sale of her possessions for giving to the poor, seeing that in her
there is shown contempt of money and of the other things of this earth,
which appear to disgust her, and, in them, the personification of human
avarice and greed. Very beautiful, too, is the figure of one who, while
counting the money, appears to be making sign to the notary who is
writing, considering that, although he has his eyes on the notary, he is
yet keeping his hands on the money, thus revealing his love of it, his
avarice, and his distrust. In like manner, the three figures that are
upholding the garments of S. Francis in the sky, representing Obedience,
Patience, and Poverty, are worthy of infinite praise, above all because
there is in the manner of the draperies a natural flow of folds that
gives us to know that Giotto was born in order to give light to
painting. Besides this, he portrayed Signor Malatesta on a ship in this
work, so naturally that he appears absolutely alive; and some mariners
and other people, in their promptness, their expressions, and their
attitudes--and particularly a figure that is speaking with some others
and spits into the sea, putting one hand up to his face--give us to know
the excellence of Giotto. And certainly, among all the works of painting
made by this master, this may be said to be one of the best, for the
reason that there is not one figure in so great a number that does not
show very great craftsmanship, and that is not placed in some
characteristic attitude. And therefore it is no marvel that Signor
Malatesta did not fail to reward him magnificently and to praise him.

Having finished his labours for that lord, he complied with the request
of a Prior of Florence who was then at S. Cataldo d'Arimini, and made a
S. Thomas Aquinas, reading to his friars, without the door of the
church. Departing thence, he returned to Ravenna and painted a chapel in
fresco in S. Giovanni Evangelista, which is much extolled. Having next
returned to Florence with very great honour and ample means, he painted
a Crucifix on wood and in distemper for S. Marco, larger than life and
on a ground of gold, which was placed on the right hand in the church.
And he made another like it in S. Maria Novella, whereon Puccio Capanna,
his pupil, worked in company with him; and this is still to-day over the
principal door, on the right as you enter the church, over the tomb of
the Gaddi. And in the same church, over the tramezzo,[11] he made a S.
Louis for Paolo di Lotto Ardinghelli, and at the foot thereof the
portrait of him and of his wife, from the life.

Afterwards, in the year 1327, Guido Tarlati da Pietramala, Bishop and
Lord of Arezzo, died at Massa di Maremma in returning from Lucca, where
he had been to visit the Emperor, and after his body had been brought to
Arezzo and the most magnificent funeral honours had been paid to it,
Piero Saccone and Dolfo da Pietramala, the brother of the Bishop,
determined that there should be made for him a tomb in marble worthy of
the greatness of so notable a man, who had been a lord both spiritual
and temporal, and head of the Ghibelline party in Tuscany. Wherefore,
having written to Giotto that he should make the design of a tomb very
rich and with all possible adornment, and having sent him the
measurements, they prayed him afterwards that he should place at their
disposal the sculptor who was the most excellent, according to his
opinion, of all that were in Italy, because they were relying wholly on
his judgment. Giotto, who was most courteous, made the design and sent
it to them; and after this design, as will be told in the proper place,
the said tomb was made. And because the said Piero Saccone had infinite
love for the talent of this man, having taken Borgo a San Sepolcro no
long time after he had received the said design, he brought from there
to Arezzo a panel with little figures by the hand of Giotto, which
afterwards fell to pieces; and Baccio Gondi, nobleman of Florence, a
lover of these noble arts and of every talent, being Commissary of
Arezzo, sought out the pieces of this panel with great diligence, and
having found some brought them to Florence, where he holds them in great
veneration, together with some other works that he has by the hand of
the same Giotto, who wrought so many that their number is almost beyond
belief. And not many years ago, chancing to be at the Hermitage of
Camaldoli, where I have wrought many works for those reverend Fathers, I
saw in a cell, whither it had been brought by the Very Reverend Don
Antonio da Pisa, then General of the Congregation of Camaldoli, a very
beautiful little Crucifix on a ground of gold, with the name of Giotto
in his own hand; which Crucifix, according to what I hear from the
Reverend Don Silvano Razzi, monk of Camaldoli, is kept to-day in the
cell of the Superior of the Monastery of the Angeli, as being a very
rare work and by the hand of Giotto, in company with a most beautiful
little picture by Raffaello da Urbino.

For the Frati Umiliati of Ognissanti in Florence, Giotto painted a
chapel and four panels, in one of which there was the Madonna, with many
angels round her and the Child in her arms, and a large Crucifix on
wood, whereof Puccio Capanna took the design and wrought many of them
afterwards throughout all Italy, having much practice in the manner of
Giotto. In the tramezzo[12] of the said church, when this book of the
Lives of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects was printed the first
time, there was a little panel in distemper painted by Giotto with
infinite diligence, wherein was the death of Our Lady, with the
Apostles round her and with a Christ who is receiving her soul into His
arms. This work was much praised by the craftsmen of painting, and in
particular by Michelagnolo Buonarroti, who declared, as was said another
time, that the quality of this painted story could not be more like to
the truth than it is. This little panel, I say, having come into notice
from the time when the book of these Lives was first published, was
afterwards carried off by someone unknown, who, perhaps out of love for
art and out of piety, it seeming to him that it was little esteemed,
became, as said our poet, impious. And truly it was a miracle in those
times that Giotto had so great loveliness in his painting, considering,
above all, that he learnt the art in a certain measure without a master.

After these works, in the year 1334, on July 9, he put his hand to the
Campanile of S. Maria del Fiore, whereof the foundation was a platform
of strong stone, in a pit sunk twenty braccia deep from which water and
gravel had been removed; upon this platform he made a good mass of
concrete, that reached to the height of twelve braccia above the first
foundation, and the rest--namely, the other eight braccia--he caused to
be made of masonry. And at this beginning and foundation there
officiated the Bishop of the city, who, in the presence of all the
clergy and all the magistrates, solemnly laid the first stone. This
work, then, being carried on with the said model, which was in the
German manner that was in use in those times, Giotto designed all the
scenes that were going into the ornamentation, and marked out the model
with white, black, and red colours in all those places wherein the
marbles and the friezes were to go, with much diligence. The circuit
round the base was one hundred braccia--that is, twenty-five braccia for
each side--and the height, one hundred and forty-four braccia. And if
that is true, and I hold it as of the truest, which Lorenzo di Cione
Ghiberti has left in writing, Giotto made not only the model of this
campanile, but also part of those scenes in marble wherein are the
beginnings of all the arts, in sculpture and in relief. And the said
Lorenzo declares that he saw models in relief by the hand of Giotto, and
in particular those of these works; which circumstance can be easily
believed, design and invention being father and mother of all these
arts and not of one alone. This campanile was destined, according to the
model of Giotto, to have a spire, or rather a pyramid, four-sided and
fifty braccia high, as a completion to what is now seen; but, for the
reason that it was a German idea and in an old manner, modern architects
have never done aught but advise that it should not be made, the work
seeming to be better as it is. For all these works Giotto was not only
made citizen of Florence, but was given a pension of one hundred florins
yearly by the Commune of Florence, which was something very great in
those times; and he was made overseer over this work, which was carried
on after him by Taddeo Gaddi, for he did not live so long as to be able
to see it finished.

Now, while this work continued to be carried forward, he made a panel
for the Nuns of S. Giorgio, and three half-length figures in an arch
over the inner side of the door of the Badia in Florence, now covered
with whitewash in order to give more light to the church. And in the
Great Hall of the Podestà of Florence he painted the Commune (an idea
stolen by many), representing it as sitting in the form of Judge,
sceptre in hand, and over its head he placed the balanced scales as
symbol of the just decisions administered by it, accompanying it with
four Virtues, that are, Strength with courage, Wisdom with the laws,
Justice with arms, and Temperance with words; this work is beautiful as
a picture, and characteristic and appropriate in invention.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the fresco by_ Giotto. _Padua: Arena Chapel_)]

Afterwards, having gone again to Padua, besides many other works and
chapels that he painted there, he made a Mundane Glory in the precincts
of the Arena, which gained him much honour and profit. In Milan, also,
he wrought certain works, that are scattered throughout that city and
held most beautiful even to this day. Finally, having returned from
Milan, no long time passed before he gave up his soul to God, having
wrought so many most beautiful works in his life, and having been no
less good as Christian than he was excellent as painter. He died in the
year 1336, to the great grief of all his fellow-citizens--nay, of all
those who had known him or even only heard his name--and he was buried,
even as his virtues deserved, with great honour, having been loved by
all while he lived, and in particular by the men excellent in all the
professions, seeing that, besides Dante, of whom we have spoken
above, he was much honoured by Petrarca, both he and his works, so
greatly that it is read in Petrarca's testament that he left to Signor
Francesco da Carrara, Lord of Padua, among other things held by him in
the highest veneration, a picture by the hand of Giotto containing a
Madonna, as something rare and very dear to him. And the words of that
clause in the testament run thus:

"Transeo ad dispositionem aliarum rerum; et prædicto igitur domino meo
Paduano, quia et ipse per Dei gratiam non eget, et ego nihil aliud habeo
dignum se, mitto tabulam meam sive historiam Beatæ Virginis Mariæ, opus
Jocti pictoris egregii, quæ mihi ab amico meo Michæle Vannis de
Florentia missa est, in cujus pulchritudinem ignorantes non intelligunt,
magistri autem artis stupent; hanc iconam ipsi domino lego, ut ipsa
Virgo benedicta sibi sit propitia apud filium suum Jesum Christum."

And the same Petrarch, in a Latin epistle in the fifth book of his
_Familiar Letters_, says these words:

"Atque (ut a veteribus ad nova, ab externis ad nostra transgrediar) duos
ego novi pictores egregios, nec formosos, Joctum Florentinum civem,
cujus inter modernos fama ingens est, et Simonem Senensem. Novi
scultores aliquot," etc.

Giotto was buried in S. Maria del Fiore, on the left side as you enter
the church, where there is a slab of white marble in memory of so great
a man. And, as was told in the Life of Cimabue, a commentator of Dante,
who lived at the same time as Giotto, said: "Giotto was and is the most
eminent among painters in the same city of Florence, and his works bear
testimony for him in Rome, in Naples, in Avignon, in Florence, in Padua,
and in many other parts of the world."

His disciples were Taddeo Gaddi, held by him at baptism, as has been
said, and Puccio Capanna of Florence, who, working at Rimini in the
Church of S. Cataldo, belonging to the Preaching Friars, painted
perfectly in fresco the hull of a ship which appears to be sinking in
the sea, with men who are throwing things into the sea, one of whom is
Puccio himself portrayed from life among a good number of mariners. The
same man painted many works after the death of Giotto in the Church of
S. Francesco at Assisi, and in the Church of S. Trinita in Florence,
near the side-door towards the river, he painted the Chapel of the
Strozzi, wherein is the Coronation of the Madonna in fresco, with a
choir of angels which draw very much to the manner of Giotto; and on the
sides are stories of S. Lucia, very well wrought. In the Badia of
Florence he painted the Chapel of S. Giovanni Evangelista, belonging to
the family of Covoni, beside the sacristry; and in Pistoia he wrought in
fresco the principal chapel of the Church of S. Francesco and the Chapel
of S. Lodovico, with the stories of those Saints, passing well painted.
In the middle of the Church of S. Domenico, in the same city, there are
a Crucifix, a Madonna, and a S. John, wrought with much sweetness, and
at their feet a complete human skeleton, wherein (and this was something
unusual in those times) Puccio showed that he had sought to find the
foundations of art. In this work there is read his name, written by
himself in this fashion: PUCCIO DI FIORENZA ME FECE. In the arch over
the door of S. Maria Nuova in the said church there are three
half-length figures by his hand, Our Lady with the Child in her arms,
and S. Peter on one side, and on the other S. Francis. He also painted
in the aforesaid city of Assisi, in the lower Church of S. Francesco,
some scenes of the Passion of Jesus Christ in fresco, with good and very
resolute mastery, and in the chapel of the Church of S. Maria degli
Angeli he wrought in fresco a Christ in Glory, with the Virgin praying
to Him for the Christian people; this work, which is passing good, has
been all blackened by the smoke of the lamps and the candles that are
burning there continually in great quantity. And in truth, in so far as
it can be judged, Puccio had the manner and the whole method of working
of his master Giotto, and knew how to make good use of it in the works
that he wrought, even if, as some have it, he did not live long, having
fallen sick and died by reason of labouring too much in fresco. By his
hand, in so far as is known, is the Chapel of S. Martino in the same
church, with the stories of that Saint, wrought in fresco for Cardinal
Gentile. There is seen, also, in the middle of the street called
Portica, a Christ at the Column, and in a square picture there is Our
Lady, with S. Catherine and S. Clara, one on either side of her. There
are works by his hand scattered about in many other places, such as a
panel with the Passion of Christ, and stories of S. Francis, in the
tramezzo[13] of the church in Bologna; and many others, in short, that
are passed by for the sake of brevity. I will say, indeed, that in
Assisi, where most of his works are, and where it appears to me that he
assisted Giotto in painting, I have found that they hold him as their
fellow-citizen, and that there are still to-day in that city some of the
family of the Capanni. Wherefore it may easily be believed that he was
born in Florence, having written so himself, and that he was a disciple
of Giotto, but that afterwards he took a wife in Assisi, that there he
had children, and that now he has descendants there. But because it is
of little importance to know this exactly, it is enough to say that he
was a good master.

Likewise a disciple of Giotto and a very masterly painter was Ottaviano
da Faenza, who painted many works at Ferrara in S. Giorgio, the seat of
the Monks of Monte Oliveto; and in Faenza, where he lived and died, he
painted, in the arch over the door of S. Francesco, a Madonna, S. Peter
and S. Paul, and many other works in his said birthplace and in Bologna.

A disciple of Giotto, also, was Pace da Faenza, who stayed with him long
and assisted him in many works; and in Bologna there are some scenes in
fresco by his hand on the façade of S. Giovanni Decollato. This Pace was
an able man, particularly in making little figures, as can be seen to
this day in the Church of S. Francesco at Forlì, in a Tree of the Cross,
and in a little panel in distemper, wherein is the life of Christ, with
four little scenes from the life of Our Lady, all very well wrought. It
is said that he wrought in fresco, in the Chapel of S. Antonio at
Assisi, some stories of the life of that Saint, for a Duke of Spoleto
who is buried in that place together with his son, both having died
fighting in certain suburbs of Assisi, according to what is seen in a
long inscription that is on the sarcophagus of the said tomb. In the old
book of the Company of Painters it is found that the same man had
another disciple, Francesco, called di Maestro Giotto, of whom I have
nothing else to relate.

Guglielmo of Forlì was also a disciple of Giotto, and besides many other
works he painted the chapel of the high-altar in S. Domenico at Forlì,
his native city. Disciples of Giotto, also, were Pietro Laurati and
Simon Memmi of Siena, Stefano, a Florentine, and Pietro Cavallini, a
Roman; but, seeing that of all these there is account in the Life of
each one of them, let it suffice to have said in this place that they
were disciples of Giotto, who drew very well for his time and for that
manner, whereunto witness is borne by many sheets of parchment drawn by
his hand in water-colour, outlined with the pen, in chiaroscuro, with
the high lights in white, which are in our book of drawings, and are
truly a marvel in comparison with those of the masters that lived before

Giotto, as it has been said, was very ingenious and humorous, and very
witty in his sayings, whereof there is still vivid memory in that city;
for besides that which Messer Giovanni Boccaccio wrote about him, Franco
Sacchetti, in his three hundred Stories, relates many of them that are
very beautiful. Of these I will not forbear to write down some with the
very words of Franco himself, to the end that, together with the story
itself, there may be seen certain modes of speech and expressions of
those times. He says in one, then, to give it its heading:

"To Giotto, a great painter, is given a buckler to paint by a man of
small account. He, making a jest of it, paints it in such a fashion that
the other is put to confusion."

The story: "Everyone must have heard already who was Giotto, and how
great a painter he was above every other. A clownish fellow, having
heard his fame and having need, perchance for doing watch and ward, to
have a buckler of his painted, went off incontinent to the shop of
Giotto, with one who carried his buckler behind him, and, arriving where
he found Giotto, said, 'God save thee, master, I would have thee paint
my arms on this buckler.' Giotto, considering the man and the way of
him, said no other word save this, 'When dost thou want it?' And he told
him; and Giotto said, 'Leave it to me'; and off he went. And Giotto,
being left alone, ponders to himself, 'What meaneth this? Can this
fellow have been sent to me in jest? Howsoever it may be, never was
there brought to me a buckler to paint, and he who brings it is a
simple manikin and bids me make him his arms as if he were of the
blood-royal of France; i' faith, I must make him a new fashion of arms.'
And so, pondering within himself, he put the said buckler before him,
and, having designed what seemed good to him, bade one of his disciples
finish the painting, and so he did; which painting was a helmet, a
gorget, a pair of arm-pieces, a pair of iron gauntlets, a cuirass and a
back-piece, a pair of thigh-pieces, a pair of leg-pieces, a sword, a
dagger, and a lance. The great man, who knew not what he was in for, on
arriving, comes forward and says, 'Master, is it painted, that buckler?'
Said Giotto, 'Of a truth, it is; go, someone, and bring it down.' The
buckler coming, that would-be gentleman begins to look at it and says to
Giotto, 'What filthy mess is this that thou hast painted for me?' Said
Giotto, 'And it will seem to thee a right filthy business in the
paying.' Said he, 'I will not pay four farthings for it.' Said Giotto,
'And what didst thou tell me that I was to paint?' And he answered, 'My
arms.' Said Giotto,' And are they not here? Is there one wanting?' Said
the fellow, 'Well, well!' Said Giotto, 'Nay, 'tis not well, God help
thee! And a great booby must thou be, for if one asked thee, "Who art
thou?" scarce wouldst thou be able to tell; and here thou comest and
sayest, "Paint me my arms!" An thou hadst been one of the Bardi, that
were enough. What arms dost thou bear? Whence art thou? Who were thy
ancestors? Out upon thee! Art not ashamed of thyself? Begin first to
come into the world before thou pratest of arms as if thou wert Dusnam
of Bavaria. I have made thee a whole suit of armour on thy buckler; if
there be one piece wanting, name it, and I will have it painted.' Said
he, 'Thou dost use vile words to me, and hast spoilt me a buckler;' and
taking himself off, he went to the justice and had Giotto summoned.
Giotto appeared and had him summoned, claiming two florins for the
painting, and the other claimed them from him. The officers, having
heard the pleadings, which Giotto made much the better, judged that the
other should take his buckler so painted, and should give six lire to
Giotto, since he was in the right. Wherefore he was constrained to take
his buckler and go, and was dismissed; and so, not knowing his measure,
he had his measure taken."

It is said that Giotto, while working in his boyhood under Cimabue, once
painted a fly on the nose of a figure that Cimabue himself had made, so
true to nature that his master, returning to continue the work, set
himself more than once to drive it away with his hand, thinking that it
was real, before he perceived his mistake. Many other tricks played by
Giotto and many witty retorts could I relate, but I wish that these,
which deal with matters pertinent to art, should be enough for me to
have told in this place, leaving the rest to the said Franco and others.

Finally, seeing that there remained memory of Giotto not only in the
works that issued from his hands, but in those also that issued from the
hand of the writers of those times, he having been the man who recovered
the true method of painting, which had been lost for many years before
him; therefore, by public decree and by the effort and particular
affection of the elder Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent, in
admiration of the talent of so great a man his portrait was placed in S.
Maria del Fiore, carved in marble by Benedetto da Maiano, an excellent
sculptor, together with the verses written below, made by that divine
man, Messer Angelo Poliziano, to the end that those who should become
excellent in any profession whatsoever might be able to cherish a hope
of obtaining, from others, such memorials as these that Giotto deserved
and obtained in liberal measure from his goodness:

     Ille ego sum, per quem pictura extincta revixit,
       Cui quam recta manus, tam fuit et facilis.
     Naturæ deerat nostræ quod defuit arti;
       Plus licuit nulli pingere, nec melius.
     Miraris turrim egregiam sacro ære sonantem?
       Hæc quoque de modulo crevit ad astra meo.
     Denique sum Jottus, quid opus fuit illa referre?
       Hoc nomen longi carminis instar erit.

And to the end that those who come after may be able to see drawings by
the very hand of Giotto, and from these to recognize all the more the
excellence of so great a man, in our aforesaid book there are some that
are marvellous, sought out by me with no less diligence than labour and


[Footnote 11: See note on p. 57.]

[Footnote 12: See note on p. 57.]

[Footnote 13: See note on p. 57.]




Among others who exercised themselves in the school of the sculptors
Giovanni and Niccola of Pisa, Agostino and Agnolo, sculptors of Siena,
of whom we are at present about to write the Life, became very excellent
for those times. These, according to what I find, were born from a
father and mother of Siena, and their forefathers were architects,
seeing that in the year 1190, under the rule of the three Consuls, they
brought to perfection the Fontebranda, and afterwards, in the following
year, under the same Consulate, the Customs-house of that city and other
buildings. And in truth it is clear that very often the seeds of talent
germinate in the houses where they have lain for some time, and throw
out shoots which afterwards produce greater and better fruits than the
first plants had done. Agostino and Agnolo, then, adding great
betterment to the manner of Giovanni and Niccola of Pisa, enriched the
art with better design and invention, as their works clearly
demonstrate. It is said that the aforesaid Giovanni, returning from
Naples to Pisa in the year 1284, stayed in Siena in order to make the
design and foundation for the façade of the Duomo, wherein are the three
principal doors, to the end that it might be all adorned very richly
with marbles; and that then Agostino, being no more than fifteen years
of age, went to be with him in order to apply himself to sculpture,
whereof he had learnt the first principles, being no less inclined to
this art than to the matters of architecture. And so, under the teaching
of Giovanni, by means of continual study he surpassed all his
fellow-disciples in design, grace, and manner, so greatly that it was
said by all that he was the right eye of his master. And because,
between people who love each other, there is no gift, whether of
nature, or of soul, or of fortune, that is mutually desired so much as
excellence, which alone makes men great and noble, and what is more,
most happy both in this life and in the other, therefore Agostino,
seizing this occasion of assistance from Giovanni, drew his brother
Agnolo into the same pursuit. Nor was it a great labour for him to do
this, seeing that the intercourse of Agnolo with Agostino and with the
other sculptors had already, as he saw the honour and profit that they
were drawing from such an art, fired his mind with extreme eagerness and
desire to apply himself to sculpture; nay, before Agostino had given a
thought to this, Agnolo had wrought certain works in secret.

Agostino, then, being engaged in working with Giovanni on the marble
panel of the high-altar in the Vescovado of Arezzo, whereof there has
been mention above, contrived to bring there the said Agnolo, his
brother, who acquitted himself in this work in such a manner that when
it was finished he was found to have equalled Agostino in the excellence
of his art. Which circumstance, becoming known to Giovanni, was the
reason that after this work he made use of both one and the other in
many other works of his that he wrought in Pistola, in Pisa, and in
other places. And seeing that he applied himself not only to sculpture
but to architecture as well, no long time passed before, under the rule
of the Nine in Siena, Agostino made the design of their Palace in
Malborghetto, which was in the year 1308. In the making of this he
acquired so great a name in his country, that, returning to Siena after
the death of Giovanni, they were made, both one and the other,
architects to the State; wherefore afterwards, in the year 1317, there
was made under their direction the front of the Duomo that faces towards
the north, and in the year 1321, with the design of the same men, there
was begun the construction of the Porta Romana in that manner wherein it
stands to-day, and it was finished in the year 1326; which gate was
first called Porta S. Martino. They rebuilt, also, the Porta a Tufi,
which at first was called Porta di S. Agata all'Arco. In the same year,
with the design of the same Agostino and Agnolo, there was begun the
Church and Convent of S. Francesco in the presence of Cardinal di Gaeta,
Apostolic Legate. No long time after, by the action of some of the
Tolomei who were living as exiles at Orvieto, Agostino and Agnolo were
summoned to make certain sculptures for the work of S. Maria in that
city; wherefore, going there, they carved some prophets in marble which
are now, in comparison with the other statues in that façade, the finest
and best proportioned in that so greatly renowned work.

Now it came to pass in the year 1326, as it has been said in his Life,
that Giotto was called by means of Charles, Duke of Calabria, who was
then staying in Florence, to Naples, in order to make some things for
King Robert in S. Chiara and other places in that city; wherefore
Giotto, passing by way of Orvieto on his way to Naples, in order to see
the works that had been made and were still being made there by so many
men, wished to see everything minutely. And because the prophets of
Agostino and Agnolo of Siena pleased him more than all the other
sculptures, it came about therefore that Giotto not only commended them
and held them, much to their contentment, among his friends, but also
presented them to Piero Saccone da Pietramala as the best of all the
sculptors then living, for the making of the tomb of Bishop Guido, Lord
and Bishop of Arezzo, which has been mentioned in the Life of Giotto
himself. And so then Giotto having seen in Orvieto the works of many
sculptors and having judged the best to be those of Agostino and Agnolo
of Siena, this was the reason that the said tomb was given to them to
make--in that manner, however, wherein he had designed it, and according
to the model which he himself had sent to the said Piero Saccone.
Agostino and Agnolo finished this tomb in the space of three years,
executing it with much diligence, and built it into the Church of the
Vescovado of Arezzo, in the Chapel of the Sacrament. Over the
sarcophagus, which rests on certain great consoles carved more than
passing well, there is stretched the body of that Bishop in marble, and
at the sides are some angels that are drawing back certain curtains very
gracefully. Besides this, there are carved in half-relief, in
compartments, twelve scenes from the life and actions of that Bishop,
with an infinite number of little figures. I will not grudge the labour
of describing the contents of these scenes, to the end that it may be
seen with what great patience they were wrought, and how zealously
these sculptors sought the good manner.

In the first is the scene when, assisted by the Ghibelline party of
Milan, which sent him money and four hundred masons, he is rebuilding
the walls of Arezzo all anew, making them much longer than they were and
giving them the form of a galley. In the second is the taking of
Lucignano di Valdichiana. In the third, that of Chiusi. In the fourth,
that of Fronzoli, then a strong castle above Poppi, and held by the sons
of the Count of Battifolle. The fifth is when the Castle of Rondine,
after having been many months besieged by the Aretines, is surrendering
finally to the Bishop. In the sixth is the taking of the Castle of
Bucine in Valdarno. The seventh is when he is taking by storm the
fortress of Caprese, which belonged to the Count of Romena, after having
maintained the siege for several months. In the eighth the Bishop is
having the Castle of Laterino pulled down and the hill that rises above
it cut into the shape of a cross, to the end that it may no longer be
possible to build a fortress thereon. In the ninth he is seen destroying
Monte Sansovino and putting it to fire and flames, chasing from it all
the inhabitants. In the eleventh is his coronation, wherein are to be
seen many beautiful costumes of soldiers on foot and on horseback, and
of other people. In the twelfth, finally, his men are seen carrying him
from Montenero, where he fell sick, to Massa, and thence afterwards, now
dead, to Arezzo. Round this tomb, also, in many places, are the
Ghibelline insignia, and the arms of the Bishop, which are six square
stones "or," on a field "azure," in the same ordering as are the six
balls in the arms of the Medici; which arms of the house of the Bishop
were described by Frate Guittone, chevalier and poet of Arezzo, when he
said, writing of the site of the Castle of Pietramala, whence that
family had its origin:

     Dove si scontra il Giglion con la Chiassa
     Ivi furono i miei antecessori,
     Che in campo azurro d'or portan sei sassa.

Agnolo and Agostino of Siena, then, executed this work with better art
and invention and with more diligence than there had been shown in any
work executed in their times. And in truth they deserve nothing but
infinite praise, having made therein so many figures and so great a
variety of sites, places, towers, horses, men, and other things, that it
is indeed a marvel. And although this tomb was in great part destroyed
by the Frenchmen of the Duke of Anjou, who sacked the greater part of
that city in order to take revenge on the hostile party for certain
affronts received, none the less it shows that it was wrought with very
good judgment by the said Agostino and Agnolo, who cut on it, in rather
large letters, these words:


After this, in the year 1329, they wrought an altar-panel of marble for
the Church of S. Francesco at Bologna, in a passing good manner; and
therein, besides the carved ornamentation, which is very rich, they made
a Christ who is crowning Our Lady, and on each side three similar
figures--S. Francis, S. James, S. Dominic, S. Anthony of Padua, S.
Petronius, and S. John the Evangelist, with figures one braccio and a
half in height. Below each of the said figures is carved a scene in
low-relief from the life of the Saint that is above; and in all these
scenes is an infinite number of half-length figures, which make a rich
and beautiful adornment, according to the custom of those times. It is
seen clearly that Agostino and Agnolo endured very great fatigue in this
work, and that they put into it all diligence and study in order to make
it, as it truly was, a work worthy of praise; and although they are half
eaten away, yet there are to be read thereon their names and the date,
by means of which, it being known when they began it, it is seen that
they laboured eight whole years in completing it. It is true, indeed,
that in that same time they wrought many other small works in diverse
places and for various people.

Now, while they were working in Bologna, that city, by the mediation of
a Legate of the Pope, gave herself absolutely over to the Church; and
the Pope, in return, promised that he would go to settle with his Court
in Bologna, saying that he wished to erect a castle there, or truly a
fortress, for his own security. This being conceded to him by the
Bolognese, it was immediately built under the direction and design of
Agostino and Agnolo, but it had a very short life, for the reason that
the Bolognese, having found that the many promises of the Pope were
wholly vain, pulled down and destroyed the said fortress, with much
greater promptness than it had been built.

It is said that while these two sculptors were staying in Bologna the Po
issued in furious flood from its bed and laid waste the whole country
round for many miles, doing incredible damage to the territory of Mantua
and Ferrara and slaying more than ten thousand persons; and that they,
being called on for this reason as ingenious and able men, found a way
to put this terrible river back into its course, confining it with dykes
and other most useful barriers; which was greatly to their credit and
profit, because, besides acquiring fame thereby, they were recompensed
by the Lords of Mantua and by the D'Este family with most honourable

After this they returned to Siena, and in the year 1338, with their
direction and design, there was made the new Church of S. Maria, near
the Duomo Vecchio, towards Piazza Manetti; and no long time after, the
people of Siena, remaining much satisfied with all the works that these
men were making, determined with an occasion so apt to put into effect
that which had been discussed many times, but up to then in
vain--namely, the making of a public fountain on the principal square,
opposite the Palagio della Signoria. Wherefore, this being entrusted to
Agostino and Agnolo, they brought the waters of that fountain through
pipes of lead and of clay, which was very difficult, and it began to
play in the year 1343, on the first day of June, with much pleasure and
contentment to the whole city, which remained thereby much indebted to
the talent of these its two citizens.

About the same time there was made the Great Council Chamber in the
Municipal Palace; and so too, with the direction and design of the same
men, there was brought to its completion the tower of the said Palace,
in the year 1344, and there were placed thereon two great bells, whereof
they had one from Grosseto and the other was made in Siena. Finally,
while Agnolo chanced to be in the city of Assisi, where he made a
chapel and a tomb in marble in the lower Church of S. Francesco for a
brother of Napoleone Orsino, a Cardinal and a friar of S. Francis, who
had died in that place--Agostino, who had remained in Siena in the
service of the State, died while he was busy making the design for the
adornments of the said fountain in the square, and was honourably buried
in the Duomo. I have not yet found, and cannot therefore say anything
about the matter, either how or when Agnolo died, or even any other
works of importance by their hand; and therefore let this be the end of
their Life.

Now, seeing that it would be without doubt an error, in following the
order of time, not to make mention of some who, although they have not
wrought so many works that it is possible to write their whole life,
have none the less contributed betterment and beauty to art and to the
world, I will say, taking occasion from that which has been said above
about the Vescovado of Arezzo and about the Pieve, that Pietro and Paolo,
goldsmiths of Arezzo, who learnt design from Agnolo and Agostino of
Siena, were the first who wrought large works of some excellence with
the chasing-tool, since, for an arch-priest of the said Pieve of Arezzo,
they executed a head in silver as large as life, wherein was placed the
head of S. Donatus, Bishop and Protector of that city; which work was
worthy of nothing but praise, both because they made therein some very
beautiful figures in enamel and other ornaments, and because it was one
of the first works, as it has been said, that were wrought with the

About the same time, the Guild of Calimara in Florence caused Maestro
Cione, an excellent goldsmith, to make the greater part, if not the
whole, of the silver altar of S. Giovanni Battista, wherein are many
scenes from the life of that Saint embossed on a plate of silver, with
passing good figures in half-relief; which work, both by reason of its
size and of its being something new, was held marvellous by all who saw
it. In the year 1330, after the body of S. Zanobi had been found beneath
the vaults of S. Reparata, the same Maestro Cione made a head of silver
to contain a piece of the head of that Saint, which is still preserved
to-day in the same head of silver and is borne in processions; which
head was then held something very beautiful and gave a great name to its
craftsman, who died no long time after, rich and in great repute.

Maestro Cione left many disciples, and among others Forzore di Spinello
of Arezzo, who wrought every kind of chasing very well but was
particularly excellent in making scenes in silver enamelled over fire,
to which witness is borne by a mitre with most beautiful adornments in
enamel, and a very beautiful pastoral staff of silver, which are in the
Vescovado of Arezzo. The same man wrought for Cardinal Galeotto da
Pietramala many works in silver that remained after his death with the
friars of La Vernia, where he wished to be buried. There, besides the
wall that was erected in that place by Count Orlando, Lord of Chiusi, a
small town below La Vernia, the Cardinal built the church, together with
many rooms in the convent and throughout that whole place, without
putting his arms there or leaving any other memorial. A disciple of
Maestro Cione, also, was Leonardo di Ser Giovanni, a Florentine, who
wrought many works in chasing and soldering, with better design than the
others before him had shown, and in particular the altar and panel of
silver in S. Jacopo at Pistoia; in which work, besides the scenes, which
are numerous, there was much praise given to a figure in the round that
he made in the middle, representing S. James, more than one braccio in
height, and wrought with so great finish that it appears rather to have
been made by casting than by chasing. This figure is set in the midst of
the said scenes on the panel of the altar, round which is a frieze of
letters in enamel, that run thus:


Now, returning to Agostino and Agnolo: they had many disciples who,
after their death, wrought many works of architecture and of sculpture
in Lombardy and other parts of Italy, and among others Maestro Jacopo
Lanfrani of Venice, who founded S. Francesco of Imola and wrought the
principal door in sculpture, where he carved his name and the date,
which was the year 1343. And at Bologna, in the Church of S. Domenico,
the same Maestro Jacopo made a tomb in marble for Giovanni Andrea
Calduino, Doctor of Laws and Secretary to Pope Clement VI; and another,
also in marble and in the said church, very well wrought, for Taddeo
Peppoli, Conservator of the people and of Justice in Bologna. And in the
same year, which was the year 1347, or a little before, this tomb being
finished, Maestro Jacopo went to his native city of Venice and founded
the Church of S. Antonio, which was previously of wood, at the request
of a Florentine Abbot of the ancient family of the Abati, the Doge being
Messer Andrea Dandolo. This church was finished in the year 1349.
Jacobello and Pietro Paolo, also, Venetians and disciples of Agostino
and Agnolo, made a tomb in marble for Messer Giovanni da Lignano, Doctor
of Laws, in the year 1383, in the Church of S. Domenico at Bologna.

All these and many other sculptors went on for a long space of time
following one and the same method, in a manner that with it they filled
all Italy. It is believed, also, that the Pesarese, who, besides many
other works, built the Church of S. Domenico in his native city, and
made in sculpture the marble door with the three figures in the round,
God the Father, S. John the Baptist, and S. Mark, was a disciple of
Agostino and Agnolo; and to this the manner bears witness. This work was
finished in the year 1385. But, seeing that it would take too long if I
were to make mention minutely of the works that were wrought by many
masters of those times in that manner, I wish that this, that I have
said of them thus in general, should suffice me for the present, and
above all because there is not any benefit of much account for our arts
from such works. Of the aforesaid it has seemed to me proper to make
mention, because, if they do not deserve to be discussed at length, yet,
on the other hand, they were not such as to need to be passed over
completely in silence.




Stefano, painter of Florence and disciple of Giotto, was so excellent,
that he not only surpassed all the others who had laboured in the art
before him, but outstripped his own master himself by so much that he
was held, and deservedly, the best of all the painters who had lived up
to that time, as his works clearly demonstrate. He painted in fresco the
Madonna of the Campo Santo in Pisa, which is no little better in design
and in colouring than the work of Giotto; and in Florence, in the
cloister of S. Spirito, he painted three little arches in fresco. In the
first of these, wherein is the Transfiguration of Christ with Moses and
Elias, imagining how great must have been the splendour that dazzled
them, he fashioned the three Disciples with extraordinary and beautiful
attitudes, and enveloped in draperies in a manner that it is seen that
he went on trying to do something that had never been done
before--namely, to suggest the nude form of the figures below new kinds
of folds, which, as I have said, had not been thought of even by Giotto.
Under this arch, wherein he made a Christ delivering the woman
possessed, he drew a building in perspective, perfectly and in a manner
then little known, executing it in good form and with better knowledge;
and in it, working with very great judgment in modern fashion, he showed
so great art and so great invention and proportion in the columns, in
the doors, in the windows, and in the cornices, and so great diversity
from the other masters in his method of working, that it appears that
there was beginning to be seen a certain glimmer of the good and perfect
manner of the moderns. He invented, among other ingenious ideas, a
flight of steps very difficult to make, which, both in painting and
built out in relief--wrought in either way, in fact--is so rich in
design and variety, and so useful and convenient in invention, that the
elder Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent, availed himself of it in
making the outer staircase of the Palace of Poggio a Cajano, now the
principal villa of the most Illustrious Lord Duke. In the other little
arch is a story of Christ when he is delivering S. Peter from shipwreck,
so well done that one seems to hear the voice of Peter saying: "Domine,
salva nos, perimus." This work is judged much more beautiful than the
others, because, besides the softness of the draperies, there are seen
sweetness in the air of the heads and terror in the perils of the sea,
and because the Apostles, shaken by diverse motions and by phantoms of
the sea, have been represented in attitudes very appropriate and all
most beautiful. And although time has eaten away in part the labours
that Stefano put into this work, it may be seen, although but dimly,
that the Apostles are defending themselves from the fury of the winds
and from the waves of the sea with great energy; which work, being very
highly praised among the moderns, must have certainly appeared a miracle
in all Tuscany in the time of him who wrought it. After this he painted
a S. Thomas Aquinas beside a door in the first cloister of S. Maria
Novella, where he also made a Crucifix, which was afterwards executed in
a bad manner by other painters in restoring it. In like manner he left a
chapel in the church begun and not finished, which has been much eaten
away by time, wherein the angels are seen raining down in diverse forms
by reason of the pride of Lucifer; where it is to be noticed that the
figures, with the arms, trunks, and legs foreshortened much better than
any foreshortenings that had been made before, give us to know that
Stefano began to understand and to demonstrate in part the difficulties
that those men had to reduce to excellence, who afterwards, with greater
science, showed them to us, as they have done, in perfection; wherefore
the surname of "The Ape of Nature" was given him by the other craftsmen.

Next, being summoned to Milan, Stefano made a beginning for many works
for Matteo Visconti, but was not able to finish them, because, having
fallen sick by reason of the change of air, he was forced to return to
Florence. There, having regained his health, he made in fresco, in the
tramezzo[14] of the Church of S. Croce, in the Chapel of the Asini, the
story of the martyrdom of S. Mark, when he was dragged to death, with
many figures that have something of the good. Being then summoned to
Rome by reason of having been a disciple of Giotto, he made some stories
of Christ in S. Pietro, in the principal chapel wherein is the altar of
the said Saint, between the windows that are in the great choir-niche,
with so much diligence that it is seen that he approached closely to the
modern manner, surpassing his master Giotto considerably in
draughtsmanship and in other respects.

After this, on a pillar on the left-hand side of the principal chapel of
the Araceli, he made a S. Louis in fresco, which is much praised,
because it has in it a vivacity never displayed up to that time even by
Giotto. And in truth Stefano had great facility in draughtsmanship, as
can be seen in our said book in a drawing by his hand, wherein is drawn
the Transfiguration (which he painted in the cloister of S. Spirito), in
such a manner that in my judgment he drew much better than Giotto.

Having gone, next, to Assisi, he began in fresco a scene of the
Celestial Glory in the niche of the principal chapel of the lower Church
of S. Francesco, where the choir is; and although he did not finish it,
it is seen from what he did that he used so great diligence that no
greater could be desired. In this work there is seen begun a circle of
saints, both male and female, with so beautiful variety in the faces of
the young, the men of middle age, and the old, that nothing better could
be desired. And there is seen a very sweet manner in these blessed
spirits, with such great harmony that it appears almost impossible that
it could have been done in those times by Stefano, who indeed did do it;
although there is nothing of the figures in this circle finished save
the heads, over which is a choir of angels who are hovering playfully
about in various attitudes, appropriately carrying theological symbols
in their hands, and all turned towards a Christ on the Cross, who is in
the middle of this work, over the head of a S. Francis, who is in the
midst of an infinity of saints. Besides this, in the border of the
whole work, he made some angels, each of whom is holding in his hand one
of those Churches that S. John the Evangelist described in the
Apocalypse; and these angels are executed with so much grace that I am
amazed how in that age there was to be found one who knew so much.
Stefano began this work with a view to bringing it to the fullest
perfection, and he would have succeeded, but he was forced to leave it
imperfect and to return to Florence by some important affairs of his

During that time, then, that he stayed for this purpose in Florence, in
order to lose no time he painted for the Gianfigliazzi, by the side of
the Arno, between their houses and the Ponte alla Carraja, a little
shrine on a corner that is there, wherein he depicted a Madonna sewing,
to whom a boy dressed and seated is handing a bird, with such diligence
that the work, small as it is, deserves to be praised no less than do
the works that he wrought on a larger and more masterly scale.

This shrine finished and his affairs dispatched, being called to Pistoia
by its Lords in the year 1346, he was made to paint the Chapel of S.
Jacopo, on the vaulting of which he made a God the Father with some
Apostles, and on the walls the stories of that Saint, and in particular
when his mother, wife of Zebedee, asks Jesus Christ to consent to place
her two sons, one on His right hand and the other on His left hand, in
the Kingdom of the Father. Close to this is the beheading of the said
Saint, a very beautiful work.

It is reputed that Maso, called Giottino, of whom there will be mention
below, was the son of this Stefano; and although many, by reason of the
suggestiveness of the name, hold him the son of Giotto, I, by reason of
certain records that I have seen, and of certain memoirs of good
authority written by Lorenzo Ghiberti and by Domenico del Ghirlandajo,
hold it as true that he was rather the son of Stefano than of Giotto. Be
this as it may, returning to Stefano, it can be credited to him that he
did more than anyone after Giotto to improve painting, for, besides
being more varied in invention, he was also more harmonious, more
mellow, and better blended in colouring than all the others; and
above all he had no peer in diligence. And as for those foreshortenings
that he made, although, as I have said, he showed a faulty manner in
them by reason of the difficulty of making them, none the less he who is
the pioneer in the difficulties of any exercise deserves a much greater
name than those who follow with a somewhat more ordered and regular
manner. Truly great, therefore, is the debt that should be acknowledged
to Stefano, because he who walks in darkness and gives heart to others,
by showing them the way, brings it about that its difficult steps are
made easy, so that with lapse of time men leave the false road and
attain to the desired goal. At Perugia, too, in the Church of S.
Domenico, he began in fresco the Chapel of S. Caterina, which remained

[Illustration: _Berlin Photo. Co._


(_After the painting by_ Ugolino Sanese [da Siena]. _Berlin: K.
Friedrich Museum, 1635_)]

There lived about the same time as Stefano a man of passing good repute,
Ugolino, painter of Siena, very much his friend, who painted many panels
and chapels throughout all Italy, although he held ever in great part to
the Greek manner, as one who, grown old therein, had wished by reason of
a certain obstinacy in himself to hold rather to the manner of Cimabue
than to that of Giotto, which was so greatly revered. By the hand of
Ugolino, then, is the panel of the high-altar of S. Croce, on a ground
all of gold, and also a panel which stood many years on the high-altar
of S. Maria Novella and is to-day in the Chapter-house, where the
Spanish nation every year holds most solemn festival on the day of S.
James, with other offices and funeral ceremonies of its own. Besides
these, he wrought many other works with good skill, without departing,
however, from the manner of his master. The same man made, on a
brick-pier in the Loggia that Lapo had built on the Piazza
d'Orsanmichele, that Madonna which worked so many miracles, not many
years later, that the Loggia was for a long time full of images, and is
still held in the greatest veneration. Finally, in the Chapel of Messer
Ridolfo de' Bardi, which is in S. Croce, where Giotto painted the life
of S. Francis, he painted a Crucifix in distemper on the altar-panel,
with a Magdalene and a S. John weeping, and two friars, one on either
side. Ugolino passed away from this life, being old, in the year 1349,
and was buried with honour in Siena, his native city.

But returning to Stefano, of whom they say that he was also a good
architect, which is proved by what has been said above, he died, so it
is said, in the year when there began the jubilee, 1350, at the age of
forty-nine, and was laid to rest in the tomb of his fathers, in S.
Spirito, with this epitaph:



[Footnote 14: See note on p. 57.]


[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the polyptych_ by Pietro Laurati [Lorenzetti]. _Arezzo: S. Maria
della Pieve_)]




Pietro Laurati, an excellent painter of Siena, proved in his life how
great is the contentment of the truly able, who feel that their works
are prized both at home and abroad, and who see themselves sought after
by all men, for the reason that in the course of his life he was sent
for and held dear throughout all Tuscany, having first become known
through the scenes that he painted in fresco for the Scala, a hospital
in Siena, wherein he imitated in such wise the manner of Giotto, then
spread throughout all Tuscany, that it was believed with great reason
that he was destined, as afterwards came to pass, to become a better
master than Cimabue and Giotto and the others had been; for the figures
that represent the Virgin ascending the steps of the Temple, accompanied
by Joachim and Anna, and received by the priest, and then in the
Marriage, are so beautifully adorned, so well draped, and so simply
wrapped in their garments, that they show majesty in the air of the
heads, and a most beautiful manner in their bearing. By reason of this
work, which was the first introduction into Siena of the good method of
painting, giving light to the many beautiful intellects which have
flourished in that city in every age, Pietro was invited to Monte
Oliveto di Chiusuri, where he painted a panel in distemper that is
placed to-day in the portico below the church. In Florence, next,
opposite to the left-hand door of the Church of S. Spirito, on the
corner where to-day there is a butcher, he painted a shrine which, by
reason of the softness of the heads and of the sweetness that is seen in
it, deserves the highest praise from every discerning craftsman.

Going from Florence to Pisa, he wrought in the Campo Santo, on the wall
that is beside the principal door, all the lives of the Holy Fathers,
with expressions so lively and attitudes so beautiful that he equalled
Giotto and gained thereby very great praise, having expressed in certain
heads, both with drawing and with colour, all that vivacity that the
manner of those times was able to show. From Pisa he went to Pistoia,
where he made a Madonna with some angels round her, very well grouped,
on a panel in distemper, for the Church of S. Francesco; and in the
predella that ran below this panel, in certain scenes, he made certain
little figures so lively and so vivid that in those times it was
something marvellous; wherefore, since they satisfied himself no less
than others, he thought fit to place thereon his name, with these words:


_(Assisi: Lower Church of S. Francesco. Fresco)_]

Pietro was summoned, next, in the year 1355, by Messer Guglielmo,
arch-priest, and by the Wardens of Works of the Pieve of Arezzo, who
were then Margarito Boschi and others; and in that church, built long
before with better design and manner than any other that had been made
in Tuscany up to that time, and all adorned with squared stone and with
carvings, as it has been said, by the hand of Margaritone, he painted in
fresco the apse and the whole great niche of the chapel of the
high-altar, making there twelve scenes from the life of Our Lady with
figures large as life, beginning with the expulsion of Joachim from the
Temple, up to the Nativity of Jesus Christ. In these scenes, wrought in
fresco, may be recognized almost the same inventions (the lineaments,
the air of the heads, and the attitudes of the figures) which had been
characteristic of and peculiar to Giotto, his master. And although all
this work is beautiful, what he painted on the vaulting of this niche is
without doubt better than all the rest, for in representing the Madonna
ascending into Heaven, besides making the Apostles each four braccia
high, wherein he showed greatness of spirit and was the first to try to
give grandness to the manner, he gave so beautiful an air to the heads
and so great loveliness to the vestments that in those times nothing
more could have been desired. Likewise, in the faces of a choir of
angels who are flying in the air round the Madonna, dancing with
graceful movements, and appearing to sing, he painted a gladness
truly angelic and divine, above all because he made the angels
sounding diverse instruments, with their eyes all fixed and intent on
another choir of angels, who, supported by a cloud in the form of an
almond, are bearing the Madonna to Heaven, with beautiful attitudes and
all surrounded by rainbows. This work, seeing that it rightly gave
pleasure, was the reason that he was commissioned to make in distemper
the panel for the high-altar of the aforesaid Pieve; wherein, in five
parts, with figures as far as the knees and large as life, he made Our
Lady with the Child in her arms, and S. John the Baptist and S. Matthew
on the one side, and on the other the Evangelist and S. Donatus, with
many little figures in the predella and in the border of the panel
above, all truly beautiful and executed in very good manner. This panel,
after I had rebuilt the high-altar of the aforesaid Pieve completely
anew, at my own expense and with my own hand, was set up over the altar
of S. Cristofano at the foot of the church. Nor do I wish to grudge the
labour of saying in this place, with this occasion and not wide of the
subject, that I, moved by Christian piety and by the affection that I
bear towards this venerable and ancient collegiate church, and for the
reason that in it, in my earliest childhood, I learnt my first lessons,
and that it contains the remains of my fathers: moved, I say, by these
reasons, and by it appearing to me that it was wellnigh deserted, I have
restored it in a manner that it can be said that it has returned from
death to life; for besides changing it from a dark to a well-lighted
church by increasing the windows that were there before and by making
others, I have also removed the choir, which, being in front, used to
occupy a great part of the church, and to the great satisfaction of
those reverend canons I have placed it behind the high-altar. This new
altar, standing by itself, has on the panel in front a Christ calling
Peter and Andrew from their nets, and on the side towards the choir it
has, on another panel, S. George slaying the Dragon. On the sides are
four pictures, and in each of these are two saints as large as life.
Then above, and below in the predella, there is an infinity of other
figures, which, for brevity's sake, are not enumerated. The ornamental
frame of this altar is thirteen braccia high, and the predella is two
braccia high. And because within it is hollow, and one ascends to it by
a staircase through an iron wicket very conveniently arranged, there are
preserved in it many venerable relics, which can be seen from without
through two gratings that are in the front part; and among others there
is the head of S. Donatus, Bishop and Protector of that city, and in a
coffer of variegated marble, three braccia long, which I have had
restored, are the bones of four Saints. And the predella of the altar,
which surrounds it all right round in due proportion, has in front of it
the tabernacle, or rather ciborium, of the Sacrament, made of carved
wood and all gilt, about three braccia high; which tabernacle is in the
round and can be seen as well from the side of the choir as from in
front. And because I have spared no labour and no expense, considering
myself bound to act thus in honour of God, this work, in my judgment,
has in all those ornaments of gold, of carvings, of paintings, of
marbles, of travertines, of variegated marbles, of porphyries, and of
other stones, the best that could be got together by me in that place.

But returning now to Pietro Laurati; that panel finished whereof there
has been talk above, he wrought in S. Pietro at Rome many works which
were afterwards destroyed in making the new building of S. Pietro. He
also wrought some works in Cortona and in Arezzo, besides those that
have been mentioned, and some others in the Church of S. Fiora e
Lucilla, a monastery of Black Friars, and in particular, in a chapel, a
S. Thomas who is putting his hand on the wound in the breast of Christ.

A disciple of Pietro was Bartolommeo Bologhini of Siena, who wrought
many panels in Siena and other places in Italy, and in Florence there is
one by his hand on the altar of the Chapel of S. Silvestro in S. Croce.
The pictures of these men date about the year of our salvation 1350; and
in my book, so many times cited, there is seen a drawing by the hand of
Pietro, wherein a shoemaker who is sewing, with simple but very natural
lineaments, shows very great expression and the characteristic manner of
Pietro, the portrait of whom, by the hand of Bartolommeo Bologhini, was
in a panel in Siena, when I copied it from the original in the manner
that is seen above.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the fresco of the_ Roman School. _Assisi: Upper Church of S.




The art of painting never flourished at any time without the sculptors
also pursuing their exercise with excellence, and to this the works of
all ages bear witness for the close observer, because these two arts are
truly sisters, born at one and the same time, and fostered and governed
by one and the same soul. This is seen in Andrea Pisano, who, practising
sculpture in the time of Giotto, made so great improvement in this art,
that both in practice and in theory he was esteemed the greatest man
that the Tuscans had had up to his times in this profession, and above
all in casting in bronze. Wherefore his works were honoured and rewarded
in such a manner by all who knew him, and above all by the Florentines,
that it was no hardship to him to change country, relatives, property
and friends. He received much assistance from the difficulties
experienced in sculpture by the masters who had lived before him, whose
sculptures were so uncouth and worthless that whosoever saw them in
comparison with those of this man judged the last a miracle. And that
these early works were rude, witness is borne, as it has been said
elsewhere, by some that are over the principal door of S. Paolo in
Florence and some in stone that are in the Church of Ognissanti, which
are so made that they move those who view them rather to laughter than
to any marvel or pleasure. And it is certain that the art of sculpture
can recover itself much better, in the event of the essence of statuary
being lost (since men have the living and the natural model, which is
wholly rounded, as that art requires), than can the art of painting; it
being not so easy and simple to recover the beautiful outlines and the
good manner, in order to bring the art to the light, for these are the
elements that produce majesty, beauty, grace and adornment in the works
that the painters make. In one respect fortune was favourable to the
labours of Andrea, because there had been brought to Pisa, as it has
been said elsewhere, by means of the many victories that the Pisans had
at sea, many antiquities and sarcophagi that are still round the Duomo
and the Campo Santo, and these brought him such great assistance and
gave him such great light as could not be obtained by Giotto, for the
reason that the ancient paintings had not been preserved as much as the
sculptures. And although statues are often destroyed by fires and by the
ruin and fury of war, and buried or transported to diverse places,
nevertheless it is easy for the experienced to recognize the difference
in the manner of all countries; as, for example, the Egyptian is slender
and lengthy in its figures, the Greek is scientific and shows much study
in the nudes, while the heads have almost all the same expression, and
the most ancient Tuscan is laboured in the hair and somewhat uncouth.
That of the Romans (I call Romans, for the most part, those who, after
the subjugation of Greece, betook themselves to Rome, whither all that
there was of the good and of the beautiful in the world was
carried)--that, I say, is so beautiful, by reason of the expressions,
the attitudes, and the movements both of the nude and of the draped
figures, that it may be said that they wrested the beautiful from all
the other provinces and moulded it into one single manner, to the end
that it might be, as it is, the best--nay, the most divine of all.

All these beautiful manners and arts being spent in the time of Andrea,
that alone was in use which had been brought by the Goths and by the
uncivilized Greeks into Tuscany. Wherefore he, having studied the new
method of design of Giotto and those few antiquities that were known to
him, refined in great part the grossness of so miserable a manner with
his judgment, in such wise that he began to work better and to give much
greater beauty to statuary than any other had yet done in that art up to
his times. Therefore, his genius and his good skill and dexterity
becoming known, he was assisted by many in his country, and while still
young he was commissioned to make for S. Maria a Ponte some little
figures in marble, which brought him so good a name that he was sought
out with very great insistence to come to work in Florence for the
Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, which, after a beginning had been
made with the façade containing the three doors, was suffering from a
dearth of masters to make the scenes that Giotto had designed for the
beginning of the said fabric. Andrea, then, betook himself to Florence,
for the service of the said Office of Works. And because the Florentines
desired at that time to gain the friendship and love of Pope Boniface
VIII, who was then Supreme Pontiff of the Church of God, they wished
that, before anything else, Andrea should make a portrait in marble of
the said Pontiff, from the life. Wherefore, putting his hand to this
work, he did not rest until he had finished the figure of the Pope, with
a S. Peter and a S. Paul who are one on either side of him; which three
figures were placed in the façade of S. Maria del Fiore, where they
still are. Andrea then made certain little figures of prophets for the
middle door of the said church, in some shrines or rather niches, from
which it is seen that he had brought great betterment to the art, and
that he was in advance, both in excellence and design, of all those who
had worked up to then on the said fabric. Wherefore it was resolved that
all the works of importance should be given to him to do, and not to
others; and so, no long time after, he was commissioned to make the four
statues of the principal Doctors of the Church, S. Jerome, S. Ambrose,
S. Augustine, and S. Gregory. And these being finished and acquiring for
him favour and fame with the Wardens of Works--nay, with the whole
city--he was commissioned to make two other figures in marble of the
same size, which were S. Stephen and S. Laurence, now standing in the
said façade of S. Maria del Fiore, at the outermost corners. By the hand
of Andrea, likewise, is the Madonna in marble, three braccia and a half
high, with the Child in her arms, which stands on the altar of the
little Church of the Company of the Misericordia, on the Piazza di S.
Giovanni in Florence; which was a work much praised in those times, and
above all because he accompanied it with two angels, one on either side,
each two braccia and a half high. Round this work there has been made in
our own day a frame of wood, very well wrought by Maestro Antonio,
called Il Carota; and below, a predella full of most beautiful figures
coloured in oil by Ridolfo, son of Domenico Ghirlandajo. In like
manner, that half-length Madonna in marble that is over the side door of
the same Misericordia, in the façade of the Cialdonai, is by the hand of
Andrea, and it was much praised, because he imitated therein the good
ancient manner, contrary to his wont, which was ever far distant from
it, as some drawings testify that are in our book, wrought by his hand,
wherein are drawn all the stories of the Apocalypse.

Now, seeing that Andrea had applied himself in his youth to the study of
architecture, there came occasion for him to be employed in this by the
Commune of Florence; for Arnolfo being dead and Giotto absent, he was
commissioned to make the design of the Castle of Scarperia, which is in
the Mugello, at the foot of the mountains. Some say, although I would
not indeed vouch for it as true, that Andrea stayed a year in Venice,
and there wrought, in sculpture, some little figures in marble that are
in the façade of S. Marco, and that at the time of Messer Piero
Gradenigo, Doge of that Republic, he made the design of the Arsenal; but
seeing that I know nothing about it save that which I find to have been
written by some without authority, I leave each one to think in his own
way about this matter. Andrea having returned from Venice to Florence,
the city, fearful of the coming of the Emperor, caused a part of the
walls to be raised with lime post-haste to the height of eight braccia,
employing in this Andrea, in that portion that is between San Gallo and
the Porta al Prato; and in other places he made bastions, stockades, and
other ramparts of earth and of wood, very strong.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Details, after_ Andrea Pisano, _from the Gates of the Baptistery,

Now because, three years before, he had shown himself to his own great
credit to be an able man in the casting of bronze, having sent to the
Pope in Avignon, by means of Giotto, his very great friend, who was then
staying at that Court, a very beautiful cross cast in bronze, he was
commissioned to complete in bronze one of the doors of the Church of S.
Giovanni, for which Giotto had already made a very beautiful design;
this was given to him, I say, to complete, by reason of his having been
judged, among so many who had worked up to then, the most able, the most
practised and the most judicious master not only of Tuscany but of
all Italy. Wherefore, putting his hand to this, with a mind determined
not to consent to spare either time, or labour, or diligence in
executing a work of so great importance, fortune was so propitious to
him in the casting, for those times when the secrets were not known that
are known to-day, that within the space of twenty-two years he brought
it to that perfection which is seen; and what is more, he also made
during that same time not only the shrine of the high-altar of S.
Giovanni, with two angels, one on either side of it, that were held
something very beautiful, but also, after the design of Giotto, those
little figures in marble that act as adornment for the door of the
Campanile of S. Maria del Fiore, and round the same Campanile, in
certain mandorle, the seven planets, the seven virtues, and the seven
works of mercy, little figures in half-relief that were then much
praised. He also made during the same time the three figures, each four
braccia high, that were set up in the niches of the said Campanile,
beneath the windows that face the spot where the Orphans now are--that
is, towards the south; which figures were thought at that time more than
passing good. But to return to where I left off: I say that in the said
bronze door are little scenes in low relief of the life of S. John the
Baptist, that is, from his birth up to his death, wrought happily and
with much diligence. And although it seems to many that in these scenes
there do not appear that beautiful design and that great art which are
now put into figures, yet Andrea deserves nothing but the greatest
praise, in that he was the first to put his hand to the complete
execution of such a work, which afterwards enabled the others who lived
after him to make whatever of the beautiful, of the difficult and of the
good is to be seen at the present day in the other two doors and in the
external ornaments. This work was placed in the middle door of that
church, and stood there until the time when Lorenzo Ghiberti made that
one which is there at the present day; for then it was removed and
placed opposite the Misericordia, where it still stands. I will not
forbear to say that Andrea was assisted in making this door by Nino, his
son, who was afterwards a much better master than his father had been,
and that it was completely finished in the year 1339, that is, not only
made smooth and polished all over, but also gilded by fire; and it is
believed that it was cast in metal by some Venetian masters, very expert
in the founding of metals, and of this there is found record in the
books of the Guild of the Merchants of Calimara, Wardens of the Works of
S. Giovanni.

While the said door was making, Andrea made not only the other works
aforesaid but also many others, and in particular the model of the
Church of S. Giovanni at Pistoia, which was founded in the year 1337. In
that same year, on January 25, in excavating the foundations of this
church, there was found the body of the Blessed Atto, once Bishop of
that city, who had been buried in that place one hundred and
thirty-seven years. The architecture, then, of this church, which is
round, was passing good for those times. In the principal church of the
said city of Pistoia there is also a tomb of marble by the hand of
Andrea, with the body of the sarcophagus full of little figures, and
some larger figures above; in which tomb is laid to rest the body of
Messer Cino d' Angibolgi, Doctor of Laws, and a very famous scholar in
his time, as Messer Francesco Petrarca testifies in that sonnet:

     Piangete, donne, e con voi pianga Amore;

and also in the fourth chapter of the _Triumph of Love_, where he says:

     Ecco Cin da Pistoia, Guitton d'Arezzo,
     Che di non esser primo par ch'ira aggia.

In that tomb there is seen the portrait of Messer Cino himself in
marble, by the hand of Andrea; he is teaching a number of his scholars,
who are round him, with an attitude and manner so beautiful that,
although to-day it might not be prized, in those days it must have been
a marvellous thing.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After a relief, by_ Andrea Pisano, _on the Campanile, Florence_)]

Andrea was also made use of in matters of architecture by Gualtieri,
Duke of Athens and Tyrant of the Florentines, who made him enlarge the
square, and caused him, in order to safeguard himself in his palace, to
secure all the lower windows on the first floor (where to-day is the
Sala de' Dugento) with iron bars, square and very strong. The said Duke
also added, opposite S. Pietro Scheraggio, the walls of rustic work
that are beside the palace, in order to enlarge it; and in the thickness
of the wall he made a secret staircase, in order to ascend and descend
unseen. And at the foot of the said wall of rustic work he made a great
door, which serves to-day for the Customs-house, and above that his
arms, and all with the design and counsel of Andrea; and although these
arms were chiselled out by the Council of Twelve, which took pains to
efface every memorial of that Duke, there remained none the less in the
square shield the form of the lion rampant with two tails, as anyone can
see who examines it with diligence. For the same Duke Andrea built many
towers round the walls of the city, and he not only made a magnificent
beginning for the Porta a S. Friano and brought it to the completion
that is seen, but also made the walls for the vestibules of all the
gates of the city, and the lesser gates for the convenience of the
people. And because the Duke had it in his mind to make a fortress on
the Costa di S. Giorgio, Andrea made the model for it, which afterwards
was not used, for the reason that the work was never given a beginning,
the Duke having been driven out in the year 1343. Nevertheless, there
was effected in great part the desire of that Duke to bring the palace
to the form of a strong castle, because, to that which had been made
originally, he added the great mass which is seen to-day, enclosing
within its circuit the houses of the Filipetri, the tower and the houses
of the Amidei and Mancini, and those of the Bellalberti. And because,
having made a beginning with so great a fabric and with the thick walls
and barbicans, he had not all the material that was essential equally in
readiness, he held back the construction of the Ponte Vecchio, which was
being worked on with all haste as a work of necessity, and availed
himself of the stone hewn and the wood prepared for it, without the
least scruple. And although Taddeo Gaddi was not perhaps inferior in the
matters of architecture to Andrea Pisano, the Duke would not avail
himself of him in these buildings, by reason of his being a Florentine,
but only of Andrea. The same Duke Gualtieri wished to pull down S.
Cecilia, in order to see from his palace the Strada Romana and the
Mercato Nuovo, and likewise to destroy S. Pietro Scheraggio for his own
convenience, but he had not leave to do this from the Pope; and
meanwhile, as it has been said above, he was driven out by the fury of
the people.

Deservedly then did Andrea gain, by the honourable labours of so many
years, not only very great rewards but also the citizenship; for he was
made a citizen of Florence by the Signoria, and was given offices and
magistracies in the city, and his works were esteemed both while he
lived and after his death, there being found no one who could surpass
him in working, until there came Niccolò Aretino, Jacopo della Quercia
of Siena, Donatello, Filippo di Ser Brunellesco, and Lorenzo Ghiberti,
who executed the sculptures and other works that they made in such a
manner that people recognized in how great error they had lived up to
that time; for these men recovered with their works that excellence
which had been hidden and little known by men for many and many a year.
The works of Andrea date about the year of our salvation 1340.

Andrea left many disciples; among others, Tommaso Pisano, architect and
sculptor, who finished the Chapel of the Campo Santo and added the
finishing touch to the Campanile of the Duomo--namely, that final part
wherein are the bells. Tommaso is believed to have been the son of
Andrea, this being found written in the panel of the high-altar of S.
Francesco in Pisa, wherein there is, carved in half-relief, a Madonna,
with other Saints made by him, and below these his name and that of his

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After_ Nino Pisano. _Orvieto: Museo dell'Opera_)]

Andrea was survived by Nino, his son, who applied himself to sculpture;
and his first work was in S. Maria Novella, where he finished a Madonna
in marble begun by his father, which is within the side door, beside the
Chapel of the Minerbetti. Next, having gone to Pisa, he made in the
Spina a half-length figure in marble of Our Lady, who is suckling an
infant Jesus Christ wrapped in certain delicate draperies. For this
Madonna an ornamental frame of marble was made in the year 1522, by the
agency of Messer Jacopo Corbini, and another frame, much greater and
more beautiful, was made then for another Madonna of marble, which was
of full length and by the hand of the same Nino; in the attitude of
which Madonna the mother is seen handing a rose with much grace to her
Son, who is taking it in a childlike manner, so beautiful that it may
be said that Nino was beginning to rob the stone of its hardness and to
reduce it to the softness of flesh, giving it lustre by means of the
highest polish. This figure is between a S. John and a S. Peter in
marble, the head of the latter being a portrait of Andrea from the life.
Besides this, for an altar in S. Caterina, also in Pisa, Nino made two
statues of marble--that is, a Madonna, and an Angel who is bringing her
the Annunciation, wrought, like his other works, with so great diligence
that it can be said that they are the best that were made in those
times. Below this Madonna receiving the Annunciation Nino carved these
words on the base: ON THE FIRST DAY OF FEBRUARY, 1370; and below the
other works in that city and in Naples, whereof it is not needful to
make mention.

Andrea died at the age of seventy-five, in the year 1345, and was buried
by Nino in S. Maria del Fiore, with this epitaph:





Buonamico di Cristofano, called Buffalmacco, painter of Florence, who
was a disciple of Andrea Tafi, and celebrated for his jokes by Messer
Giovanni Boccaccio in his _Decameron_, was, as is known, a very dear
companion of Bruno and Calandrino, painters equally humorous and gay;
and as may be seen in his works, scattered throughout all Tuscany, he
was a man of passing good judgment in his art of painting. Franco
Sacchetti relates in his three hundred Stories (to begin with the things
that this man did while still youthful), that Buffalmacco lived, while
he was a lad, with Andrea, and that this master of his used to make it a
custom, when the nights were long, to get up before daylight to labour,
and to call the lads to night-work. This being displeasing to Buonamico,
who was made to rise out of his soundest sleep, he began to think of
finding a way whereby Andrea might give up rising so much before
daylight to work, and he succeeded; for having found thirty large
cockroaches, or rather blackbeetles, in a badly swept cellar, with
certain fine and short needles he fixed a little taper on the back of
each of the said cockroaches, and, the hour coming when Andrea was wont
to rise, he lit the tapers and put the animals one by one into the room
of Andrea, through a chink in the door. He, awaking at the very hour
when he was wont to call Buffalmacco, and seeing those little lights,
all full of fear began to tremble and in great terror to recommend
himself under his breath to God, like the old gaffer that he was, and to
say his prayers or psalms; and finally, putting his head below the
bedclothes, he made no attempt for that night to call Buffalmacco, but
stayed as he was, ever trembling with fear, up to daylight. In the
morning, then, having risen, he asked Buonamico if he had seen, as he
had himself, more than a thousand demons; whereupon Buonamico said he
had not, because he had kept his eyes closed, and was marvelling that he
had not been called to night-work. "To night-work!" said Tafo, "I have
had something else to think of besides painting, and I am resolved at
all costs to go and live in another house." The following night,
although Buonamico put only three of them into the said room of Tafo,
none the less, what with terror of the past night and of those few
devils that he saw, he slept not a wink; nay, no sooner was it daylight
than he rushed from the house, meaning never to return, and a great
business it was to make him change his mind. At last Buonamico brought
the parish priest, who consoled him the best that he could. Later, Tafo
and Buonamico discoursing over the affair, Buonamico said: "I have ever
heard tell that the greatest enemies of God are the demons, and that in
consequence they must also be the most capital adversaries of painters;
because, besides that we make them ever most hideous, what is worse, we
never attend to aught else than to making saints, male and female, on
walls and panels, and to making men more devout and more upright
thereby, to the despite of the demons; wherefore, these demons having a
grudge against us for this, as beings that have greater power by night
than by day they come and play us these tricks, and worse tricks will
they play if this use of rising for night-work is not given up
completely." With these and many other speeches Buffalmacco knew so well
how to manage the business, being borne out by what Sir Priest kept
saying, that Tafo gave over rising for night-work, and the devils ceased
going through the house at night with little lights. But Tafo beginning
again, for the love of gain, not many months afterwards, having almost
forgotten all fear, to rise once more to work in the night and to call
Buffalmacco, the cockroaches too began again to wander about; wherefore
he was forced by fear to give up the habit entirely, being above all
advised to do this by the priest. Afterwards this affair, spreading
throughout the city, brought it about that for a time neither Tafo nor
other painters made a practice of rising to work at night. Later, and no
long time after this, Buffalmacco, having become a passing good master,
took leave of Tafo, as the same Franco relates, and began to work for
himself; and he never lacked for something to do.

Now, Buffalmacco having taken a house, to work in and to live in as
well, that had next door a passing rich woolworker, who, being a
simpleton, was called Capodoca (Goosehead), the wife of this man would
rise every night very early, precisely when Buffalmacco, having up to
then been working, would go to lie down; and sitting at her wheel, which
by misadventure she had planted opposite to the bed of Buffalmacco, she
would spend the whole night spinning her thread; wherefore Buonamico,
being able to get scarce a wink of sleep, began to think and think how
he could remedy this nuisance. Nor was it long before he noticed that
behind a wall of brickwork, that divided his house from Capodoca's, was
the hearth of his uncomfortable neighbour, and that through a hole it
was possible to see what she was doing over the fire. Having therefore
thought of a new trick, he bored a hole with a long gimlet through a
cane, and, watching for a moment when the wife of Capodoca was not at
the fire, he pushed it more than once through the aforesaid hole in the
wall and put as much salt as he wished into his neighbour's pot;
wherefore Capodoca, returning either for dinner or for supper, more
often than not could not eat or even taste either broth or meat, so
bitter was everything through the great quantity of salt. For once or
twice he had patience and only made a little noise about it; but after
he saw that words were not enough, he gave blows many a time for this to
the poor woman, who was in despair, it appearing to her that she was
more than careful in salting her cooking. She, one time among others
that her husband was beating her for this, began to try to excuse
herself, wherefore Capodoca, falling into even greater rage, set himself
to thrash her again in a manner that the woman screamed with all her
might, and the whole neighbourhood ran up at the noise; and among others
there came up Buffalmacco, who, having heard of what Capodoca was
accusing his wife and in what way she was excusing herself, said to
Capodoca: "I' faith, comrade, this calls for a little reason; thou dost
complain that the pot, morning and evening, is too much salted, and I
marvel that this good woman of thine can do anything well. I, for my
part, know not how, by day, she keeps on her feet, considering that the
whole night she sits up over that wheel of hers, and sleeps not, to my
belief, an hour. Make her give up this rising at midnight, and thou wilt
see that, having her fill of sleep, she will have her wits about her by
day and will not fall into such blunders." Then, turning to the other
neighbours, he convinced them so well of the grave import of the matter,
that they all said to Capodoca that Buonamico was speaking the truth and
that it must be done as he advised. He, therefore, believing that it was
so, commanded her not to rise in the night, and the pot was then
reasonably salted, save when perchance the woman on occasion rose early,
for then Buffalmacco would return to his remedy, which finally brought
it about that Capodoca made her give it up completely.

Buffalmacco, then, among the first works that he made, painted with his
own hand the whole church of the Convent of the Nuns of Faenza, which
stood in Florence on the site of the present Cittadella del Prato; and
among other scenes that he made there from the life of Christ, in all
which he acquitted himself very well, he made the Massacre that Herod
ordained of the Innocents, wherein he expressed very vividly the
emotions both of the murderers and of the other figures; for in some
nurses and mothers who are snatching the infants from the hands of the
murderers and are seeking all the assistance that they can from their
hands, their nails, their teeth, and every movement of the body, there
is shown on the surface a heart no less full of rage and fury than of

Of this work, that convent being to-day in ruins, there is to be seen
nothing but a coloured sketch in our book of drawings by diverse
masters, wherein there is this scene drawn by the hand of Buonamico
himself. In the doing of this work for the aforesaid Nuns of Faenza,
seeing that Buffalmacco was a person very eccentric and careless both in
dress and in manner of life, it came to pass, since he did not always
wear his cap and his mantle, as in those times it was the custom to do,
that the nuns, seeing him once through the screen that he had caused to
be made, began to say to the steward that it did not please them to see
him in that guise, in his jerkin; however, appeased by him, they stayed
for a little without saying more. But at last, seeing him ever in the
same guise, and doubting whether he was not some knavish boy for
grinding colours, they had him told by the Abbess that they would have
liked to see the master at work, and not always him. To which Buonamico
answered, like the good fellow that he was, that as soon as the master
was there, he would let them know; taking notice, none the less, of the
little confidence that they had in him. Taking a stool, therefore, and
placing another above it, he put on top of all a pitcher, or rather a
water-jar, and on the mouth of that he put a cap, hanging over the
handle, and then he covered the rest of the jar with a burgher's mantle,
and finally, putting a brush in suitable fashion into the spout through
which the water is poured, he went off. The nuns, returning to see the
work through an opening where the cloth had slipped, saw the
supposititious master in full canonicals; wherefore, believing that he
was working might and main and was by way of doing different work from
that which the untidy knave was doing, they left it at that for some
days, without thinking more about it. Finally, having grown desirous to
see what beautiful work the master had done, fifteen days having passed,
during which space of time Buonamico had never come near the place, one
night, thinking that the master was not there, they went to see his
paintings, and remained all confused and blushing by reason of one
bolder than the rest discovering the solemn master, who in fifteen days
had done not one stroke of work. Then, recognizing that he had served
them as they merited and that the works that he had made were worthy of
nothing but praise, they bade the steward recall Buonamico, who, with
the greatest laughter and delight, returned to the work, having given
them to know what difference there is between men and pitchers, and that
it is not always by their clothes that the works of men should be
judged. In a few days, then, he finished a scene wherewith they were
much contented, it appearing to them to be in every way satisfactory,
except that the figures appeared to them rather wan and pallid than
otherwise in the flesh-tints. Buonamico, hearing this, and having learnt
that the Abbess had some Vernaccia, the best in Florence, which was used
for the holy office of the Mass, said to them that in order to remedy
this defect nothing else could be done but to temper the colours with
some good Vernaccia; because, touching the cheeks and the rest of the
flesh on the figures with colours thus tempered, they would become rosy
and coloured in most lifelike fashion. Hearing this, the good sisters,
who believed it all, kept him ever afterwards furnished with the best
Vernaccia, as long as the work lasted; and he, rejoicing in it, from
that time onwards made the figures fresher and more highly coloured with
his ordinary colours.

This work finished, he painted some stories of S. James in the Abbey of
Settimo, in the chapel that is in the cloister, and dedicated to that
Saint, on the vaulting of which he made the four Patriarchs and the four
Evangelists, among whom S. Luke is doing a striking action in blowing
very naturally on his pen, in order that it may yield its ink. Next, in
the scenes on the walls, which are five, there are seen beautiful
attitudes in the figures, and the whole work is executed with invention
and judgment. And because Buonamico was wont, in order to make his
flesh-colour better, as is seen in this work, to make a ground of
purple, which in time produces a salt that becomes corroded and eats
away the white and other colours, it is no marvel if this work is spoilt
and eaten away, whereas many others that were made long before have been
very well preserved. And I, who thought formerly that these pictures had
received injury from the damp, have since proved by experience, studying
other works of the same man, that it is not from the damp but from this
particular use of Buffalmacco's that they have become spoilt so
completely that there is not seen in them either design or anything
else, and that where the flesh-colours were there has remained nothing
else but the purple. This method of working should be used by no one who
is anxious that his pictures should have long life.

Buonamico wrought, after that which has been described above, two panels
in distemper for the Monks of the Certosa of Florence, whereof one is
where the books of chants are kept for the use of the choir, and the
other below in the old chapels. He painted in fresco the Chapel of the
Giochi and Bastari in the Badia of Florence, beside the principal
chapel; which chapel, although afterwards it was conceded to the family
of the Boscoli, retains the said pictures of Buffalmacco up to our own
day. In these he made the Passion of Christ, with effects ingenious and
beautiful, showing very great humility and sweetness in Christ, who is
washing the feet of His Disciples, and ferocity and cruelty in the Jews,
who are leading Him to Herod. But he showed talent and facility more
particularly in a Pilate, whom he painted in prison, and in Judas
hanging from a tree; wherefore it is easy to believe what is told about
this gay painter--namely, that when he thought fit to use diligence and
to take pains, which rarely came to pass, he was not inferior to any
painter whatsoever of his times. And to show that this is true, the
works in fresco that he made in Ognissanti, where to-day there is the
cemetery, were wrought with so much diligence and with so many
precautions, that the water which has rained over them for so many years
has not been able to spoil them or to prevent their excellence from
being recognized, and that they have been preserved very well, because
they were wrought purely on the fresh plaster. On the walls, then, are
the Nativity of Jesus Christ and the Adoration of the Magi--that is,
over the tomb of the Aliotti. After this work Buonamico, having gone to
Bologna, wrought some scenes in fresco in S. Petronio, in the Chapel of
the Bolognini--that is, on the vaulting; but by reason of some accident,
I know not what, supervening, he did not finish them.

It is said that in the year 1302 he was summoned to Assisi, and that in
the Church of S. Francesco, in the Chapel of S. Caterina, he painted all
the stories of her life in fresco, which have been very well preserved;
and there are therein some figures that are worthy to be praised. This
chapel finished, on his passing through Arezzo, Bishop Guido, by reason
of having heard that Buonamico was a gay fellow and an able painter,
desired him to stop in that city and paint for him, in the Vescovado,
the chapel where baptisms are now held. Buonamico, having put his hand
to the work, had already done a good part of it when there befell him
the strangest experience in the world, which was, according to what
Franco Sacchetti relates, as follows. The Bishop had an ape, the
drollest and the most mischievous that there had ever been. This animal,
standing once on the scaffolding to watch Buonamico at work, had given
attention to everything, and had never taken his eyes off him when he
was mixing the colours, handling the flasks, beating the eggs for making
the distempers, and in short when he was doing anything else
whatsoever. Now, Buonamico having left off working one Saturday evening,
on the Sunday morning this ape, notwithstanding that he had, fastened to
his feet, a great block of wood which the Bishop made him carry in order
that thus he might not be able to leap wherever he liked, climbed on to
the scaffolding whereon Buonamico was used to stand to work, in spite of
the very great weight of the block of wood; and there, seizing the
flasks with his hands, pouring them one into another and making six
mixtures, and beating up whatever eggs there were, he began to daub over
with the brushes all the figures there, and, persevering in this
performance, did not cease until he had repainted everything with his
own hand; and this done, he again made a mixture of all the colours that
were left him, although they were but few, and, getting down from the
scaffolding, went off. Monday morning having come, Buonamico returned to
his work, where, seeing the figures spoilt, the flasks all mixed up, and
everything upside down, he stood all in marvel and confusion. Then,
having pondered much in his own mind, he concluded finally that some
Aretine had done this, through envy or through some other reason;
wherefore, having gone to the Bishop, he told him how the matter stood
and what he suspected, whereat the Bishop became very much disturbed,
but, consoling Buonamico, desired him to put his hand again to the work
and to repaint all that was spoilt. And because the Bishop had put faith
in his words, which had something of the probable, he gave him six of
his men-at-arms, who should stand in hiding with halberds while he was
not at work, and, if anyone came, should cut him to pieces without
mercy. The figures, then, having been painted over again, one day that
the soldiers were in hiding, lo and behold! they hear a certain rumbling
through the church, and a little while after the ape climbing on to the
scaffolding; and in the twinkling of an eye, the mixtures made, they see
the new master set himself to work over the saints of Buonamico. Calling
him, therefore, and showing him the culprit, and standing with him to
watch the beast at his work, they were all like to burst with laughter;
and Buonamico in particular, for all that he was vexed thereby, could
not keep from laughing till the tears came. Finally, dismissing the
soldiers who had mounted guard with their halberds, he went off to the
Bishop and said to him: "My lord, you wish the painting to be done in
one fashion, and your ape wishes it done in another." Then, relating the
affair, he added: "There was no need for you to send for painters from
elsewhere, if you had the true master at home. But he, perhaps, knew not
so well how to make the mixtures; now that he knows, let him do it by
himself, since I am no more good here. And his talent being revealed, I
am content that there should be nothing given to me for my work save
leave to return to Florence." The Bishop, hearing the affair, although
it vexed him, could not keep from laughing, and above all as he thought
how an animal had played a trick on him who was the greatest trickster
in the world. However, after they had talked and laughed their fill over
this strange incident, the Bishop persuaded Buonamico to resume the work
for the third time, and he finished it. And the ape, as punishment and
penance for the crime committed, was shut up in a great wooden cage and
kept where Buonamico was working, until this work was entirely finished;
and no one could imagine the contortions which that creature kept making
in this cage with his face, his body, and his hands, seeing others
working and himself unable to take part.

The work in this chapel finished, the Bishop, either in jest or for some
other reason known only to himself, commanded that Buffalmacco should
paint him, on one wall of his palace, an eagle on the back of a lion
which it had killed. The crafty painter, having promised to do all that
the Bishop wished, had a good scaffolding made of planks, saying that he
refused to be seen painting such a thing. This made, shutting himself up
alone inside it, he painted, contrary to what the Bishop wished, a lion
that was tearing to pieces an eagle; and, the work finished, he sought
leave from the Bishop to go to Florence in order to get some colours
that he was wanting. And so, locking the scaffolding with a key, he went
off to Florence, in mind to return no more to the Bishop, who, seeing
the business dragging on and the painter not returning, had the
scaffolding opened, and discovered that Buonamico had been too much for
him. Wherefore, moved by very great displeasure, he had him banished on
pain of death, and Buonamico, hearing this, sent to tell him to do his
worst; whereupon the Bishop threatened him to a fearful tune. But
finally, remembering that he had begun the playing of tricks and that it
served him right to be tricked himself, he pardoned Buonamico for his
insult and rewarded him liberally for his labours. Nay, what is more,
summoning him again no long time after to Arezzo, he caused him to make
many works in the Duomo Vecchio, which are now destroyed, treating him
ever as his familiar friend and very faithful servant. The same man
painted the niche of the principal chapel in the Church of S. Giustino,
also in Arezzo.

Some writers tell that Buonamico being in Florence and often frequenting
the shop of Maso del Saggio with his friends and companions, he was
there, with many others, arranging the festival which the men of the
Borgo San Friano held on May 1 in certain boats on the Arno; and that
when the Ponte alla Carraia, which was then of wood, collapsed by reason
of the too great weight of the people who had flocked to that spectacle,
he did not die there, as many others did, because, precisely at the
moment when the bridge collapsed on to the structure that was
representing Hell on the boats in the Arno, he had gone to get some
things that were wanting for the festival.

Being summoned to Pisa no long time after these events, Buonamico
painted many stories of the Old Testament in the Abbey of S. Paolo a
Ripa d'Arno, then belonging to the Monks of Vallombrosa, in both
transepts of the church, on three sides, and from the roof down to the
floor, beginning with the Creation of man, and continuing up to the
completion of the Tower of Nimrod. In this work, although it is to-day
for the greater part spoilt, there are seen vivacity in the figures,
good skill and loveliness in the colouring, and signs to show that the
hand of Buonamico could very well express the conceptions of his mind,
although he had little power of design. On the wall of the right
transept which is opposite to that wherein is the side door, in some
stories of S. Anastasia, there are seen certain ancient costumes and
head-dresses, very charming and beautiful, in some women who are painted
there with graceful manner. Not less beautiful, also, are those figures
that are in a boat, with well-conceived attitudes, among which is the
portrait of Pope Alexander IV, which Buonamico had, so it is said, from
Tafo his master, who had portrayed that Pontiff in mosaic in S. Pietro.
In the last scene, likewise, wherein is the martyrdom of that Saint and
of others, Buonamico expressed very well in the faces the fear of death
and the grief and terror of those who are standing to see her tortured
and put to death, while she stands bound to a tree and over the fire.

A companion of Buonamico in this work was Bruno di Giovanni, a painter,
who is thus called in the old book of the Company; which Bruno (also
celebrated as a gay fellow by Boccaccio), the said scenes on the walls
being finished, painted the altar of S. Ursula with the company of
virgins, in the same church. He made in one hand of the said Saint a
standard with the arms of Pisa, which are a white cross on a field of
red, and he made her offering the other hand to a woman who, rising
between two mountains and touching the sea with one of her feet, is
stretching both her hands to her in the act of supplication; which
woman, representing Pisa, and having on her head a crown of gold and
over her shoulders a mantle covered with circlets and eagles, is seeking
assistance from that Saint, being much in travail in the sea. Now, for
the reason that in painting this work Bruno was bewailing that the
figures which he was making therein had not the same life as those of
Buonamico, the latter, in his waggish way, in order to teach him to make
his figures not merely vivacious but actually speaking, made him paint
some words issuing from the mouth of that woman who is supplicating the
Saint, and the answer of the Saint to her, a device that Buonamico had
seen in the works that had been made in the same city by Cimabue. This
expedient, even as it pleased Bruno and the other thick-witted men of
those times, in like manner pleases certain boors to-day, who are served
therein by craftsmen as vulgar as themselves. And in truth it seems
extraordinary that from this beginning there should have passed into use
a device that was employed for a jest and for no other reason, insomuch
that even a great part of the Campo Santo, wrought by masters of repute,
is full of this rubbish.

The works of Buonamico, then, finding much favour with the Pisans, he
was charged by the Warden of the Works of the Campo Santo to make four
scenes in fresco, from the beginning of the world up to the construction
of Noah's Ark, and round the scenes an ornamental border, wherein he
made his own portrait from the life--namely, in a frieze, in the middle
of which, and on the corners, are some heads, among which, as I have
said, is seen his own, with a cap exactly like the one that is seen
above. And because in this work there is a God, who is upholding with
his arms the heavens and the elements--nay, the whole body of the
universe--Buonamico, in order to explain his story with verses similar
to the pictures of that age, wrote this sonnet in capital letters at the
foot, with his own hand, as may still be seen; which sonnet, by reason
of its antiquity and of the simplicity of the language of those times,
it has seemed good to me to include in this place, although in my
opinion it is not likely to give much pleasure, save perchance as
something that bears witness as to what was the knowledge of the men of
that century:

     Voi che avisate questa dipintura
     Di Dio pietoso, sommo creatore,
     Lo qual fe' tutte cose con amore,
     Pesate, numerate ed in misura;
     In nove gradi angelica natura,
     In ello empirio ciel pien di splendore,
     Colui che non si muove ed è motore,
     Ciascuna cosa fece buona e pura.
     Levate gli occhi del vostro intelletto,
     Considerate quanto è ordinato
     Lo mondo universale; e con affetto
     Lodate lui che l'ha sì ben creato;
     Pensate di passare a tal diletto
     Tra gli Angeli, dov'è ciascun beato.
     Per questo mondo si vede la gloria,
     Lo basso e il mezzo e l'alto in questa storia.

And to tell the truth, it was very courageous in Buonamico to undertake
to make a God the Father five braccia high, with the hierarchies, the
heavens, the angels, the zodiac, and all the things above, even to the
heavenly body of the moon, and then the element of fire, the air, the
earth, and finally the nether regions; and to fill up the two angles
below he made in one, S. Augustine, and in the other, S. Thomas
Aquinas. At the head of the same Campo Santo, where there is now the
marble tomb of Corte, Buonamico painted the whole Passion of Christ,
with a great number of figures on foot and on horseback, and all in
varied and beautiful attitudes; and continuing the story he made the
Resurrection and the Apparition of Christ to the Apostles, passing well.

Having finished these works and at the same time all that he had gained
Pisa, which was not little, he returned to Florence as poor as he had
left it, and there he made many panels and works in fresco, whereof
there is no need to make further record. Meanwhile there had been
entrusted to Bruno, his great friend (who had returned with him from
Pisa, where they had squandered everything), some works in S. Maria
Novella, and seeing that Bruno had not much design or invention,
Buonamico designed for him all that he afterwards put into execution on
a wall in the said church, opposite to the pulpit and as long as the
space between column and column, and that was the story of S. Maurice
and his companions, who were beheaded for the faith of Jesus Christ.
This work Bruno made for Guido Campese, then Constable of the
Florentines, whose portrait he had made before he died in the year 1312;
in that work he painted him in his armour, as was the custom in those
times, and behind him he made a line of men-at-arms, armed in ancient
fashion, who make a beautiful effect, while Guido himself is kneeling
before a Madonna who has the Child Jesus in her arms, and is appearing
to be recommended to her by S. Dominic and S. Agnes, who are on either
side of him. Although this picture is not very beautiful, yet,
considering the design and invention of Buonamico, it is worthy to be in
part praised, and above all by reason of the costumes, helmets, and
other armour of those times. And I have availed myself of it in some
scenes that I have made for the Lord Duke Cosimo, wherein it was
necessary to represent men armed in ancient fashion, and other similar
things of that age; which work has greatly pleased his most Illustrious
Excellency and others who have seen it. And from this it can be seen how
much benefit may be gained from the inventions and works made by these
ancients, although they may not be very perfect, and in what fashion
profit and advantage can be drawn from their performances, since they
opened the way for us to the marvels that have been made up to our day
and are being made continually.

While Bruno was making this work, a peasant desiring that Buonamico
should make him a S. Christopher, they came to an agreement in Florence
and arranged a contract in this fashion, that the price should be eight
florins and that the figure should be twelve braccia high. Buonamico,
then, having gone to the church where he was to make the S. Christopher,
found that by reason of its not being more than nine braccia either in
height or in length, he could not, either without or within, accommodate
the figure in a manner that it might stand well; wherefore he made up
his mind, since it would not go in upright, to make it within the church
lying down. But since, even so, the whole length would not go in, he was
forced to bend it from the knees downwards on to the wall at the head of
the church. The work finished, the peasant would by no means pay for it;
nay, he made an outcry and said he had been cozened. The matter,
therefore, going before the Justices, it was judged, according to the
contract, that Buonamico was in the right.

In S. Giovanni fra l'Arcore was a very beautiful Passion of Christ by
the hand of Buonamico, and among other things that were much praised
therein was a Judas hanging from a tree, made with much judgment and
beautiful manner. An old man, likewise, who was blowing his nose, was
most natural, and the Maries, broken with weeping, had expressions and
aspects so sad, that they deserved to be greatly praised, since that age
had not as yet much facility in the method of representing the emotions
of the soul with the brush. On the same wall there was a good figure in
a S. Ivo of Brittany, who had many widows and orphans at his feet, and
two angels in the sky, who were crowning him, were made with the
sweetest manner. This edifice and the pictures together were thrown to
the ground in the year of the war of 1529.

In Cortona, also, for Messer Aldobrandino, Bishop of that city,
Buonamico painted many works in the Vescovado, and in particular the
chapel and panel of the high-altar; but seeing that everything was
thrown to the ground in renovating the palace and the church, there is
no need to make further mention of them. In S. Francesco, however, and
in S. Margherita, in the same city, there are still some pictures by the
hand of Buonamico. From Cortona going once more to Assisi, Buonamico
painted in fresco, in the lower Church of S. Francesco, the whole Chapel
of Cardinal Egidio Alvaro, a Spaniard; and because he acquitted himself
very well, he was therefore liberally rewarded by that Cardinal.
Finally, Buonamico having wrought many pictures throughout the whole
March, in returning to Florence he stopped at Perugia, and painted there
in fresco the Chapel of the Buontempi in the Church of S. Domenico,
making therein stories of the life of S. Catherine, virgin and martyr.
And in the Church of S. Domenico Vecchio, on one wall, he painted in
fresco the scene when the same Catherine, daughter of King Costa, making
disputation, is convincing and converting certain philosophers to the
faith of Christ; and seeing that this scene is more beautiful than any
other that Buonamico ever made, it can be said with truth that in this
work he surpassed himself. The people of Perugia, moved by this,
according to what Franco Sacchetti writes, commanded that he should
paint S. Ercolano, Bishop and Protector of that city, in the square;
wherefore, having agreed about the price, on the spot where the painting
was to be done there was made a screen of planks and matting, to the end
that the master might not be seen painting; and this made, he put his
hand to the work. But before ten days had passed, every passer-by asking
when this picture would be finished, as though such works were cast in
moulds,[15] the matter disgusted Buonamico; wherefore, having come to
the end of the work and being distracted with such importunity, he
determined within himself to take a gentle vengeance on the impatience
of these people. And this came to pass, for, when the work was finished,
before unveiling it, he let them see it, and it was entirely to their
satisfaction; but on the people of Perugia wishing to remove the screen
at once, Buonamico said that for two days longer they should leave it
standing, for the reason that he wished to retouch certain parts on the
dry; and so it was done. Buonamico, then, having mounted the
scaffolding, removed the great diadem of gold that he had given to the
Saint, raised in relief with plaster, as was the custom in those times,
and made him a crown, or rather garland, right round his head, of
roaches; and this done, one morning he settled with his host and went
off to Florence. Now, two days having passed, the people of Perugia, not
seeing the painter going about as they had been used, asked the host
what had become of him, and, hearing that he had returned to Florence,
went at once to remove the screen; and finding their S. Ercolano crowned
solemnly with roaches, they sent word of it immediately to their
governors. But although these sent horsemen post-haste to look for
Buonamico, it was all in vain, seeing that he had returned in great
haste to Florence. Having determined, then, to make a painter of their
own remove the crown of roaches and restore the diadem to the Saint,
they said all the evil that can be imagined about Buonamico and the rest
of the Florentines.

Buonamico, back in Florence and caring little about what the people of
Perugia might say, set to work and made many paintings, whereof, in
order not to be too long, there is no need to make mention. I will say
only this, that having painted in fresco at Calcinaia a Madonna with the
Child in her arms, he who had charged him to do it, in place of paying
him, gave him words; whence Buonamico, who was not used to being trifled
with or being fooled, determined to get his due by hook or by crook. And
so, having gone one morning to Calcinaia, he transformed the child that
he had painted in the arms of the Virgin into a little bear, but in
colours made only with water, without size or distemper. This change
being seen, not long after, by the peasant who had given him the work to
do, almost in despair he went to find Buonamico, praying him for the
sake of Heaven to remove the little bear and to paint another child as
before, for he was ready to make satisfaction. This the other did
amicably, being paid for both the first and the second labour without
delay; and for restoring the whole work a wet sponge sufficed. Finally,
seeing that it would take too long were I to wish to relate all the
tricks, as well as all the pictures, that Buonamico Buffalmacco made,
and above all when frequenting the shop of Maso del Saggio, which was
the resort of citizens and of all the gay and mischievous spirits that
there were in Florence, I will make an end of discoursing about him.

He died at the age of seventy-eight, and being very poor and having done
more spending than earning, by reason of being such in character, he was
supported in his illness by the Company of the Misericordia in S. Maria
Nuova, the hospital of Florence; and then, being dead, he was buried in
the Ossa (for so they call a cloister, or rather cemetery, of the
hospital), like the rest of the poor, in the year 1340. The works of
this man were prized while he lived, and since then, for works of that
age, they have been ever extolled.


[Footnote 15: Proverbial expression, equivalent to our "twinkling of an


[Illustration: MADONNA AND CHILD

(_After the painting by_ Ambrogio Lorenzetti. _Milan: Cagnola



If that debt is great, as without doubt it is, which craftsmen of fine
genius should acknowledge to nature, much greater should that be that is
due from us to them, seeing that they, with great solicitude, fill the
cities with noble and useful buildings and with lovely historical
compositions, gaining for themselves, for the most part, fame and riches
with their works; as did Ambrogio Lorenzetti, painter of Siena, who
showed beautiful and great invention in grouping and placing his figures
thoughtfully in historical scenes. That this is true is proved by a
scene in the Church of the Friars Minor in Siena, painted by him very
gracefully in the cloister, wherein there is represented in what manner
a youth becomes a friar, and how he and certain others go to the Soldan,
and are there beaten and sentenced to the gallows and hanged on a tree,
and finally beheaded, with the addition of a terrible tempest. In this
picture, with much art and dexterity, he counterfeited in the travailing
of the figures the turmoil of the air and the fury of the rain and of
the wind, wherefrom the modern masters have learnt the method and the
principle of this invention, by reason of which, since it was unknown
before, he deserved infinite commendation. Ambrogio was a practised
colourist in fresco, and he handled colours in distemper with great
dexterity and facility, as it is still seen in the panels executed by
him in Siena for the little hospital called Mona Agnesa, where he
painted and finished a scene with new and beautiful composition. And at
the great hospital, on one front, he made in fresco the Nativity of Our
Lady and the scene when she is going with the virgins to the Temple. For
the Friars of S. Augustine in the same city he painted their
Chapter-house, where the Apostles are seen represented on the vaulting,
with scrolls in their hands whereon is written that part of the Creed
which each one of them made; and below each is a little scene containing
in painting that same subject that is signified above by the writing.
Near this, on the main front, are three stories of S. Catherine the
martyr, who is disputing with the tyrant in a temple, and, in the
middle, the Passion of Christ, with the Thieves on the Cross, and the
Maries below, who are supporting the Virgin Mary who has swooned; which
works were finished by him with much grace and with beautiful manner.

In a large hall of the Palazzo della Signoria in Siena he painted the
War of Asinalunga, and after it the Peace and its events, wherein he
fashioned a map, perfect for those times; and in the same palace he made
eight scenes in terra-verde, highly finished. It is said that he also
sent to Volterra a panel in distemper which was much praised in that
city. And painting a chapel in fresco and a panel in distemper at Massa,
in company with others, he gave them proof how great, both in judgment
and in genius, was his worth in the art of painting; and in Orvieto he
painted in fresco the principal Chapel of S. Maria. After these works,
proceeding to Florence, he made a panel in S. Procolo, and in a chapel
he painted the stories of S. Nicholas with little figures, in order to
satisfy certain of his friends, who desired to see his method of
working; and, being much practised, he executed this work in so short a
time that there accrued to him fame and infinite repute. And this work,
on the predella of which he made his own portrait, brought it about that
in the year 1335 he was summoned to Cortona by order of Bishop Ubertini,
then lord of that city, where he wrought certain works in the Church of
S. Margherita, built a short time before for the Friars of S. Francis on
the summit of the hill, and in particular the half of the vaulting and
the walls, so well that, although to-day they are wellnigh eaten away by
time, there are seen notwithstanding most beautiful effects in the
figures; and it is clear that he was deservedly commended for them.


(_Siena: Pinacoteca 77. Panel_)]

This work finished, Ambrogio returned to Siena, where he lived
honourably the remainder of his life, not only by reason of being an
excellent master in painting, but also because, having given attention
in his youth to letters, they were a useful and pleasant
accompaniment to him in his painting, and so great an ornament to his
whole life that they rendered him no less popular and beloved than did
his profession of painting; wherefore he was not only intimate with men
of learning and of taste, but he was also employed, to his great honour
and advantage, in the government of his Republic. The ways of Ambrogio
were in all respects worthy of praise, and rather those of a gentleman
and a philosopher than of a craftsman; and what most demonstrates the
wisdom of men, he had ever a mind disposed to be content with that which
the world and time brought, wherefore he supported with a mind temperate
and calm the good and the evil that came to him from fortune. And truly
it cannot be told to what extent courteous ways and modesty, with the
other good habits, are an honourable accompaniment to all the arts, and
in particular to those that are derived from the intellect and from
noble and exalted talents; wherefore every man should make himself no
less beloved with his ways than with the excellence of his art.

Finally, at the end of his life, Ambrogio made a panel at Monte Oliveto
di Chiusuri with great credit to himself, and a little afterwards, being
eighty-three years of age, he passed happily and in the Christian faith
to a better life. His works date about 1340.

As it has been said, the portrait of Ambrogio, by his own hand, is seen
in the predella of his panel in S. Procolo, with a cap on his head. And
what was his worth in draughtsmanship is seen in our book, wherein are
some passing good drawings by his hand.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Central panel of the polyptych by_ Ambrogio Lorenzetti. _Massa
Marittima: Municipio_)]




For many centuries Rome had been deprived not only of fine letters and
of the glory of arms but also of all the sciences and fine arts, when,
by the will of God, there was born therein Pietro Cavallini, in those
times when Giotto, having, it may be said, restored painting to life,
was holding the sovereignty among the painters in Italy. He, then,
having been a disciple of Giotto and having worked with Giotto himself
on the Navicella in mosaic in S. Pietro, was the first who, after him,
gave light to that art, and he began to show that he had been no
unworthy disciple of so great a master when he painted, over the door of
the sacristy of the Araceli, some scenes that are to-day eaten away by
time, and very many works coloured in fresco throughout the whole Church
of S. Maria di Trastevere. Afterwards, working in mosaic on the
principal chapel and on the façade of the church, he showed in the
beginning of such a work, without the help of Giotto, that he was no
less able in the execution and bringing to completion of mosaics than he
was in painting. Making many scenes in fresco, also, in the Church of S.
Grisogono, he strove to make himself known both as the best disciple of
Giotto and as a good craftsman. In like manner, also in Trastevere, he
painted almost the whole Church of S. Cecilia with his own hand, and
many works in the Church of S. Francesco appresso Ripa. He then made the
façade of mosaic in S. Paolo without Rome, and many stories of the Old
Testament for the central nave. And painting some works in fresco in the
Chapter-house of the first cloister, he put therein so great diligence
that he gained thereby from men of judgment the name of being a most
excellent master, and was therefore so much favoured by the prelates
that they commissioned him to do the inner wall of S. Pietro, between
the windows. Between these he made the four Evangelists, wrought very
well in fresco, of extraordinary size in comparison with the figures
that at that time were customary, with a S. Peter and a S. Paul, and a
good number of figures in a ship, wherein, the Greek manner pleasing him
much, he blended it ever with that of Giotto; and since he delighted to
give relief to his figures, it is recognized that he used thereunto the
greatest efforts that can be imagined by man. But the best work that he
made in that city was in the said Church of Araceli on the Campidoglio,
where he painted in fresco, on the vaulting of the principal apse, the
Madonna with the Child in her arms, surrounded by a circle of sunlight,
and beneath is the Emperor Octavian, to whom the Tiburtine Sibyl is
showing Jesus Christ, and he is adoring Him; and the figures in this
work, as it has been said in other places, have been much better
preserved than the others, because those that are on the vaulting are
less injured by dust than those that are made on the walls.

After these works Pietro went to Tuscany, in order to see the works of
the other disciples of his master Giotto and those of Giotto himself;
and with this occasion he painted many figures in S. Marco in Florence,
which are not seen to-day, the church having been whitewashed, except
the Annunciation, which stands covered beside the principal door of the
church. In S. Basilio, also, in the Canto alla Macine, he made another
Annunciation in fresco on a wall, so like to that which he had made
before in S. Marco, and to another one that is in Florence, that some
believe, and not without probability, that they are all by the hand of
this Pietro; and in truth they could not be more like, one to another,
than they are. Among the figures that he made in the said S. Marco in
Florence was the portrait of Pope Urban V from the life, with the heads
of S. Peter and S. Paul; from which portrait Fra Giovanni da Fiesole
copied that one which is in a panel in S. Domenico, also of Fiesole; and
that was no small good-fortune, seeing that the portrait which was in S.
Marco and many other figures that were about the church in fresco were
covered with whitewash, as it has been said, when that convent was taken
from the monks who occupied it before and given to the Preaching
Friars, the whole being whitewashed with little attention and

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail from_ "The Last Judgment," _after the fresco by_ Pietro
Cavallini. _Rome: Convent of S. Cecilia_)]

Passing afterwards, in returning to Rome, through Assisi, not only in
order to see those buildings and those notable works made there by his
master and by some of his fellow-disciples, but also to leave something
there by his own hand, he painted in fresco in the lower Church of S.
Francesco--namely, in the transept that is on the side of the
sacristy--a Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, with men on horseback armed in
various fashions, and with many varied and extravagant costumes of
diverse foreign peoples. In the air he made some angels, who, poised on
their wings in diverse attitudes, are in a storm of weeping; and some
pressing their hands to their breasts, others wringing them, and others
beating the palms, they are showing that they feel the greatest grief at
the death of the Son of God; and all, from the middle backwards, or
rather from the middle downwards, melt away into air. In this work, well
executed in the colouring, which is fresh and vivacious and so well
contrived in the junctions of the plaster that the work appears all made
in one day, I have found the coat of arms of Gualtieri, Duke of Athens;
but by reason of there not being either a date or other writing there, I
cannot affirm that it was caused to be made by him. I say, however, that
besides the firm belief of everyone that it is by the hand of Pietro,
the manner could not be more like his than it is, not to mention that it
may be believed, this painter having lived at the time when Duke
Gualtieri was in Italy, that it was made by Pietro as well as by order
of the said Duke. At least, let everyone think as he pleases, the work,
as ancient, is worthy of nothing but praise, and the manner, besides the
public voice, shows that it is by the hand of this man.

In the Church of S. Maria at Orvieto, wherein is the most holy relic of
the Corporal, the same Pietro wrought in fresco certain stories of Jesus
Christ and of the Host, with much diligence; and this he did, so it is
said, for Messer Benedetto, son of Messer Buonconte Monaldeschi and lord
at that time, or rather tyrant, of that city. Some likewise affirm that
Pietro made some sculptures, and that they were very successful, because
he had genius for whatever he set himself to do, and that he made the
Crucifix that is in the great Church of S. Paolo without Rome; which
Crucifix, as it is said and may be believed, is the one that spoke to S.
Brigida in the year 1370.

By the hand of the same man were some other works in that manner, which
were thrown to the ground when the old Church of S. Pietro was pulled
down in order to build the new. Pietro was very diligent in all his
works, and sought with every effort to gain honour and to acquire fame
in the art. He was not only a good Christian, but most devout and very
much the friend of the poor, and he was beloved by reason of his
excellence not only in his native city of Rome but by all those who had
knowledge of him or of his works. And finally, he devoted himself at the
end of his old age to religion, leading an exemplary life, with so much
zeal that he was almost held a saint. Wherefore there is no reason to
marvel not only that the said Crucifix by his hand spoke to the Saint,
as it has been said, but also that innumerable miracles have been and
still are wrought by a certain Madonna by his hand, which I do not
intend to call his best, although it is very famous in all Italy and
although I know very certainly and surely, by the manner of the
painting, that it is by the hand of Pietro, whose most praiseworthy life
and piety towards God were worthy to be imitated by all men. Nor let
anyone believe, for the reason that it is scarcely possible and that
experience continually shows this to us, that it is possible to attain
to honourable rank without the fear and grace of God and without
goodness of life. A disciple of Pietro Cavallini was Giovanni da
Pistoia, who made some works of no great importance in his native city.

Finally, at the age of eighty-five, he died in Rome of a colic caught
while working in fresco, by reason of the damp and of standing
continually at this exercise. His pictures date about the year 1364, and
he was honourably buried in S. Paolo without Rome, with this epitaph:


His portrait has never been found, for all the diligence that has been
used; it is therefore not included.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail from_ "The Last Judgment," _after the fresco by_ Pietro
Cavallini. _Rome: Convent of S. Cecilia_)]


[Illustration: _Anderson_


(_After the Altarpiece by_ Simon Sanese [Memmi _or_ Martini]. _Naples:
Church of S. Lorenzo_)]




Truly happy can those men be called, who are inclined by nature to those
arts that can bring to them not only honour and very great profit, but
also, what is more, fame and a name wellnigh eternal, and happier still
are they who have from their cradles, besides such inclination, courtesy
and honest ways, which render them very dear to all men. But happiest of
all, finally, talking of craftsmen, are they who not only receive a love
of the good from nature, and noble ways from the same source and from
education, but also live in the time of some famous writer, from whom,
in return for a little portrait or some other similar courtesy in the
way of art, they gain on occasion the reward of eternal honour and name,
by means of their writings; and this, among those who practise the arts
of design, should be particularly desired and sought by the excellent
painters, seeing that their works, being on the surface and on a ground
of colour, cannot have that eternal life which castings in bronze and
works in marble give to sculpture, or buildings to the architects.

Very great, then, was that good-fortune of Simone, to live at the time
of Messer Francesco Petrarca and to chance to find that most amorous
poet at the Court of Avignon, desirous of having the image of Madonna
Laura by the hand of Maestro Simone, because, having received it as
beautiful as he had desired, he made memory of him in two sonnets,
whereof one begins:

     Per mirar Policleto a prova fiso
     Con gli altri che ebber fama di quell'arte;

and the second:

     Quando giunse a Simon l'alto concetto
     Ch'a mio nome gli pose in man lo stile.

These sonnets, in truth, together with the mention made of him in one of
his _Familiar Letters_, in the fifth book, which begins: "Non sum
nescius," have given more fame to the poor life of Maestro Simone than
all his own works have ever done or ever will, seeing that they must at
some time perish, whereas the writings of so great a man will live for
eternal ages. Simone Memmi of Siena, then, was an excellent painter,
remarkable in his own times and much esteemed at the Court of the Pope,
for the reason that after the death of Giotto his master, whom he had
followed to Rome when he made the Navicella in mosaic and the other
works, he made a Virgin Mary in the portico of S. Pietro, with a S.
Peter and a S. Paul, near to the place where the bronze pine-cone is, on
a wall between the arches of the portico on the outer side; and in this
he counterfeited the manner of Giotto very well, receiving so much
praise, above all because he portrayed therein a sacristan of S. Pietro
lighting some lamps before the said figures with much promptness, that
he was summoned with very great insistence to the Court of the Pope at
Avignon, where he wrought so many pictures, in fresco and on panels,
that he made his works correspond to the reputation that had been borne
thither. Whence, having returned to Siena in great credit and much
favoured on this account, he was commissioned by the Signoria to paint
in fresco, in a hall of their Palace, a Virgin Mary with many figures
round her, which he completed with all perfection to his own great
credit and advantage. And in order to show that he was no less able to
work on panel than in fresco, he painted in the said Palace a panel
which led to his being afterwards made to paint two of them in the
Duomo, and a Madonna with the Child in her arms, in a very beautiful
attitude, over the door of the Office of the Works of the said Duomo. In
this picture certain angels, supporting a standard in the air, are
flying and looking down on to some saints who are round the Madonna, and
they make a very beautiful composition and great adornment.


(_Assisi: Lower Church of S. Francesco, Chapel of S. Martin. Fresco_)]

This done, Simone was brought by the General of the Augustinians to
Florence, where he painted the Chapter-house of S. Spirito, showing
invention and admirable judgment in the figures and the horses that he
made, as is proved in that place by the story of the Passion of
Christ, wherein everything is seen to have been made by him with
ingenuity, with discretion, and with most beautiful grace. There are
seen the Thieves on the Cross yielding up their breath, and the soul of
the good one being carried to Heaven by the angels, and that of the
wicked one going, accompanied by devils and all harassed, to the
torments of Hell. Simone likewise showed invention and judgment in the
attitudes and in the very bitter weeping of some angels round the
Crucifix. But what is most worthy of consideration, above everything
else, is to see those spirits visibly cleaving the air with their
shoulders, almost whirling right round and yet sustaining the motion of
their flight. This work would bear much stronger witness to the
excellence of Simone, if, besides the fact that time has eaten it away,
it had not been spoilt by those Fathers in the year 1560, when they,
being unable to use the Chapter-house, because it was in bad condition
from damp, made a vaulted roof to replace a worm-eaten ceiling, and
threw down the little that was left of the pictures of this man. About
the same time Simone painted a Madonna and a S. Luke, with some other
Saints, on a panel in distemper, which is to-day in the Chapel of the
Gondi in S. Maria Novella, with his name.

Next, Simone painted three walls of the Chapter-house of the said S.
Maria Novella, very happily. On the first, which is over the door
whereby one enters, he made the life of S. Dominic; and on that which
follows in the direction of the church, he represented the Religious
Order of the same Saint fighting against the heretics, represented by
wolves, which are attacking some sheep, which are defended by many dogs
spotted with black and white, and the wolves are beaten back and slain.
There are also certain heretics, who, being convinced in disputation,
are tearing their books and penitently confessing themselves, and so
their souls are passing through the gate of Paradise, wherein are many
little figures that are doing diverse things. In Heaven is seen the
glory of the Saints, and Jesus Christ; and in the world below remain the
vain pleasures and delights, in human figures, and above all in the
shape of women who are seated, among whom is the Madonna Laura of
Petrarca, portrayed from life and clothed in green, with a little flame
of fire between her breast and her throat. There is also the Church of
Christ, and, as a guard for her, the Pope, the Emperor, the Kings, the
Cardinals, the Bishops, and all the Christian Princes; and among them,
beside a Knight of Rhodes, is Messer Francesco Petrarca, also portrayed
from the life, which Simone did in order to enhance by his works the
fame of the man who had made him immortal. For the Universal Church he
painted the Church of S. Maria del Fiore, not as it stands to-day, but
as he had drawn it from the model and design that the architect Arnolfo
had left in the Office of Works for the guidance of those who had to
continue the building after him; of which models, by reason of the
little care of the Wardens of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, as it has
been said in another place, there would be no memorial for us if Simone
had not left it painted in this work. On the third wall, which is that
of the altar, he made the Passion of Christ, who, issuing from Jerusalem
with the Cross on His shoulder, is going to Mount Calvary, followed by a
very great multitude. Arriving there, He is seen raised on the Cross
between the Thieves, with the other circumstances that accompany this
story. I will say nothing of there being therein a good number of
horses, of the casting of lots by the servants of the court for the
garments of Christ, of the raising of the Holy Fathers from the Limbo of
Hell, and of all the other well-conceived inventions, which belong not
so much to a master of that age as to the most excellent of the moderns;
inasmuch as, taking up the whole walls, with very diligent judgment he
made in each wall diverse scenes on the slope of a mountain, and did not
divide scene from scene with ornamental borders, as the old painters
were wont to do, and many moderns, who put the earth over the sky four
or five times, as it is seen in the principal chapel of this same
church, and in the Campo Santo of Pisa, where, painting many works in
fresco, he was forced against his will to make such divisions, for the
other painters who had worked in that place, such as Giotto and
Buonamico his master, had begun to make their scenes with this bad

[Illustration: _G. H._


(_After the painting by_ Simone Sanese [Memmi _or_ Martini]. _Antwerp:
Royal Museum, 257, 258_)]

In that Campo Santo, then, following as the lesser evil the method used
by the others, Simone made in fresco, over the principal door and on the
inner side, a Madonna borne to Heaven by a choir of angels, who are
singing and playing so vividly that there are seen in them all those
various gestures that musicians are wont to make in singing or playing,
such as turning the ears to the sound, opening the mouth in diverse
ways, raising the eyes to Heaven, blowing out the cheeks, swelling the
throat, and in short all the other actions and movements that are made
in music. Under this Assumption, in three pictures, he made some scenes
from the life of S. Ranieri of Pisa. In the first scene he is shown as a
youth, playing the psaltery and making some girls dance, who are most
beautiful by reason of the air of the heads and of the loveliness of the
costumes and head-dresses of those times. Next, the same Ranieri, having
been reproved for such lasciviousness by the Blessed Alberto the Hermit,
is seen standing with his face downcast and tearful and with his eyes
red from weeping, all penitent for his sin, while God, in the sky,
surrounded by a celestial light, appears to be pardoning him. In the
second picture Ranieri, distributing his wealth to God's poor before
mounting on board ship, has round him a crowd of beggars, of cripples,
of women, and of children, all most touching in their pushing forward,
their entreating, and their thanking him. And in the same picture, also,
that Saint, having received in the Temple the gown of a pilgrim, is
standing before a Madonna, who, surrounded by many angels, is showing
him that he will repose on her bosom in Pisa; and all these figures have
vivacity and a beautiful air in the heads. In the third Simone painted
the scene when, having returned after seven years from beyond the seas,
he is showing that he has spent thrice forty days in the Holy Land, and
when, standing in the choir to hear the Divine offices, he is tempted by
the Devil, who is seen driven away by a firm determination that is
perceived in Ranieri not to consent to offend God, assisted by a figure
made by Simone to represent Constancy, who is chasing away the ancient
adversary not only all in confusion but also (with beautiful and
fanciful invention) all in terror, holding his hands to his head in his
flight, and walking with his face downcast and his shoulders shrunk as
close together as could be, and saying, as it is seen from the writing
that is issuing from his mouth: "I can no more." And finally, there is
also in this picture the scene when Ranieri, kneeling on Mount Tabor,
is miraculously seeing Christ in air with Moses and Elias; and all the
features of this work, with others that are not mentioned, show that
Simone was very fanciful and understood the good method of grouping
figures gracefully in the manner of those times. These scenes finished,
he made two panels in distemper in the same city, assisted by Lippo
Memmi, his brother, who had also assisted him to paint the Chapter-house
of S. Maria Novella and other works.

He, although he had not the excellence of Simone, none the less followed
his manner as well as he could, and made many works in fresco in his
company for S. Croce in Florence; the panel of the high-altar in S.
Caterina at Pisa, for the Preaching Friars; and in S. Paolo a Ripa d'
Arno, besides many very beautiful scenes in fresco, the panel in
distemper that is to-day over the high-altar, containing a Madonna, S.
Peter, S. Paul, S. John the Baptist, and other Saints; and on this Lippo
put his name. After these works he wrought by himself a panel in
distemper for the Friars of S. Augustine in San Gimignano, and thereby
acquired so great a name that he was forced to send to Arezzo, to Bishop
Guido de' Tarlati, a panel with three half-length figures which is
to-day in the Chapel of S. Gregorio in the Vescovado.

While Simone was at work in Florence, one his cousin, an ingenious
architect called Neroccio, undertook in the year 1332 to make to ring
the great bell of the Commune of Florence, which, for a period of
seventeen years, no one had been able to make to ring without twelve men
to pull at it. He balanced it, then, in a manner that two could move it,
and once moved one alone could ring it without a break, although it
weighed more than six thousand libbre; wherefore, besides the honour, he
gained thereby as his reward three hundred florins of gold, which was
great payment in those times.


(_Berlin: K. Friedrich Museum 1081A. Panel_)]

But to return to our two Memmi of Siena; Lippo, besides the works
mentioned, wrought a panel in distemper, with the design of Simone,
which was carried to Pistoia and placed over the high-altar of the
Church of S. Francesco, and was held very beautiful. Finally, both
having returned to their native city of Siena, Simone began a very large
work in colour over the great gate of Camollia, containing the
Coronation of Our Lady, with an infinity of figures, which remained
unfinished, a very great sickness coming upon him, so that he, overcome
by the gravity of the sickness, passed away from this life in the year
1345, to the very great sorrow of all his city and of Lippo his brother,
who gave him honourable burial in S. Francesco.

Lippo afterwards finished many works that Simone had left imperfect, and
among these was a Passion of Jesus Christ over the high-altar of S.
Niccola in Ancona, wherein Lippo finished what Simone had begun,
imitating that which the said Simone had made and finished in the
Chapter-house of S. Spirito in Florence. This work would be worthy of a
longer life than peradventure will be granted to it, there being in it
many horses and soldiers in beautiful attitudes, which they are striking
with various animated movements, doubting and marvelling whether they
have crucified or not the Son of God. At Assisi, likewise, in the lower
Church of S. Francesco, he finished some figures that Simone had begun
for the altar of S. Elizabeth, which is at the entrance of the door that
leads into the chapels, making there a Madonna, a S. Louis King of
France, and other Saints, in all eight figures, which are only as far as
the knees, but good and very well coloured. Besides this, in the great
refectory of the said convent, at the top of the wall, Simone had begun
many little scenes and a Crucifix made in the shape of a Tree of the
Cross, but this remained unfinished and outlined with the brush in red
over the plaster, as may still be seen to-day; which method of working
was the cartoon that our old masters used to make for painting in
fresco, for greater rapidity; for having distributed the whole work over
the plaster, they would outline it with the brush, reproducing from a
small design all that which they wished to paint, and enlarging in
proportion all that they thought to put down. Wherefore, even as this
one is seen thus outlined, and many others in other places, so there are
many others that had once been painted, from which the work afterwards
peeled off, leaving them thus outlined in red over the plaster.

But returning to our Lippo, who drew passing well, as it may be seen in
our book in a hermit who is reading with his legs crossed; he lived for
twelve years after Simone, executing many works throughout all Italy,
and in particular two panels in S. Croce in Florence. And seeing that
the manner of these two brothers is very similar, one can distinguish
the one from the other by this, that Simone used to sign his name at the
foot of his works in this way: SIMONIS MEMMI SENENSIS OPUS; and Lippo,
leaving out his baptismal name and caring nothing about a Latinity so
rough, in this other fashion: OPUS MEMMI DE SENIS ME FECIT.

On the wall of the Chapter-house of S. Maria Novella--besides Petrarca
and Madonna Laura, as it has been said above--Simone portrayed Cimabue,
the architect Lapo, his son Arnolfo, and himself, and in the person of
that Pope who is in the scene he painted Benedetto XI of Treviso, one of
the Preaching Friars, the likeness of which Pope had been brought to
Simone long before by Giotto, his master, when he returned from the
Court of the said Pope, who had his seat in Avignon. In the same place,
also, beside the said Pope, he portrayed Cardinal Niccola da Prato, who
had come to Florence at that time as Legate of the said Pontiff, as
Giovanni Villani relates in his History.

Over the tomb of Simone was placed this epitaph:


As it is seen in our aforesaid book, Simone was not very excellent in
draughtsmanship, but he had invention from nature, and he took much
delight in drawing portraits from the life; and in this he was held so
much the greatest master of his times that Signor Pandolfo Malatesti
sent him as far as Avignon to portray Messer Francesco Petrarca, at the
request of whom he made afterwards the portrait of Madonna Laura, with
so much credit to himself.

[Illustration: _M. S._


(_After the painting by_ Lippo Memmi. _Altenburg: Lindenau Museum, 43_)]




It is a beautiful and truly useful and praiseworthy action to reward
talent largely in every place, and to honour him who has it, seeing that
an infinity of intellects which might otherwise slumber, roused by this
encouragement, strive with all industry not only to learn their art but
to become excellent therein, in order to advance themselves and to
attain to a rank both profitable and honourable; whence there may follow
honour for their country, glory for themselves, and riches and nobility
for their descendants, who, upraised by such beginnings, very often
become both very rich and very noble, even as the descendants of the
painter Taddeo Gaddi did by reason of his work. This Taddeo di Gaddo
Gaddi, a Florentine, after the death of Giotto--who had held him at his
baptism and had been his master for twenty-four years after the death of
Gaddo, as it is written by Cennino di Drea Cennini, painter of Colle di
Valdelsa--remained among the first in the art of painting and greater
than all his fellow-disciples both in judgment and in genius; and he
wrought his first works, with a great facility given to him by nature
rather than acquired by art, in the Church of S. Croce in Florence, in
the chapel of the sacristy, where, together with his companions,
disciples of the dead Giotto, he made some stories of S. Mary Magdalene,
with beautiful figures and with most beautiful and extravagant costumes
of those times. And in the Chapel of the Baroncelli and Bandini, where
Giotto had formerly wrought the panel in distemper, he made by himself
in fresco, on one wall, some stories of Our Lady which were held very
beautiful. He also painted over the door of the said sacristy the story
of Christ disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, which was afterwards
half ruined when the elder Cosimo de' Medici, in making the noviciate,
the chapel, and the antechamber in front of the sacristy, placed a
cornice of stone over the said door. In the same church he painted in
fresco the Chapel of the Bellacci, and also that of S. Andrea by the
side of one of the three of Giotto, wherein he made the scene of Jesus
Christ taking Andrew and Peter from their nets, and the crucifixion of
the former Apostle, a work greatly commended and extolled both then when
it was finished and still at the present day. Over the side-door, below
the burial-place of Carlo Marsuppini of Arezzo, he made a Dead Christ
with the Maries, wrought in fresco, which was very much praised; and
below the tramezzo[16] that divides the church, on the left hand, above
the Crucifix of Donato, he painted in fresco a story of S. Francis,
representing a miracle that he wrought in restoring to life a boy who
was killed by falling from a terrace, together with his apparition in
the air. And in this story he portrayed Giotto his master, Dante the
poet, Guido Cavalcanti, and, some say, himself. Throughout the said
church, also, in diverse places, he made many figures which are known by
painters from the manner. For the Company of the Temple he painted the
shrine that is at the corner of the Via del Crocifisso, containing a
very beautiful Deposition from the Cross.

In the cloister of S. Spirito he wrought two scenes in the little arches
beside the Chapter-house, in one of which he made Judas selling Christ,
and in the other the Last Supper that He held with the Apostles. And in
the same convent, over the door of the refectory, he painted a Crucifix
and some Saints, which give us to know that among the others who worked
here he was truly an imitator of the manner of Giotto, which he held
ever in the greatest veneration. In S. Stefano del Ponte Vecchio he
painted the panel and the predella of the high-altar with great
diligence; and on a panel in the Oratory of S. Michele in Orto he made a
very good picture of a Dead Christ being lamented by the Maries and laid
to rest very devoutly by Nicodemus in the Sepulchre.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the fresco by_ Taddeo Gaddi, _in the Refectory of S. Croce,

In the Church of the Servite Friars he painted the Chapel of S. Niccolò,
belonging to those of the palace, with stories of that Saint, wherein he
showed very good judgment and grace in a boat that he painted,
demonstrating that he had complete understanding of the tempestuous
agitation of the sea and of the fury of the storm; and while the
mariners are emptying the ship and jettisoning the cargo, S. Nicholas
appears in the air and delivers them from that peril. This work, having
given pleasure and having been much praised, was the reason that he was
made to paint the chapel of the high-altar in that church, wherein he
made in fresco some stories of Our Lady, and another figure of Our Lady
on a panel in distemper, with many Saints wrought in lively fashion. In
like manner, in the predella of the said panel, he made some other
stories of Our Lady with little figures, whereof there is no need to
make particular mention, seeing that in the year 1467 everything was
destroyed when Lodovico, Marquis of Mantua, made in that place the
tribune that is there to-day and the choir of the friars, with the
design of Leon Battista Alberti, causing the panel to be carried into
the Chapter-house of that convent; in the refectory of which Taddeo
made, just above the wooden seats, the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with
the Apostles, and above that a Crucifix with many saints.

Having given the last touch to these works, Taddeo Gaddi was summoned to
Pisa, where, for Gherardo and Bonaccorso Gambacorti, he wrought in
fresco the principal chapel of S. Francesco, painting with beautiful
colours many figures and stories of that Saint and of S. Andrew and S.
Nicholas. Next, on the vaulting and on the front wall is Pope Honorius,
who is confirming the Order; here Taddeo is portrayed from the life, in
profile, with a cap wrapped round his head, and at the foot of this
scene are written these words:


Besides this, in the cloister also of the same convent he made in fresco
a Madonna with her Child in her arms, very well coloured, and in the
middle of the church, on the left hand as one enters, a S. Louis the
Bishop, seated, to whom S. Gherardo da Villamagna, who had been a friar
of this Order, is recommending a Fra Bartolommeo, then Prior of the
said convent. In the figures of this work, seeing that they were taken
from nature, there are seen liveliness and infinite grace, in that
simple manner which was in some respects better than that of Giotto,
above all in expressing supplication, joy, sorrow, and other similar
emotions, which, when well expressed, ever bring very great honour to
the painter.

Next, having returned to Florence, Taddeo continued for the Commune the
work of Orsanmichele and refounded the piers of the Loggia, building
them with stone dressed and well shaped, whereas before they had been
made of bricks, without, however, altering the design that Arnolfo left,
with directions that there should be made over the Loggia a palace with
two vaults for storing the provisions of grain that the people and
Commune of Florence used to make. To the end that this work might be
finished, the Guild of Porta S. Maria, to which the charge of the fabric
had been given, ordained that there should be paid thereunto the tax of
the square of the grain-market and some other taxes of very small
importance. But what was far more important, it was well ordained with
the best counsel that each of the Guilds of Florence should make one
pier by itself, with the Patron Saint of the Guild in a niche therein,
and that every year, on the festival of each Saint the Consuls of that
Guild should go to church to make offering, and should hold there the
whole of that day the standard with their insignia, but that the
offering, none the less, should be to the Madonna for the succour of the
needy poor. And because, during the great flood of the year 1333, the
waters had swept away the parapets of the Ponte Rubaconte, thrown down
the Castle of Altafronte, left nothing of the Ponte Vecchio but the two
piers in the middle, and completely ruined the Ponte a S. Trinita except
one pier that remained all shattered, as well as half the Ponte alla
Carraia, bursting also the weir of Ognissanti, those who then ruled the
city determined no longer to allow the dwellers on the other side of the
Arno to have to return to their homes with so great inconvenience as was
caused by their having to cross in boats. Wherefore, having sent for
Taddeo Gaddi, for the reason that Giotto his master had gone to Milan,
they caused him to make the model and design of the Ponte Vecchio,
giving him instructions that he should have it brought to completion as
strong and as beautiful as might be possible; and he, sparing neither
cost nor labour, made it with such strength in the piers and with such
magnificence in the arches, all of stone squared with the chisel, that
it supports to-day twenty-two shops on either side, which make in all
forty-four, with great profit to the Commune, which drew from them eight
hundred florins yearly in rents. The extent of the arches from one side
to the other is thirty-two braccia, that of the street in the middle is
sixteen braccia, and that of the shops on either side eight braccia. For
this work, which cost sixty thousand florins of gold, not only did
Taddeo then deserve infinite praise, but even to-day he is more than
ever commended for it, for the reason that, besides many other floods,
it was not moved in the year 1557, on September 13, by that which threw
down the Ponte a S. Trinita and two arches of that of the Carraia, and
shattered in great part the Rubaconte, together with much other
destruction that is very well known. And truly there is no man of
judgment who can fail to be amazed, not to say marvel, considering that
the said Ponte Vecchio in so great an emergency could sustain unmoved
the onset of the waters and of the beams and the wreckage made above,
and that with so great firmness.

At the same time Taddeo directed the founding of the Ponte a S. Trinita,
which was finished less happily in the year 1346, at the cost of twenty
thousand florins of gold; I say less happily, because, not having been
made like the Ponte Vecchio, it was entirely ruined by the said flood of
the year 1557. In like manner, under the direction of Taddeo there was
made at the said time the wall of the Costa a S. Gregorio, with piles
driven in below, including two piers of the bridge in order to gain
additional ground for the city on the side of the Piazza de' Mozzi, and
to make use of it, as they did, to make the mills that are there.

While all these works were being made by the direction and design of
Taddeo, seeing that he did not therefore stop painting, he decorated the
Tribunal of the Mercanzia Vecchia, wherein, with poetical invention, he
represented the Tribunal of Six (which is the number of the chief men of
that judicial body), who are standing watching the tongue being torn
from Falsehood by Truth, who is clothed with a veil over the nude, while
Falsehood is draped in black; with these verses below:


And below the scene are these verses:


Taddeo received a commission for some works in fresco in Arezzo, which
he carried to the greatest perfection in company with his disciple
Giovanni da Milano. Of these we still see one in the Company of the Holy
Spirit, a scene on the wall over the high-altar, containing the Passion
of Christ, with many horses, and the Thieves on the Cross, a work held
very beautiful by reason of the thought that he showed in placing Him on
the Cross. Therein are some figures with vivid expressions which show
the rage of the Jews, some pulling Him by the legs with a rope, others
offering the sponge, and others in various attitudes, such as the
Longinus who is piercing His side, and the three soldiers who are
gambling for His raiment, in the faces of whom there is seen hope and
fear as they throw the dice. The first of these, in armour, is standing
in an uncomfortable attitude awaiting his turn, and shows himself so
eager to throw that he appears not to be feeling the discomfort; the
other, raising his eyebrows, with his mouth and with his eyes wide open,
is watching the dice, in suspicion, as it were, of fraud, and shows
clearly to anyone who studies him the desire and the wish that he has to
win. The third, who is throwing the dice, having spread the garment on
the ground, appears to be announcing with a grin his intention of
casting them. In like manner, throughout the walls of the church are
seen some stories of S. John the Evangelist, and throughout the city
other works made by Taddeo, which are recognized as being by his hand by
anyone who has judgment in art. In the Vescovado, also, behind the
high-altar, there are still seen some stories of S. John the Baptist,
which are wrought with such marvellous manner and design that they cause
him to be held in admiration. In the Chapel of S. Sebastiano in S.
Agostino, beside the sacristy, he made the stories of that martyr, and a
Disputation of Christ with the Doctors, so well wrought and finished
that it is a miracle to see the beauty in the changing colours of
various sorts and the grace in the pigments of these works, which are
finished to perfection.


(_Florence: Accademia 107. Panel_)]

In the Church of the Sasso della Vernia in the Casentino he painted the
chapel wherein S. Francis received the Stigmata, assisted in the minor
details by Jacopo di Casentino, who became his disciple by reason of
this visit. This work finished, he returned to Florence together with
Giovanni, the Milanese, and there, both within the city and without,
they made very many panels and pictures of importance; and in process of
time he gained so much, turning all into capital, that he laid the
foundation of the wealth and the nobility of his family, being ever held
a prudent and far-sighted man.

He also painted the Chapter-house in S. Maria Novella, being
commissioned by the Prior of the place, who suggested the subject to
him. It is true, indeed, that by reason of the work being large and of
there being unveiled, at that time when the bridges were being made, the
Chapter-house of S. Spirito, to the very great fame of Simone Memmi, who
had painted it, there came to the said Prior a desire to call Simone to
the half of this work; wherefore, having discussed the whole matter with
Taddeo, he found him well contented therewith, for the reason that he
had a surpassing love for Simone, because he had been his
fellow-disciple under Giotto and ever his loving friend and companion.
Oh! minds truly noble! seeing that without emulation, ambition, or envy,
ye loved one another like brothers, each rejoicing as much in the honour
and profit of his friend as in his own! The work was divided, therefore,
and three walls were given to Simone, as I said in his Life, and Taddeo
had the left-hand wall and the whole vaulting, which was divided by him
into four sections or quarters in accordance with the form of the
vaulting itself. In the first he made the Resurrection of Christ,
wherein it appears that he wished to attempt to make the splendour of
the Glorified Body give forth light, as we perceive in a city and in
some mountainous crags; but he did not follow this up in the figures and
in the rest, doubting, perchance, that he was not able to carry it out
by reason of the difficulty that he recognized therein. In the second
section he made Jesus Christ delivering S. Peter from shipwreck, wherein
the Apostles who are manning the boat are certainly very beautiful; and
among other things, one who is fishing with a line on the shore of the
sea (a subject already used by Giotto in the mosaics of the Navicella in
S. Pietro) is depicted with very great and vivid feeling. In the third
he painted the Ascension of Christ, and in the fourth the coming of the
Holy Spirit, where there are seen many beautiful attitudes in the
figures of the Jews who are seeking to gain entrance through the door.
On the wall below are the Seven Sciences, with their names and with
those figures below them that are appropriate to each. Grammar, in the
guise of a woman, with a door, teaching a child, has the writer Donato
seated below her. After Grammar follows Rhetoric, and at her feet is a
figure that has two hands on books, while it draws a third hand from
below its mantle and holds it to its mouth. Logic has the serpent in her
hand below a veil, and at her feet Zeno of Elea, who is reading.
Arithmetic is holding the tables of the abacus, and below her is sitting
Abraham, its inventor. Music has the musical instruments, and below her
is sitting Tubal-Cain, who is beating with two hammers on an anvil and
is standing with his ears intent on that sound. Geometry has the square
and the compasses, and below, Euclid. Astrology has the celestial globe
in her hands, and below her feet, Atlas. In the other part are sitting
seven Theological Sciences, and each has below her that estate or
condition of man that is most appropriate to her--Pope, Emperor, King,
Cardinals, Dukes, Bishops, Marquises, and others; and in the face of the
Pope is the portrait of Clement V. In the middle and highest place is S.
Thomas Aquinas, who was adorned with all the said sciences, holding
below his feet some heretics--Arius, Sabellius, and Averroes; and round
him are Moses, Paul, John the Evangelist, and some other figures, that
have above them the four Cardinal Virtues and the three Theological,
with an infinity of other details depicted by Taddeo with no little
design and grace, insomuch that it can be said to have been the best
conceived as well as the best preserved of all his works.

In the same S. Maria Novella, over the tramezzo[17] of the church, he
also made a S. Jerome robed as a Cardinal, having such a devotion for
that Saint that he chose him as the protector of his house; and below
this, after the death of Taddeo, his son caused a tomb to be made for
their descendants, covered with a slab of marble bearing the arms of the
Gaddi. For these descendants, by reason of the excellence of Taddeo and
of their merits, Cardinal Jerome has obtained from God most honourable
offices in the Church--Clerkships of the Chamber, Bishoprics,
Cardinalates, Provostships, and Knighthoods, all most honourable; and
all these descendants of Taddeo, of whatsoever degree, have ever
esteemed and favoured the beautiful intellects inclined to the matters
of sculpture and painting, and have given them assistance with every

Finally, having come to the age of fifty and being smitten with a most
violent fever, Taddeo passed from this life in the year 1350, leaving
his son Agnolo and Giovanni to apply themselves to painting,
recommending them to Jacopo di Casentino for ways of life and to
Giovanni da Milano for instruction in the art. After the death of Taddeo
this Giovanni, besides many other works, made a panel which was placed
on the altar of S. Gherardo da Villamagna in S. Croce, fourteen years
after he had been left without his master, and likewise the panel of the
high-altar of Ognissanti, where the Frati Umiliati had their seat, which
was held very beautiful, and the tribune of the high-altar at Assisi,
wherein he made a Crucifix, with Our Lady and S. Chiara, and stories of
Our Lady on the walls and sides. Afterwards he betook himself to Milan,
where he wrought many works in distemper and in fresco, and there
finally he died.

Taddeo, then, adhered constantly to the manner of Giotto, but did not
better it much save in the colouring, which he made fresher and more
vivacious than that of Giotto, the latter having applied himself so
ardently to improving the other departments and difficulties of this
art, that although he gave attention to this, he could not, however,
attain to the privilege of doing it, whereas Taddeo, having seen that
which Giotto had made easy and having learnt it, had time to add
something and to improve the colouring.

Taddeo was buried by Agnolo and Giovanni, his sons, in the first
cloister of S. Croce, in that tomb which he had made for Gaddo his
father, and he was much honoured with verses by the men of culture of
that time, as a man who had been greatly deserving for his ways of life
and for having brought to completion with beautiful design, besides his
pictures, many buildings of great convenience to his city, and besides
what has been mentioned, for having carried out with solicitude and
diligence the construction of the Campanile of S. Maria del Fiore, from
the design left by Giotto his master; which campanile was built in such
a manner that stones could not be put together with more diligence, nor
could a more beautiful tower be made, with regard either to ornament, or
cost, or design. The epitaph that was made for Taddeo was this that is
to be read here:


Taddeo was very resolute in draughtsmanship, as it may be seen in our
book, wherein is drawn by his hand the scene that he wrought in the
Chapel of S. Andrea, in S. Croce at Florence.


[Footnote 16: See note on p. 57.]

[Footnote 17: See note on p. 57.]




Rarely is a man of parts excellent in one pursuit without being able
easily to learn any other, and above all any one of those that are akin
to his original profession, and proceed, as it were, from one and the
same source, as did the Florentine Orcagna, who was painter, sculptor,
architect, and poet, as it will be told below. Born in Florence, he
began while still a child to give attention to sculpture under Andrea
Pisano, and pursued it for some years; then, being desirous to become
abundant in invention in order to make lovely historical compositions,
he applied himself with so great study to drawing, assisted by nature,
who wished to make him universal, that having tried his hand at painting
with colours both in distemper and in fresco, even as one thing leads to
another, he succeeded so well with the assistance of Bernardo Orcagna,
his brother, that this Bernardo took him in company with himself to
paint the life of Our Lady in the principal chapel of S. Maria Novella,
which then belonged to the family of the Ricci. This work, when
finished, was held very beautiful, although, by reason of the neglect of
those who afterwards had charge of it, not many years passed before, the
roof becoming ruined, it was spoilt by the rains and thereby brought to
the condition wherein it is to-day, as it will be told in the proper
place. It is enough for the present to say that Domenico Ghirlandajo,
who repainted it, availed himself greatly of the invention put into it
by Orcagna, who also painted in fresco in the same church the Chapel of
the Strozzi, which is near to the door of the sacristy and of the
belfry, in company with Bernardo, his brother. In this chapel, to which
one ascends by a staircase of stone, he painted on one wall the glory of
Paradise, with all the Saints and with various costumes and head-dresses
of those times. On the other wall he made Hell, with the abysses,
centres, and other things described by Dante, of whom Andrea was an
ardent student. In the Church of the Servites in the same city he
painted in fresco, also with Bernardo, the Chapel of the family of
Cresci; with a Coronation of Our Lady on a very large panel in S. Pietro
Maggiore, and a panel in S. Romeo, close to the side-door. In like
manner, he and his brother Bernardo painted the outer façade of S.
Apollinare, with so great diligence that the colours in that exposed
place have been preserved marvellously vivid and beautiful up to our own

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Detail from the_ "Paradise," _after the fresco by_ Bernardo di Cione
Orcagna. _Florence: S. Maria Novella_)]

Moved by the fame of these works of Orcagna, which were much praised,
the men who at that time were governing Pisa had him summoned to work on
a portion of one wall in the Campo Santo of that city, even as Giotto
and Buffalmacco had done before. Wherefore, putting his hand to this,
Andrea painted a Universal Judgment, with some fanciful inventions of
his own, on the wall facing towards the Duomo, beside the Passion of
Christ made by Buffalmacco; and making the first scene on the corner, he
represented therein all the degrees of lords temporal wrapped in the
pleasures of this world, placing them seated in a flowery meadow and
under the shade of many orange-trees, which make a most delicious grove
and have some Cupids in their branches above; and these Cupids, flying
round and over many young women (all portraits from the life, as it
seems clear, of noble ladies and dames of those times, who, by reason of
the long lapse of time, are not recognized), are making a show of
shooting at the hearts of these young women, who have beside them young
men and nobles who are standing listening to music and song and watching
the amorous dances of youths and maidens, who are sweetly taking joy in
their loves. Among these nobles Orcagna portrayed Castruccio, Lord of
Lucca, as a youth of most beautiful aspect, with a blue cap wound round
his head and with a hawk on his wrist, and near him other nobles of that
age, of whom we know not who they are. In short, in that first part, in
so far as the space permitted and his art demanded, he painted all the
delights of the world with exceeding great grace. In the other part of
the same scene he represented on a high mountain the life of those who,
drawn by repentance for their sins and by the desire to be saved,
have fled from the world to that mountain, which is all full of saintly
hermits who are serving the Lord, busy in diverse pursuits with most
vivacious expressions. Some, reading and praying, are shown all intent
on contemplation, and others, labouring in order to gain their
livelihood, are exercising themselves in various forms of action. There
is seen here among others a hermit who is milking a goat, who could not
be more active or more lifelike in appearance than he is. Below there is
S. Macarius showing to three Kings, who are riding with their ladies and
their retinue and going to the chase, human misery in the form of three
Kings who are lying dead but not wholly corrupted in a tomb, which is
being contemplated with attention by the living Kings in diverse and
beautiful attitudes full of wonder, and it appears as if they are
reflecting with pity for their own selves that they have in a short time
to become such. In one of these Kings on horseback Andrea portrayed
Uguccione della Faggiuola of Arezzo, in a figure which is holding its
nose with one hand in order not to feel the stench of the dead and
corrupted Kings. In the middle of this scene is Death, who, flying
through the air and draped in black, is showing that she has cut off
with her scythe the lives of many, who are lying on the ground, of all
sorts and conditions, poor and rich, halt and whole, young and old, male
and female, and in short a good number of every age and sex. And because
he knew that the people of Pisa took pleasure in the invention of
Buffalmacco, who gave speech to the figures of Bruno in S. Paolo a Ripa
d'Arno, making some letters issue from their mouths, Orcagna filled this
whole work of his with such writings, whereof the greater part, being
eaten away by time, cannot be understood. To certain old men, then, he
gives these words:


with other words that cannot be understood, and verses likewise in
ancient manner, composed, as I have discovered, by Orcagna himself, who
gave attention to poetry and to making a sonnet or two. Round these dead
bodies are some devils who are tearing their souls from their mouths,
and are carrying them to certain pits full of fire, which are on the
summit of a very high mountain. Over against these are angels who are
likewise taking the souls from the mouths of others of these dead
people, who have belonged to the good, and are flying with them to
Paradise. And in this scene there is a scroll, held by two angels,
wherein are these words:


with some other words that are difficult to understand. Next, below
this, in the border of this scene, are nine angels who are holding
legends both Italian and Latin in some suitable scrolls, put into that
place below because above they were like to spoil the scene, and not to
include them in the work seemed wrong to their author, who considered
them very beautiful; and it may be that they were to the taste of that
age. The greater part is omitted by us, in order not to weary others
with such things, which are not pertinent and little pleasing, not to
mention that the greater part of these inscriptions being effaced, the
remainder is little less than fragmentary. After these works, in making
the Judgment, Orcagna set Jesus Christ on high above the clouds in the
midst of His twelve Apostles, judging the quick and the dead; showing on
one side, with beautiful art and very vividly, the sorrowful expressions
of the damned who are being dragged weeping by furious demons to Hell,
and, on the other, the joy and the jubilation of the good, whom a body
of angels guided by the Archangel Michael are leading as the elect, all
rejoicing, to the right, where are the blessed. And it is truly a pity
that for lack of writers, in so great a multitude of men of the robe,
chevaliers, and other lords, that are clearly depicted and portrayed
there from the life, there should be not one, or only very few, of whom
we know the names or who they were; although it is said that a Pope who
is seen there is Innocent IV, friend[18] of Manfredi.


(_Florence: S. Maria Novella, Strozzi Chapel. Fresco_)]

After this work, and after making some sculptures in marble for the
Madonna that is on the abutment of the Ponte Vecchio, with great honour
for himself, he left his brother Bernardo to execute by himself a Hell
in the Campo Santo, which is described by Dante, and which was
afterwards spoilt in the year 1530 and restored by Sollazzino, a painter
of our own times; and he returned to Florence, where, in the middle of
the Church of S. Croce, on a very great wall on the right, he painted in
fresco the same subjects that he painted in the Campo Santo of Pisa, in
three similar pictures, excepting, however, the scene where S. Macarius
is showing to three Kings the misery of man, and the life of the hermits
who are serving God on that mountain. Making, then, all the rest of that
work, he laboured therein with better design and more diligence than he
had done in Pisa, holding, nevertheless, to almost the same plan in the
invention, the manner, the scrolls, and the rest, without changing
anything save the portraits from life, for those in this work were
partly of his dearest friends, whom he placed in Paradise, and partly of
men little his friends, who were put by him in Hell. Among the good is
seen portrayed from life in profile, with the triple crown on his head,
Pope Clement VI, who changed the Jubilee in his reign from every hundred
to every fifty years, and was a friend of the Florentines, and had some
of Orcagna's pictures, which were very dear to him. Among the same is
Maestro Dino del Garbo, a most excellent physician of that time, dressed
as was then the wont of doctors, with a red bonnet lined with miniver on
his head, and held by the hand by an angel; with many other portraits
that are not recognized. Among the damned he portrayed Guardi, serjeant
of the Commune of Florence, being dragged along by the Devil with a
hook, and he is known by three red lilies that he has on his white
bonnet, such as were then wont to be worn by the serjeants and other
similar officials; and this he did because Guardi once made distraint on
his property. He also portrayed there the notary and the judge who had
been opposed to him in that action. Near to Guardi is Ceccho d'Ascoli, a
famous wizard of those times; and a little above--namely, in the
middle--is a hypocrite friar, who, having issued from a tomb, is seeking
furtively to put himself among the good, while an angel discovers him
and thrusts him among the damned.

Besides Bernardo, Andrea had a brother called Jacopo, who was engaged in
sculpture, but with little profit; and in making on occasion for this
Jacopo designs in relief and in clay, there came to him the wish to make
something in marble and to see whether he remembered the principles of
that art, wherein, as it has been said, he had worked in Pisa; and so,
putting himself with more study to the test, he made progress therein in
such a fashion that afterwards he made use of it with honour, as it will
be told. Afterwards he devoted himself with all his energy to the study
of architecture, thinking that at some time or another he would have to
make use of it. Nor did his thought deceive him, seeing that in the year
1355, the Commune of Florence having bought some citizens' houses near
their Palace (in order to have more space and to make a larger square,
and also in order to make a place where the citizens could take shelter
in rainy or wintry days, and carry on under cover such business as was
transacted on the Ringhiera when bad weather did not hinder), they
caused many designs to be made for the building of a magnificent and
very large Loggia for this purpose near the Palace, and at the same time
for the Mint where the money is struck. Among these designs, made by the
best masters in the city, that of Orcagna being universally approved and
accepted as greater, more beautiful, and more magnificent than all the
others, by decree of the Signori and of the Commune there was begun
under his direction the great Loggia of the square, on the foundations
made in the time of the Duke of Athens, and it was carried on with
squared stone very well put together, with much diligence. And what was
something new in those times, the arches of the vaulting were made no
longer quarter-acute, as it had been the custom up to that time, but
they were turned in half-circles in a new and laudable method, which
gave much grace and beauty to this great fabric, which was brought to
completion in a short time under the direction of Andrea. And if there
had been taken thought to put it beside S. Romolo and to turn the arches
with the back to the north, which they did not do, perchance, in order
to have it conveniently near to the gate of the Palace, it would have
been as useful a building for the whole city as it is beautiful in
workmanship; whereas, by reason of the great wind, in winter no one
can stand there. In this Loggia, between the arches on the front wall,
in some ornamental work by his own hand, Orcagna made seven marble
figures in half-relief representing the seven Theological and Cardinal
Virtues, as accompaniment to the whole work, so beautiful that they made
him known for no less able as sculptor than as painter and architect;
not to mention that he was in all his actions as pleasant, courteous,
and lovable a man as was ever any man of his condition. And because he
would never abandon the study of any one of his professions for that of
another, while the Loggia was building he made a panel in distemper with
many large figures, with little figures in the predella, for that chapel
of the Strozzi wherein he had formerly made some works in fresco with
his brother Bernardo; on which panel, it appearing to him that it could
bear better testimony to his profession than the works wrought in fresco
could do, he wrote his name with these words: ANNO DOMINI MCCCLVII,

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_Relief on the Tabernacle by_ Andrea di Cione Orcagna, _Or San Michele,

This work completed, he made some pictures, also on panel, which were
sent to the Pope in Avignon and are still in the Cathedral Church of
that city. A little while afterwards the men of the Company of
Orsanmichele, having collected large sums of money from offerings and
donations given to their Madonna by reason of the mortality of 1348,
resolved to make round her a chapel, or rather shrine, not only very
ornate and rich with marbles carved in every way and with other stones
of price, but also with mosaic and ornaments of bronze, as much as could
possibly be desired, in a manner that both in workmanship and in
material it might surpass every other work of so great a size wrought up
to that day. Wherefore, the charge of the whole being given to Orcagna
as the most excellent of that age, he made so many designs that finally
one of them pleased the authorities, as being better than all the
others. The work, therefore, being allotted to him, they put complete
reliance in his judgment and counsel; wherefore, giving the making of
all the rest to diverse master-carvers brought from several districts,
he applied himself with his brother to executing all the figures of the
work, and, the whole being finished, he had them built in and put
together very thoughtfully without mortar, with clamps of copper fixed
with lead, to the end that the shining and polished marbles might not
become discoloured; and in this he succeeded so well, with profit and
honour from those who came after him, that to one who studies that work
it appears, by reason of such union and methods of joining discovered by
Orcagna, that the whole chapel has been shaped out of one single piece
of marble. And although it is in a German manner, for that style it has
so great grace and proportion that it holds the first place among the
works of those times, above all because its composition of figures great
and small, and of angels and prophets in half-relief round the Madonna,
is very well executed. Marvellous, also, is the casting of the bands of
bronze, diligently polished, which, encircling the whole work, enclose
and bind it together in a manner that it is therefore as stout and
strong as it is beautiful in all other respects. But how much he
laboured in order to show the subtlety of his intellect in that gross
age is seen in a large scene in half-relief on the back part of the said
shrine, wherein, with figures of one braccio and a half each, he made
the twelve Apostles gazing on high at the Madonna, while she, in an oval
space, surrounded by angels, is ascending to Heaven. In one of these
Apostles he portrayed himself in marble, old, as he was, with the beard
shaven, with the cap wound round the head, and with the face flat and
round, as it is seen above in his portrait, drawn from that one. Besides
this, he inscribed these words in the marble below: ANDREAS CIONIS,

It is known that the building of this Loggia and of the marble shrine,
with all the master-work, cost ninety-six thousand florins of gold,
which were very well spent, for the reason that it is, both in the
architecture and in the sculptures and other ornaments, as beautiful as
any other work whatsoever of those times, and is such that, by reason of
the parts made therein by him, the name of Andrea Orcagna has been and
will be ever living and great.

He used to write in his pictures: FECE ANDREA DI CIONE, SCULTORE; and in
his sculptures: FECE ANDREA DI CIONE, PITTORE; wishing that his painting
should be known by his sculpture, and his sculpture by his painting.
There are throughout all Florence many panels made by him, which are
partly known by the name, such as a panel in S. Romeo, and partly by the
manner, such as one that is in the Chapter-house of the Monastery of the
Angeli. Some of them that he left unfinished were completed by Bernardo,
his brother, who survived him, but not for many years. And because, as
it has been said, Andrea delighted in making verses and various forms of
poetry, when already old he wrote some sonnets to Burchiello, then a
youth; and finally, being sixty years of age, he finished the course of
his life in 1389, and was borne with honour from his dwelling, which was
in the Via Vecchia de' Corazzai, to his tomb.

There were many men able in sculpture and in architecture at the same
time as Orcagna, of whom the names are not known, but their works are to
be seen, and these are worthy of nothing but praise and commendation.
Among their works is not only the Monastery of the Certosa of Florence,
made at the expense of the noble family of the Acciaiuoli, and in
particular of Messer Niccola, Grand Seneschal of the King of Naples, but
also the tomb of the same man, whereon he is portrayed in stone, and
that of his father and one of his sisters, which has a covering of
marble, whereon both were portrayed very well from nature in the year
1366. There, too, wrought by the hand of the same men, is the tomb of
Messer Lorenzo, son of the said Niccola, who, dying at Naples, was
brought to Florence and laid to rest there with the most honourable pomp
of funeral obsequies. In like manner, in the tomb of Cardinal Santa
Croce of the same family, which is in a choir then built anew in front
of the high-altar, there is his portrait on a slab of marble, very well
wrought in the year 1390.

Disciples of Andrea in painting were Bernardo Nello di Giovanni Falconi
of Pisa, who wrought many panels in the Duomo of Pisa, and Tommaso di
Marco of Florence, who, besides many other works, made in the year 1392
a panel that is in S. Antonio in Pisa, set up against the tramezzo[19]
of the church.

After the death of Andrea, his brother Jacopo, occupied himself in
sculpture, as it has been said, and in architecture, was employed in the
year 1328 on the foundation and building of the Tower and Gate of S.
Piero Gattolini, and it is said that he made the four marzocchi[20] of
stone which were placed on the four corners of the Palazzo Principale of
Florence, all overlaid with gold. This work was much censured, by reason
of there being laid on those places, without necessity, a greater weight
than peradventure was expedient; and many would have been pleased to
have the marzocchi made rather of plates of copper, hollow within, and
then, after being gilded in the fire, set up in the same place, because
they would have been much less heavy and more durable. It is said, too,
that the same man made the horse, gilded and in full relief, that is in
S. Maria del Fiore, over the door that leads to the Company of S.
Zanobi, which horse is believed to be there in memory of Piero Farnese,
Captain of the Florentines; however, knowing nothing more about this, I
could not vouch for it. About the same time Mariotto, nephew of Andrea,
made in fresco the Paradise of S. Michele Bisdomini, in the Via de'
Servi in Florence, and the panel with an Annunciation that is on the
altar; and for Monna Cecilia de' Boscoli he made another panel with many
figures, placed near the door of the same church.

But among all the disciples of Orcagna none was more excellent than
Francesco Traini, who made a panel with a ground of gold for a nobleman
of the house of Coscia, who is buried at Pisa in the Chapel of S.
Domenico, in the Church of S. Caterina; which panel contained a S.
Dominic standing two braccia and a half high, with six scenes of his
life on either side of him, animated and vivacious and well coloured.
And in the same church, in the Chapel of S. Tommaso d'Aquino, he made a
panel in distemper with fanciful invention, which is much praised,
placing therein the said S. Thomas seated, portrayed from the life: I
say from the life, because the friars of that place had an image of him
brought from the Abbey of Fossa Nuova, where he died in the year 1323.
Below, round S. Thomas, who is placed seated in the air with some books
in his hand, which are illuminating the Christian people with their rays
and lustre, there are kneeling a great number of doctors and clergy of
every sort, Bishops, Cardinals, and Popes, among whom is the portrait
of Pope Urban VI. Under the feet of S. Thomas are standing Sabellius,
Arius, Averroes, and other heretics and philosophers, with their books
all torn; and the said figure of S. Thomas is placed between Plato, who
is showing him the _Timæus_, and Aristotle, who is showing him the
_Ethics_. Above, a Jesus Christ, in like manner in the air between the
four Evangelists, is blessing S. Thomas, and appears to be in the act of
sending down upon him the Holy Spirit, and filling him with it and with
His grace. This work, when finished, acquired very great fame and praise
for Francesco Traini, for in making it he surpassed his master Andrea by
a great measure in colouring, in harmony, and in invention. This Andrea
was very diligent in his drawings, as it may be seen in our book.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the painting by_ Francesco Traini. _Pisa: Church of S.


[Footnote 18: This is probably a printer's error for "nemico," as that
Pope was anything but the friend of Manfredi.]

[Footnote 19: See note on p. 57.]

[Footnote 20: Lions of stone, emblems of the city of Florence.]




When those arts that proceed from design come into competition and their
craftsmen work in rivalry, without doubt the good intellects, exercising
themselves with much study, discover new things every day in order to
satisfy the various tastes of men; and some, speaking for the present of
painting, executing works obscure and unusual and demonstrating in them
the difficulty of making them, make known by the shadows the brightness
of their genius. Others, fashioning the sweet and delicate, thinking
these to be likely to be more pleasing to the eyes of all who behold
them by reason of their having more relief, easily attract to themselves
the minds of the greater part of men. Others, again, painting with unity
and lowering the tones of the colours, reducing to their proper places
the lights and shades of their figures, deserve very great praise, and
reveal the thoughts of the intellect with beautiful dexterity of mind;
even as they were ever revealed with a sweet manner in the works of
Tommaso di Stefano, called Giottino, who, being born in the year 1324
and having learnt from his father the first principles of painting,
resolved while still very young to attempt, in so far as he might be
able with assiduous study, to be an imitator of the manner of Giotto
rather than of that of his father Stefano. In this attempt he succeeded
so well that he gained thereby, besides the manner, which was much more
beautiful than that of his master, the surname of Giottino, which never
left him; nay, by reason both of the manner and of the name it was the
opinion of many, who, however, were in very great error, that he was the
son of Giotto; but in truth it is not so, it being certain, or to speak
more exactly, believed (it being impossible for such things to be
affirmed by any man) that he was the son of Stefano, painter of

He was, then, so diligent in painting and so greatly devoted to it,
that, although many of his works are not to be found, those nevertheless
that have been found are good and in a beautiful manner, for the reason
that the draperies, the hair, the beards, and all the rest of his work
were made and harmonized with so great softness and diligence, that it
is seen that without doubt he added harmony to this art and had it much
more perfect than his master Giotto and his father Stefano. In his youth
Giottino painted a chapel near the side-door of S. Stefano al Ponte
Vecchio in Florence, wherein, although it is to-day much spoilt by damp,
the little that has remained shows the dexterity and the genius of the
craftsman. Next, he made the two Saints, Cosimo and Damiano, for the
Frati Ermini in the Canto alla Macine, but little is seen of them
to-day, for they too have been ruined by time. And he wrought in fresco
a chapel in the old S. Spirito in that city, which was afterwards ruined
in the burning of that church; and in fresco, over the principal door of
the church, the story of the Sending of the Holy Spirit; and on the
square before the said church, on the way to the Canto alla Cuculia, on
the corner of the convent, he painted that shrine that is still seen
there, with Our Lady and other Saints round her, wherein both the heads
and the other parts lean strongly towards the modern manner, for the
reason that he sought to vary and to blend the flesh-colours, and to
harmonize all the figures with grace and judgment by means of a variety
of colours and draperies. In like manner he wrought the stories of
Constantine with much diligence in the Chapel of S. Silvestro in S.
Croce, showing very beautiful ideas in the gestures of the figures; and
then, behind an ornament of marble made for the tomb of Messer Bertino
de' Bardi, a man who at that time had held honourable military rank, he
made this Messer Bertino in armour, after the life, issuing from a
sepulchre on his knees, being summoned with the sound of the trumpets of
the Judgment by two angels, who are in the air accompanying a
beautifully-wrought Christ in the clouds. On the right hand of the
entrance of the door of S. Pancrazio the same man made a Christ who is
bearing His Cross, and some Saints near Him, that have exactly the
manner of Giotto. In S. Gallo (which convent was without the Gate called
by the same name, and was destroyed in the siege) in a cloister, there
was a Pietà painted in fresco, whereof there is a copy in the aforesaid
S. Pancrazio, on a pillar beside the principal chapel. In S. Maria
Novella, in the Chapel of S. Lorenzo de' Giuochi, as one enters by the
door on the left, on the front wall, he wrought in fresco a S. Cosimo
and a S. Damiano, and, in Ognissanti, a S. Christopher and a S. George,
which were spoilt by the malice of time, and then restored by other
painters by reason of the ignorance of a Provost little conversant with
such matters. In the said church there has remained whole the arch that
is over the door of the sacristy, wherein there is in fresco a Madonna
with the Child in her arms by the hand of Tommaso, which is a good work,
by reason of his having wrought it with diligence.

By means of these works Giottino had acquired so good a name, imitating
his master both in design and in invention, as it has been told, that
there was said to be in him the spirit of Giotto himself, both because
of the vividness of his colouring and of his mastery in draughtsmanship;
and in the year 1343, on July 2, when the Duke of Athens was driven out
by the people and when he had renounced the sovereignty and restored
their liberty to the Florentines, Giottino was forced by the twelve
Reformers of the State, and in particular by the prayers of Messer
Agnolo Acciaiuoli, then a very great citizen, who had great influence
with him, to paint in contempt, on the tower of the Palace of the
Podestà, the said Duke and his followers, who were Messer Ceritieri
Visdomini, Messer Maladiasse, his Conservator, and Messer Ranieri da San
Gimignano, all with the cap of Justice ignominiously on their heads.
Round the head of the Duke were many beasts of prey and other sorts,
signifying his nature and his character; and one of those his
counsellors had in his hand the Palace of the Priors of the city, and
was handing it to him, like a disloyal traitor to his country. And all
had below them the arms and emblems of their families, and some writings
which can hardly be read to-day because they have been eaten away by
time. In this work, both by reason of the draughtsmanship and of the
great diligence wherewith it was executed, the manner of the craftsman
gave universal pleasure to all. Afterwards, at the Campora, a seat of
the Black Friars without the Porta a S. Piero Gattolini, he made a S.
Cosimo and a S. Damiano, which were spoilt in the whitewashing of the
church; and on the bridge of Romiti in Valdarno he painted in fresco the
shrine that is built over the middle, with his own hand and in a
beautiful manner.

It is found recorded by many who wrote thereon that Tommaso applied
himself to sculpture and wrought a figure in marble on the Campanile of
S. Maria del Fiore in Florence, four braccia high and facing the place
where the Orphans now dwell. In S. Giovanni Laterano in Rome, likewise,
he brought to fine completion a scene wherein he represented the Pope in
several capacities, which is now seen to have been eaten away and
corroded by time; and in the house of the Orsini he painted a hall full
of famous men; with a very beautiful S. Louis on a pillar in the
Araceli, on the right hand beside the altar.

In the lower church of S. Francesco at Assisi, in an arch over the
pulpit (there being no other space that was not painted) he wrought the
Coronation of Our Lady, with many angels round her, so gracious, so
beautiful in the expressions of the faces, and so sweet and delicate in
manner, that they show, with the usual harmony of colour which was
something peculiar to this painter, that he had proved himself the peer
of all who had lived up to that time; and round this arch he made some
stories of S. Nicholas. In like manner, in the Monastery of S. Chiara in
the same city, in the middle of the church, he painted a scene in
fresco, wherein is S. Chiara supported in the air by two angels who
appear real; she is restoring to life a child that was dead, while round
her are standing many women all full of wonder, with great beauty in the
faces and in the very gracious head-dresses and costumes of those times
that they are wearing. In the same city of Assisi, over the gate of the
city that leads to the Duomo--namely, in an arch on the inner side--he
made a Madonna with the Child in her arms, with so great diligence that
she appears alive, and a S. Francis and another Saint, both very
beautiful; both of which works, although the story of S. Chiara
remained unfinished by reason of Tommaso having fallen sick and returned
to Florence, are perfect and most worthy of all praise.


(_Florence: Uffizi 27. Panel_)]

It is said that Tommaso was melancholic in temperament and very
solitary, but with respect to art devoted and very studious, as it is
clearly seen from a panel in the Church of S. Romeo in Florence, wrought
by him in distemper with so great diligence and love that there has
never been seen a better work on wood by his hand. In this panel, which
is placed in the tramezzo[21] of the church, on the right hand, is a
Dead Christ with the Maries and Nicodemus, accompanied by other figures,
who are bewailing His death with bitterness and with very sweet and
affectionate movements, wringing their hands with diverse gestures, and
beating themselves in a manner that in the air of the faces there is
shown very clearly their sharp sorrow at the so great cost of our sins.
And it is something marvellous to consider, not that he penetrated with
his genius to such a height of imagination, but that he could express it
so well with the brush. Wherefore this work is consummately worthy of
praise, not so much by reason of the subject and of the invention, as
because in it the craftsman has shown, in some heads that are weeping,
that although the lineaments of those that are weeping are distorted in
the brows, in the eyes, in the nose, and in the mouth, this, however,
neither spoils nor alters a certain beauty which is wont to suffer much
in weeping when the painters do not know well how to avail themselves of
the good methods of art. But it is no great thing that Giottino should
have executed this panel with so much consideration, since in his
labours he ever aimed rather at fame and glory than at any other reward,
being free from the greed of gain, that makes our present masters less
diligent and good. And even as he did not seek to have great riches, so
he did not trouble himself much about the comforts of life--nay, living
poorly, he sought to satisfy others rather than himself; wherefore,
taking little care of himself and enduring fatigue, he died of
consumption at the age of thirty-two, and was given burial by his
relatives at the Martello Gate without S. Maria Novella, beside the tomb
of Bontura.

Disciples of Giottino, who left more fame than wealth, were Giovanni
Tossicani of Arezzo, Michelino, Giovanni dal Ponte, and Lippo, who were
passing good masters of this art, but above all Giovanni Tossicani, who
made many works throughout all Tuscany after Tommaso and in the same
manner as his, and in particular the Chapel of S. Maria Maddalena,
belonging to the Tuccerelli, in the Pieve of Arezzo, and a S. James on a
pillar in the Pieve of the township of Empoli. In the Duomo of Pisa,
also, he wrought some panels which have since been removed in order to
make room for the modern. The last work that he made was in a chapel of
the Vescovado of Arezzo, for the Countess Giovanna, wife of Tarlato da
Pietramala--namely, a very beautiful Annunciation, with S. James and S.
Philip; which work, by reason of the back of the wall being turned to
the north, was little less than completely spoilt by damp, when Maestro
Agnolo di Lorenzo of Arezzo restored the Annunciation, and shortly
afterwards Giorgio Vasari, still a youth, restored the S. James and S.
Philip, to his own great profit, having learnt much, at that time when
he had not the advantage of other masters, by studying Giovanni's method
of painting and the shadows and colours of that work, spoilt as it was.
In this chapel there are still read these words in an epitaph of marble,
in memory of the Countess who had it built and painted:


Of the works of the other disciples of Giottino there is no mention
made, seeing that they were but ordinary and little like those of the
master and of Giovanni Tossicani, their fellow-disciple. Tommaso drew
very well, as it may be seen in our book, in certain drawings wrought by
his hand with much diligence.


[Footnote 21: See note on p. 57.]




Although there is no truth and not much confidence to be placed in the
ancient proverb that the prodigal's purse is never empty, and although,
on the contrary, it is very true that he who does not live a
well-ordered life in his own degree lives at the last in want and dies
miserably, it is seen, nevertheless, that fortune sometimes aids rather
those who squander without restraint than those who are in all things
careful and self-restrained; and when the favour of fortune ceases,
there often comes death, to make up for her defection and for the bad
management of men, supervening at the very moment when such men would
begin with infinite dismay to recognize how miserable a thing it is to
have squandered in youth and to want in old age, living and labouring in
poverty, as would have happened to Giovanni da Santo Stefano a Ponte of
Florence, if, after having consumed his patrimony and much gain which
had been brought to his hands rather by fortune than by his merits, with
some inheritances that came to him from an unexpected source, he had not
finished at one and the same time the course of his life and all his

This man, then, who was a disciple of Buonamico Buffalmacco, and who
imitated him more in attending to the pleasures of life than in seeking
to become an able painter, was born in the year 1307, and after being in
early youth a disciple of Buffalmacco, he made his first works in the
Chapel of S. Lorenzo, in the Pieve of Empoli, painting there in fresco
many scenes of the life of that Saint, with so great diligence that he
was summoned to Arezzo in the year 1344, a better development being
expected after so fine a beginning; and there he painted the Assumption
of Our Lady in a chapel in S. Francesco. And a little time afterwards,
being in some credit in that city for lack of other painters, he
painted the Chapel of S. Onofrio in the Pieve, with that of S. Antonio,
which to-day is spoilt by damp. He also made some other pictures that
were in S. Giustina and in S. Matteo, but these were thrown to the
ground by Duke Cosimo, together with the said churches, in the making of
fortifications for that city; and exactly in that place, at the foot of
the abutment of an ancient bridge beside the said S. Giustina, where the
stream entered the city, there were then found a head of Appius Cæcus
and one of his son, both in marble and very beautiful, with an ancient
epitaph, likewise very beautiful, which are all now in the
guardaroba[22] of the said Lord Duke.

Giovanni, having returned to Florence at the time when there was
finished the closing of the middle arch of the Ponte a S. Trinita,
painted many figures both within and without a chapel built over one
pier and dedicated to S. Michelagnolo, and in particular all the front
wall; which chapel, together with the bridge, was carried away by the
flood of the year 1557. It is by reason of these works that some
maintain, besides what has been said about him at the beginning, that he
was ever afterwards called Giovanni dal Ponte. In Pisa, also, in the
year 1355, he made some scenes in fresco behind the altar of the
principal chapel of S. Paolo a Ripa d'Arno, which are now all spoilt by
damp and by time. Giovanni also painted the Chapel of the Scali in S.
Trinita in Florence, with another that is beside it, and one of the
stories of S. Paul by the side of the principal chapel, where is the
tomb of Maestro Paolo, the astrologer. In S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio he
painted a panel, with other pictures in distemper and in fresco both
within and without Florence, which brought him considerable credit.

He gave contentment to his friends, but more in his pleasures than in
his works, and he was the friend of men of learning, and in particular
of all those who pursued the studies of his own profession in order to
become excellent therein; and although he had not sought to have in
himself that which he desired in others, yet he never ceased to
encourage others to work valiantly. Finally, having lived fifty-nine
years, Giovanni was seized by pleurisy and in a few days departed
this life, wherein, had he survived a little longer, he would have
suffered many discomforts, there being left in his house scarce as much
as sufficed to give him decent burial in S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio.
His works date about 1365.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


(_After the painting by_ Giovanni dal Ponte. _Florence: Uffizi, 1292_)]

In our book of drawings by diverse ancients and moderns there is a
drawing in water-colour by the hand of Giovanni, wherein is a S. George
on horseback who is slaying the Dragon, and a skeleton, which bear
witness to the method and manner that he had in drawing.


[Footnote 22: Guardaroba, the room or rooms where everything of value
was stored--clothes, linen, art treasures, furniture, etc.]




How honourable and profitable it is to be excellent in a noble art is
manifestly seen in the talent and management of Taddeo Gaddi, who,
having acquired very good means as well as fame with his industry and
labours, left the affairs of his family so well arranged, when he passed
to the other life, that Agnolo and Giovanni, his sons, were easily able
to give a beginning to the very great riches and to the exaltation of
the house of Gaddi, to-day very noble in Florence and in great repute
throughout all Christendom. And in truth it has been very reasonable,
seeing that Gaddo, Taddeo, Agnolo, and Giovanni adorned many honoured
churches with their talent and their art, that their successors have
been since adorned by the Holy Roman Church and by the Supreme Pontiffs
of the same with the greatest ecclesiastical dignities.

Taddeo, then, of whom we have already written the Life, left his sons
Agnolo and Giovanni in company with many of his disciples, hoping that
Agnolo, in particular, would become very excellent in painting; but he,
who in his youth showed promise of surpassing his father by a great
measure, did not succeed further in justifying the opinion that had
already been conceived of him, for the reason that, being born and bred
in easy circumstances, which are often an impediment to study, he was
given more to traffic and to trading than to the art of painting; which
should not appear a thing new or strange, seeing that avarice very often
bars the way to many intellects which would ascend to the greatest
height of excellence, if the desire of gain did not impede their path in
their earliest and best years. Working as a youth in S. Jacopo tra'
Fossi in Florence, Agnolo wrought a little scene, with figures little
more than a braccio high, of Christ raising Lazarus on the fourth day
after death, wherein, imagining the corruption of that body, which had
been dead three days, with much thought he made the grave-clothes which
held him bound discoloured by the decay of the flesh, and round the eyes
certain livid and yellowish marks in the flesh, that seems half living
and half dead; not without stupefaction in the Apostles and in other
figures, who, with attitudes varied and beautiful, and with their
draperies to their noses in order not to feel the stench of that corrupt
body, are no less afraid and awestruck at such a marvellous miracle than
Mary and Martha are joyful and content to see life returning to the dead
body of their brother. This work was judged so excellent that many
deemed the talent of Agnolo to be destined to surpass all the disciples
of Taddeo, and even Taddeo himself; but the event proved otherwise,
because, even as in youth the will conquers every difficulty in order to
acquire fame, so a certain negligence that the years bring with them
often causes a man, instead of advancing, to go backwards, as did
Agnolo. Having given so great a proof of his talent, he was commissioned
by the family of Soderini, who had great hopes of him, to paint the
principal chapel of the Carmine, and he painted therein all the life of
Our Lady, so much less well than he had done the resurrection of
Lazarus, that he gave every man to know that he had little wish to
attend with every effort to the art of painting; for the reason that in
all that great work there is nothing else of the good save one scene,
wherein, round Our Lady, in a room, are many maidens who are wearing
diverse costumes and head-dresses, according to the diversity of the use
of those times, and are engaged in diverse exercises: this one is
spinning, that one is sewing, that other is winding thread, one is
weaving, and others working in other ways, all passing well conceived
and executed by Agnolo.

For the noble family of the Alberti, likewise, he painted in fresco the
principal chapel of the Church of S. Croce, making therein all that came
to pass in the discovery of the Cross, and he executed that work with
much mastery of handling but not with much design, for only the
colouring is beautiful and good enough. Next, in painting in fresco some
stories of S. Louis in the Chapel of the Bardi in the same church, he
acquitted himself much better. And because he used to work by caprice,
now with more zeal and now with less, working in S. Spirito, also in
Florence, within the door that leads from the square into the convent,
he made in fresco, over another door, a Madonna with the Child in her
arms, and S. Augustine and S. Nicholas, so well that the said figures
appear as if made only yesterday.


(_After the painting by_ Agnolo Gaddi. _Philadelphia, U.S.A.: J. G.
Johnson Collection_)]

And because in a certain manner there had come to Agnolo, by way of
inheritance, the secret of working in mosaic, and he had at home the
instruments and all the materials that his grandfather Gaddo had used in
this, he would make something in mosaic when it pleased him, merely to
pass time and by reason of that convenience of material, rather than for
aught else. Now, seeing that time had eaten away many of those marbles
that cover the eight faces of the roof of S. Giovanni, and that the damp
penetrating within had therefore spoilt much of the mosaic which Andrea
Tafi had wrought there at a former time, the Consuls of the Guild of
Merchants determined, to the end that the rest might not be spoilt, to
rebuild the greater part of that covering with marble, and in like
manner to have the mosaic restored. Wherefore, the direction and
commission for the whole being given to Agnolo, he, in the year 1346,
had it recovered with new marbles and the pieces laid over each other at
the joinings, with unexampled diligence, to the breadth of two fingers,
cutting each slab to the half of its thickness; then, joining them
together with cement made of mastic and wax melted together, he fitted
them with so great diligence that from that time onwards neither the
roof nor the vaulting has received any damage from the rains. Agnolo,
having afterwards restored the mosaic, brought it about by means of his
counsel and of a design very well conceived that there was rebuilt,
round the said church, all the upper cornice of marble below the roof,
in that form wherein it now remains; which cornice was much smaller than
it is and very commonplace. Under direction of the same man there was
also made the vaulting of the Great Hall of the Palace of the Podestà,
which before was directly under the roof, to the end that, besides the
adornment, fire might not again be able to do it damage, as it had done
a long time before. After this, by the counsel of Agnolo, there were
made round the said Palace the battlements that are there to-day, which
before were in no wise there.

The while that these works were executing, he did not desert his
painting entirely, and painted in distemper, in the panel that he made
for the high-altar of S. Pancrazio, Our Lady, S. John the Baptist, and
the Evangelist, and beside them the Saints Nereus, Archileus, and
Pancratius, brothers, with other Saints. But the best of this work--nay,
all that is seen therein of the good--is the predella alone, which is
all full of little figures, divided into eight stories of the Madonna
and of S. Reparata. Next, in 1348, he painted the panel of the
high-altar of S. Maria Maggiore, also in Florence, for Barone Cappelli,
making therein a passing good dance of angels round a Coronation of Our
Lady. A little afterwards, in the Pieve of the district of Prato,
rebuilt under direction of Giovanni Pisano in the year 1312, as it has
been said above, Agnolo painted in fresco, in the chapel wherein was
deposited the Girdle of Our Lady, many scenes of her life; and in other
churches of that district, which was full of monasteries and convents
held in great honour, he made other works in plenty. In Florence, next,
he painted the arch over the door of S. Romeo; and in Orto S. Michele he
wrought in distemper a Disputation of the Doctors with Christ in the
Temple. And at the same time, many houses having been pulled down in
order to enlarge the Piazza de' Signori, and in particular the Church of
S. Romolo, this was rebuilt with the design of Agnolo. There are many
panels by his hand throughout the churches in the said city, and many of
his works may also be recognized in the domain, which were wrought by
him with much profit to himself, although he worked more in order to do
as his forefathers had done than for any love of it, having his mind
directed on commerce, which brought him better profit; as it is seen
when his sons, not wishing any longer to be painters, gave themselves
over completely to commerce, holding a house open for this purpose in
Venice together with their father, who, from a certain time onward, did
not work save for his own pleasure, and, in a certain manner, in order
to pass time. Having thus acquired great wealth by means of trading and
by means of his art, Agnolo died in the sixty-third year of his life,
overcome by a malignant fever which in a few days made an end of him.

His disciples were Maestro Antonio da Ferrara, who made many beautiful
works in S. Francesco at Urbino, and at Città di Castello; and Stefano
da Verona, who painted in fresco most perfectly, as it is seen in many
places at Verona, his native city, and also in many of his works at
Mantua. This man, among other things, was excellent in giving very
beautiful expressions to the faces of children, of women, and of old
men, as it may be seen in his works, which were all imitated and copied
by that Piero da Perugia, illuminator, who illuminated all the books
that are in the library of Pope Pius in the Duomo at Siena, and was a
practised colourist in fresco. A disciple of Agnolo, also, was Michele
da Milano, as was Giovanni Gaddi, his brother, who made, in the cloister
of S. Spirito where are the little arches of Gaddo and of Taddeo, the
Disputation of Christ in the Temple with the Doctors, the Purification
of the Virgin, the Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness, and the
Baptism of John; and finally, having created very great expectation, he
died. A pupil of the same Agnolo in painting was Cennino di Drea Cennini
of Colle di Valdelsa, who, having very great affection for the art,
wrote a book describing the methods of working in fresco, in distemper,
in size, and in gum, and, besides, how illuminating is done, and all the
methods of applying gold; which book is in the hands of Giuliano,
goldsmith of Siena, an excellent master and a friend of these arts. And
in the beginning of this his book he treated of the nature of colours,
both the minerals and the earth-colours, according as he learnt from
Agnolo his master, wishing, for the reason perchance that he did not
succeed in learning to paint perfectly, at least to know the nature of
the colours, the distempers, the sizes, and the application of gesso,
and what colours we must guard against as harmful in making the
mixtures, and in short many other considerations whereof there is no
need to discourse, there being to-day a perfect knowledge of all those
matters which he held as great and very rare secrets in those times. But
I will not forbear to say that he makes no mention (and perchance they
may not have been in use) of some earth-colours, such as dark red
earths, cinabrese, and certain vitreous greens. Since then there have
been also discovered umber, which is an earth-colour, giallo santo,[23]
the smalts both for fresco and for oils, and some vitreous greens and
yellows, wherein the painters of that age were lacking. He treated
finally of mosaics, and of grinding colours in oils in order to make
grounds of red, blue, green, and in other manners; and of the mordants
for the application of gold, but not then for figures. Besides the works
that he wrought in Florence with his master, there is a Madonna with
certain saints by his hand under the loggia of the hospital of Bonifazio
Lupi, coloured in such a manner that it has been very well preserved up
to our own day.

This Cennino, in the first chapter of his said book, speaking of
himself, uses these very words: "I, Cennino di Drea Cennini, of Colle di
Valdelsa, was instructed in the said art for twelve years by Agnolo di
Taddeo of Florence, my master, who learnt the said art from Taddeo, his
father, who was held at baptism by Giotto and was his disciple for
four-and-twenty years; which Giotto transmuted the art of painting from
Greek into Latin, and brought it to the modern manner, and had it for
certain more perfected than anyone ever had it." These are the very
words of Cennino, to whom it appeared that even as those who translate
any work from Greek into Latin confer very great benefit on those who do
not understand Greek, so, too, did Giotto in transforming the art of
painting from a manner not understood or known by anyone, save perchance
as very rude, to a beautiful, facile, and very pleasing manner,
understood and known as good by all who have judgment and the least
grain of reason.

All these disciples of Agnolo did him very great honour, and he was
buried by his sons, to whom it is said that he left the sum of fifty
thousand florins or more, in S. Maria Novella, in the tomb that he
himself had made for himself and for his descendants, in the year of our
salvation 1387. The portrait of Agnolo, made by himself, is seen in the
Chapel of the Alberti, in S. Croce, beside a door in the scene wherein,
the Emperor Heraclius is bearing the Cross; it is painted in profile,
with a little beard, and with a rose-coloured cap on his head according
to the use of those times. He was not excellent in draughtsmanship, in
so far as is shown by some drawings by his hand that are in our book.


[Footnote 23: A yellow-lake made from the unripe berries of the spin
cervino, a sort of brier.]


 Aglaophon, xxxix

 Agnolo (of Siena), _Life_, 97-105. 39

 Agnolo di Lorenzo, 208

 Agnolo Gaddi, _Life_, 217-223. 185, 186

 Agobbio, Oderigi d', 79

 Agostino (of Siena), _Life_, 97-105. 39

 Aholiab, xxxviii

 Alberti, Leon Batista, xli, 179

 Alesso Baldovinetti, 4, 48

 Ambrogio Lorenzetti, _Life_, 155-157

 Andrea di Cione Orcagna, _Life_, 189-199

 Andrea Pisano, _Life_, 123-131. 189

 Andrea Tafi, _Life_, 47-51. 55, 56, 58, 135, 136, 145, 219

 Angelico, Fra (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole), 162

 Antonio (called Il Carota), 125

 Antonio d'Andrea Tafi, 51

 Antonio da Ferrara, 221

 Antonio da San Gallo, 32

 Antonio Pollaiuolo, xxxiv

 Apelles, xxviii, xxxix

 Apollodorus, xxxix

 Apollonio, 47, 49

 Ardices, xxxix

 Aretino, Marchionne, 17, 18

 Aretino, Niccolò, 130

 Aretino, Spinello, 67

 Aristides, xli

 Arnolfo di Lapo (Arnolfo Lapo, Arnolfo Lapi), _Life_, 20-26. 8, 13, 14,
   20-26, 29, 30, 33, 39, 65, 113, 126, 170, 174, 180

 Baldovinetti, Alesso, 4, 48

 Bartolommeo Bologhini, 120

 Benedetto da Maiano, 94

 Bernardo di Cione Orcagna, 189, 190, 193-195, 197

 Bernardo Nello di Giovanni Falconi, 197

 Bezaleel, xxxviii

 Bologhini, Bartolommeo, 120

 Bolognese, Franco, 79

 Bonanno, 15, 16

 Bramante da Urbino, 32

 Brunelleschi, Filippo (Filippo di Ser Brunellesco), lii, 22, 23, 26, 48,

 Bruno di Giovanni, 135, 145, 147, 148, 191

 Buffalmacco, Buonamico, _Life_, 135-151. 50, 51, 135-151, 170, 190, 191,

 Buonarroti, Michelagnolo, xxvi, xxxiv, 87

 Buono, 14, 15

 Buschetto, liv, lvi

 Calandrino, 135

 Campi, Fra Ristoro da, 59

 Capanna, Puccio, 85, 89-91

 Carota (Antonio, called Il Carota), 125

 Casentino, Jacopo di, 183, 185

 Castelfranco, Giorgione da, xxxii

 Cavallini, Pietro, _Life_, 161-164. 92

 Cennini, Cennino di Drea, 177, 221, 222

 Cimabue, Giovanni, _Life_, 3-10. xxiv, xxxv, lix, 3-10, 20, 21, 29, 47,
   50, 55, 56, 58, 63, 72, 74, 89, 94, 113, 117, 145, 174

 Cione, 103, 104

 Cleanthes, xxxix

 Cleophantes, xxxix

 Como, Guido da, 48

 Danti, Vincenzio, 36

 Domenico Ghirlandajo, 112, 126, 189

 Donato (Donatello), 48, 130, 178

 Fabius, xl

 Faenza, Ottaviano da, 91

 Faenza, Pace da, 91

 Falconi, Bernardo Nello di Giovanni, 197

 Ferrara, Antonio da, 221

 Fiesole, Fra Giovanni da (called Fra Angelico), 162

 Filippo Brunelleschi (Filippo di Ser Brunellesco), lii, 22, 23, 26, 48,

 Fonte, Jacopo della (Jacopo della Quercia), 130

 Forlì, Guglielmo da, 92

 Forzore di Spinello, 104

 Fra Angelico (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole), 162

 Fra Giovanni, 59

 Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (called Fra Angelico), 162

 Fra Jacopo da Turrita, 49, 50, 56

 Fra Ristoro da Campi, 59

 Francesco (called di Maestro Giotto), 91

 Francesco Traini, 198, 199

 Franco Bolognese, 79

 Fuccio, 30, 31

 Gaddi, Agnolo, _Life_, 217-223. 185, 186

 Gaddi, Gaddo, _Life_, 55-58. 50, 55-58, 177, 186, 217, 219, 221

 Gaddi, Giovanni, 185, 186, 217, 221

 Gaddi, Taddeo, _Life_, 177-186. 57, 58, 81, 88, 89, 129, 177-186, 217,
   218, 221, 222

 Ghiberti, Lorenzo (Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti), 87, 112, 127, 130

 Ghirlandajo, Domenico, 112, 126, 189

 Ghirlandajo, Ridolfo, 125

 Giorgio Vasari, see Vasari

 Giorgione da Castelfranco, xxxii

 Giottino (Tommaso, or Maso), _Life_, 203-208. 112

 Giotto, _Life_, 71-94. 7-9, 25, 39, 50, 51, 57, 63, 71-94, 99, 109,
   111-113, 117, 118, 123-127, 161, 162, 168, 170, 174, 177, 178, 180,
   182, 184-186, 190, 203-205, 222

 Giovanni, Bruno di, 135, 145, 147, 148, 191

 Giovanni, Fra, 59

 Giovanni Cimabue, _Life_, 3-10. xxiv, xxxv, lix, 3-10, 20, 21, 29, 47,
   50, 55, 56, 58, 63,72, 74, 89, 94, 113, 117, 145, 174

 Giovanni da Milano, 182, 183, 185

 Giovanni da Pistoia, 164

 Giovanni dal Ponte (Giovanni da Santo Stefano a Ponte), _Life_, 211-213,

 Giovanni Gaddi, 185, 186, 217, 221

 Giovanni Pisano, _Life_, 35-44. 29, 35-44, 76, 97, 98, 220

 Giovanni Tossicani, 208

 Giuliano, 221

 Guglielmo, 15, 31

 Guglielmo da Forlì, 92

 Guido da Como, 48

 Gyges the Lydian (fable), xxxix

 Jacobello, 105

 Jacopo da Turrita, Fra, 49, 50, 56

 Jacopo della Quercia (or della Fonte), 130

 Jacopo di Casentino, 183, 185

 Jacopo di Cione Orcagna, 194, 197, 198

 Jacopo Lanfrani, 104, 105

 Jacopo Tedesco (Lapo), 14, 18-20, 23, 24, 65, 174

 Lanfrani, Jacopo, 104, 105

 Lapo, Arnolfo di (Arnolfo Lapo, Arnolfo Lapi), _Life_, 20-26. 8, 13, 14,
   20-26, 29, 30, 33, 39, 65, 113, 126, 170, 174, 180

 Lapo (Maestro Jacopo Tedesco), 14, 18-20, 23, 24, 65, 174

 Laurati, Pietro (called Lorenzetti), _Life_, 117-120. 92

 Leonardo da Vinci, xxxiv

 Leonardo di Ser Giovanni, 104

 Leon Batista Alberti, xli, 179

 Lino, 43

 Lippo, 48, 208

 Lippo Memmi, 172-174

 Lorenzetti, Ambrogio, _Life_, 155-157

 Lorenzetti, Pietro (Laurati), _Life_, 117-120. 92

 Lorenzo, Agnolo di, 208

 Lorenzo Ghiberti (Lorenzo di Cione Ghiberti), 87, 112, 127, 130

 Lysippus, xl

 Maglione, 34

 Maiano, Benedetto da, 94

 Marchionne Aretino, 17, 18

 Marco, Tommaso di, 197

 Margaritone, _Life_, 63-67. 38, 118

 Mariotto, 198

 Martini, Simone (Memmi or Sanese), _Life_, 167-174. 10, 25, 89, 92,
   167-174, 183

 Memmi, Lippo, 172-174

 Memmi, Simone (Martini or Sanese), _Life_, 167-174. 10, 25, 89, 92,
   167-174, 183

 Metrodorus, xxxix, xl

 Michelagnolo Buonarroti, xxvi, xxxiv, 87

 Michele da Milano, 221

 Michelino, 208

 Milano, Giovanni da, 182, 183, 185

 Milano, Michele da, 221

 Neroccio, 172

 Niccola Pisano, _Life_, 29-37. lvi, 29-37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 76, 97

 Niccolò Aretino, 130

 Nino Pisano, 127, 130, 131

 Oderigi d'Agobbio, 79

 Orcagna, Andrea di Cione, _Life_, 189-199

 Orcagna, Bernardo di Cione, 189, 190, 193-195, 197

 Orcagna, Jacopo di Cione, 194, 197, 198

 Ottaviano da Faenza, 91

 Pace da Faenza, 91

 Pacuvius, xxxix

 Paolo, 103

 Perugia, Piero da, 221

 Pesarese, 105

 Pheidias, xl

 Philocles, xxxix

 Piero da Perugia, 221

 Pietro, 103

 Pietro Cavallini, _Life_, 161-164. 92

 Pietro Laurati (called Lorenzetti), _Life_, 117-120. 92

 Pietro Paolo, 105

 Pisano, Andrea, _Life_, 123-131. 189

 Pisano, Giovanni, _Life_, 35-44. 29, 35-44, 76, 97, 98, 220

 Pisano, Niccola, _Life_, 29-37. lvi, 29-37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 76, 97

 Pisano, Nino, 127, 130, 131

 Pisano, Tommaso, 130

 Pistoia, Giovanni da, 164

 Pollaiuolo, Antonio, xxxiv

 Polycletus, xl, 167

 Polygnotus, xxxix

 Ponte, Giovanni dal (Giovanni da Santo Stefano a Ponte), _Life_, 211-213,

 Praxiteles, xxvi, xl, xli

 Prometheus (fable), xxxix

 Puccio Capanna, 85, 89-91

 Pygmalion, xxviii, xl

 Pyrgoteles, xl

 Pythias, xxxix

 Quercia, Jacopo della (called della Fonte), 130

 Raffaello Sanzio (or da Urbino), 86

 Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, 125

 Ristoro da Campi, Fra, 59

 Sanese, Simone (Martini or Memmi), _Life_, 167-174. 10, 25, 89, 92,
   167-174, 183

 Sanese, Ugolino (Ugolino da Siena), _Life_, 113

 San Gallo, Antonio da, 32

 Sanzio, Raffaello (Raffaello da Urbino), 86

 Ser Giovanni, Leonardo di, 104

 Siena, Ugolino da (Sanese), _Life_, 113

 Simone Sanese (Martini or Memmi), _Life_, 167-174. 10, 25, 89, 92,
   167-174, 183

 Sollazzino, 193

 Spinello, Forzore di, 104

 Spinello, Aretino, 67

 Stefano, _Life_, 109-114. 92, 203, 204

 Stefano da Verona, 221

 Taddeo Gaddi, _Life_, 177-186. 57, 58, 81, 88, 89, 129, 177-186, 217,
   218, 221, 222

 Tafi, Andrea, _Life_, 47-51. 55, 56, 58, 135, 136, 145, 219

 Tafi, Antonio d'Andrea, 51

 Tedesco, Jacopo (Lapo), 14, 18-20, 23, 24, 65, 174

 Telephanes, xxxix

 Timagoras, xxxix

 Tommaso (or Maso, called Giottino), _Life_, 203-208. 112

 Tommaso di Marco, 197

 Tommaso Pisano, 130

 Tossicani, Giovanni, 208

 Traini, Francesco, 198, 199

 Turrita, Fra Jacopo da, 49, 50, 56

 Ugolino Sanese (Ugolino da Siena), _Life_, 113

 Urbino, Bramante da, 32

 Urbino, Raffaello da (Raffaello Sanzio), 86

 Vasari, Giorgio--
   as art-collector, xvii, xviii, lix, 10, 58, 79, 92, 94, 111, 120, 126,
     138, 157, 173, 174, 199, 208, 213, 223
   as author, xiii-xix, xxi, xxiii, xxiv, xxxi, xxxiii-xxxvii, xlii, xliii,
     xlvii, xlix, l, lv-lix, 7, 9, 10, 13-16, 23-25, 29, 44, 47-49, 51,
     57-59, 66, 75, 79, 80, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 94, 97, 99, 103, 105, 109,
     112, 113, 124, 126, 127, 140, 141, 146, 150, 163, 164, 170, 181, 183,
     191, 192, 198, 217, 222
   as painter, xlii, 67, 86, 119, 120, 147, 208
   as architect, 25, 31, 38, 39, 119, 120

 Verona, Stefano da, 221

 Vicino, 50, 57, 58

 Vincenzio Danti, 36

 Vinci, Leonardo da, xxxiv

 Zeuxis, xxxix



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